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, clichéd 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.
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 QUICKjump 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 strategizing 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.