A huge collection of team building activities. Ideal for use with youth groups keen on building team work, communication and listening skills.
Gather participants in a large common area. Give each person a piece of paper with the name or picture of an animal on it. Then give instructions for the activity: They must locate the members of their animal group by imitating that animals sound only. No talking is allowed.
Reflection – The participants might hesitate initially, but that hesitation soon gives way to a mixture of sounds. The end result is that the initial barriers to good team work have been broken. Ask reflection about the difference between a group and a team.
Let it go down
First obtain a long cane (bamboo or other material). Line the groups up so that people face each other, then ask one side to take a step sideways to the left so that their eyes are in line with the gap between the shoulders of two opposite participants. Ask them to put out their hands palm up at the same height (about elbow height). When all people have their palms out and lined up, place the can along their hands. Let them know that they should keep their hands in contact with the cane, but they shouldn’t grasp it. Now ask them to lower cane down to the group. The can always rises. Repeat the exercise until they can achieve the task.
Reflection – Reflect on the importance of organisation for a successful team result.
Where does your food come from?
A large map of the world is placed on the floor or no a screen. Participants are divided into two groups and given foods from various countries e.g pasta, fair trade chocolate, tea etc. Participants have to work together in their groups to decide where in the world the foods are from and place them on the map as fast as possible.
Reflection – Discuss how each group communicated and how time was a factor to complete the task effective. This will also help create an awareness of issues in different cultures.
You need a two foot square platform or table. The challenge is to get a whole team of 12 onto the platform without anyone touching the ground. Each person must have both feet off the ground and the whole team must achieve this for 10 seconds. Participants can not lie on top of each other forming a dog pile as a solution.
Reflection – Ask about the difficulties faced in the group and how each participant contributed to the task objective and how physical proximity made the task more difficult.
You need a large rope tied in a circle. The challenge is to get the group to form a perfect square while blindfolded. Each player must keep one hand attached to the rope at all times. Players form the rope into what they think is a square, lay it on the group and take off their blindfolds and see if they were successful.
Reflection – Reflect on the importance of vision to complete the task and how the group felt when the task is not competed successfully.
Divide the group into two teams. That majority of the room is described as a minefield except a designated area at each end of the room. Say that anyone stepping onto the minefield is blown up and has to sit out, leaving the team. Both teams are given the same amount of equipment e.g. table, rope, chairs, hula hoop but only the chairs and the table can be safely put onto the minefield. Any other item that touches the floor is blown up and lost. The object of the game is to get the whole team and all their objects across the minefield before the other team does it.
Reflection – Reflect on the way the group decided on the best solution to cross the minefield, and how the members that failed felt when they had to leave the team.
Acid River Drops
Divide into 2 teams, preferably with around 5 in each team. 1 person in each team is picked to be the transporter and given an ‘Acid Proof Suit’ (a suitable coverall). Players are told that there is an acid river running down the middle of the place where you are playing (this can be marked out by a rope or chalk, but make it quite wide). Each team must get all of their team members to the other side of the river, but there is only one acid proof sit per team, and only person in the team can wear it. The suits are weak so once someone is carried across in one position, the suit will no longer protect the next person if they are carried in the same way. This means the transporter has to transport the members of his or her team across the river one at a time, each in a different position to the last. If anyone on the team is dropped in transit they melt in the river and are out. The winning team is the first team to get all its members to the other side or, if there is a tie, the quickest team to get to the other side.
Reflection – Reflect on the importance of having different solutions for a team problem.
Bean Bag Melee
Use a chair or some sort of container (bins, baskets or boxes) – one for each team. Set up three chairs equidistant from a pile of beanbags in the middle. Divide everybody into 3 teams and with each team standing by one of 3 outer points. Teams don’t have to be even numbers. Each team selects a player to run each round. The objective of the game is to get 3 bean bags onto their chair/container. Players must take bean bags from the centre or from another team’s chair. Players may only take one bag at a time and bags may not be thrown, they must be placed on or in chair/container. The players other team members may not defend their bases and stop bags being taken.
Reflection – Reflect on how competing with others for a same goal can bring difficulties in team work.
Use two poles and piece of string or rope tied between the poles about 4 feet high from the ground. The object is for the entire team to get over the electric fence without touching the rope. No going under is allowed and only one team member can go at a time but he can he helped by his team-mates. Other team members can help in any way they want, but once a person is over the fence, they must stay over that side and can’t come back around to help anyone. So the last person on each team must somehow get over the fence without help from the other side.
Reflection – This game requires lots of teamwork and cooperation. Try it with the rope at different heights perhaps with several fences in a small obstacle course. Alternative option is to create a spider’s web with the rope/string.
Bridge building game
The team is faced with a collapsed bridge. The team must use the materials (chairs, tables, etc) available to rebuild the bridge in a way that will support all team members crossing it safely.
Reflection – Reflect on the way the group decided on the best solution, and how they were able to put it into practice.
After a dangerous chemical spill four containers pose a risk within a contaminated zone. Using a system of suspended ropes, they team must work together to extract the containers from one area in the room to another area safe zone as fast as possible without dropping the containers.
Reflection – Assess team work strengths and self-assessment of the task.
One member of the team is elected, either by the team or randomly, to act as the shepherd. The objective is to move the team from one place to another using a whistle. Each member of the team is blindfolded and attached to the others by a piece of string.
Reflection – Allow group to discuss the difficulties faced and what could have improved teamwork. Ask the group to discuss how this activity is similar to other situations where you have to work towards a common goal.
Divide the participants into two teams. Four members of the team must stand on one of the skis and complete a relay race. All the members must move together.
Reflection – You can also tie ropes in the ankles of all the team members to complete the taslk. Ask group for the difficulties faced in the team.
The group is divided into 2 teams. Each team chooses a forbidden word (it must be a very common word such as yes or no). If the other team uses it at any time during their conversation there will be serious consequences. The team’s negotiation skills are called upon to facilitated pleace between the local warring tribes. The atmosphere is tense, the slightest misunderstanding could lead to a long and bloody war. Each team whenever they hear the forbidden word can ask for any unreasonable demand and the other team must try and negotiate away those terrible consequences.
Reflection – Ask how each it was to negotiated and convince the other team to removed their demands or to change them into lighter consequences.
The team must create a flag or standard with messages about their values, goals or work generally using natural materials from the surrounding area.
Reflection – An adaption for this activity can be asking the group to choose a movement with words and signing that identify the most important values of this team.
The group tries to create a unified story from a set of pictures. The pictures are randomly ordered and handed out. Each person has a picture but cannot show it to others. This game requires patience, communication, and ability to understand other’s viewpoint to create the story’s sequence.
Reflection – Reflect on the individual participation of each member and how it influenced the overall result.
Pineline and the Gutter Ball
Say that the group will have a common task they need to find a solution and do it as fast and successfully as possible. Each participant gets one tube. The objective is to move a small ball using only the tubes from point A to point B in the room without dropping it.
Reflection – The ball may vary in size and the course could be made longer to add a level of difficulty. Reflect on the importance of each team member and how they reacted to failure if they dropped the ball.
Divide the group into small teams of 4 to 5 members in each. Using a large sheet (50cmx50cm) they have to launch an egg as high in the air as possible. Say that they cannot touch the ceiling and neither can they break the egg.
Reflection – Ask the group to reflect on the individual roles within the task. Did the team work within the group succeed and if not, why not? What could the group have done different?
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