All too often, the ideas for team-building activities going around on the internet aren’t very interesting, or require way too much planning.
That’s why we’ve decided to compile the very best ideas for team-building games to foster group cohesion.
1. Treasure Hunt
A good old-fashioned treasure hunt is a classic for developing teamwork and communication. Armed with clues, your employees will have to work together to find the hidden treasure as fast as possible.
Depending on the difficulty level, a treasure hunt can last from 1 to more than 3 hours.
It requires a team of at least 8 people.
For best results, be creative: Pick an original theme, get inspired by the best ideas on the internet, get outdoors, etc.
💡 To speed up your planning, use tools to auto-generate the puzzles.
2. “Tell Me What You See”
“I see a sunset over a wheat field. The sky makes up the top half of the picture. There are shades of red, orange and pink. The wheat is swaying in the breeze. There are rocks in the bottom right-hand corner.”
Split up your employees into pairs. One of the partners has to describe an image placed in front of him or her; the other must draw what they hear described (without seeing the image, of course). The object of the game is to try to make the drawing that best represents the initial image.
This activity is perfect for working on communication since your employees will have to use multiple strategies to make an accurate drawing. It is suitable for teams of all sizes, and requires little in the way of materials.
💡 To spice things up, you can set time limits.
3. Blind Obstacle Course
To turn an obstacle course into a team-building exercise, pair up your employees and blindfold one of the two partners. The non-blindfolded partner will be guiding the blindfolded one through the course.
This activity requires some space, so I suggest that you take the opportunity to go outdoors.
4. Homemade Quiz
Organize a quiz and challenge your employees to find as many right answers as possible. Try to ask original questions, and play around with the level of difficulty. For example, you might ask questions about your business, or the products or services you offer.
Your employees will get to know each other better and connect in a relaxed atmosphere. Some team-building activities should also just be aimed at having a good time together.
To make the activity more interactive, try an online tool such as Kahoot.
5. Team Puzzle
Puzzles are generally associated with calm and quiet. Why not try a revamped format with your employees? Have them solve a team puzzle as fast as possible.
For an even greater challenge, mix all the puzzles together on the same table.
The participants will have to sort the pieces before they can even start their own puzzle
(or mix up their opponents’ pieces even more…).
Each team will have to decide on a strategy, and the game will test their communication skills as well as their patience.
💡 When choosing the puzzles, make sure to select the right difficulty level so that this activity doesn’t drag on for hours.
6. Truths and Lies
This is a well-known conventional game, but it really helps break the ice, get to know your coworkers better and overcome preconceived notions.
So, how do you play? On a sheet of paper, each participant writes 2 lies and 1 truth about themselves. The object is to figure out which of the 3 “facts” are true.
- I’ve run a half-marathon before.
- My hair is naturally curly.
- I’ve been to 15 countries.
If you have a large team, you can divide people into smaller groups. Alternatively, you can simply let them talk freely among themselves. The goal is for them to be able to identify as many truths as possible.
This activity is best when you have several new members on your team.
7. Board Games
Why not have fun while you connect? People often think of board games for an evening with friends—but they can also be great for working on team cohesion.
Your employees will have a lot of fun, but will also work on super important workplace skills, such as creativity.
💡 This idea is a more casual and less formal team-building activity.
8. Engineering Challenge
Put your team’s engineering skills to the test by having them build a tower using only 25 uncooked spaghetti noodles, some tape, and a marshmallow.
- Give them the following constraints:
- The team with the highest tower wins;
- The marshmallow must be at the top of the tower;
- The tower must stand for at least 10 seconds;
- The length of the activity is 30 minutes.
Watch your employees brainstorm the best team strategy.
9. Paper Plane
We’ve all made paper planes before. This activity is simple and easy, and takes little time.
Organize a contest for the best paper plane. The rules are straightforward: Each team is given a single sheet of white paper and 5 minutes to build its prototype. Whoever flies the farthest wins.
💡 If you have a small team, each employee can make their own plane rather than building it together.
10. The Price Is Right
Ever watched the TV show The Price Is Right? In a nutshell, participants are presented with products and have to “guestimate” what they’re worth. The one who comes closest to the actual price, without overshooting, wins.
Divide your employees into two teams and have them select one person to represent them in each round. There are several ways to play; pick whichever one suits you best.
This activity will allow your employees to perfect their communication skills.
💡 This is an especially great game to play with a large team. It’s also perfect for retail businesses, which can estimate the value of their own products.
11. Find the Person Who…
To help your employees get to know one another better, organize an activity to spark some conversation. Make a list of about 30 achievements, characteristics or miscellaneous facts.
For example, someone who:
- Has run a marathon;
- Speaks more than 4 languages;
- Has visited more than 10 countries;
- Is over the age of 30;
- Has been to university;
- Has dual nationality;
- Is allergic to bees.
Your employees will have to talk to as many people as possible and connect each statement to at least one person. Some statements may not correspond to any of your team members. The goal is simply for your employees to connect and get to know each other.
💡 This activity works well with a team of more than 20 people.
12. My First Job
“My first job was as a cook’s helper for a caterer. We started work very early and that’s part of why I’m still an early riser to this day. ”
This activity requires some preparation. Ask each of your employees to describe their first job to you in a few lines. Print each story and let your employees try to link each job experience with a colleague.
This will help your employees get to know each other better. You might even get a few funny anecdotes.
13. Flip the Blanket
Finding a solution to a problem as a team can be difficult—especially when you don’t have much time.
In teams of 3 or 4, your employees must flip the blanket they are on. They may not touch the ground itself at any time during this task (the floor is lava!).
This will really give your team members’ communication and strategic thinking skills a workout!
14. Code of Conduct
Imagine that overnight, life as we know it has come to an end. In this apocalyptic scenario, people must fight to survive in nature. Small communities start to coalesce, and a code of conduct must be put in place to maintain some order.
With this scenario in mind, have your employees team up and devise a code of conduct for their society. Using only their creativity, they will have to determine what is acceptable and what is not.
This exercise will allow them to share their values, work as a team to reach a consensus, and exercise their communication skills.
When you get back into a large group, each team will be able to present their rules and explain how they came up with them.
For Best Results
To make sure each team-building activity is truly complete, do a debrief after each one so that your employees can share their impressions and what they learned.
Anonymous surveys are the go-to solution to get employee feedback after team-building activities.
Of course, the purpose of these activities is first and foremost to have fun. So be sure to make the activity enjoyable for everyone. Why not offer snacks and refreshments for an even better time?