Team building often gets a reputation for being a bit on the corny side. However, team building has reemerged in recent years as a highly successful way to do exactly what the name implies: turn strangers into a team. The key to successful team building is to get creative with it. Basically, if you are setting up trust falls at a corporate retreat, you’re going down the wrong path. Think more along the lines of Escape Houses. Team building exercises should get people up and moving about, breaking people out of their typical comfort zone.
In the spirit of getting creative, below are five fun and excellent team building activities to bring people together and build that sense of kinship you are striving for.
1. Beach Ball Q & A
What you will need: Have whoever is managing the exercise buy a large beach ball.
On that beach ball, write a variety of short, simple questions in permanent marker. These questions should be written all over the beach ball in various directions. Try to include as many as possible, leaving as little open space as you can. The questions should be comical and, if appropriate, modestly embarrassing. Ideally, everyone should be seated for this particular team-building exercise, with the goal being that people can’t avoid catching the beach ball. If it isn’t a seated event, people can sit on the floor. As a last result, have people stand in a tight circle.
Either the event coordinator or a high-ranking member of the company gets the ball first. That person will throw the volleyball up and catch it. They are required to answer the question that their right thumb landed on (with the left thumb being an alternative if it lands in a blank space). Then, that person will spike the beach ball to someone else, or up in the air in general. The person who catches it must then answer the question that their right thumb lands on.
2. Lip Sync-a Palooza
What you’ll need: a smartphone, speakers, a container and numbered pieces of paper
Separate your team into 4 small groups by choosing a number. Have each team choose a song that they want to lip sync to. Each team must create a full-scale dance to accompany the lip sync. However, there can also be people jamming out on a guitar or playing an additional instrument. Give them 15-20 minutes to come up with a routine. Then host a lip sync battle and hold a group vote to determine the winner. You can also give people a few days’ notice to really let them get creative and invite them to bring costumes if they want.
3. Talk About People Behind Their Back
What you’ll need: multiple pieces of white poster board cut in half, duct tape, colored markers
Each person will tape a piece of poster board onto their backs. Have everyone get out of their seats. Put on some peppy music. Everyone will then have an allotted amount of time to go around the room and write something they like about the other person on the poster board tapes to their backs. Afterward, people can read all the great comments!
4. Zombie Apocalypse
What you’ll need: a decently long rope, a key, a variety of puzzles (depending on the length of time allotted)
One team member will play the zombie, who will be tied to a rope. Every five minutes the rope will be let out a foot and the hungry zombie will get closer. The team will need to solve a puzzle before the zombie reaches the group in order to get the key to escape the zombie. This can be done multiple times with varying zombies.
5. Blind Drawing
What you’ll need: a picture, a marker or pen and a piece of poster board or thick paper cut to the width of a normal piece of paper
Divide everyone up into teams of two. Have one person hold the picture and the other person stand behind them and hold the piece of paper up to the other person’s back (the person drawing can’t see the picture). The person holding the picture of the image must describe to the person who is drawing the picture, without using any of the words. Try to make the images as odd as possible. A pelican or a lighthouse are good examples.