Even just using the term “team building activity" can elicit groans and giggles from participants everywhere. The reputation of these activities as boring, useless, and corny dates back to early human history; drawings of trust falls have been found in ancient cave dwellings! Ok, maybe not that far back, but they sure aren't a favorite. Let's ditch the stale, cliche'd activities and instead make an effort to plan team building activities that might actually do the trick.
Team building activities can benefit sports teams, corporate teams, school classes, church groups, and really any group of people who are trying to achieve something together. When done right, team building activities can improve communication, increase motivation, create a more cohesive group, and help groups reach their goals more effectively. A Forbes article even calls team building “the most important investment you'll make. So how can you create an opportunity for this team building to occur without falling into cheesy territory?
To start with, don't try to force a lesson or a takeaway on the group. This isn't the time for management to try to instill lessons on leadership with role playing. Instead give the group an opportunity to spend time together and build bonds naturally. It should feel like a break from the day-to-day work instead of another meeting. Give your team an opportunity to spend time together, have fun, and perhaps solve a challenge along the way.
We've put together a list of 7 fun and unique team building activities that you can use to create a fun team experience. Some of these are outings that will require an investment of time and money while other activities can be done in your office today with little time or materials required.
1. Giant Volleyball
This team activity gets everyone outside and playing a game that is less about winning and more about having fun together. Teams will need to communicate and work as a unit to succeed. Another benefit of giant volleyball is that a victory really is a team victory since individuals can't dominate this game.
2. Adventure Course
Take your team on an outing that will challenge them physically and mentally with an afternoon at an adventure course or ropes course. The key to this outing is encouragement; everyone in the group will have to remain positive and encouraging to help their teammates make it through obstacles. Additional challenges such as a free fall jump on a QUICKflight or FlightLine will require some participants to face their fears with the support of the group backing them. These unique challenges will provide many opportunities for bonding and memories that will last.
3. Hungry, Hungry Hippos
Take the classic gym scooter, add balloons, divide into four teams, and you have a childhood favorite turned into a live-action team builder. Four teams propel their “hippos" on into the middle to collect the most balloons. There may be some strategy involved, but let's be honest, this game is pure fun for your team.
This is an easy team building activity that can be done in almost any location with a little bit of open space. The rules of the game itself are simple, but that doesn't mean it will be easy! Teams stand in a single file line and place their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. Everyone is blindfolded except for the person at the back of the line. Without talking, the person at the back must guide the team and the person at the front of the line to pick up objects and then place them in buckets. This will test the team's ability to communicate without words and to trust each other.
Take your group to a climbing gym for a physical activity that will also test everyone's mental game. With auto belays at most gyms, no one needs any prior climbing experience and everyone can get climbing after a quick orientation. With routes for all ability levels, everyone will be able to test their try-hard and help encourage others to do the same.
6. Minute to Win It Challenges
The TV show made a new sensation at parties and offices around the world. These games use household items and last 60 seconds, so there is really no excuse for not being able to pull at least one of these off. Make it a team competition or winner takes all competition and choose from the many, many games that have been imagined up.
7. Human Knot
This is the simplest and most classic team building exercise we're going to offer up without going into trust fall territory. It requires absolutely no materials and can be done with limited space. Ask your group to stand in a circle, reaching their right hands in to grab the hand of someone not standing directly next to them. Next, reach left hands in and grab a different person's hand, again not directly next to you. This game requires a minimum of 6 people and even numbers, and it will require flexible thinking from the team.