14 May Some effective Team-Building Exercises
We’ve scoured the internet to create the ultimate list of fun team building games to laugh, learn, and connect with your team that focus on the most common challenges faced by the teams.
- Back-to-Back Drawing– Divide your group into pairs, and have each pair sit on the floor back to back. Give one person in each pair a picture of a shape, and give the other person a pencil and pad of paper.
Ask the people holding the pictures to give verbal instructions to their partners on how to draw the shape – without actually telling the partners what the shape is. After they’ve finished, ask each pair to compare their original shape with the actual drawing, and consider the following questions:
- How well did the first person describe the shape?
- How well did the second person interpret the instructions?
- Were there problems with both the sending and receiving parts of the communication process?
- Survival Scenario– This exercise forces your group to communicate and agree to ensure their ‘survival.’ Tell your group that their airplane has just crashed in the ocean. There’s a desert island nearby, and there’s room on the lifeboat for every person – plus 12 items they’ll need to survive on the island. Instruct the team to choose which items they want to take. How do they decide? How do they rank or rate each item?
- Eliminating Stereotypes and “Labelling”
Stereotype Party – This is a fun exercise for a medium-sized or large group. Write on nametags many different ‘personality types (see the list below), and pin or tape one tag to each person’s back. Don’t show people which tag is on their back – they’ll be able to see everyone else’s tag, but not their own.
Now, ask each person to figure out which personality type is on his or her back by asking stereotype-based questions of other people – “Am I a man?” “Am I an athlete?” “Am I an entertainer?” and so on.
Allow group members to answer only yes or no, and encourage participants to ask questions to as many different people as possible.
Here are some personality types you could consider:
- Auto mechanic.
- Olympic medallist.
- Fast-food restaurant worker.
- Postal worker.
- Movie star.
- Salt and Pepper: For improving the Communication Skills
What You’ll Need: Tape, a pen, a small piece of paper for each person, and a list of well-known pairs (think peanut butter and jelly, Mario and Luigi, or salt and pepper).
Instructions: Write one half of each pair on the sheets of paper (Mario on one piece, Luigi on another, and so on). Tape one paper to each person’s back and have everyone mingle and try to figure out the word on their back. The rule: they can only ask each other yes or no questions. Once they figure out their word, they need to find the other half of their pair. When they find each other, have them sit down and find three things they have in common while the rest of the team continues.
Human spring – Ask group members to stand facing each other in pairs. Their elbows should be bent, with their palms facing toward each other. Instruct them to touch their palms together, and gradually start leaning toward each other, so that they eventually hold each other up. Then, instruct everyone to move their feet further and further back, so that they have to depend solely upon their partners to remain standing.
Mine field – This is a great exercise if you have a large room or outdoor field. Set up a ‘mine field’ using chairs, balls, cones, boxes, or any other object that could potentially be an obstacle and trip someone up. Leave enough space between the objects for someone to walk through.
Next, divide your group into pairs. Pay attention to who you match with whom. This is a perfect opportunity to work on relationships, so you might want to put together people who have trust issues with each other.
Blindfold one person, the ‘mine walker’ – this person is not allowed to talk. Ask his or her partner to stay outside the mine field, and give verbal directions, helping the mine walker avoid the obstacles, and reach the other side of the area.
Before you begin, allow partners a few minutes to plan how they’ll communicate. Then, make sure there are consequences when people hit an obstacle. For example, perhaps they have to start again from the beginning.
- Battle of the Air bands: For Team Bonding
What you will need: Speakers, smart phone or an mp3 player
Instructions: Split your group up into teams of 3-4 people and let them decide who will be the singers, guitarists, drummers, etc. Give them some time to choose, rehearse, and perform a lip synced version of whatever work-friendly song they like. If they have a few days, teams can dress up or bring props. After the performances, teams can vote on the winner (with the caveat that no one can vote for their own band). Or, let a neighbouring department in on the fun and have them choose the winner.
- Office Trivia: For increasing the Team Bonding
What You’ll Need: 20-25 trivia questions about your workplace
Instructions: “What colour are the kitchen tiles?” “How many people are in the IT department?” “How many windows are there in the entire office?” “What brand are the computer monitors?” “What month of the year is most common for birthdays among our employees?” Come up with a series of questions specific to your workplace and test your team’s knowledge.
- Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower: For Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Skills What you’ll need: 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, 1 roll of masking tape, 1 yard of string, and 1 marshmallow for every team.
Instructions: Using just these supplies, which team can build the tallest tower? There’s a catch: the marshmallow has to be at the very top of the spaghetti tower, and the whole structure has to stand on its own (that means no hands or other objects supporting it!) for five seconds.
- Community Service: For Team Bonding & Icebreakers
What You’ll Need: A few hours out of the workday
Instructions: Participate in Adopt a Family program during the holidays, organize a beach cleanup, take on a community beautification project— find an activity that appeals to your team or reflects your company values, get out of the office, and do some good for your community and your team.
- Toxic Waste: For Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Skills
What You’ll Need: 1 small and 1 large bucket, 1 rope, 1 bungee cord loop, 8 bungee cords, 8 plastic or tennis balls
Instructions: Use the rope to make an 8-foot circle on the ground that represents a toxic waste radiation zone. (You can make the radiation zone bigger to increase the difficulty.) Put the balls in the bucket and place it in the centre of the circle to represent the toxic waste. Place the large bucket about 30 feet away. Teams must use the bungee cords to find a way to transfer the toxic waste balls from the small bucket to the large bucket within a certain amount of time (15-20 minutes). Anyone who crosses the line into the radiation zone will be “injured” (you can blindfold them, or make them hold one hand behind their back), or “die” (must sit out for the rest of the game). Dropping toxic waste balls will similarly result in injury, and spilling the entire bucket means everyone on the team is dead.
Solution for referees: Attach the bungee cords to the bungee loop, then have everyone hold and pull on the cords to stretch the loop and guide it over and down around the toxic waste bucket. Loosen the cords to contract the bungee loop so it grips the bucket. Use the cords to lift the bucket and tip the balls into the large “neutralization” bucket.
- Campfire/Memory Wall: For team bonding & Icebreakers
What You’ll Need: sticky notes or a whiteboard
Instructions: Write a few general work-related topics on the white board or on sticky notes posted to the wall: “My first day,” “Teamwork,” “Work travel,” etc. Gather your team together and have everyone choose one of the topics and share a story from their time with your company to laugh and bond over shared experiences. Or, pass out sticky notes and have everyone write down positive memories of working together or special team accomplishments. They can use words or pictures to record these memories. Then have everyone share their memory and post it on the wall, forming a positive memory cloud.
- Egg Drop (1 hour): Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration.
This is a messy yet classic engaging problem. Split the team into 2-3 teams of reasonable size. The task is to build an egg package that can keep the egg intact from a 2-4 storey drop. Tools that can be provided include newspapers, straws, tape, plastic, balloons, rubber bands. Give the teams 30min-1hour to create the package. After which, each team will take turns to drop the egg package from the 2nd storey while everyone else stays at the bottom level to observe. (Optional: increase the height of the egg drop until a single winner is found!)
- Spider Web: For Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Skills. What You’ll Need: A String and a tape
Instructions: Tape two pieces of string across a doorway, one at about three-and-a-half feet and the other around five feet. This string is the poisonous spider web. Teams must get all their members through the opening between the strings without touching it. Increase the difficulty by taping more pieces of string across the doorway
- Frostbite: For Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Skills
What You’ll Need: 1 packet of construction materials (like card stock, toothpicks, rubber bands, and sticky notes) for each team, an electric fan
Instructions: Your teams of 4-5 are no longer sitting in your office, they’re Arctic explorers trekking across the frozen tundra! Have each team elect a leader to guide their expedition. When a sudden storm hits, the team must erect an emergency shelter to survive. However, both of the team leader’s hands have frostbite, so s/he can’t physically help construct the shelter, and the rest of the team has snow blindness and is unable to see. Give each team a set of construction materials and start the timer. When time runs out, turn on the electric fan’s arctic winds and see who successfully built a shelter that will keep them safe. Adjust the difficulty with sturdier construction materials (provide popsicle sticks instead of toothpicks).
- The Barter Puzzle: For creative problem solving and negotiation