Team building activities. Did you just get a shiver down your spine? Come on, tell the truth. Team building activities get a bad rap.
The worst activities try too hard. They create artificial friendships between bored, uncomfortable people. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We’ve built this list of team building activities for your next event. Events large and small almost always gain something from natural teamwork. We’re a social species and we get good vibes from cooperation.
But remember that it’s important to know your audience. Don’t build teams of bingo-daubing grannies for your white water rafting adventure.
Well, not if you want them to have fun. Let’s look at some great team building activities for your next event.
Corporate team building activities for a professional event
These activities are perfect for the corporate setting. Seminars, meetings, and other professional gatherings can get stuck in the rut of being stiff or overly formal. But as relations improve, so does productivity. Loosen up your next company event with some of these ideas.
1. Team lunches
Pretty basic, but also natural and simple. Take your team out to lunch! A digital poll can help lend some choice to the matter.
Take an hour out of your corporate event to get your game on. Competitive and cooperative games alike can foster authentic relationships between coworkers.
Randomly divide employees from different sections into groups. Then each group leader hosts a dinner at a unique local restaurant. Meet some of your unfamiliar coworkers in a new place!
There’s always room to improve. Choose a skill set you’d like to emphasise and host a workshop centred on refining it. One idea is to have employees from “Section A” try to solve a “Section B” problem.
Then the real team from Section B can give them some pointers. Switch and repeat!
Unusual team building activities for a novel event
These activities are not mainstream team builders. For events that thrive on open minds and new experiences, these can help strangers get into the groove of feeling pleasantly surprised. Unusual activities work really well as common ground for the unacquainted.
No, not that kind of “adult.” The regular kind. Show and tell for grownups can be just as cool as you remember. Bring something interesting and talk a little about it.
2. Escape rooms
Escape rooms are a hot new trend. Special themed puzzle rooms are built for teams to investigate. You have a time limit and you have to figure out how to escape.
Don’t be surprised if all your guests are extroverts. Get up on stage, pick a song, and let your inner musician free. Or whatever you have in there.
Create teams, supply ingredients, and go! There are a lot of options here so it can be as competitive and creative as you like.
5-minute team building activities for an efficient event
Who has time to go on a two-hour scavenger hunt? You need cooperation and fellowship, and you need them now! Enforce the short time limit for best results. In a friendly way, of course. For events with heavy schedules, like workshops, these activities get the job done with an eye toward the clock.
Everyone stands in a circle. A detective is chosen, and he or she leaves the room for thirty seconds. The other players decide on a murderer. The detective returns. His or her only clue is that when the murderer winks at someone, they drop “dead.”
2. Sort it out
Teams are divided at random. They have to sort themselves by age, height, name, or whatever you want to use. Prizes for the fastest team and the most accurate. Finish up with a quick debrief on the winning team’s processes.
3. Paper tower
Hand out some amount of paper to participants. Then each team of participants has five minutes to build the tallest paper tower they can. That is, without it toppling over.
In this game, groups have five minutes to discover things they all have in common. Whoever finds the most common threads wins. “We all breathe oxygen” doesn’t count.
Team building activities for students
Maybe your target students are fresh off the bus. Maybe they drive themselves to campus. In any case, these team building activities are designed for the student event. Occasions like career fairs, field trips, or new-student college campus tours can benefit from a bit of teamwork.
1. In theory
One approach to team building is simply talking. Pose a fun or challenging question and get some insight into the students’ thinking processes. The more interesting the question, the more engaged the students will be.
Volunteering is like an event in itself. Okay, so community service is not everyone’s idea of a good time. But it can be a great way for students to brainstorm ethical and inventive new ideas.
If you are hosting a class field trip, for example, you might hold a little side competition. Student groups can compete for the best volunteer ideas. The winning group’s plan then becomes a reality, with credit going to the student creators.
Create cooperation with a fun story! One student begins a story, another continues it, and so on. You can issue plot points to cover so that the students must work together to build the right narrative.
This game actually has its own electronic version. You can easily play without it, though. One student is given a word in secret. Then he or she has to help others guess it without saying the actual word.
Outdoor team building activities for a lively event
Ah, the great outdoors. Get your group out and into the sun for a little time with nature. These activities double as polite ways to eject visitors (not that you would use them that way).
Not merely for hardy survivors of the apocalypse! A classic outdoor scavenger hunt can be fun for all ages. There is a ton of room for creativity. Organise the teams, give ‘em a list, and get searching.
This famously corporate activity works quite well for any group. The UK is rife with kayaking hotspots if you know how to find them.
This real-life version beats the heck out of the old computer game. A blindfolded player is led around “explosive objects.” Teammates must advise them using speech only.
Can you hold a paper aeroplane competition indoors? Yes. Is it better than setting your plane on the wind outside? Not even close. There are helpful resources for plane building if you’re not into aeronautics.
Teeming with workable activities
One of the coolest things about these activities? Most of them are just a tiny bit silly. Letting loose and having a laugh is one of the best ways to encourage teamwork and cooperation. Especially when someone’s paper aeroplane hits a stranger in the head.
Did we skip your favourite team building activity? Tell us how your activity works in the comments below!