Do you remember that team-building game or exercise that felt embarrassing to do? We all have a memory of that little horrifying experience, even if it was just a few minutes.
The thing is, team-building activities have already become a part of the office culture. So, besides being an innovative way to connect and work together with teammates, it should be a fun game, not a chore. Not only will it improve collaboration skills between colleagues, but it will also improve team bonding.
Gallup actually did a study about this and found out that personnel sharing kind words with family members and friends can boost employee engagement and satisfaction by 60%. And it’s seven times more if it’s from a good friend at work. It simply means that the closer you are to workmates, the happier you’ll be in your workplace.
If you’re searching for team-building activities for your group, it’s in your best interest to value their time while learning to bridge any gaps between team members.
Finding the right activity may be challenging as some of your colleagues won’t be comfortable participating in some of the games. That’s why we made this list for you. We collected 20 team-building games and exercises to help you and your team bond more effectively while helping build their skills.
1: The Barter Puzzle
This team-building activity has a simple goal in which the teams compete to solve a puzzle first. The catch: some of your pieces are in the pile of the other competing team. Your group must develop a way to convince the other teams to give the missing pieces through barter, such as exchanging team members, trading pieces, forming a merger, etc. It may be time-consuming, but it will develop all the teams’ problem-solving, negotiation, and cooperation skills.
Others will get to communicate more by sharing various strategies and ideas, while some will learn to step up and lead.
2: What makes you tick?
This exercise involves unraveling what makes each member tick. It may sound risky, but it’s a way for the group to know everyone else’s character. Get started by using a personality test, such as True Colors or DiSC, then guide them on how to deal with someone else’s personality type. It’s best if you can get a speaker to further discuss the tests and types.
This helps avoid future clashes by knowing what demotivates and motivates them, and we’re aiming to find ways on how to interact and treat each other positively in different circumstances.
3: Sneak a peek
Another problem-solving activity that’s way more fun because it involves toys, like blocks or Legos! The objective is to replicate a pre-built statue or sculpture. It may sound like a simple team-building exercise, but this game requires memory skills, and everyone in the group would have to rely on one person for that.
The assigned looker will only be given 10 seconds to try to remember how the sculpture looks like, and then they’ll have to go back to the team and describe what they saw. Early in the game, that one person will realize that every member’s role is important for the whole team to be successful. And by the end, the whole group will recognize how crucial participation is.
At work, they’ll be able to come up with new strategies whenever they face a problem and have confidence in one another.
4: Geocache Adventure
Have you played Map & Compass games? Well, this is the digital version. Simply called geocaching, this scavenger hunt activity for corporate teams is a great way to get everyone outdoors. Participants will use GPS-enabled devices such as Android phones and navigate the area using coordinates provided to find the hidden container AKA geocache. Others use QR codes located near the neighborhood or office incorporating Google Maps.
Other than working on a particular goal that encourages teamwork, you can give them a specific time to finish or return the geocache, as well as add puzzles to add creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Make it unforgettable by getting shirts with their own personal logo for each team.
5: Helium Stick
Sometimes called Even lighter than air, this icebreaker is easier said than done. Players get started by standing up, holding out their arms, and pointing their index fingers, which is the only thing they would use to balance the stick or dowel rod. The goal is to get the stick to the ground exactly the same time without it falling off the index finger. You can’t wrap a finger around it, use another finger to hold it, and it always has to be resting on everyone’s index finger.
The starting point is chest height, but if the stick falls off during the process or it loses contact from one of the fingers, they have to start over, or they can be disqualified.
It’s usually played by 6 people, but you can add more members. Besides forming plans, the entire team will be able to use their verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
6: Mystery Dinner
If you want something more interactive and that will help group members get out of their comfort zones, then this team-building activity is perfect. First, form a group made of people from different departments or teams. The only thing they’ll know ahead of time is the date and time of the dinner. Don’t tell them exactly what restaurant they’re going to and who they’re going with yet because those details will be given to them on the day they’re supposed to have the dinner.
They’ll learn to mingle with co-workers who they haven’t met before, new team members, or know what goes on in their area of expertise. Others may be given a certain task to work on together.
7: Organizational Jenga
You can use regular wood blocks or ones with the Jenga logo. Everyone will be divided into smaller teams and will be given marked blocks based on the hierarchy in your company. For example, some might be managers or HR, while others could be from the marketing or IT department. Let them build a structure with their blocks within the time limit. When the time is up, ask them to remove the blocks one a time while taking turns.
Just like the actual game Jenga, they must remove the blocks without destroying the structure. Once done, explain to them that this game’s aim is to show how every unit is vital in the company. That when one isn’t in place, everything will fall apart. If you have more time, ask them to rebuild the structure. This will allow them to visualize which departments are necessary or not while avoiding the whole thing from collapsing.
8: Flip it over
Also known as Flip the Tarp or Turning Over a New Leaf, this team-building game’s purpose is to promote creative techniques for teams to collaborate. The entire group would get started by standing on a tarp or cloth; then, they should be able to flip it without anyone stepping off of it. You can fold it in a way that would challenge them to flip it over completely. If you set a time, it will also teach them time management while solving problems.
9: Human Knot
I bet you recognize this game as it’s commonly used in team-building exercises. Ask each group to form a circle, then hold hands. Once everyone’s connected, each one will move to form the human knot. If it’s already difficult to move, it’s time to try to untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands within a fixed period. It’s pretty straightforward, but it cultivates efficiency, communication, time management, and creative problem-solving.
10: Use what you have
Speaking of creative thinking, this game will have your team thinking out of the box. Groups with equal team members will work on a challenge that they can complete within the time given. It can be as easy as making a paper airplane to see who flies the farthest, making a team emblem, or as complex as making something out of Lego pieces.
But the real problem is, they can only use the items on the table that you provided. Give them time to plan and solve the problem, so they produce something fun. This collaboration between them will help them communicate better from the beginning to the end of every task.
11: Created economy
Let’s level it up a bit by letting your teams create a mini-society of their own. Each member will need to come up with ideas on how the economy will grow and stay healthy – from what to manufacture and how to sell, as well as from how they’ll get paid to what to invest.
The objective is to ensure everyone collaborates and gets on board to reach a common goal. But this fun activity will also exhibit who creates rules, how the rest of the group follows, and who is willing to do something to get the job done.
12: Ideas as building blocks
This activity only requires a pen, paper, and everyone’s thinking hats. As the facilitator, you’ll provide a problem – it can be fictional, complex, or a riddle. Your team will have to come up with a solution that they’ll write on their sheet of paper, about 2 to 3 sentences. When done, ask them to pass the papers to the person on their left, then that person will have to give a solution based on the written idea. Do this until all ideas are presented, where the last one will be presented by you.
What we’re aiming for in this exercise is to give all team members a chance to pitch in. In real life, the group will always rely on those who are more dominant to speak up, when in fact, they also have great ideas but choose to stay quiet. Here, everyone gets a chance to voice out their perspective.
13: Find the common thread
Looking for another way to make your team know each other better? This great team-building game, which can be done during your weekly meeting, is meant to get your people aware of the similarities they have that will draw them together. Then, name that group based on their commonality, which is often a stereotype. In the end, explain why this can be concerning and the impact of our perception of others.
14: Birthday line-up
Another simple icebreaker that will help in building communication skills, as well as your group’s problem-solving, collaboration, and leadership abilities. All you have to do is have them line up straight, side-by-side, based on the order of their birthday month and day. The important detail here is that no one in the group can talk so they will need to rely on nonverbal communication skills. They’ll have to resort to nudges, sign languages, or other techniques.
15: Blind drawing
This very popular yet simple and effective team-building exercise will improve communication skills and leadership skills. One team member is chosen to look at a picture of an object or is given a word, and then they can only describe it to their teammates so that the team member assigned to draw can sketch it based on the description.
16: Two truths and a lie
This quick and easy team activity will test how well they know their colleagues and that their judgments can be wrong. Each team member will write three pieces of information on a piece of paper – two of them will be true, then one will be a believable lie.
There will be two teams, so you’ll ask someone from the first group to read what they wrote, then the opposing team will have to guess which one’s a lie. This will teach everyone that judging peers based on what they heard of them is wrong, and this will also encourage team members who are often quiet to share their insights in a low-key manner. This works for remote workers and in-person events.
17: Group Timeline
You simply create a blank timeline on a whiteboard. And using sticky note pads, write important dates related to the company. Then hand out sticky pads to all the participants and have them write four important moments that happened within that timeline. It will enable discussions of how generational and cultural differences can impact communication and function between humans.
18: Watch where you step
Here, you’ll need tape to mark the starting and ending points of a large polygonal shape. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be big enough for two members to play in it. You’ll also place sheets of paper marked X to serve as mines, as well as squeaky toys. Have each member of the team blindfolded, then stand on the starting point.
They shouldn’t step outside the shape or the mines, or they will be frozen. If the other team member player steps on a squeaky toy, that’s the only time they’ll be unfrozen. Their only guide would be the voices of their other team members who are outside and aren’t blindfolded. Whoever reaches the end point first is the winning team. It’s all about trust and communication.
19: What is my name?
If you’re a fan of the TV show “The Office,” you probably remember the “Diversity Day” episode where they were going around the room with tags on their forehead, and the one member they’re talking to would mention stereotypes so they can figure out who they are. This game is like that, but the tags should mention famous names and are placed at the back of each team member.
The purpose of this game is to have everyone realize that the stereotyping they did in the game is how they treat others. It narrows down the views we have of others.
20: The perfect square
Put your team’s communication skills to the test while removing the power of sight by blindfolding them. Using at least a 5-meter-long rope with the ends tied together, create a circle and have four members step inside it. Then, ask them to take a step back to create the square shape. It will let everyone be more confident to speak up and trust co-workers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are some good team-building exercises?
What are good team bonding games?
If your goal is to improve team bonding, it’s worth having your team try The Barter Puzzle or Ideas as building blocks. But there’s also Two Sides of a Coin, Talking in Circles, and Egg Drop. Some of these exercises can be fantastic virtual team-building activities for your remote team.
What are fun team-building activities?
Already tried the team-building games we have on the list? That’s okay! There are plenty of other games to play that are suitable for large groups and small teams. You can do Office Debates weekly, or as simple as board games that will have everyone joining in, like Taboo, or even charades!
What are the 4 main types of team-building activities?
With the list we provided, we mentioned skills and abilities that are being developed in each exercise, such as building trust. Still, the 4 main types of team-building activities are:
- Decision-making or Problem-solving
What are the 6 elements of team building?
All groups would require fundamentals to ensure that it would work as one strong unit, and for the teams to achieve victory, they must:
- Have the right team leader to make the whole team thrive
- Have a blend of different personalities to increase workplace collaboration
- Have a trusting relationship that encourages righteous decision-making
- Communication that’s open, honest, and recognizes valuable ideas
- Ability to understand the company culture and of others
- Work and play as a team to build cohesion
Choosing the right team-building activities is up to you
Before you can pick out team-building activities for your teammates, it’s best to consider what would work for them and how it can help them develop in the workplace. Ask yourself: What’s the purpose of doing this team-building exercise?
You should also take into account if you should have an activity indoors or outdoors, what time everyone is available, and your team’s size. The bottom line is that we’re looking for a way to better help the whole team go forward in the same direction while working happily together.
Our list is quite long, but you can save these ideas and utilize them freely to boost everyone’s morale during after-work hours in the conference room or the next team-building event. Which games did you like best? Did we miss something? Share it with us by commenting below.