Tag: Team Building Games

Choosing The Right Types of Activities for Your Team Building Event

Choosing The Right Types of Activities for Your Team Building Event


Your team will expect that team building activities will be stimulating, interesting, and yes, fun. That does not mean that the facilitator has to be a comedian, but it does obligate you to incorporate some activities into your team building event that helps to engage your team members.

Related: Effective Team Building Activities

Planned team building activities will bring the following elements to your training:

  • Keeps the day moving at a stimulating pace
  • Fun helps to bring people together and break down barriers
  • Laughter leads to an endorphin release, which is healthy
  • Improves retention of material by providing hands on application and practice

In order to fully involve your team members, make sure that you preface activities with a discussion about safety. Let them know that what takes place in the team building sessions stays in there, so that they are encouraged to take risks, challenge previously held assumptions, and make mistakes and learn from them.

Choosing the right activity is very important. One sign of a good facilitator is someone who knows how to choose and even modify an activity to fit certain situations. A good resource library of activities is important so that you don’t find yourself re-using the same activities and tiring of them, or exposing them to people over and over, especially if you are an in-house fcilitator developing workshops for the same people.

The following list is a handy reference of the types of activities that can be the right fit for your training. Although some of the headings may overlap, the definitions are here to give you a better understanding of the range of activities that can be used.

Team Building Games: A game is an exercise that normally has a set of rules and an element of competition. Games often include some kind of reward.

Related: Fun Games for Team Building

Team Building Icebreakers: Icebreakers are used as an exercise to introduce group members to one another (break the ice), encourage some energy into the beginning of a workshop, and lead into the topic material. They are an important starting point to your training session.

Team Building Energizer: An energizer is a brief pick-me-up activity designed to invigorate a group if energy in the room is waning, or to bring them back together following a break. Energizers are often about five minutes long.

Simulations: A simulation is useful to train equipment operators when the tools that they will use are either very expensive or dangerous. Simulations are designed to be as realistic as possible so that participants can learn from the situation without worrying about damage or financial cost. Flying aircraft, offshore emergency evacuation procedures, combat training, and driving all make use of simulation training.

Role Plays: Role-playing is a helpful way to understand how participants react to certain situations. They are a very useful approach for practicing new skills in a non-threatening environment, where a participant learns to apply behavioral techniques and gets feedback without fear of making a mistake in front of their own customers or clients. Roleplays are helpful in learning conflict management, counseling, sales, negotiating, and many other skills.

Case Studies: Case studies are stories normally extracted from a participant’s workplace or industry. They can also be written specifically to simulate a scenario. Case studies are often examined by individuals or groups and then analyzed to stimulate discussion or demonstrate aspects of training.


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Team Building Ice Breakers for Small Groups

Team Building Ice Breakers for Small Groups

The following are some fun ideas for ice breakers suitable for smaller groups.

Ping Pong Blows
Divide your team into groups of not more than ten members. For this ice breaker, you will need to make two parallel lines on the floor, spacing them 15cm apart. The participants are then told to lie down on their stomachs behind the line facing each other. Throw a ping pong ball in between the two teams which they have to blow over the opposition’s line for a point. No part of the body is allowed to cross the line. First team to reach a predetermined number of points wins the game.

Crossed or Uncrossed
Sit your team in a circle. Hand an empty shoebox to someone in the team and ask him/her to write an X anywhere on the box. Explain to the team that there are two ways to receive the box and two ways to pass the box. The two ways are either straight or crossed. The facilitator starts the game by saying he has the box straight or crossed, and then passes the box either straight or crossed. The team will be focused on the x, trying to determine how they receive and pass the box. In reality, the x has nothing to do with the game. Having the box straight or crossed has to do with whether your legs are crossed or not crossed (straight). If someone passes the box to me and my legs are crossed then I will say “I have it crossed”. If I leave my legs crossed when I pass the box, I would say “I am passing it crossed”. If my legs are uncrossed I would say “I am passing it straight”. The game is completed when everyone figures out how it works.

Banana Creation
Divide the team into groups of 4-5 each. For each group, you will need a banana and odds and ends such as cocktail sticks, bits of material, beans etc. The point of the game is for each team to create a man or woman using the banana and the other items that was given to them. The banana must have a personality and a style. At the end of the allotted time, one member of the team must present their “person” and tell everyone about him/her such as their name, personality, likes, dislikes etc.

What’s That Song
For this ice breaker, you will need a 1.5L bottle of drinkable water and a cup for each team member. The facilitator will then ask a team member to hold some water in his/her mouth. The team member will then be shown a song title which he/she will have to gaggle. The rest of the team must then guess the name of the song. The team that guesses the most songs correctly wins.

The Skittle Game
For this ice breaker, you will need a bag of skittles or something similar. The facilitator passes out five skittles to each team member. The team members are then told to mingle and talk freely amongst each other with the purpose of winning skittles. To win a skittle they have to get another team member to say yes, no or shake or nod their head. If someone is caught doing that, they have to hand over one of their skittles to the person talking to them. At the end of the game, the person with the most skittles is the winner.

Word Game
For this game, the facilitator needs to prepare a list of alphabetical letters beforehand. The letters need to be commonly used letters that lend themselves to make words or names. The team is then divided into two groups, and each group is given a pen and paper. A letter is then allocated to each group. Within a certain time limit, the groups have to write down as many names as possible starting with that letter. The group with the most names wins.

The Pointless Quiz
Make up a list of ten random questions. Before you begin with this ice breaker, you need to select three team members that will be in on the joke. The rest of the team should not know that these three team members are working with you. Ask each team member the same question until you have gone around the circle. Whatever the answer, if a team member answers immediately, you have to say: “that is very bad”. If they ask a while later, you have to say: “that is good”. If they take a long time to answer, you have to say: “that is excellent”. The idea is to get the team members to realize what is going on. If they do not get it after a while, you can tell them what you have been doing with their answers.


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Quick and Easy Ice Breakers for Team Building

Ice breakers are a particularly good way to start a conference, team building retreat, company get together or any other social or business event. It helps team members to get to know each other better in an efficient and non-threatening way. The following is a short list of some quick and easy ice breaker games that can be done with little preparation and resources.

Quick and Easy Ice Breakers for Team Building
Team Building Ice Breakers

Paperclip and Straw Sculptures

This is a brilliant activity to start off a team building session and can even be used as a team building exercise on its own. All you need for this ice breaker is a box of straws and a box of paper clips. Participants are divided into groups and given the task to build a structure using only the straws and paperclips provided. The creations that result can be judged on a variety of criteria such as the strongest, tallest, most creative or most functional structure. This activity is not only an effective ice breaker but also encourages teamwork within the group and is particularly useful for identifying leadership skills.

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

What I did last night

This ice breaker is ideal for a conference or team building weekend. First thing on the second morning of the event the participants are divided into groups and asked to act out something they did the previous night. It could be the meal they ate, a movie they saw, a place they visited or anything else that may have occurred the previous night. The activity is acted out individually or in groups, in front of all the participants who have to guess what the activity was.

Human Bingo

This tremendously fun way to play Bingo is a remarkably effective ice breaker where participants get know each other better in an informal manner. Little preparation is required as Bingo cards need to be created before hand with categories consisting of things that people may have done before, such as hot air ballooning, skydiving, hunting and bowling. Each participant gets a copy of the card and is told to circulate it among each other. They are then asked to find someone who has done one of the activities on their card and sign their card accordingly. The first participant to get all his/her blocks signed shouts bingo and collects their prize.

All Tied Up

For this ice breaker, all participants are divided up into groups of 6 to 10 members. Each group is asked to from a tight circle, standing and facing each other. The members of the group are instructed to extend their arms and take hold of the hand of another group member. Each hand should be holding another hand, and one person cannot hold both hands of the same person. The result is a knot which the group is told to try and untie without letting go of each other’s hands. Team work is required to complete this task as people climb over and beneath each other’s arms in order to untangle the knot. This activity is not just an excellent ice breaker but is also an extremely beneficial team building activity in its own right. The activity promotes team work and identifies leadership within the group.

Pass the toilet paper please

All you need for this ice breaker is a roll of toilet paper. Circulate the roll of toilet paper through the group and ask each person to take as much of the toilet paper as they need, no further explanation should be given. After each member has received their portion of toilet paper, they are told that they now have to share an fascinating fact or something about themselves for each block of toilet paper that they have.

Happy Birthday

This is a quick ice breaker that requires no preparation. Ask all participants to form a line and then tell them to organize themselves according to the their birth dates, starting from the 1st of January and ending with the 31st of December. The catch is that they have to do this without talking to each other or writing anything down.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Circle of Friends

This ice breaker is particularly useful for the start of a conference or team building event where a large group of people is involved. It is an especially valuable tool where two different departments come together for the first time. All the participants are asked to make two large circles, one within the other. The participants in the inner circle are asked to face the participants in the outer circle. The participants, facing each other, introduce themselves to each other and then the circles moves slowly in the opposite direction, allowing two new participants to meet each other until all the people in the inner circle had a chance to meet all the people in the outer circle.

Story Telling

Many people may remember this game from their childhood, but it also makes for a fun ice breaker game. The facilitator starts the story with one sentence. Each member of the group has to add to the sentence after repeating the preceding sentences. This usually has hilarious consequences as members try and remember the previous sentences of the story.

Lying Game

In this ice breaker,  each participant is instructed to write down four things about themselves on a piece of paper. Three of these things should be true about themselves, but one should be a lie. As each person reads out the four things about themselves, the rest of the team members write down  one statement that they suspect is a lie. After everybody has read out their four things the first person starts again, this time telling everybody which statement was not true. The rest of the people can then see how successful they were in spotting the lies from the truth.

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