Category: Team Building Exercises

Creative Problem Solving Team Building Exercises

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A problem can be defined as a scenario in which the current situation does not match the desired situated. A problem arises when actual performance does not match expectations. Problems are also referred to as challenges and opportunities, or any situation for which there is room for improvement. Creative problem solving is a structured approach to finding and implementing solutions.

Related: Creative Thinking Outcome Based Team Building Activities

As the name suggests, creative problem solving involves creativity. The team comes up with innovative solutions to problems, rather than obtaining help to learn answers or implementing standard procedures. The following are some of the team building exercises that TBAE uses to promote creative problem solving skills within teams.

Model Replication

At the beginning of the Model Replication team building exercise, the group is divided into teams which will compete against each other. Each team is given the same components of the model they have to build. The model that the teams need to replicate has been pre-made and hidden from view. The object of the exercise is for the teams to replicate this model with the pieces that they have received. Only one member at a time is allowed to go and view the model that must be replicated. The team member then has to come back and explain to the rest of the team how the model should look. When the team member comes back, another team member is allowed to go and view the hidden model. When all the teams have completed their model, the hidden model is revealed, and the models created by the teams are compared to it. The team whose model looks the most like the hidden model is declared the winner.

Hula Hoop Down

This activity is much harder than it looks. The team stands in a circle, and the objective is to move the Hula Hoop down from above waste height to the ground. There are certain restrictions in terms of how the Hula Hoop is allowed to be held.

Movie Making

Team Building and Events movie making team building event is a fun and interactive activity suitable for everyone regardless of their age, level of fitness or physical abilities. The participants of the team building event are divided into teams. The members of the teams have to work together to write a script, produce, direct and act in the “Movie” using limited resources. Participants are encouraged to tap into their creative and practical abilities as they start to produce their movie. This event is not only an excellent team building tool but also provides great entertainment when the movies are viewed at the end of the day and rewards given.

Magic Carpet

Each team member needs to stand on the small carpet. The carpet then needs to be turned over without any body part of each team member touching the floor. Some interesting body positions.

Art Workshop

In TBAE’s Art Workshop, participants are divided into teams, and each team is given an individual canvas on which to work. All the canvasses are combined at the end of the exercise to create one work of art. Each team works on their section of the painting believing that the object of the event is to produce the best work of art on their particular canvas on which they are working. While the teams are working on their canvas, they have no idea what the other teams are doing and that they are, in fact, working on a single goal and not competing against each other. The end result is a combination of art works each having its own unique style, but creating one new original work of art.

Blindfold collection

Two team members at a time are blindfolded, and the rest of the team need to communicate to them which objects to pick-up. Each team member needs to have a turn to be blindfolded before the team can move onto the next activity.

Murder Mystery

In the Murder Mystery team building event, guests arrive for dinner looking like their character role (we bring all the costumes, characters, scripts and clues that you will need). The fun begins as each person tries to prove their innocence by proving someone else at their table guilty. The murder plot is played over a meal (from simple snacks to five course gourmet meals). A “murder” is announced, and this becomes an excuse for the guests to enter a period during which they tend to reveal the biggest lot of fabrications, deceit and cover-ups imaginable.

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Blindfolded Minefield Team Building Exercise

Blindfolded Minefield Team Building Exercise
Blindfolded Minefield Team Building Exercise

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting in on the Faculty Training Institute’s team building event at Lanzerac Hotel and Spa in Stellenbosch. It was raining on the day, and our team building facilitator did an excellent job at creatively utilizing the indoor space that was allocated to the team. One of the team building exercises that I enjoyed observing was the Blindfolded Minefield.

In the Blindfolded Minefield activity, participants have to navigate through a minefield of objects while they are blindfolded. To get through the minefield, they have to listen to the instructions of their team members who have to guide them around the obstacles. To make it even more challenging, two teams competing against each other, start at the same time from opposite sides of the course. The blindfolded team member has to listen closely and make sure he/she is following the instructions of their own team and not of the other team. The further the blindfolded team member moves in the course, the further away from the team members he/she moves. Hearing their own team members becomes more difficult, but the voices of the opposing team become more prominent.

Once one of the team members crosses over to the other side, they can start giving instructions from that side as well. This should make it easier for the rest of the team to cross the minefield while at the same time interfering with the instructions given by the opposite team. If the blindfolded team member steps on one of the obstacles they have to go back to the beginning and another team member can take their place.

The Blindfolded Minefield exercise is about team work and communication. Participants learn to recognize and follow the instructions of their team members. They have to focus on the voices of their own team and tune out the other voices. If they follow the wrong voice they end up standing on a landmine.

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Team Building Exercises that Promote Communication and Team Work

Over the years,  TBAE has developed a collection of fun exercises that promote team work and communication skills. The following is a selection of some of the team building exercises that TBAE offers in their various group and indoor activities.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Team Building Exercises for Communication

Bhati  In this exercise, one team must pick up as many objects as possible and put them into a crate, only using their feet. They need to achieve this while avoiding ‘fire’ from the opposing team. If anyone does get hit by a ‘missile’, they need to get out of the designated area. Once all the team members have been hit the objects are counted, and the teams swap over to see whom the winning team is.

Blindfold Collection – Two team members at a time are blindfolded, and the rest of the team need to communicate to them which objects to pick-up. Each team member will have a chance to be blindfolded.

Bubble Pie – In this team building exercise teams have to “make” as many bubbles as possible in a bucket filled with soapy water. The team is given a tin can which needs to be filled with bubbles. When a team member has the tin can filled with bubbles, he/she needs to run to a bucket on the opposite side and deposit what is left of the bubbles in the empty bucket. They then run back to the line, passing the empty can to the next person in line. That person repeats the whole process, which continues until everyone in the line has had a turn. Team with the most bubbles in the bucket wins.

Bucket challenge – This exercise take place in the form of a relay race with teams racing against each other while trying to transport as much water as possible. The buckets need to stay on top of the team member’s heads at all times which makes staying dry extremely difficult.

Catty Shooting – The Catty is a small hand-held weapon that is powered by pulling back an elastic band that is joined to the small pouch that holds the items being shot. In this team building exercise, a target needs to be hit a certain number of times with the team members taking turns at trying to hit the target.

Frisbee Golf – In this exercise, instead of hitting a ball into a hole, you throw a Frisbee until it lands in a Hoola Hoop. Like normal golf, the object of Frisbee Golf is to complete each hole in the least number of throws. The player with the least throws on the last hole throws first on the next.

Hula Hoop Down – The team stands in a circle, and the goal is to move the Hula Hoop down from above waist height to the ground. There are certain restrictions in terms of how the Hula Hoop is allowed to be held.

Magic Carpet – In this exercise, each team member needs to stand on a small carpet. The team must then turn over the carpet without any body part of each team member touching the ground.

Marble Run – In the Marble Run exercise a marble needs to be rolled from point A to point B using pipes. The team members need to join the pipes together without the marble falling to the ground. If the marble hits the ground at any time they have to start again.

Memory Tester – The object of this exercise is for the team to build a replica of a structure. The teams are given all the pieces that make up this structure. However, the structure is not in front of them, and only one team member at a time is able to see the structure. They can move back to the structure as many times as they want to but time is of the essence in the race against the other teams. Communication and team work are crucial in this team building exercise.

Mummy Race  In this exercise a team member is mummified with toilet paper by the rest of the team. The mummy must then be carried by the team members to the tomb. The team whose mummy is the most intact wins the exercise.

Over & Under – Teams stand in long lines facing each other back to front. At the head of each line,  there is a bucket of water and at the other end a plastic empty container. A sponge is given to the person at the head of the line where the water bucket is. That person has to dip the sponge in the water to soak in as much water as they can. Then they have to pass the wet sponge over their head to the person behind – who then passes the sponge to the person behind them through their legs. The sponge makes its way back over the head of one person and between the legs of the next until it gets to the person standing next to the empty container. That person must squeeze whatever water is left into the empty container and run the sponge back up to the head of the line. The team with most water in the container wins.

Plank Walk – Teams race against each other with multiple participants from each team sharing a couple of planks. To move forward on the planks the team members have to work together and coordinate their movements.

Tyre Race  In this exercise, members of the team need to maneuver tyres around certain obstacles using the two wooden poles provided. This is a relay race.

Water Balloon Toss  Team members from the same team stand facing each other at a two meter distance and throw a water balloon to the member on the opposite side – after every successful toss and catch the members each take a step backward – the 2 team member that can successfully throw and catch at the furthest distance from each other win for their team.

Water Transfer – Teams need to transfer water from one side to the other using a combination of different equipment including canvas sheets and pipes with holes in them. Prepare to get extremely wet.

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Egg and Spoon Race Team Building Exercise

The Egg and Spoon Race is one of the popular exercises in TBAE’s “Boeresport” Games team building event. The Egg and Spoon Race is an uncomplicated activity, where the main objective is to balance an egg (or similar item) on a spoon and race with it to get to the finish line first. This is not only a popular team building activity, but is also often found at school events where it is combined with other traditional games such as Sack Races and Three-legged Races.

Egg and Spoon Race Team Building Exercise

Although some might argue with this, the Egg and Spoon Race was not birthed in South Africa.  The Oxford Dictionary states 1894 as its earliest recorded usage although earlier practice has been claimed in Colonial USA. In 1897, the Egg and Spoon Race was part of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee; it was also part of the Silver and Diamond Jubilee’s of Queen Elizabeth the second. A set of wooden eggs and spoons dating from the 1920’s is exhibited in the Good Time Gallery of Museum of Childhood in London.  Until the 1950’s Egg and Spoon Races were regularly held among employees of Trinity College in Cambridge.

The rules of the Egg and Spoon Race are straight forward. The race takes place between individuals or between teams in the form of a relay race. Whenever a participant drops their egg they either have to stop and reposition the egg to continue, or they need to go back to the start, or they can even be disqualified, depending on the rules agreed upon for that particular event.  To make the event more challenging, contestants may be required to hold the spoon with both hands or hold the spoon in their mouth.

For those who take their Egg and Spoon racing seriously, we have a few tips which will give a contestant the winning edge. Firstly it is vital that the egg and spoon is carried with soft hands and relaxed muscles. This makes it easier to sense the position of the spoon and eggs in space, enabling the contestant to make quick corrections. Relaxed arms and hands, also promote relaxation of the shoulders, chest, neck and shoulders. The next critical point to remember is to, always, keep your focus on the finishing line and not let the eyes stray towards the egg or other contestants. The body is best kept in balance by focusing on an object that is fixed and further away, and remember the body tends to follow where the eyes are looking.  To be a winning Egg and Spoon racer, it is also necessary to have the right footwear. They need to be thin and flexible so that the contestant can feel the terrain he/she is running on, which assists in making necessary adjustments.

There are a number of world records for Egg and Spoon Racing with the New Yorker Ashrita Furman the owner of a large share of them.  Ashrita Furman’s records include as at 7 July 2012 the fastest 100m in 19.39 seconds, fastest 100m with a spoon in mouth in 25.3 seconds, fastest mile in 7 minutes 8 seconds and fastest mile with a spoon in the mouth in 9 minutes 29 seconds.  In 1990, a London Marathon runner completed the marathon in 3 hours and 47 minutes whilst balancing an uncooked egg on a dessert spoon.

Sources: Wikipedia.org | http://www.mymovementimprovement.com/blog/2012/4/6/how-to-run-the-perfect-egg-spoon-race.html

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Tug of War Team Building Exercise

Tug of War is one of the popular exercises in TBAE’s Boeresport Games team building activity. The Boeresport Games activity was designed to bring back old memories with a combination of traditional games where teams compete against each other with a variety of different exercise. In this blog, we will focus on Tug of War as one of those exercises.

Tug of War Team Building Exercise

The Oxford English Dictionary describes the original meaning of the phrase Tug of War as “the decisive contest, the real struggle or tussle; a severe contest for supremacy”.  Tug of War has evolved into a competitive sport, team building exercise or popular recreational activity. Although there is no definite record of where Tug of War originated from, there is evidence that a form of Tug of War was practiced as far back as the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century BCE to 5th century BCE.

Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty is recorded as promoting mass Tug of War games with ropes up to 167 meters in length. Teams consisted of as many as 500 people, with each team having their own set of drummers to cheer them. Tug of War type games were also popular in India as far back as the 12th century AD. There are also stories of Viking warriors, from Scandinavia and Germany, pulling animal skins over open pits of fire as an exercise to prepare them for battle. It is only from the 19th century onwards that the term Tug of War became used for athletic contests between two teams at the opposite ends of a rope.

Formal competition rules for Tug of War requires that there must be two teams of eight people each. Teams are classified into different weight classes that compete against each other. The rope used in formal competitions is usually around ten centimeters in circumference and marked with a center line. On either side, four meters from the center line, there is another marking on the rope. The pull starts with the center line directly above a line marked on the ground. The winning team is the team that pulls the other team’s marker over the marking line on the ground. A team will also win when the other team commits a foul such as one of the members falling or lowering  an elbow lower than the knee. Other possible fouls include touching the ground for an extended period or not keeping the rope underneath the arms. When used in team building or as a recreational activity, these rules will most likely be more loosely adhered to in keeping with the spirit of the activity.

There are many Tug of War clubs all over the world where men and women participate in this sport. It was part of the Olympic Games from 1900 to 1920 and is still contested in the World Games.  The Tug of War International Federation organizes biannual World Championships for nations to compete. These competitions take place indoors as well as outdoors.

Resources: Wikipedia.org

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Minute to Win It Team Building Exercises

Minute to Win It is a popular game show where contestants take part in a series of 60-second challenges using objects that are commonly available around the house.  Minute to Win It  is also a fun team building activity for the office.

Minute to Win It Team Building Exercises

Here are some of the challenges that the contestants are faced with when they compete in the Minute to Win It show.

A Bit Dicey – The contestant must stack six dice on a Popsicle stick held in their mouth and balance them for three seconds.

Baby Rattle – The contestant must transfer 274 gumballs from one two-liter bottle to the other by shaking them. This must be done with each of the two bottles held in both hands.

Bite Me – The contestant must grab different sized paper bags, in order from largest to smallest, in their mouth and place them on a table without using any body part except the feet for balance. The size of the bags goes down by increments of 5.1 cm.

Blow Ball – The contestant must blow 73 red Ping-Pong balls off of a large pizza platter without knocking off the three yellow Ping-Pong balls scattered in the mess of red Ping-Pong balls.

Booby Trap – The contestant must bounce a ping pong ball in an attempt to knock a potato chip can leaning diagonally on a glass bottle down so the chip can falls, containing the bottle inside the can. This must be done three out of five times.

Bottoms Up – The contestant must use a yo-yo attached to their back to knock over four or six empty soda cans on pedestals.

Bulb Balance – The contestant must balance two eggs upright on light bulbs using only one or two unopened packets of salt to stabilize the eggs.

By a Thread – The contestant must use one hand to run a piece of thread through the eye of ten needles, each one with a smaller eye than the previous.

Caddy Stack – The contestant must stack three golf balls on the table. The stack must remain in place for three seconds in order for the contestant to complete the challenge.

CD Dominoes – The contestant must line up 20 CD cases around a shot glass (or red sticker) in a way that, when one is blown over (or lightly tapped), all of them fall and the final case in the series falls into a bucket located next to the contestant.

Chop Stack – Using a pair of chopsticks, the contestant must stack four lip balm containers on top of each other. The tower must stay standing for three seconds in order to count.

Cappuccino – The contestant must drop a coffee cup on its side to land it in an upright position and then bounce a ping pong ball into the cup.

Defying Gravity – The contestant must keep three balloons in the air for 60 seconds, using any part of their body. The contestant fails the challenge if any of the balloons touch the ground, pop, or the contestant goes outside the circular part of the stage, also known as the 60-Second Circle. Dental

Dizzy Mummy – The contestant must unroll a toilet paper roll by executing 360-degree spins. Their fists must be closed at all times. The contestant fails the challenge if the toilet paper rips.

Egg Dance – The contestant must carry two eggs on inverted plates across the stage from one set of platforms to the other. The contestant fails the challenge if either egg drops.

Egg Roll – The contestant must fan two or three raw eggs with a pizza box into a pre-determined zone on the other side of the stage. The contestant fails the challenge if an egg rolls off the circular part of the stage or the egg cracks.

Fish Head – The blindfolded contestant must place a lampshade attached to a fishing pole on their head, and it must stay for three seconds.

Flying Gumball Saucers – The contestant must slide an upside-down Frisbee to knock over an inverted soda can with a Gumball in an attempt to land the gumball in the Frisbee. This must be done 5 out of 20

Give it a Whirl – The contestant must spin and transport three marbles in an upside-down wine glass from one stool to a small bowl on the other.

Hangnails – The contestant must hang six nails concurrently on a taut string.

Hoop De Loop – The contestant must roll hula hoop across the stage so that they come to rest surrounding a full two-liter soda bottle. There are seven bottles, and they must surround three. They must remain there for three seconds.

Human Burrito – The contestant must roll in five bed sheets and then unwrap from them. Level: 1

Iron Board Man – The contestants must work together to guide a marble down a metal ironing board with its legs extended and into one of three middle holes.

Junk in the Trunk – With an empty tissue box attached to their waist, the contestant must shake eight ping pong balls out of the box without using their hands.

Just Hang On – The contestant must balance 4 wire coat hangers by the tips of their hooks on a 1 mm thick nylon string. All the hangers must remain for three seconds to count.

Keep it Up – The contestant must keep two feathers in the air using only their breath for 60 seconds. The contestant fails the challenge if the feathers touch the body or the ground, or if the contestant goes out of the stage.

Magic Carpet Ride – The contestant must sit on and move a bath mat using the inchworm technique to navigate around three obstacles and back to the finish line.

Maze Craze – The contestant must maneuver a marble on top of a board through a maze consisting of rubber bands stretched around screws. If a marble falls off the board, the contestant may use a new one.

Nice Build – The contestants must work together to create a three-tiered tower using 15 reams of paper.

Nimble Thimble – Player must bounce a marble into each of six thimbles.

Nose Dive – The player must transfer five or six cotton balls, one at a time from one serving bowl to another using only petroleum jelly on the nose.

Office Tennis – The contestants must rally a crumbled up piece of paper back and forth using clipboards to land it in a trash can across the stage.

Paper Dragon – The contestant must unroll two rolls of party streamers with only their hands and arms.

Pink Elephant – The contestant must swing their head around in an attempt to retract a forehead mounted Slinky.

Pop Top – 48 bottle caps are placed on a round table top, and, using a single thumb, the contestant must flick one of these caps into a cup in the center of the table.

Rapid Fire – The contestant must shoot rubber bands to knock a triangle stack of six cans totally off a platform.

Roll With It – The contestant must un-spool two rolls of toilet paper at the same time. If the roll breaks, they pick it back up. They must use one hand for each roll.

Spare Me – The contestant must drop marbles down a pool noodle to knock over ten upright markers from 16 feet (4.9 m) away.

Spoon Frog – The contestant must use spoons to catapult three other spoons into glasses.

Stack Attack – The contestant must stack 36 cups in a pyramid form and then deconstruct it by sliding the cups down diagonally, and stacking the resulting piles into one giant stack, as it started in.

Tear It Up – The contestant must shoot rubber bands at a hanging roll of toilet paper with an empty soda can attached to the end, so that the toilet paper rips and the can falls to the floor.

Tuna Roll – The contestant must roll tuna cans around a two-by-four wood piece to knock over four inverted 2-liter soda bottles placed in a 2×2 formation.

Uphill Battle – The contestant must keep three marbles on a slanted table for 60 seconds using a back of a spoon. The contestant fails the challenge if any of the marbles falls off the table.

Worm Diving – The contestant, using a moist Gummy Worm as “bait”, must fish a pretzel out of a fishbowl full of them, bring the pretzel to their mouth, and eat the pretzel without using their hands or dropping the pretzel.

Yank Me – The contestant must place four cups upside down on a table, each cup with an index card over it. They must then yank out the index cards so that the cups collapse into a four cup stack. If it falls over, it may be restacked.

What are some of your favourite Minute to Win It  challenges that have not  been mentioned here.

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