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Beyond Spinning Prize Wheels

Remember how you used to play games as a kid? You’d spin the dial … maybe spin it again if you didn’t get a good flick, then wait with excitement to see where it lands. If no one was looking, maybe you’d give the spinner another whirl – at least you thought no one was looking.

Well, the spinning experience never gets old! Furthermore, you don’t have to go to a casino to find one of those super fun devices. Grown-ups can enjoy the same excitement they remember from times gone by when playing learning games at work, in meetings, and more. Try a handful of these activities to put your spinning prize wheel to good use!

Spin-to-Win Prize Wheel

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Choosing the Right Prize Wheel

The first thing to consider is how you’ll be using your spinning prize wheel. Do you intend to use if for Conferences? Learning? Marketing? Employee Engagement? Your answer to this question will help you weigh the 5 Ss: the size, space, number of sections, swapping prizes, and sizzle:

  • Size: If the game wheel needs to be visible from afar and draw lots of attention, get as large a wheel as you can. 31” diameter is ample for most situations. For smaller groups, a 24” or 20” wheel will be ample.
  • Space: Do you want to set your spinning prize wheel on the floor, or will a tabletop wheel work for you? If you want flexibility, several models are convertible from floor to table.
  • Sections: Of course, there’s no right answer here, but prize wheels are available with 8 to 24 pie “slices.” Wheels with more slices can look super splashy, but it might also mean that you have to come up with more content and ideas to fill those sections unless you’re okay with repeats. You’ll find that some wheels have “12 or 24” slots. For those, you have the option to fill each of the 12 sections with either 1 or two “prizes.”
  • Swapping prizes: Some prize wheels are customized by drawing on brightly colored pie shapes with a black dry-erase marker. To customize other prize wheels, users must print the prizes out on paper, using pie-shaped templates provided by the manufacturer. Then, the printed content is cut to size and inserted into slots. Using templates (as well as good graphics and an available color printer), facilitators can make these look very exciting. This method can require more preparation and work, to get looking as you want it. Another option, if you want to convert the slide-in style to dry-erase, simply insert plain paper into each slot and use a dry-erase marker to write on the clear plastic covering.
  • Sizzle: If you want to add more pizazz, select a while that offers flashing lights. Expect to pay a premium, but they look great!

What to put on the wheel?

Deciding what to put on the wheel is the biggest decision you’ll have. But at least it’s a fun challenge.  Consider these tips:

  • Make it worth their while: The bigger the prize, the more exciting it is for players to participate. That said, you must be prepared to live with the results.
  • Consider the odds and do the math: Figure out the odds of landing on each of the 12 sections, and the number of people you expect to spin. For example: If you have 12 sections, each section will be hit 8% of the time. If you anticipate that 500 people will spin the wheel, expect to award 40 of each prize.
  • Develop options to win one grand prize: if you’re concerned about how many prizes you might have to distribute, consider awarding varying numbers of “chances to win the grand prize.”
  • Make everyone a winner: Remember, “YOU LOSE” might be fun or funny to the facilitator, but not so fun for the player.
  • Prize Winner Selector: Write each player’s name in a “pie slice.” For this application, you’ll need to create as many “pie slices” as you have players. If you have multiple prizes, divide your group into teams and select one team to receive the grab bag of prizes.

Once you’ve decided WHAT goes on the wheel, it’s fairly easy to transfer those ideas onto a wheel. If you have a dry-erase wheel, well, that’s self-explanatory–just write on the wheel. For template-style prize wheels, template software is readily available from the manufacturer, and available for download after you’ve made your purchase.

Spinning Prize Wheels as Game Accessories

Game Board Advancer: Spin to generate the number of spaces to advance on a game board. For this use, you might number the sections from 1 to 6 and then include one or two spaces that say “Back one space” or “Advance 2 spaces.”

Award Game Points: Spin to determine how many points the next question will be worth. Using this method, you can either have players advance this number of spaces on a game board, or simply tally the number of points each team accumulates. For added fun, label one section “Double the points of your next spin.”

Select Questions: When playing a question-and-answer game, spin to select which category of questions to ask each group. The spinner determines the topic from which the question will be asked. If the team responds correctly, points are added to their tally. If they respond incorrectly, points will be deducted. To add additional excitement, add either a “Bonus” question category – valued at double point value – or “Lose a turn.” Another variation is to add “Pass” cards. Simply hand out 2 “Pass” cards to each team. If a team decides to use one of these cards, they do not have to respond to the question and risk losing points. Instead, they can choose a competing team to pass along the question. The receiving team will have points awarded or deducted, depending on the quality of their response.

Workplace and Classroom Games

Select Contestants: Spin to select a player or a team to answer a question or complete a task. Simply assign numbers to each participating member or team.

Time Selector: Spin to select the amount of time teams have to complete a task or the amount of minutes of the next class break.

Select a Letter: Spin to select a letter from the alphabet.

  • Allow the spinning team to pick a discussion topic that begins with this letter. The group that “got” the letter will either lead a discussion on that topic or present their thoughts on that topic.
  • Option: With a second spinner, determine the number of minutes to be spent on this topic.

Random Choices: Choose anything at random, for instance:

  • Players
  • Teams
  • Question categories
  • Presentation Order
  • Discussion Topics
  • Lunch break times or duration
  • Lunch Locales
  • Sweet Treats
  • Breaktime Songs

Discussion Starters

Pick a topic: Create a spinner with six of your own topics for discussion. Have participants spin the wheel to select which topic you’ll open for discussion. Alternatively, prepare a set of 10 to 12 questions for each topic. Then, divide the group into teams and let each team spin the wheel to determine which question category they must answer. If they respond correctly they get to advance 1 space on the board or receive a designated number of chips or points. If they respond incorrectly, this completes their turn. Consider “upping the ante” by designating a number of points for each question, depending on its difficulty.

Scenario Creator: This application requires 3 spinners. For spinner 1, prepare a range of ‘subjects’ such as: customer, manager, client, etc. For spinner 2, prepare a range of ‘issues’ such as: invoice, performance appraisal, delivery date, progress report, co-worker, etc. On spinner 3, prepare a range of ‘actions’ such as: did not get approval, was never told about…, received incorrect data, lost the report, etc. Then have a team spin each of the 3 spinners to select and report on their random scenario.

Inspired to Start Spinning

With so many fun uses for prize wheels, what are you waiting for? Find your perfect game spinner at Trainers Warehouse!

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