Leadership Inspirations Activities

PB&J Challenge

Try to teach someone how to make a PB&J sandwich with detailed written instruction


10-20 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity


Paper, pens or pencils, PB&J making supplies (optional)



We all know how to make a PB&J sandwich, but would you be able to describe how do that to someone who doesn’t even know what a PB&J is? Tap into your detail oriented side to teach someone this skill.



  • If you choose to have your group actually make PB&J sandwiches, you will need to set up these supplies.
  • Safety: Be aware of any food allergies in your group before you buy any supplies.


  • Pass out a piece of paper and writing utensil to everyone in the group.
  • The instruction for the activity are simple: Write out a detailed list of instructions on how to make a PB&J sandwich.
  • In the first round, the facilitator should not give any more instruction.
  • Optional: After everyone has written their instructions, put them to the test!
    • Ask for a few volunteers from the group. Give them specific instructions to follow the instructions they are given EXACTLY. This means silly things like if they aren’t told to use a knife to spread the peanut butter, then don’t use a knife. If the instructions aren’t detailed and leave room for interpretation then have fun with it!
    • Ask for a few groups to read their instructions aloud for the volunteers to follow. Sit back and watch what happens! It can get pretty messy and silly so be prepared!
    • Make sure to lead a discussion afterwards about what happened.
  • In the second round, encourage participants to be as detailed as possible so that there aren’t any mistakes. Inform participants that they should think about all of the tiniest of details when doing this. For example: “Get two slices of bread” can be broken down into more detailed instructions like “go to the store and buy a loaf of bread, then drive back home and untwist the twist tie on the wrapper, etc.”
  • As participants make their list of instructions, the facilitator should walk around the room and ask participants questions to help them get even more detailed.
  • Facilitator Note: every participant does not need to have a complete set of instructions for the activity to end. Once participants start to understand how detailed they should be, it is justifiable to end the activity so it does not take up too much time.
  • Once the activity has ended, give a few participants a chance to read their instructions.


  • The “how to” list can be for anything, like brushing your teeth. It does not need to be how to make a PB&J. Try getting creative, or letting participants choose what they would like to write instructions for.
  • This is a great activity to link to creating an action plan.
    • Key elements of an action plan include:
      • Description of the Event
      • Goals
      • Date
      • Time
      • Location
      • Task/Action Item List w/ Deadlines
      • Publicity
      • Evaluation


  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Project Planning

  • What has worked in other projects you have done? How have you dealt with setbacks?
  • How do you connect with the process of planning? Do you like it/not like it? How does this impact you/your group?
  • How do we manage our time? How does that affect our ability to complete our projects?


  • When has your group worked well together in the past? When have they not worked well together?
  • When has (something that happened in the activity) happened in the past with your group?
  • What habits or actions make a successful or effective team? What are your group’s opportunities for growth when working together?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?