Team building activities are designed to get your team working together better and encourage them to socialize. Often, these types of activities are used for the first few weeks of a new team, but they can be a powerful tool any time your team needs some encouragement.
No two teams are going to have the same needs, but there is never an excuse for not giving it a try. Get creative with the following list of 42 ideas for simple team building activities and you’ll find one that will work for your group.
1) Have everyone in your group stand on one leg with their outstretched arm balancing someone else’s weight as they walk around the room. Scarves or tubes can be used instead of people if needed.
2) Have everyone in the group walk around the room singing the current top hits from memory.
3) Everyone in a group wears blindfolds and must play a game of “pin the tail on the donkey” using only their sense of touch to guide them.
4) Set up a small obstacle course or maze in your meeting room. Give each person a chance to run it blind-folded first, then have everyone else watch them run it while they attempt to guess what is coming next.
5) Hold a “90 Second Commercial.
6) Give each person a sheet of paper and pen. Fold the paper in half twice, then have each member of the group draw a picture on one side. Have them pass the drawing around while they recite a message for everyone to see on the other side. Only after everyone has passed their drawing should it be folded in half one last time and put away.
7) Give each participant four pieces of 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) Have each member of a group stand in a circle. Give each person one minute to memorize as many faces as possible. Then, have them go outside and return five minutes later and try to remember as many as they can before retaking their seats.
9) Split your group into two teams. Instead of competing against each other, challenge them to come up with a list of questions that are difficult enough for the opposing team to answer correctly but easy enough that everyone on their own team can get the correct answer.
10) Place a tennis ball into the center of a large circle made up of chairs or desks all facing inward towards the center point. Have a different group member sit on each chair and then have them all turn around and attempt to grab the ball when it is tossed into the center of the circle.
11) Play a game of freeze tag, but make “freezing” even more challenging. For example, tags can include having to make a funny face for 30 seconds or stand with their eyes closed for 15 seconds.
12) Have each member of the group 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…). Pass the cards around so everyone in the group gets a turn writing answers on other people’s cards.
13) Play “Mommy” or “Daddy.” On a piece of paper, write down your favorite toy, book, song, smell or anything you associate with childhood. Then, have each of your team members share one thing from their childhood that is special to them. For example: “My favorite toy is my dog because he’s loyal and true!”
14) Play the game of Twenty Questions. Write down a word from the list below and have each person in your group ask the next person in line a question using only the first letter of that word. For example: Each person will sit on a chair next to someone else. The person on the right will ask a question with only one letter, “B.” Then, the person sitting to their right will ask a question using the next letter in the word, and so on and so forth until someone guesses what the word is.
15) Write down a topic of discussion beforehand: Characteristics of a successful leader, important qualities to have in life or any other subject matter that gets you talking. Have each team member stand or sit in front of everyone else and share one thing they learned from the conversation.
16) Play “Two Truths and a Lie.” Each member of your team writes down three facts about themselves on an index card and hands them all in. Then, those who received the cards are asked to call out a specific fact about someone else. For example: Person #1: “I like to dance.” Person #2: “I hate dancing.” Person #3: “I’m surprised he likes to dance, because I thought he hated it.”
17) Write down one or two things you would like your team members to improve on and give each person in the group an index card with the instructions of how they can improve (e.g. better communication skills, change in attitude towards challenging ideas, etc…)
18) Have each person in your group share three things that you have done this year that were fun or memorable. For example: “I went to a performance of ‘West Side Story’ by myself and got to meet Roberta Flack, one of my favorite singers.”
19) Give each person in your team two pieces of paper. Have them write down a word that begins with the letter “B” or ends with the letter “D” while talking about what they’re doing right now. For example: Person #1: “I am brushing my teeth.” Person #2: “I’m having a conversation with you on this topic.”
20) Play 20 questions. Have each person write down a specific and unusual answer to the question (e.g. Brad Pitt, Stephen Hawking, etc…). Then, give each team member a card and have them ask the next person in their line the question. Whoever guesses the correct answer first wins!
21) Play Three Truths and a Lie. Give each team member a card with three facts about themselves written on it (any three things they want to share). Then, have them go around in a circle and tell other members of the group which one is true or false. The person who correctly guesses when someone is lying wins!
22) Have each team member write down something they would like to improve on (e.g. a quality, a skill, a feeling, etc…) and then ask the group what they would add to their card.
23) As a brainstorming session, have each member of the group write down a word on an index card and share it with everyone else before passing it on. After sharing with everyone else, players will discuss how this word relates to their team and how this word influences them as a person. For example: “Talking about our strengths ….” Person #1: “I have an excellent memory.” Person #2: “But I’m not very open-minded.” Person #3: “Well… I’ve been told I can be a little bossy at times. Ha! Ha!” Person #4: “I’ve always been someone who likes to follow the rules.” Person #5: “My biggest weakness is that I have a hard time making up my mind.”
24) If you’re playing in teams, each team should share a word with each other team, such as “happiness” or “fear”, and then they should come up with five possibilities for the word. For example, if the word is fear, possible answers could be spiders, clowns, heights, small spaces or public speaking. Each member of the team then has to guess which answer goes along with which team.
25) If you’re playing in teams, come up with a category and give each team a series of pictures to share, such as animals, modes of transportation or countries. After giving the teams a few minutes to look at the pictures, they will then try to explain what’s happening in the images. Example: When given an image of a rubber duckie (a common example), one player might say it’s “an animal that can be found at bath time”, while another player might say it’s “a mode of transportation for people who live in water”.
26) If you’re playing individually, come up with categories such as food, animals or modes of transportation and players will have one minute to act out the word. If you’re playing in a team, have the teams come up with nouns such as food, animals or modes of transportation and the teams will have to act out one minute.
27) As a game progresses, some people might crack under pressure. When this happens, just change the category. If you’re playing individually, have players come up with new words that nobody guessed before. If you’re playing in a team, have your team change the category so all your teammates guess the new word correctly.
28) The team then has to guess which picture best represents each word. For example, for “clothes”, could be the image of a shirt that is torn and dirty or a pair of pants that needs to be washed.
29) As a game progresses, randomly select one player from your group to be “The Teacher.” This person is in charge of giving the game rules. For example: Person #1: “Teacher, what’s an adjective?” Person #2: “I don’t know.” Person #3: ” I don’t like it, Teacher.”
30) Play a variation on the game of 20 Questions. For example, “Basketball.” Each person in line asks a question that contains only one letter. Play continues until a group guesses the answer correctly.
31) Pick a number (1 through 100). Give each team member an index card and have them write down the number they chose on their card. For example: Person #1: 24 Person #2: 2 Person #3: 28
32) Depending on the size of your group, use one of these methods to keep score: 1 point for every correct answer, two points for every correct answer and so on up until five points for every correct answer.
33) Pick a topic and then have each player in the group write down three words that are related to that topic. For example: “My favorite color is blue because it’s bright and cheery.” Each team member will then pass their card to the person next to them and they will repeat those three words with a different word or phrase. For example: “I don’t like my name, but I don’t mind my nickname.”
34) Pairs of teammates sit opposite one another on chairs without facing one another. Next, give each player an index card, pen and paper. Ask the first player to write a word, then ask the second player to guess what word it is. If they guess correctly, they get to keep the cards and next time they’re partners, they will try to get rid of words that the first team kept. Then, give each player another card and have them try again. When swapping partners, make sure you don’t end up with a team that is going around in a circle.
35) Play a variation of Twenty Questions: Each person has two cards. On their first card, write an answer about something that happened earlier in the day (e.g. “I had my lunch”). On their second card, write an answer about something that happened last week (e.g. “I had a spicy taco”). Then, have the first person in the circle ask a question and write down their answer. If they guess correctly, they’ll keep both cards. If not, pass on both cards to the person on their right.
36) When working together as teams, each team should come up with a category such as “Ice Cream.” Players should then come up with three or four words and phrases related to that category (e.g. chocolate chip cookie dough). Then, hand each team member an index card and have them write down three vocabulary words related to their team’s category. For example: Team #1: Green, vomit, blood Team #2: Elephant, pink, car
37) Have each of your teammates write down a different topic on an index card. For example, topics could be “My childhood”, “My favorite holiday” or “What motivates me”. Then, go around the group and have everyone share one thing from their card with the rest of the team.
38) In pairs or groups of three, have each person write down a funny or embarrassing incident on an index card and then share it with their partners. If they can’t guess what the story is, they’ll have to explain.
39) Play a variation of 20 Questions. For example, if your group started talking about ice cream and other desserts, this could be an answer: “A person who sells food.” Person #1: “Who?” Person #2: “A waiter.” Person #3: “Where?” Person #4: “At a restaurant.”
40) Have each team member write down one word that begins with the letter A and then another word that begins with the letter B. The secret team goal is to make sure their teammates know the answer to their questions.