Team building activities encourage individual participants to work together to generate fresh ideas, solve problems, and find new ways to move forward. Such activities allow them to communicate freely and more frequently to build up a more friendly atmosphere.
1. What’s My Name?
Ask each participant to introduce their name by putting a single adjective in front of their name that begins with the same letter. For example, ‘Sensational Sarah’, ‘Funny Foster’, ‘Dramatic Diana’, or ‘Appealing Adam’. It is a simple team-building task you can begin with, and very effective when the participants do not know each other’s names.
2. Eye Contact
Each pair stands facing each other, and they must stare into each other’s eyes without blinking for 60 seconds. This simple exercise has a great impact on building trust between the colleagues. By making eye-contact, the participants are likely to develop confidence and trust in their coworkers; although at first, it might seem a little awkward.
3. Bears, Cowboys, and Ninjas
Similar to ‘rock, paper, scissors’, each player chooses between the three poses. Cowboys shoot bears, bears eat ninjas and ninjas defeat cowboys. Divided into pairs, each player either roars like a bear, strikes a ninja pose or shoots finger guns. This game helps to generate laughter and ease up the working atmosphere.
4. Back-to-Back Drawing:
Divide your group into pairs and ask each duo to sit back-to-back. Give one person an image(preferably something easy such as a tree or a fan) and ask them to describe the image to the partner without naming it. The partner should draw it by listening to the instructions. This interesting, collaborative game can be used for fun and developing teamwork at the same time.
5. Three Truths and a Lie:
Everybody should be asked to share three true statements and one false statement about themselves. While a participant does so, the rest of the group has to guess which one is false. This game helps the participants to communicate and know each other better.
One partner tells the other about something terrible that happened to them in about 2 minutes. The issue can be personal or work-related. The same partner then tells the same story, but this time relates the good things that came from that experience. After your partner has listened to your whole story, they can offer you insight and help you to focus on the positive moments. Through this activity, participants experience a way to lessen the emotional baggage and feel a positive approach towards life.
7. Multi-Way Tug-of-War
Divide the participants into multiple teams to pull the rope against each other from different angles. This classic outdoor activity needs skill, communication, and strength and helps in building team spirit.
8. Who Is It?
Each participant writes a secret or fun fact about themselves and puts it in a box. Then very secret gets pulled out of the box and read out to the whole team. The team members then have to guess who they think each secret belongs to.
9. 20 Questions
Ask one participant to think of an object in the room. Then allow the other team members to ask 20 ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions to guess what the object which the employee is thinking of. This game is fun to play and enhances communication between the employees.
10. React and Act
Each participant has to act out a specific situation given to them — for example, winning the lottery or being scolded by the boss. Then, the other participants in the group have to figure out what scenario is being depicted. This game largely focuses on handling situations together.
11. Photo Finish
Participants have to walk across the finish line at precisely the same time in a “photo finish”. Apparently easy to perform, it actually requires a lot of coordination. For a perfect photo finish, players will have to work very closely together.
One person on each team is blindfolded. The others in the team have to give instructions to the blindfolded person to retrieve instructed objects from the playing area. They also need to finish the task within a limited time. This game might initiate the first step of ‘blind-trust’ towards each other.
13. Story Starters
The participants are given a typical opening line for a story — such as “once upon a time” or “it was a dark and stormy night when…”. The leader recites the story starter out loud, then the group participants take turns reciting the next few lines of the story. The story goes on until the last participant wraps it up with an ending. This game is very beneficial for building teamwork and enhancing creative imagination.
14. Take as much as You Need
Have participants sit in a circle, and pass around your item of choice — a box of napkins works or a bag of pennies. Ask each participant to “take as much as you need.” When everyone has taken something, start with one participant to tell as many facts about themselves as the picked items. So, if they took five napkins, they have to reveal five things about themselves. This helps the participants to know each other better.
15. Don’t Smile
This is a fun activity to lighten things up and generate laughter. Make your team members sit in a circle and get them all to stare at each other for as long as possible without smiling. They are allowed to make funny facial expressions as long as they do not speak — the last person to smile wins.
16. The Egg Drop
To examine the level of creativity and group work of the participants, divide the participants into groups and give each group an uncooked egg. Put a bunch of materials (eg. tape, pencils, straws, plastic, packing material, newspapers, rubber bands) in a pile. Ask each group to use the supplies to build within a limited time, a structure of some sort that would prevent the egg from breaking when dropped. Once the time is up, test each structure by dropping each egg from a certain height and the egg that survives becomes the winner.
17. Worst Job Ever
Ask the participants to tell everyone about their worst ever job, whether it was because of the role they were in, or because of their management or the boss. This can introduce some humor, make people realize that almost everyone goes through a bad phase in their career and allow people to know more about each other.
18. Last 30 Seconds
Participants are asked to remember and consider the best and defining moments in their lives – it can be anything exciting, adventurous, life-changing or rewarding- in personal and professional space. Then they are asked to choose moments that they would like to relive in the “last 30 seconds of their lives” and tell the others. This is an efficient way of allowing the participants to know more about their colleagues by having a glimpse of their personalities and passions.
19. Positive statements
Ask each member of your team to finish the sentence “my vision of a positive team is…”. When one of them provides the answer, tell the others to note it down. When everyone is done, each of the participants should have a list of different positive perceptions toward team building.
20. Talent hunt
Everybody is talented as we all have something to express. To generate a positive atmosphere, ask the participants to step up one by one and showcase their talent. It could be anything, but everybody must do something.
An exciting game of trivia is another interesting choice. Go to a trivia website to generate your trivia and include several categories to ensure the widest possible participation. Create smaller groups to compete against each other to add up the element of group work.
22. Flip it over
Ask 6-8 participants to huddle together and stand on a blanket or towel, leaving a quarter of the portion empty. Challenge the group to flip over the blanket so that they are standing on the other side of the sheet. This needs to be done without getting off the blanket or touching the ground outside the sheet. It is a task tougher than it seems and needs a great team-performance to be accomplished.
23. Scavenger Hunt
It is perhaps the most popular name among all outdoor team building activities that always encourages teams to collaborate creatively. Divide the group into two or more teams depending on the total strength of the participants. Make a list of items to be found or things to be done by each team with a deadline. The first team to accomplish all the listed tasks wins!
As you assemble the team, all you have to do, is to act very excited in front of the participants (as if you are going to announce some big news) and then suddenly stop talking. Stay silent for about a minute and observe how the members respond to the abrupt silence. After a while, open the floor for discussions on how the silence impacted each participant and the group as a whole. This would help your team to learn to deal with the unexpected.
Team building activities allow workers to perform as a group and help to break down communication barriers and avoid unhealthy competition. A well-functioning team can make a significant contribution to organisational success. Thus, organisations need to take the time to focus on numerous team building games and activities.