40 simple team building activities

Your team will be more productive and happier if they engage in team building activities. These activities are most often used in the first few weeks when a new team is formed, but can also be very useful for any team member who needs encouragement.

While no two groups will have exactly the same needs and goals, there’s no excuse not to give it a go. The following 42 ideas are simple and easy to do for team building. You will find one that works for you.

1) As everyone walks around the room, have them each stand on one foot with their outstretched arm balanced by another person’s weight. You can also use tubes or scarves to replace people, if necessary.

2) Ask everyone to sing from memory the current top hits.

3) Everybody in a group is blindfolded and must play “pin-the tail on the donkey” with their senses of touch.

In your meeting room, set up an obstacle course or maze. Each person should be allowed to try it out blindfolded, and then everyone else should watch them as they attempt to figure out what the next step is.

5) Make a 90 Second Commercial.

6) Give each member of the group a sheet and a pen. Each member of the group should fold the paper in half twice. Then, have them draw a picture on the one side. As they pass the drawing, have them recite a message to the group on the other side. After everyone has finished passing their drawing, fold it in half and place it away.

7) Give each participant four pieces paper. Have them write down as many words as possible using only the four listed below: sun, trees, sky, dirt… etc.. Make sure they write only four-letter words or more desirable adjectives.

8) Make sure that each member of a group stands in a circle. Give each person one minute for them to learn as many faces possible. Give them five minutes to memorize their faces. Have them return five minutes later.

Split your group into 2 teams. Instead of competing against one another, ask them to create a list with questions that are both difficult enough to be answered correctly by the opposing team but easy enough to be answered by everyone.

10) Place the tennis ball in the middle of the circle. Each member of the group should sit in a different chair. Then, have everyone turn around and grab the ball from the center.

11) Make “freezing” more difficult by playing freeze tag. Tags can require that they make a funny face for 30 second or keep their eyes closed for 15 seconds.

12) Each member of the group should tell about their favorite movie. Then, give each person an index card and have them write down three things they liked about that movie (characters, plot twists, etc…). Each person in the group will have to pass their cards so they can each write on the other cards.

13) Play “Mommy”, “Daddy” Write down what you remember most about childhood. Each member of your team should share one special memory from their childhood. Example: “My dog is my favorite toy because he’s loyal, true and trustworthy!”

14) Play the game Twenty Questions. You will need to write down a word and then ask each member of your group a question. One example is: Each person will be seated next to another. The person to the right will ask a question using only one letter, “B.” The person on the right will ask a question with only one letter, “B.”

15) Prepare a topic for discussion: What makes a leader successful? How important are you to your personal life? Or any other topic that sparks conversation. Each member of the team should stand or sit down in front of others and share one thing that they have learned from this conversation.

16) Play “Two Truths and a Lie.” Each member of your team fills out an index card with three facts about them and gives it to everyone else. Then, each member of your team writes three facts about themselves on an index card and then hands them all in. For example: Person #1: “I like to dance.” Person #2: “I hate dancing.” Person #3: “I don’t know why he loves to dance. I thought he hated it.”

17) List one or two things that you want your team members to improve upon and give each person an index card with the directions of how they can do so. better communication skills, change in attitude towards challenging ideas, etc…)

18) Each member of your group should share three memorable or fun things they did this year. For example, “I went to West Side Story by myself and got to see Roberta Flack, who is one of my favourite singers.”

19) Give each member of your team two pieces paper. While they talk about their current activities, have them each write down a word that starts with “B” and ends with “D”. Person #1: “I am brushing teeth.” Person #2: I’m having a chat with you about this subject.

20) Play 20 questions. Each person should write down a unique and specific answer to the question. Brad Pitt, Stephen Hawking, etc…). Give each member of the team a card, and ask them the question. The winner is the one who correctly guesses the answer first!

21) Play Three Truths and a Lie. Each member of the team should get a card that has three facts about them on it. They can also share any other information they choose. Next, they should go around the circle telling others which of their facts is true or false. Correctly guessing when someone lies wins!

22. Have each member of the team write down what they want to improve (e.g. a quality, a skill, a feeling, etc…) and then ask the group what they would add to their card.

23) In a brainstorming session, each member of the group should write down a word and share it with others. After sharing the word with others, players will discuss how it relates and influences their team. For example: “Talking about our strengths ….” Person #1: “I have an exceptional memory.” Person #2: “But my mind is not open to new ideas.” Person #3: “Well… I’ve been told I can be a little bossy at times. Ha! Ha!” Person #4: “I have always been a follower of the rules.” Person #5 – “My greatest weakness is my inability to make up my mind.”

24) In teams, players should share their word (e.g. “happiness” and “fear”) with one another. After that, they should have five options for the word. If the word is fear, then possible answers might include clowns, spiders or small spaces, public speaking, and heights. The team members then have to decide which answer they are going with.

25) If you are playing in groups, choose a category to represent animals, modes or transportation, and then give each team a set of photos. After allowing the teams to take a look at the pictures for a while, they will attempt to explain what is happening. Example: A rubber duckie is a common example. One player might claim it can be found in bath time, while another might state it is a means of transporting people who live in water.

26) When you play individually, brainstorm categories for food, animals, and modes of transport. Each player will have one minute in which to act out each word. If you are part of a group, have your team come up with adjectives that describe food, animals, and modes of transportation. Each team will need to perform for one minute.

27) Sometimes, people can crack under pressure as the game progresses. If this happens, change the category. If you are playing as an individual, ask your teammates to come up with new words. If you are playing as a team, change the category to ensure that all your teammates correctly guess the new word.

28) The team has to then guess which image best represents each word. For “clothes”, an example would be a worn-out shirt or dirty pants.

29) Randomly select one player in your group to become “The Teacher” as the game progresses. This person will be responsible for dictating the rules. Example: Person #1: “Teacher. Is there an adjective?” Person #2: I don’t know. Person #3: “I don’t like the idea, Teacher.”

30) You can play a variation of the 20-question game. For example, you could play “Basketball”. Each person asks a question that only contains one letter. The game continues until the group correctly guesses its answer.

31. Choose a number from 1 to 100. Give each member of your team an index card. Ask them to write the number they choose on it. For example, Person 1: 24 Person 2: 2 Person 3: 28

32) The size of your group will determine which method you use to keep score. One point for each correct answer, two points per correct answer, and so forth, up to five points for each correct answer.

33) Choose a topic, then ask each member of the group to write three words related to it. Example: “Blue is my favorite color because it’s bright, cheerful and colorful.” Each member of the team will then pass their card along to the next person. They will each repeat those three words using a different word/phrase. Example: “I don’t like my name but I don’t mind my nickname.”

34) A pair of teammates sits opposite each other on chairs. The next step is to give each player an index, pen, and paper. Then ask each player to write one word and then ask the second to guess the word. If they get it right, they get to keep their cards. Then, next time they partner up, they will try and get rid of words that were kept by the first team. Give each player another card, and they can try again. Make sure that you don’t swap partners and end up with a team who is going around in circles.

35) Play a variation on Twenty Questions. Each player has two cards. Write a response on the first card about an event that occurred earlier in the day. “I had lunch.” Write a second answer on their second card about what happened last week (e.g. “I had a spicy taco.” Next, ask the first person to join the circle and have them write down their answer. If they are able to guess correctly, they will keep both cards. Pass on the cards to the person on their left if they don’t guess correctly.

36) Each team should have a category, such as “Ice Cream”, when working in teams. Players will then need to come up with three-to four words or phrases that are related to this category (e.g. Chocolate chip cookie dough. Give each member of the team an index card. Have them fill it with three vocabulary words that relate to their team. For example: Team #1: Green, vomit, blood Team #2: Elephant, pink, car

37) Ask your coworkers to each write down a different topic for you on an index. You could choose topics like “My childhood”, or “My favorite holiday”, or “What motivates you”. Then, share with everyone one of your cards with the rest.

38) Each person should write down a funny, embarrassing incident in pairs or small groups of three on an indexcard. They can then share this with their friends. They will have to share the story with their partners if they are unable to guess.

39) Answer 20 questions. If your group starts talking about ice cream or other desserts, this could be an answer. Person #1: “Who?” Person 2: “A waiter.” Person #3: “Where?” Person #3: “Where?”

40) Each member of the team should write one word that starts with the letter A, and another that starts with the letter B. Your secret goal as a team is to ensure that your teammates know the answer.

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Katie Sullivan

Katie is a digital nomad and business consultant. She has a bachelor's degree in business and has in the last 15 years in both the private and non-profit sectors. Her passion is helping people become better themselves and in turn creating better businesses. When she isn't chasing around her twin boys, she loves reading and gardening. She can be reached at [email protected]

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