Looking for Ways to Strengthen Your work Culture? We Count Down the 35 Best Team Building Activities.
The productivity of a group — be it sports, work, or any other — comes down to the camaraderie, trust, cohesion, and group-creativity that binds the individuals. While some (misinformed) managers and business leaders write-off team building activities as quirky and ineffective, we at AmazingCo have complete faith in their long-term power to improve team output. To that end, we’re counting down what we believe to be the 35 best team building activities.
The first of our team building activities is a modern take on an old classic. To prepare, print out 30 cards with consecutive numbers printed on one side (i.e., numbers 1 to 30) and 15 pairs of brand logos on the other (i.e., the Nike tick goes on the back of two cards, the Facebook F goes on the back of two cards, etc., until you have 15 logos printed on all 30 cards).
Pin the cards to a board with the numbers facing out (so the logos are concealed) and have team members take turns flipping over two of the cards, in an effort to uncover a pair of the same logo. The trick is trying to remember where each logo is located on the board, so you can easily match up the pairs when it’s your turn.
34. Object Charades
A simple icebreaker, team members take turns picking an object in the room to demonstrate with only their actions (no speaking allowed from the person acting it out). Whoever guesses the correct object takes the next turn.
One of the more enjoyable team building activities to introduce, for this one you need a big pile of Legos and a pre-built Lego structure. The team is divided into two groups and a captain from each group gets 30 seconds to look at the pre-built structure (which is otherwise hidden from both groups) before returning to their group to instruct them on how to build the secret structure. The group that builds the closest-resembling version of the hidden structure, wins.
32. Ocean’s 11
Stick pieces of string (which act as dangerous laser beams) across a doorway and split your team into two groups. The aim of the game is for the groups to race to guide each of their members through the doorway without any member touching any part of the laser beams. If a team member does touch a laser beam, that person has to step out and try again.
31. Trump Tower
Split your team into two groups and supply each group with 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 roll of tape, 1 roll of string, and 1 marshmallow. The aim is for the groups to compete to build the tallest tower with only the materials supplied to them. When they’ve finished, the marshmallow has to be the highest point of the tower, and the structure must stand on its own for at least 10 seconds, without anyone or anything else keeping it upright.
30. Catch Phrase
Similar to Object Charades, for this one team members take turns describing a well-known phrase without saying any of the words that make up the phrase (prepare with a bundle of phrases written out on slips of paper, which team members have to pick from a hat).
29. Blind Square
One of the team building activities on the list designed specifically to improve communication amongst team members, for this one you’ll need several pieces of long, equal-length rope and several blindfolds. Divide your team into smaller groups of four to six people and give each group their length of rope and blindfolds (one blindfold per person). While they’re not blindfolded, have the group form a circle with their length of rope and place it on the floor. Then, blindfold each team member and have the groups compete to turn their circle of rope into a perfect square, without any team member peaking or lifting their blindfold.
28. Paper Planes
Who says team building activities can’t be childishly amusing? Split your team into groups and have them compete to build the perfect paper plane. The team with the plan that flies the farthest wins.
27. Scrambled Eggs
Split your team into groups and supply each group with basic construction materials (paddle pop sticks, glue, tape, straws, etc.) and a raw egg. Give the groups half an hour or so to build a structure to safeguard the egg. Drop the structures from a height and see which team’s design keeps the egg from splattering.
26. Zombie Attack
This is a fun way to improve your team’s creative and time-pressured problem-solving abilities. Take everyone into a conference room, lock the door, and tie one member of the group (the ‘zombie’) by the foot to a table in the corner. For all the other team members, the aim of the game is to answer a series of puzzles or clues to ‘escape’ the room before the zombie reaches them. For every five minutes that go by before the team solves all the puzzles, lengthen the rope tied to the zombie’s leg so that they edge closer and closer towards mauling the group.
25. My Kitchen Rules
For this one, you can either split up your team and run your own version of My Kitchen Rules (if you have access to a kitchen), or just shout everyone to a group cooking class (you can either hire a chef to come to your workplace and do it, or take everyone offsite).
24. Team Picasso
Like the previous item, this is another of the team building activities on the list designed simply to encourage bonding within your workplace. Either bring in some fabric canvases and a painting teacher or take your teammates on an excursion for an organised painting class.
23. Mystery Meal
Shout your team to a mystery meal at a restaurant that only you know the details of ahead of the event. If you have a small workplace, take your whole team, and if you work within a large company, split numbers up into smaller cohorts.
22. The Neverending Story
You might’ve played this one as a kid (which is no excuse to not play it now). The neverending story starts with a few lines of a story, which you, as the coordinator, should start. Before it’s continued on by another member, finish your lines with, “Suddenly…”, which sets the story up for the next person to carry on. The story goes around the group, each new addition ending with “Suddenly…” until the last person has added their two cents and the makeshift story is complete.
21. Wet ‘n’ Wild
For this addition to our list of team building activities you need a warm, sunny day and maybe a change of clothes. This one’s fun, so don’t overthink it. Take your team out to a grassy area with a bundle of filled water balloons. The game is simple: team members partner off and start to throw a balloon to each other. With each successful throw, the pairs must take a step back from each other to make the throws ever more dangerous. Last pair standing, wins.
20. Prison Break
Have team members pair off (or choose the pairs, if you want to improve communication between certain people) and tie one of their wrists together. Prepare a series of tasks (building a lego structure, etc.) that the pairs have to do while bound together. This one’s great for relationship-building and to improve inter-team communication.
19. Facts and Fiction
A fun, engaging way to break the ice, this one requires team members to go around the room and proclaim two truths and one lie about themselves, for everyone else to guess which two are the facts and which one is the fiction.
18. Arctic Survival
Split your team into groups and supply each group with a bundle of construction materials (paddle pop sticks, sticky tape, etc.). Set the scene that the teams are made up of arctic explorers who’ve found themselves trapped in a precarious situation in the freezing conditions and need to build a shelter to survive, with only the construction materials at their disposal. For each group, nominate a leader and declare that person frostbitten and unfit to do anything other than direct their team on what to build and how (all the other team members must only build, not direct). When the timer runs out, turn on the arctic conditions (an office fan will do) and see which team’s shelter survives the longest.
17. Office Trivial Pursuit
A fun way to build relationships within your team, split the numbers into groups and have them battle it out in a game of trivia, where all the questions relate to your workplace. Want to take it up a notch? Why not hire a game show host to come and turn your office in your favourite classic game shows.
16. Picasso Pairs
Split your team into pairs and have them sit back-to-back. Give one member of the pairs a pad of paper and pen and the other member a simple line drawing. The aim of the game is for the person with the line drawing to describe what they see (without just saying what the shape is) so that the person with the pen and pad can attempt to draw what’s being described to them.
Another of the team building activities on the list designed as a fun technique to strengthen communication and trust amongst teammates. For this one, you’ll first need to set up a ‘minefield’ of office furniture and other objects sprawled out along a hallway. Then, have colleagues pair off, with one wearing a blindfold and the other directing them down the hallway, making sure they don’t run into any of the ‘mines’.
14. Vegemite & Butter
Have the names of famous pairs (like vegemite & butter, Mario & Luigi, Simon & Garfunkel, etc.) written on separate pieces of paper. Stick one of the names on the back of each teammate and make sure they don’t start off knowing their name. Have the group mingle and ask questions of each other, with the aim of figuring out what name they have on their back, before they can find their rightful pair. The only catch is, the participants can only ask their colleagues questions requiring yes or no answers.
13. Hole in the Tarp
A super simple and active way for teams to spend some enjoyable time together outside of their regular work duties. You’ll need a tarp with a decent-sized hole in it and a tennis ball (or multiple tarps and tennis balls, depending on the size of your team). Each team member participating needs to take hold of a corner or side of the tarp and pull it tightly before the tennis ball is let loose in the middle of it. The group members then need to work together to ensure they don’t lose the tennis ball through the hole.
12. A Bridge Apart
For this one you’ll need a random bundle of construction materials (paddle pop sticks, rulers, Lego, cardboard, glue, sticky tape, etc.). Split your team into two groups and have the groups work independently of each other to construct one half of a bridge. While it’s important each group doesn’t see what the other is building, they can discuss the design of their respective halves during the build process. When the time is up, have the groups come together with their halves and work together to make them whole.
Like the cooking and painting classes, this is another of the team building activities on the list designed solely to encourage your teammates to build a stronger rapport with each other, outside of the formal work setting. As a bonus, it gets people active and won’t cost a fortune.
10. Shark Tank
Split your team into smaller groups and have them conceive of a product idea to pitch to a board of fake investors, Shark Tank style. You can either make it work-focussed, and have the groups come up with ideas for the company, or let their imaginations run wild. Don’t forget to cast the role of the grumpy, belligerent token Shark to spice up the judging panel.
9. Desert Island
A fun way to improve your team’s collaboration and group problem solving abilities, set the scene that the plane carrying them all has gone down and left them shipwrecked on a deserted island. Have them write and prioritise a list of 10 to 20 items in the office (‘the island’) that they would use to survive. The challenge is having all members of the team agree on what items go on the list, and in what priority.
8. Group Jigsaw
You need two puzzles for this one, and you’ll need to take a handful of pieces from one and exchange them with a handful of pieces from the other (without the team knowing). Split the team into two groups and have them start to solve their respective puzzles. When they’re down to their last handful of pieces, and they realise those pieces don’t fit the puzzle they’re building, wait for the groups to communicate their predicament and advise them that they’re from then on required to complete their puzzles together, exchanging only one puzzle piece at a time.
7. Group Improv
Those who’ve done improv (me included) swear by its uncanny powers of team building and unification. Either hire in an improv teacher for the day or take your team offsite to an organisation that runs them as group classes.
6. Laser Tag
Well, this one’s just a lot of fun. But it’s also a great outing for your team to bond, and for them to improve their individual leadership abilities and collaboration skills.
Often times, just giving your team the opportunity to develop relationships in a relaxed, non-work setting is all that’s needed to get the most out of them as a working group. For this one, organise a day of sightseeing and touristing around your own city. So long as you stick to free or cheap activities, it’s an affordable way for people to get to know each other better.
4. Scavenger hunt
Prepare by hiding a collection of unique items in locations within a few kilometres radius of your office, then split everyone into groups and have them solve riddles to figure out where the items are hidden. The team to find and collect the most items, wins.
3. Community Service
Nothing brings a group of people together more than when it’s rallied to contribute to a good cause. Deploy your team out into the community for a day to help an organisation serving the less fortunate and you’re sure to reap the team-building byproducts.
2. Escape Room
Escape rooms have popped up in cities all over the world over the past few years, and for good reason: they’re a super engaging activity for groups. Part of what makes them so engaging is their demand for participants to communicate and work with each other to solve the series of problems standing between them and their escape, which makes them one of the best de facto team building activities.
1. Amazing Race
We’ve all binged for days on this classic, pre-Netflix reality TV show. Prepare by taking photos of landmarks within a few kilometres radius of your office, then split everyone into groups and have them race to locate them all, ensuring they take photos as proof they actually did find them. First group home, with photos of all the landmarks, wins. Or, if you prefer, hire a facilitator to run your Amazing Race.
There you have it, our countdown of the 35 best team building activities. If you’re on the lookout for something a little more organised, remember to check out our curated experiences for work teams, including our corporate wine tours, food & wine nights, and kids at work days.