Lessons on Teamwork from 9 year Olds

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

A few weeks ago I was watching a few kids as they celebrated their friend’s ninth Birthday. I learned some valuable lessons on Teamwork from the nine year olds when they played the game of piñata.

A piñata (Spanish pronunciation: [piˈɲata]) is a type of container that is decorated, filled with candy, and then broken as part of a ceremony or celebration. Today, the piñata is still part of Mexican culture, the cultures of other countries in Latin America, as well as the United States. Most people think of piñatas as a fun activity for parties.  Each participant, usually a child, will have a turn at hitting the piñata, which is hung from above on a string. The participant is blindfolded, given a wooden stick, and then spun a number of times. As the participants works to hit the piñata, another moves it to make it harder to hit. There is a time limit to any one person’s attempts. (Source: Wikipedia)

Teamwork multiplies the effect and does a lot more than an individual can do. People working as a team can achieve more than individuals working alone. Here are my observations on how the kids demonstrated various lessons on teamwork.

1. Cheering & Encouraging:

As each kid was taking turns in hitting the piñata the rest of the kids were cheering. While the kids were taking turns in hitting the piñata, the others were chanting his/her name saying “Go Go Go..”. Cheering and Encouragement is a vital part of any team to keep the momentum going. It will encourage the members of the team to do their best. Cheering and Encouragement should be part of any team to be successful.

2. Coaching & Mentoring:

While the kids were taking turns to hit the piñata the rest of the kids were coaching and mentoring each other. They were showing the other kids on how to give their best shot and suggesting various hitting strategies. Coaching and Mentoring is a part of any successful team and it will contribute greatly for the teams success.

3. Celebrating small victories:

As pieces of candy were dropping from the piñata with each shot, the kids were picking up the candy and filling up their bags. They are celebrating small victories on their way to the final goal. Celebrating small victories should be a part of the any successful team. The team should be celebrating small milestones along the way as they persist to achieve the final goal. This will keep the enthusiasm and will make the team persist harder.

4. Working in their Strength Zones:

I noticed that some of the kids are strong hitters. They are hitting really hard in order to break the piñata. They are using their strengths to the full extent, while the others were discussing the strategies and were picking up the candy. Various members on the team will have different strengths. It is the responsibility of the team leader to bring out the best from each member of the team by identifying and placing the team members in their strength zones. This will help in maximizing the team’s potential.

5. Celebrating the Final Victory:

Finally one kid took the best shot on the already hardly beaten piñata and it broke open. All the candy dropped from it and kids were running around picking up the candy. It was a moment of excitement for them as they screamed with joy seeing all the candy around them. They celebrated their victory as they accomplished their final goal for which they persisted and worked hard. All teams must take time to celebrate the final victory and celebrate the goals that they achieve as a team. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and will help them to move to the next project with enthusiasm.

6. Sharing the Fruit of the Victory:

Once the kids collected all the candy and stuffed it into their bags, I noticed a very interesting thing happen. The children sat in a circle, started sifting through their bags and sharing the candy between them. As the piñata, was filled with different types of candy the children started sharing the ones that each other liked. The made sure everyone was able to get the candy that they liked. Teams must share the Fruit of the Victory and that will help them to be a well satisfied team.

7. External Help:

There are some instances where the kids needed some external help. The older siblings of the 9 year olds and the parents were helping the children as they were taking their turns to hit the piñata. They needed some external help on some occasions in controlling their excitement. The same could hold true for any team. Sometimes teams might need some external help to achieve their goals faster or to point the team in the right direction if things are not going well.


While playing the game of piñata the kids accomplished something together as a team which they would not have accomplished individually. They succeeded as a team and demonstrated some wonderful traits of Teamwork which I shared above.  Each of the little kids had different strengths and weaknesses. But they partnered together in accomplishing something big and celebrated the victory together. They were persistent and worked together to accomplish this goal.

John Maxwell in his book “The 17 Indispensable laws of Teamwork” writes about the law of significance that states “One is too small of a number to achieve greatness”. If something has to done of value teamwork is absolutely needed. Working together with other people in order to achieve a common goal is one of the greatest experiences in life. Anyone who has participated in team events or who is a part of a team can relate to this feeling. Think about what you have accomplished as a team. We all could recollect those feelings of teamwork and that feeling does make us feel good. Don’t you think so?

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford


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