The girl scouts have been building teams for years. They have some great group activities you can use too to build better teams. Here are our top 19 games:
Affirmative Fold Ups
Give each person a sheet of paper and ask them to write their name on the top of the paper. Place all of the paper in the center of the circle. Have each participant draw a sheet from the circle (not their own) and ask them to write one positive word (or a sentence) about that person at the bottom of the sheet. They then fold the paper up to cover up the word. Have them place the sheet back in the center and repeat on another sheet back in the center and repeat on another sheet. Each personcontinue to select sheets from the circle to write affirming words on, until the name is the only thing showing on the paper. The leader can then distribute the papers to their owners.
Back to Back
Every person must find a partner of approximately equal height and weight if possible. The partners will lock arms with their backs to one another. With arms remaining locked at all times, the partners will sit down on the ground, kick their legs out straight, and try to stand back up. Then groups of four will try the same thing. Then groups of eight, sixteen, and eventually, the entire group together.
Divide group into two teams, each with a blanket held like a parachute. Toss in an object that is volleyed from team to team using the blanket for propulsion. Can add objects.
Group is blindfolded or with eyes closed. Have group form themselves into a square or a triangle, etc. Can use a rope with everyone holding on.
Divide group into pairs with one member of each pair blindfolded. Seeing partner leads blind partner on a walk. The walk should be challenging, including such obstacles as climbing over tables, crawling under chairs, walking up or down stairs, climbing over railings, etc.
Two groups meet on a log/bench/etc. (the bridge) The groups need to pass each other to get to the other side of the canyon. Anyone who falls off goes to the end of their group.
Establish pattern of tosses including everyone in a circle. Add additional objects periodically. This is a good way to help a group of strangers remember at least one person’s name forever.
- Have the group stand in a circle, fairly close together.
- Toss a ball across the circle calling out the player’s name to whom you toss it to. That player tosses to a different player and so on until everyone has caught the ball and thrown it on once. It should be back in your hands at this point.
- Repeat the sequence a couple of times. Add a second ball and then a third. Add as many balls as you want.
Variations? Make a wider circle
Use toilet paper instead of balls
Use various size balls
The game ends when no one will play anymore.
Have the people stand in a tight circle with their hands in the center. Then they grab others’ hands at random. The puzzle is then for the whole group to work together to get themselves untangled. Sometimes you’ll find that group has actually formed several smaller circles. This may get frustrating if you’ve formed a troublesome knot but let them keep trying.
Keep It Up
The players form two or more teams with 10-12 players on a team. Each team gets into a circle. Each team is given a volleyball (or similar type ball of any size). The players attempt to keep their ball in the air the longest. When a team wins, they get a point. The team with the most points, wins. Do not allow players to catch the ball during play. NOTE: To vary, change the way of scoring… say the ball must be hit in the order of the participants in the circle.
The group lines up in order of size, birthday, address, shoe size, shirt color, etc. Variations include no talking, blindfolded, blindfolded and no talking, etc.
Have the people stand in a circle and hold hands. Start one hula hoop (or inner-tube, long loop of fabric, etc.) hanging over one pair of joined hands. Each person in the circle must pass the hoop/loop over herself and on the next person – WITHOUT letting go of hands. For added difficulty, do this with 2 or 3 loop/hoops going at the same time in different directions.
People are given a piece of paper (preferably poster board). They are asked to cut out a face shape (that is fairly large – like the size of a regular face). They can cut out eyes and a mouth if they would like. Participants are the asked to decorate the face. One side represents what they feel people see/know/believe about them (on the outside). The other side represents what she feels about herself (things going on the inside, what people do not necessarily know or see, etc.) The participants then share with the group if they feel comfortable.
Have group discuss things that are detrimental to functioning as a group. For each characteristics/action, throw an object into the playing space (the “minefield.”) Have group choose partners. One partner is blindfolded at one end of the field. The non-blindfolded partners stand at the opposite end of the field and try to talk their partners through the minefield without running into any of the obstacles.
Piece of the Puzzle
Game leader should cut a puzzle out of poster paper ahead of time. (There should be one piece of each member of the group.) Have people decorate their piece to represent who they are and what they feel they can contribute to the group. Once the people are done, have them share what they have on their piece and assemble the puzzle. Leader should initiate a discussion on the power of everyone coming together, how much more of an impact a put together puzzle can have, than separate pieces, and how a final product could not be reached without a contribution from every piece of the puzzle.
Poison Peanut Butter
Draw two lines to represent the edges of the poison peanut butter. Hand group bandanas. Group needs to get everyone safely across using only the bandanas as safety zones. Variations include using too few bandanas for a continuous chain across or stating that once a bandana has been placed on the ground, it cannot be moved. In the second case, be sure there are enough bandanas to make it across if placed strategically..
Divide into smaller groups. Each group discusses their similarities and acts out for other group to guess.
Everyone in group touches stick at the same time. Break stick in half and repeat. Continue until stick is very small. (It’s easier to start with a simple goal and work up to a harder one…)
One partner falls backwards with other partner spotting. Variations include forward falls where partner extend arms and fall toward each other, connecting hands. This can be done from fairly far apart provided there are spotters ready to catch the fallers in the middle. (Note: Trust falls must be highly supervised.) Also a variation where there are at least 2 spotters, legs spread, one in front of the other, works well.
What You Don’t Know
Tape a blank piece of paper (poster board – kind of like a billboard over the person’s head) on everyone’s back. The members are to write a compliment or positive comment on the paper. At the end of the activity, explain that a lot of times we tend to give compliments behind someone’s back and it is not very often that we actually say these things to people’s faces. We sometimes take for granted the positive aspects of others. If you wish, you may also explain that criticisms often are given behind others’ backs as well, and that it may be more effective if they go to the person, instead of others. Have the people pair up with someone they would like to get to know better and remove the paper from each other’s backs. They should then explain to that person why they would like to get to know her better.
Wind in the Willows
A variation on trust falls involving the entire group. Group stands in a circle with one person in the middle. Person in middle falls in any direction, trusting spotters to catch him/her and stand him/her back up.
Nearly all of the Scout Junior badges have a teambuilding aspect in that they help them to learn about each other and work together, especially:
- Being My Best
- It’s Important to Me
- Healthy Relationships
- My Heritage
Other teambuilding activities such as these to allow the team to grow together as a group:
- Any activities where team work in pairs or small groups
- Cooperative or Teambuliding Games—check library internet for a myriad of resources
- 1042x: I Will Do My Best—fun activities for cooperation, communication, emotional expression, appreciating diversity, conflict resolution and building community
- Activity Boxes available from the Council:
- Brickworks for Brownie, Junior, Cadettes, Seniors
- Commodore’s Retreat Box for Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors
- Nebula Track for Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors