10 Team-Building Activities You Can Try Today

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We all know how important good team work is in achieving business goals, but sometimes it’s helpful to have a little practical reminder.

These simple activities to get people working together are great for boosting team morale and communication – and perfect for breaking up a day of training with a practical demonstration about the importance of collaboration.

Why are teambuilding activities so helpful in the workplace?

  • Getting to know each other better
  • Removing barriers
  • Discouraging a clique mentality
  • Improving communication within and across teams
  • Boosting teamwork and team performance
  • Fostering a sense of innovation and creativity
  • Improved motivation
  • To take a step back and see the big picture
  • Just for fun

With that in mind, here are ten simple activities which need almost no preparation that you could try today.

#1 Ultimate team member

Requirements: Piece of paper for each person, flipchart pad for each team, marker pens

How to play: Break into 4 or 5 groups of between 4 and 8 people. Each person should write down their best attributes, skills, and strengths and then share them with the group. The group can then combine everyone’s attributes to create “the ultimate team member” – complete with picture, backstory and strengths. Groups come together to compare their creations.

Outcome: Fostering an understanding that, as a group, we have more strengths and can achieve more than when working solo.

#2 Hold Up!

Requirements: A sheaf of papers for each team

How to play: Break into pairs. How many sheets of paper can each pair people hold up between them? Allow 5 minutes to develop a strategy, then compare results. Outcome: A fun challenge to get people working together and thinking creatively.

#3 Paper Tower

Requirements: A single sheet of paper for each team

How to play: Break into teams. Challenge each team to build the tallest free-standing structure using no other materials. Allow five minutes to build, then regroup to compare results, and talk about which approaches work best.

Outcome: Emphasizes the importance of creative thinking, communication and working together to prioritize ideas and implement the best results.

#4 Find Your Pair

Requirements: An even number of participants. A piece of paper for each member of the group, each with one half a well-known pair written on it, plus a pin to attach it to clothing.

How to play: Write one half of a well-known pair on a sheet of paper, then write the other half on a different piece of paper. Continue until you have one sheet of paper for each participant. Pairs might include, for example, salt and pepper, yin and yang, Laurel and Hardy, etc. Pin one sheet to each person’s back without letting them see it. When you say “go”, participants should talk to other people in the room using only “yes” or “no” questions to find out what word they have on their back. Then they should be able to find their pair. Ask the pairs to sit together and introduce themselves until everyone is paired up. Then ask the pairs to introduce each other, based on the new facts they have just learned about each other.

Outcome: Good ice-breaker that requires creativity and communication and demonstrates the importance of good questioning and helping each other.

#5 Road Map Game

Requirements: Paper, pens, a map, and a list of constraints for each group.

How to play: Break into groups and give each group a copy of the same map. Ask each group to plan a vacation. You can give them constraints (such as how much gas they have in their car, how much money they have to spend, etc.). Teams must work together and write down the details of their vacation. After 20 to 30 minutes, ask the teams to report back to present the details of their trip. Deduct points if they haven’t operated within the constraints you set, and offer rewards for “the most relaxing trip”, the team who saw the most, etc.

Outcome: Gets people cooperating on a relatively complex task under time pressure – offering an opportunity to reflect on team dynamics, what worked well, and what didn’t work so well.

#6 Win, Lose, or Draw!

Requirements: Large flipchart, marker pens. Many small, card-sized pieces of paper. Sheet of paper and a pen for keeping score.

How to play: You’ll need a small amount of preparation for this one: think of a number of different categories, then write approximately 20 items that fall into these categories on separate small pieces of paper. Break into teams. Each team takes turns to play. Nominate an artist from each team, ask them to choose a category, then give them the pile of papers that list the items to draw. Give the artist 3 minutes to draw the items, without writing or speaking, while their team guesses what each item is. Keep a record of the scores. When everyone has had a chance to be the artist, collate the results to find the winning team.

Outcome: Fun, teambuilding exercise that most people will be familiar with.

#7 Paper & Straws

Requirements: Large sheet of paper, small wads of paper scrunched into balls, drinking straws.

How to play: Draw a “target” on a large sheet of paper, consisting of concentric circles. Give each circle a points value, the highest points for the smallest inner circle. Tape the paper to a large desk. Break into teams. Give each person a drinking straw. Teams will take it in turns to play. Ask each team to blow the balls of paper with their drinking straws in order to get the most points. You can add balls as they play, as long as each team is treated equally.

Outcome: Teams will need to plan their game strategy and work together to get the highest score.

#8 Scavenger Hunt

Requirements: Clipboard, pen, and paper for each team.

How to play: Create a list of goofy tasks that each team must complete within a given environment and timeframe. Give each team a copy of the list and a deadline by which they must report back with proof of having completed the tasks. The winning team will be the team that completes the most tasks the quickest.

Outcome: Stresses the importance of strategy, understanding and exploiting individual strengths, communication and working together.

#9 What’s that Shape?

Requirements: Notepad and pencil for each pair. Sheets of paper with one shape drawn on each.

How to play: Break into pairs. Ask each pair to sit back to back. Give one person in each pair a picture of a shape (without letting the other half of the pair seeing it!). Using only verbal instructions, and without telling their partner what the shape is, the person holding the shape should instruct their partner how to draw the shape. The pairs can all work simultaneously, after 5 minutes regroup to compare results.

Outcome: Gets people the think about how they communicate, share instructions, and work together.

#10 Blind Drawing

Requirements: Notepad and pencil for each pair. Sheets of paper with one picture drawn on each.

How to play: This is a more complex version of “What’s that Shape?”. Pairs should sit back to back, one with the notepad, one with the picture. Without naming the objects in the picture, the person holding it must instruct their partner how to redraw it. Pairs should work simultaneously. After 10 to 15 minutes, regroup to compare results.

Outcome: Gets people the think about how they communicate, share instructions, and work together.

 

For added value, when you are creating the teams for any of these activities, you can group people together who would not normally work together. This helps to break down barriers, break up office cliques, and encourage people to work together across their usual teams, departments or social circles.
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