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Mini Challenges

OK, so maybe you don't want to do a full challenge, but want to do a few warm-up activities or maybe build your team's skills up with a particular material.


Here are a set of quick spontaneous challenges as well as a set of repeated exercises your team can do to get skilled at using common Odyssey materials . You can substitute with other materials and alter the instructions for each one, as appropriate

Quick verbal challenges

Name a new technology that you could create that actually makes a task more difficult.  (For example, a clothes folder that actually ties clothes in a knot)


You find an unusual egg that you decide to hatch - what did you do to hatch it and what came out?


You are on the operating table, what do you NOT want to hear the doctor say?


You are the creator of a new board game - what is the game and how does one win?


List different uses for a mousetrap.


Name things you’d need to survive in an ice cave.


There are 1 million plastic grocery bags - what can you make with them?


Name a way that you could get to the roof of a house.


What would OMER post on Twitter?


Name something that catches something and what it catches. Example: people catch fish.


Name something that follows something else.  Example: B follows A.


Name something that is eaten and what eats it.


What do French Fries think about?


Name ways you can attract wildlife to your backyard.


You are Cinderella.  Where are you going?


Your problem is to name rides or attractions that would be in Omer’s park.


“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” replace “apple” and “doctor” and create new sayings. A __________ a day keeps the __________ away.


Give a pair of words to complete this statement: A ________ is part of ________. Example: A clown is part of the circus.


Give reasons why the cow might have jump over the moon.


Explain to your teacher why you didn’t hand in your homework.

Describe things that are good or beneficial in one way but bad or harmful in another.  Example: a mouse is bad in the house but good attached to you keyboard.


Your truck is loaded with 5,000lbs of peas.  What do you do with them?


Name something that drives your coach mad!


Baa, baa black sheep have you any …?


Name things that can mask something else?


Name things you would not want to add together.


Give a phrase that includes the words ‘bee’ and ‘hive.’


How would life be different without a phone?


You have found hidden treasure but a dragon is guarding it.  How do you retrieve the treasure?


Omer has just opened an amusement park Name rides or attractions that would be in Omer’s park.


If the hat fits then …?

Quick Verbal/Hands-on and Hands-on Challenges


To make a:


Paper clip(s)


Masking tape


Mailing label(s)



Popsicle stick(s)


Plastic cup(s)

Styrofoam cup(s)

Paper plate(s)

Paper bowl(s)

Paper bag(s)

Pasta: spaghetti, macaroni, etc.



Toilet paper roll(s)

Egg carton(s)

Tin foil

Empty shoe box

Empty cereal box

Rubber band(s)



File folder

Paper clip(s)


Tennis balls

Ping-pong balls

Plastic bag(s)





New product

Article of clothing



Piece of furniture




Student survival kit

Wilderness survival kit

Ancient artifact

Item of the future

Protective covering for hands

Protective covering for feet

Protective covering for head

Protective covering for an egg


Eating utensil

Work of art


New invention

Shelter for a ...


Communication system

TV Commercial


Carnival ride

will move __ feet

will support weight

will propel ping pong balls __ feet

will extend as far as possible

every teacher should have

every student needs

every OM coach needs

every OM team needs

will remove leaves from your lawn.

will rid your house of pests.

will protect an egg from breaking

will transport ___ balls from A to B

will maneuver an obstacle course.

will hit a target_ feet away.

will do your homework for you.

will wake someone up!

will put someone to sleep!

will amuse a baby.

will detect intruders.

will illustrate an old adage

will signal danger

will fly

will dance

will be a new TikTok challenge

will be annoying

will make a noise

will be a surprise

no-one wants to see!

will make you something to eat

will be a silly way to walk

is the best thing since sliced bread!

Exercises with Materials

Coffee Stirrers


Using the coffee stirrers, what is the tallest structure that you can make with a base that is no wider than 2 inches

Can you weave or crosshatch the coffee stirrers together to make a sturdy structure?

How many ways can you attach the coffee stirrers together?

What is the longest bridge that you can make using the coffee stirrers?

Can you create a game based on the coffee stirrers (as game pieces, tokens, etc.)?

How can you tell a story using the coffee stirrers to depict a scene?

How can you create a device using the coffee stirrers to launch a projectile?

Can you create a puppet show that uses only coffee stirrers for puppets?

How can you create a performance with coffee stirrers shadow puppets?

How can you communicate a message without talking, using only the coffee stirrers?



Can you join the straws together to make a cage?

How many ways can you attach straws together?

Can you make an assortment of jewelry that includes necklaces and rings?

How can you create a bridge?

What is the tallest structure that you can make using only the straws?

Can you create an animal out of straws? How about a device that can transport the animal?

How can you create a device to transport straws from one pile to another?

Can you create a performance that uses straws to provide sound effects?


What uses can you put an inflated balloon to?

How can you create a pendulum using balloons?

How can you use a balloon to launch another balloon?

How would you use a balloon to attach two things together?

How many different ways can you attach balloons together?

What can you use the balloons for in a costume?

Create a play that uses balloons to depict a story.

How can balloons be used to transport different materials?

Inflate a few balloons. Can you transport them across the room without them touching the ground or your bodies?

Can you create a device to automatically pop a balloon?


What is the tallest structure that you can make?

Can you create a tent that a team member can sit in?

How can you create the longest continuous strip possible from a single sheet of newspaper?

How can you use newspaper in a costume?

Can you create three animals using sheets of newspaper?

Create a performance about your animals!

Can you create a humorous performance based on headlines in the newspaper?

Can you create a performance that uses a picture in the newspaper taken out of context?

Make a device to launch and catch crumpled balls of newspaper.

How can you make the tallest tower possible that holds as much weight as possible?



How can you create a mask from cups?

How can you create a creature with moving body parts?

Can you create a Rube Goldberg device that incorporates cups in 3 different ways?

What is the tallest tower that you can create?

How can you create a performance only using imaginary cups?

How can you create a structure that won't get blown down when placed in front of a fan?

How can you use the cups to create a bridge?

What can you do with the cups without destroying them?

What kind of sound effects can you make with the cups?

Can you create a costume using only cups?

How about a fashion show where you present and describe your creation to the editor of Vogue?

Tin Foil


Can you make an insect out of foil that floats on water?

What is the largest structure that you can make that floats on water?

Can you build a boat that can hold pennies, marbles or other weights?

How can you use foil in a costume?

Can you make a device that will move when you blow on it?

How can you create the thinnest strip of foil?

How can you create the tallest and thinnest structure possible?

Can you create a musical instrument made of foil?

Using only foil, how can you deliver water from one side of the table to the other?

Can you think of way to use foil to convey a message, without talking to someone across the room?

Mailing Labels


What is the tallest structure that you can make?

How can you create a linked chain from the mailing labels?

How many ways can you attach the stickers together?

What can you do with the mailing label backing?

What could you use a sticky surface for?

How can you use mailing labels with other materials?

Can you build a bridge of mailing labels that spans a 1ft (30cm) gap?

Can you think of ways to use mailing labels to create a trap or case to hold small objects?

Can you think of a way that mailing labels could convey a message?

Create a performance that features mailing labels conveying a message to a character!

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