Divide children into groups of about 5 or 6. Exact numbers don’t matter. Put several packs of playing cards in front of each group jumbled together. (Even better if they are all face down) The exact number of packs is irrelevant – the more packs the harder the exercise and the longer it will take. For 6 people in a team I would use 3 packs, for 8 people 4 packs etc.
The objective is for each team to sort out the cards into suits in numerical / picture order.
Time the activity.
Make it harder for older children by making them do it without talking.
You can also add the rule that everyone in the group must have a job.
Try allowing 2 minutes before you start the timer for them to plan how they would do this.
You can also try this with lego allowing the teams to decide on what categories they are going to sort them in. Obviously each team will need a pile of lego but it is not that important that they have identical sets. The giant size lego is excellent for this if you are playing outside.
The teacher could go around to all the sorted lego for each team with the same ‘problem’ e.g find one red x8 spot brick, one non-standard ‘special’ brick, three yellow x 6 spot bricks etc. Time how long it takes the teacher to find them. Who has the most efficient storage system and why?