100 Team-Building Activities That Actually Work
Managing a team can be incredibly challenging— especially if your team works more like a collection of individuals rather than a cohesive group. But fear not 🙂 There are plenty of ways you can encourage your team to work better together. Below, you’ll find 100+ team building activities, giving you plenty of options to find the activities that work best for your unique group.
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A Shrinking Vessel
This exercise is what you might call “deceptively simple” but it’s an effective way to work on problem-solving and teamwork skills in a group of any size. The goal is straightforward: The group has to figure out a way to occupy a defined space that keeps getting smaller. They’ll ultimately wind up packed in like sardines, in hopefully creative and amusing ways. You’ll just need something with which to define the area’s boundary, in terms of equipment needs.
This game requires a higher level of physical activity than we’ve seen so far in our list but it’s a great way to help teams develop coordination and collaboration skills. You’ll need a big enough group to divide into two smaller groups so they can compete. Using a rubber chicken (or any other equally ridiculous and fun item), Team A will throw the item as far as possible, then Team B passes the item (alternating with an “over the head, between the legs” method) back to the starting line.
If you’re looking for a classic team-building activity to help foster collaboration and group support, this might be a good choice. In this exercise, the group is challenged to physically support one another in an ever-decreasing physical space. Much like “A Shrinking Vessel,” you’ll need some kind of material to demark the boundary.
A simple activity with close physical contact involved, this game helps foster group cooperation. The group forms the three parts of an Amoeba: protoplasm, cell wall and nucleus. Then the group travels, splits into two amoebas, and the amoeba have a race.
A great way to help foster a sense of creativity in your team, as well as help build better teamwork, this is a simple collaborative game that can result in much hilarity and fun, depending on the drawing skills of the participants. Divide your group into pairs and ask each pair of partners to sit back-to-back. Give one person an image, preferably something simple and straightforward (a piece of fruit, a barn, a farm animal), and the other person a piece of paper and pencil or pen. The person with the image must describe to the “artist” what to draw, without coming right out and saying the name of the item.
Battle of the Airbands
Here’s a great way to have some fun at a longer meeting or retreat, especially if you’ve got some natural performers in your group. Start by dividing the participants into teams of 3 to 4 people, and tell them to pick a role: singer, guitarist, drummer, etc. Allow some time to choose a song and rehearse a lip-synced version of a work-friendly song. Alternatively, pass out the assignments a few days ahead of time, and encourage them to select props and costumes. After the “concert,” participants can vote (but not for their own band).
Bears, Cowboys, and Ninjas
Much like the classic “rock, paper, scissors” game, each player chooses between three poses. Bears eat ninjas, ninjas beat up cowboys, and cowboys shoot bears. Each player either roars for bear, shoot finger guns for cowboys or strike a ninja pose. This is a great team building game to get everyone to let loose and get a little silly.
Blind Wine Waiter
In this fun game, teams of six are tasked to find, uncork and pour a bottle of wine into five glasses. Each team member can perform no more than one element of the task and at least five participants in each team must wear blindfolds.
Body Part Twister
Body Part Twister gets people working together and energized. Participants will need to get comfortable leaning on each other. When the leader calls out body parts, only those parts can touch the floor. Encourage participants to work together to find a solution and balance on each other if they need to. For example, to a group of nine people you could call out four bums, two feet, one head, two hands, four knees. Call out the next set of instructions as soon as everyone is in position. Just remember to think before you call out combinations or you could call out something that is physically or numerically impossible!
Take “group bonding” to a whole new literal level with this hilarious activity. Teams of six are actually, physically bound together with plastic cling wrap (i.e., Saran-wrap™). Then each team has to race across a room as a single unit. The objective is for each team to improve their time with practice.
Bridge the Gap
Develop creativity, problem-solving, and consensus-building with this creative activity for teams of two to four. The goal: Build the longest cantilever bridge they can using only toothpicks and modeling clay. You can award points for construction time, the bridge’s length, sturdiness of the resulting bridge, and more.
Here’s a great way to begin, or end, a longer retreat. Jot down a few general work-related subjects on a whiteboard, such as “First day on the job,” “Teamwork,” “Work travel,” etc. Get the team together and ask each participant to pick one topic, then share a story about it with the group. It’s a great way to get a group to bond over common experiences. Alternatively, you can get participants to jot down their memories and stories on post-it notes, then arrange them under the subjects as a “positive memory cloud.”
Circle Of Questions
This is a simple “getting to know you” activity that will help foster better listening skills, too. Form two circles with your participants, one inside the other. As the circles rotate in opposite directions, participants face different team members, and get to ask each other a series of questions.
The classification game can work equally well as a quick icebreaker or a more complex activity. For the purposes of this example, we will treat this activity as a quick icebreaker. Before splitting the room into teams of four, explain the concept of “pigeon-holing someone,” which means classifying someone as something or stereotyping someone. Point out that this type of classification is completely subjective and unhelpfully judgmental. After a quick round of introductions and an exchange of likes/dislikes, each team decides together how to classify themselves into two or three subgroups by using criteria free from negative, prejudicial, or discriminatory judgments. For example, night owls and morning people, or pineapple pizza lovers and sushi lovers. This activity encourages coworkers to get to know each other better and enables them to consider collectively the nature and inherent value of all individuals within the team.