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.
Climbing the Corporate Ladder
This particular game requires quite a bit of planning, skill and raw courage to perform. In this game, team members are require to work together in order to meet their goals, which is to climb up a short ladder or a rock wall that has been set up for this particular activity. The higher each team gets, the more points they accumulate. The ladder or rock wall is usually quite steep, and the entire activity usually lasts between 45 to 60 minutes, so team players only have a limited amount of time to finish a challenging task. Aside from speed and agility the “Corporate Ladder” game also requires strategic planning, and requires each team member to coordinate effectively with the larger team in order to advance. Creativity as well as group problem solving are also required in order to maximize team performance. This process may sound easy at first, but it is quite difficult for anyone who has no mountain climbing experience. Furthermore, team members are expected to scale the ladder or rock wall with a certain amount of coordination, and they will only get their points as a team. Rewards will not be given for individual performance, which basically requires each group to coordinate their advance.
Cluck and Clap
In this game, you’ll have to create several index cards with “X”s and “O”s, where the X stands for “cluck” and the “O” stands for “clap.” Shuffle the cards together, then lay them out so the entire group can see each card. Go through the pattern first, with a steady slow pace, so the group can get comfortable “performing” the pattern. Keep repeating, increasing the speed, until it becomes super-challenging. This will help the group work together and have fun challenging themselves as a team to beat their own best performance.
Have each participant empty out their pockets, purses, and wallets of any coins and place them in separate piles in front of them on the table. (Have some extra on hand in case someone doesn’t have many coins on them.) Out of those coins, each participant will craft their own personal logo in sixty seconds. If you have a particularly large group, you can break them up into small teams and have them work collaboratively on this design.
Company Coat of Arms
In this challenge, teams of any size work together to create your company’s “coat of arms.” You’ll provide arts and crafts materials, and ask the teams to include elements representing recent corporate achievements, company values, and future plans. Post the finished coat of arms in your office.
If your team is feeling drained and stressed, this fun version of the classic card-based game is a great way to perk them up. It doesn’t require much time and is easy to play.
Create your Own Team Building Activities
A little creative deception is required for this activity. Announce the completely fake problem: You were supposed to lead the group in a problem-solving activity, but you don’t know any, and you don’t want them to repeat one they’ve already tried before. So the goal is to have each group come up with a completely unique team-building activity, then present their finished activity to the group. This fun “meta” exercise promotes creativity and improves communication and collaborative skills.
For this game, divide your group into small groups (two to four each). Give each team their own 3D punch-out wooden dinosaur puzzle kit, but without access to the boxes, pictures or instructions — and don’t give them any clues as to what the finished project should look like! Each team should assemble the project without assistance from any outside source, which should result in some creative and fun constructions. This activity fosters creative thinking, brainstorming, cooperation and consensus-building skills.
Here’s a fun team-building activity that’ll also break the ice and help your team stretch beyond their comfort zones. Write a dare on the surface of each Jenga block. Make them fun dares that can be completed in the office setting, such as “do 15 pushups,” or “sing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ out loud.” Once each block has a “dare” written on it, stack them up as in a Jenga game. When a person pulls out a block, they have to perform that dare.
For an outdoor adventure, head out onto the water for dragon-boating or double-kayaking, which requires good teamwork. Include a race if possible to satisfy your team’s need to compete.
If your goal is to improve communication and listening skills, Dream Trip could be the game for your team. Divide the group into pairs, then ask each pair to explain to each other their dream trip: what would that vacation look like if they had a month to do whatever their heart desired, with an unlimited budget and freedom from everyday routines? After everyone has exchanged their ideas with their partners, the partner must describe the other person’s dream trip as best they can.
Making eye contact is sometimes difficult for people, as it requires a certain amount of trust and confidence. This simple exercise helps coworkers become more comfortable and trusting of each other through eye contact. Each pair stands facing each other, and must stare into each other’s eyes for at least 60 seconds without glasses of any kind. Expect jokes and giggles initially, as it can feel somewhat awkward during the first try. As participants get the hang of it, it should become easier for them to make eye contact for prolonged amounts of time.
Another variation on the “survival strategy” game, this activity is best performed in smaller groups of four or five participants each. The premise is simple: The group is stranded in the Arctic. Each group must elect a leader and build a structure in order to survive. However, the leader has frostbite and cannot physically help build the structure — and the other team members are snowblind (i.e., wearing blindfolds!) and cannot see what they’re doing. The leader must describe how to build the shelter and the team must carry out those instructions without being able to see.
Game of Possibilities
This is a great team-building game that won’t take up a lot of time. Assign an object to one person in each group (you can just whisper the name of the object, or have each team pick from a hat). One at a time, someone has to go up in front of the group and demonstrate a use for that object. The rest of the team must guess what the player is demonstrating. The demonstrator cannot speak, and demonstrations must be original ideas — you can even assign extra points for wacky, “out of the box” ideas.
Games & Activities with Balloons
There are lots of fun, gentle, low-exertion activities that your group can do with balloons. You’ll find a wide variety to choose from at this site.