Team building exercises can help a variety of age groups in multiple situations. The exercises can help build trust, improve communication, develop collective strategies, and help increase a feeling of belonging in the group.
Sharing ideas, listening to other ideas, trying new things with an open mind, and working together for a common goal are involved in completing team-building exercises. These skills learned through the exercises help increase the efficiency and quality of work in other areas of one’s life. These skills are also developed in exercises that occur in school and youth camps.
The article contains a list of team-building exercises that will come in handy. Exercises for the workspace, small groups, and kids are included. Before diving into the exercises, the article discusses how to effectively make groups for the exercises. Have fun building trust and cooperation!
- How To Create Groups For Team Building Exercises?
- Team Building Exercises For Kids
- Fingertip hula hoop drop
- Stick it, make it, glue it, break it
- Jump rope team-building exercise
- Obstacle course
- Human knot team-building exercise
- Over the river team-building exercise
- Stranded team-building exercise
- Circle sitting
- Team Building Exercises For Offices & workplaces
- Employee improvement book reading groups
- Lunch as a team-building exercise
- Use icebreaker team-building exercises
- Group mentoring for team building
- Work sports teams for team building
- Lunch and learn team-building exercises
- On-site events and classes for team building
- Employee hobby groups team-building exercises
- Employee volunteering as a team-building exercise
- Family gatherings as a group team-building exercise
- Team Building Exercises For Small Groups at workplaces
How To Create Groups For Team Building Exercises?
Go through these pointers to create a team-building experience that the participants will enjoy and learn from.
- Arrange for all the equipment and materials needed for the exercises before they are presented to the group.
- Take into consideration the size of the group. Be prepared on how many groups there will be. Arrange enough materials for all with spares in tow.
- Explain the procedure and rules of the game patiently. Ensure that everyone is clear with the rules and there are no doubts.
- Choose exercises that are appropriate for the setting and age group of the participants.
- Provide comfortable spaces for the exercise to take place. Ensure that no participant is uncomfortable or feeling unsafe in the space and with the exercise.
- Arrange for snacks and beverages after the exercise so the participants have something to look forward to.
The following pointers are different ways that will help you build effective groups for the team-building exercises.
- Ask participants to call out numbers so they can number themselves. Group all the odd numbers together and all the even numbers together.
- Group participants by the first letter of their last name. People who have their last names beginning with letters from A through M are grouped together, the rest are in the opposite group.
- Keep slips in a bowl having numbers. Players who pick up the same number are in a team together.
- Birthdays are a fun way to make two groups. People with birthdays on odd number days are in one group, and the people with birthdays on even number days are in the other group.
- Get out a bowl full of coloured candies. Players that pick up the same colour are grouped together. Ensure that there are equal number of each coloured candy.
Now that you have your groups, time to get playing!
Team Building Exercises For Kids
Teamwork and cooperation are important to instill in children. Kids need more assistance with learning these skills in recent times.
The following selection of exercises for kids helps children to mingle with each other and a proper way to interact with peers. The games will help improve the communication skills and understanding of the kids.
Fingertip hula hoop drop
Gather the children together and make them stand in a circle. Arrange for a hula hoop. Place the hula hoop on the children’s fingertips. The children must try to lower the hula hoop to the ground. They are not allowed to grip the hula hoop with their finger or hands. They must have the hula hoop only on their fingertips and lower it to place it on the ground. If there is a larger group of people, divide the group into teams and provide a hula hoop to each team.
Stick it, make it, glue it, break it
Before the game begins, arrange for an assortment of craft items – cardboard, pencils, pens, sticky tape, paddle pops, etc. Create groups of five players. Give teams five minutes to think about objects and jot them down on a piece of paper. Choose one item from each team’s list that the team must build with the available items. The group that makes a recreation close to the original object, they will win. The game helps improve problem-solving and collaboration.
Jump rope team-building exercise
You will need to arrange for a jump rope for this exercise. Get two adults or teenagers to hold a jump rope. All the children must stand in a line across the jump rope. The adults must swing the jump rope. The goal of the children is to jump together over the jump rope. If you have a larger group, divide the group into teams. Each team gets a jump rope. Count the number of jumps that each team can do without falling or missing a jump. The team that has the most jumps, wins the game.
Set up an obstacle course. Make sure that there are no sharp edges or hazardous objects in the obstacle course. The children are divided into pairs. One player in the pair is blindfolded. The other member in the pair must verbally direct the blindfolded player across the obstacle course. Ensure that the pairs are far away from each other so they don’t get confused with the verbal directions. Through this exercise, children can learn cooperation and how to effectively follow directions.
Human knot team-building exercise
Gather all players and get them to stand in a circle. When the game starts, instruct players to hold their hands with people that are not standing next to them. This will result in a huge human knot.
Start the timer when the players have reached their final formation. Players must try and untangle themselves to stand back in a circle. Players who started out next to each other may have changed positions. That is not a problem. Stop the timer when the players have completely disentangled and standing in a circle.
Children will learn teamwork skills and problems solving as they try to disentangle from each other.
Over the river team-building exercise
Using chalk, masking tape, or paint create a ‘river’. Make two parallel lines that will represent the river. Divide the participants of the game into teams. Each team is given cardboard and a poster sheet to make a raft. All players in the team must be able to fit inside the raft. Teams must try to cross the river in the raft by following some rules. A few examples of the rules that can be used are –
- No player can leave the raft
- If a player jumps on the raft, the raft will sink
- Players cannot change spots once inside the raft
The rules can be made according to the age, size, and skill of the players. The size of the river and rafts will vary as well.
The game can be played as an individual game as well. Each player must build their own raft. You could add a rule that players’ arms and legs are inside the raft at all times.
Stranded team-building exercise
Arrange a large space. Using chalk, tape, or spray paint create an island in the middle of the space. Divide the group into teams if the number of participants is bigger. From each team, two players go to the island. The other team members must try to find something in the room to get the stranded children off the island. Shoelaces, items of clothing, ropes, etc. can be used to get them out. Hide appropriate items around the room.
Gather all the people together and get everyone to stand in the circle. Ensure that they are all facing inwards. Now, get them to take a quarter turn in the same direction. The children must aim to sit simultaneously into the lap of the person behind them. If the group is successful, they get to sit on the lap. If they are not, they will fall on their butts! The game teaches teamwork and collaboration. The timing must be perfect when all the children sit.
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Team Building Exercises For Offices & workplaces
Team building exercises can help improve performance in the workplace. The exercises allow for an opportunity for employees to get to know each other better. They will learn how to communicate effectively, develop collaborative skills, teamwork, and cross-departmental cooperation.
The following activities can help bring your employees closer that will result in a better quality of work and job satisfaction.
Employee improvement book reading groups
The manager recommends a book on career or personal growth. Employees must read the book in the stipulated amount of time. Before setting the date of completion, take into consideration an employee’s work and personal time. When all the employees have read the book, hold a meeting. They can discuss their learnings and if the book can help improve their personal and career lives.
Lunch as a team-building exercise
Eating together is a good way to bring people together. Once a month, arrange for lunch for the employees in the office or take them to a restaurant. This time will serve as a space for them to unwind together and bring them closer. If necessary, stimulate conversation about the work environment and other topics of discussion related to their work. Ensure that they are not burdened by the discussion. Allow them space to open up to each other and let loose.
Use icebreaker team-building exercises
Icebreakers are a good way to integrate new people into a team or get a new team to understand each other better. Arrange a workshop and make a list of icebreakers that could be played. Lead the workshop and get them to play the games. Once they understand each other better, they will work together well and the quality of work they produce will increase.
Group mentoring for team building
Mentoring helps both parties to get better at what they do. The employee being mentored learns new and efficient ways of carrying out the task at hand. The people mentoring get more familiar with the task as they must teach the rest. There are two effective methods of mentoring –
- Appoint a manager or a team leader to teach the rest the skill that needs to be improved.
- One of the employees that is doing well at a particular skill teaches the other employees how they go about their task.
You could also combine both methods in the form of a workshop.
Work sports teams for team building
Sports has always been a space to learn about teamwork, cooperation, and working in unison. The company can hold a sports day. This would encourage employees to make sports teams and take part in sports together. Company-sponsored equipment, t-shirts, uniforms, etc. could help encourage the employees to take part in the sports team building.
Lunch and learn team-building exercises
Provide lunch for your employees. Invite a guest speaker on wellness, career growth, or personal growth. The speaker can instill positive practices in the employees. As they unwind, they can also learn simple habits that they can implement and enrich their personal and professional life. The lunch can be held inside or outside the office depending on convenience.
On-site events and classes for team building
Arrange events on-site after work or on the weekends. In the sessions, conduct activities that can help the team understand each other. Families and spouses of the employees could be invites to the events as well. The following events would serve as good opportunities for team building –
- Cooking classes for all levels
- Yoga and fitness classes
- Table games
- Sports viewing parties
- Talent shows
Employee hobby groups team-building exercises
Everyone has hobbies that they partake in when they’re not at work. Employees may have similar interests. Make an effort to know what your employees enjoy in their free time. The company could provide time and space for employees with similar interests to get together and nurture their hobbies. This will increase team spirit and employees will tend to be happier with their jobs.
Employee volunteering as a team-building exercise
Charity and volunteering are important as an individual’s contribution to society. Encourage employees to take part in charity and volunteering events as a group. The company can choose to sponsor some drives and events for the charity as well. Employees could volunteer in the following ways –
- Help build homes for the homeless.
- Make and donate food to the local food bank.
- Host fund raising events. Marathons and auctions are fundraisers that catch a lot of attention and participation.
- Donate clothes.
Family gatherings as a group team-building exercise
Family is an important aspect of everyone’s life. Getting employees’ families together will help them grow closer together and establish a sense of belonging. Some ideas to integrate employee families are –
- Holiday parties and activities – host parties in the office on significant festivals and celebrations.
- Screening a movie with all the families.
- An annual company picnic or a trip to the amusement park.
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Team Building Exercises For Small Groups at workplaces
If you want to promote bonding inside the department, these exercises will come in handy. They are directed towards groups that have twelve people or lesser. This size allows for more intimate bonding and effective team building. All age groups can play the games listed under this section.
Make pairs of all the participants. One member of the pair serves the purpose of the illustrator and the other serves the purpose of the director. Each pair is given a drawing. Only the director can see the drawing that is handed to the pair. The task of the illustrator is to replicate the drawing shown to the director. Pencil and paper are provided for the same. The director must instruct the illustrator on how to go about the drawing. To make the task harder, the illustrator cannot ask questions to the director. They must simply work on recreating what they perceive from the director’s instructions. When all the pairs have finished, compare the drawings of all the teams. This activity helps improve participants’ ability to give and receive directions and communication skills.
Problematic building blocks
You will need to arrange for large sheets of paper and colored markers for this game. Create a fictional problem that the group is facing. Divide the group into teams. Give each person in the team a different color marker. The team players must write on the paper turn by turn. The players must add to the idea that is written before that. Continue the game for several rounds. The game allows for team brainstorming and vocalizing personal ideas in a group.
Over the fence
This exercise helps promote collaborative planning and teamwork skills. A rope is tied between two chairs. If the activity is happening outside, tie the rope between two trees. Divide the participants into teams. The team must try to get over the rope. Therefore, tie the rope at a height that is not easy to crossover but is possible with some effort. The rope acts as a fence. The members of the team must get over the fence without touching it.
Two truths, one lie
This game can be played with two players in situations like a date or between two friends. More people can join in the game and make it bigger.
The players sit facing each other. One player must state three points about themselves. Out of the three statements, one must be a lie. The other two statements must be true statements.
The aim of the game is for the other player to guess which statement is false. After guessing, the player who made the statements must explain the story behind the two true statements. Sitting face to face is important because facial expressions can give you away.
Controlling your expressions and tone is crucial to prevent you from getting caught. The game allows for bonding and instilling a sense of belonging.
Pass the can
Arrange for a large can. An object is kept inside the can. It can be anything from a rock to a small toy. A story is told about why the object in the can is valuable and important to preserve. Participants must pass around the can in a circle without dropping the object that is placed inside the can. However, they are given limitations as they pass around the can. A few examples of limitations that could be given are:
- Participants cannot use their hands
- Participants must pass the can with their legs and feet
- Participants must close their eyes while passing and receiving the can
- Participants can only use their elbows to pass the can
This exercise helps participants learn how to work around problems as a team. Tackling a problem while coordinated becomes much easier.
Tarp turn over
Arrange for a tarp so that all participants can stand on it. A blanket can be used instead of a tarp. There must be some extra space on the tarp or blanket after all the participants stand on it. The objective of the participants is to flip over the tarp or the blanket without any participant getting off of it. This activity can help bring the participants closer together. The game involves collaboration, communication, and problem-solving.
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These exercises help encourage teamwork and collaboration. Encourage the participants to talk about their experience after they have played the game. Talking about their experience will help cement their learning experience from the games. The benefits of the exercise are problem-solving skills, how to work together effectively, how to communicate effectively, and how to follow directions. They also help stretch the imagination of the players and make them more creative. These exercises will help make teamwork more enjoyable. Have fun!
Naomi is an educator with 2 decades of experience working with children of all ages. She is a keen observer of the magic and importance of Maths in our daily lives. Follow me on Linkedin