Team building activities need to be fun and effective to be worthwhile.  This list provides some great examples for your next departmental outing.

Teams that works well together is more effective, more productive, and more successful.  Plus, teams that work well together are happier overall.  But team building with your fellow employees, or if you a manager with you staff, is often tricky. Even using the phrase “team building activities” will probably result in more than a few eye rolls with your teammates. So if you are looking for some fun team building activities, we have 14 ideas to try at your next meeting.

1. Zombie Escape
For: Creative Problem Solving and Collaboration
Items Needed: 1 rope, 1 key, and 5-10 puzzles or clues, depending on how much time you want to spend on the game
Instructions: For this activity, gather all your team members into a conference room or other empty space and “lock” the door. Beforehand, select one team member to play the zombie — dead eyes, arms outstretched, muttering “I want braaainnnns!!” and all. The “zombie” will be tied to the rope in the corner of the room, with 1 foot of leeway. Once the team exercise starts, every five minutes the rope restraining the hungry zombie is let out another foot. Soon, the zombie will be able to reach the living team members. The objective is for you to solve a series of puzzles or clues to find the hidden key that will unlock the door and allow them to escape before it’s too late.

2. Airbands Battle
For: Team Bonding
Items Needed:Speakers, plus a smartphone or an mp3 player
Instructions: Have you ever seen one of Jimmy Fallon’s famous lip sync battles? Expand the idea to a full battle of the airbands. Split your entire groups into smaller teams of 3 to 4 people and let them decide who will be the singers, guitarists, drummers, etc. Take a few moments to choose, rehearse, and perform a lip synced version of whatever work-friendly song they like. If they have a few days, teams can dress up or bring props. After the performances, teams can vote on the winner (with the caveat that no one can vote for their own band). Or, let a neighboring department in on the fun and have them choose the winner.

3. Drawing Back-to-Back
For: Communication Skills
Items Needed:Paper, pens/markers, printouts of simple line drawings or basic shapes.
Instructions: Split your group into pairs and have each pair sit back to back. One person gets a picture of a shape or simple image, and the other gets a piece of paper and pen. The person holding the picture gives verbal instructions to their partner on how to draw the shape or image they’ve been given (without simply telling them what the shape or image is). After a set amount of time, have each set of partners compare their images and see which team drew the most accurate replica.

3. Spaghetti Marshmallow Tower
For: Creative Problem Solving and Collaboration
Items Needed: 1 roll of masking tape, 1 yard of string, 1 marshmallow for every team, and 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
Instructions: Using just these supplies, which team can build the tallest tower? But here is the catch: the marshmallow has to be at the very top of the spaghetti tower, and the whole structure has to stand on its own (that means no hands or other objects supporting it!) for five seconds

4. Derby Car Race
Items Needed: One pinewood derby car kit for each team, chalk for start and finish lines
Instructions: Have teams build and race their own mini pinewood cars. If you want, go all out and let teams create mascots and themes, and host a mini-tail gate with snacks and music.

5. Help Your Community
For:Team Bonding and Icebreaker
Items Needed: A few hours out of the workday
Instructions: Participate in Adopt–a–Family program or take on a community beautification project. Find an activity that appeals to your team or reflects your company values, get out of the office, and do some good for your community and your team.

6. Coat of Arms
For: Team Bonding
Items Needed: Paper, pens, markers
Instructions: Have teams create your company coat of arms. In the first space, draw something that represents a recent achievement. In the second space, draw something that reflects your company values. In the third space, draw something that represents where you see the company going in the future. Post the finished coat of arms in your office.

7. Memory Wall
For: Team Bonding and Icebreaker
Items Needed: Post-It notes or a whiteboard
Instructions: Write a few general work-related topics on the white board or on sticky notes posted to the wall: “My first day,” “Teamwork,” “Work travel,” and so forth. Gather your team together and have everyone choose one of the topics and share a story from their time with your company to laugh and bond over shared experiences. Another option is to pass out sticky notes and have everyone write down positive memories of working together or special team accomplishments. They can use words or pictures to record these memories. Then have everyone share their memory and post it on the wall, forming a positive memory cloud.

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Team Building Activities

8. Minefield
For:Creative Problem Solving and Collaboration
Items Needed: An empty room or hallway, and a collection of common office items
Instructions: Use boxes, office chairs, water bottles, and so on to create an obstacle course of “mines” within your empty space. Divide the group into pairs, where one partner is blindfolded. The other must guide that person from one end of the course to another without setting off any mines. The person guiding their partner cannot enter the course and must only use verbal instructions to get their partner through. Depending on the number of people you have and how difficult you want this activity to be, you can vary the number of pairs trying to complete the course at the same time so that pairs have to work harder to listen to each other and communicate clearly.

9. Egg Drop
For:Creative Problem Solving and Collaboration
Items Needed: A carton of eggs; basic construction materials like newspapers, straws, tape, plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, etc.; tarp or drop cloth, parking lot, or some other place you don’t mind getting messy!
Instructions: Divide the group into teams and give each one about 20-30 minutes to construct a carrier that will keep an egg safe from a two-story drop (or however high you choose). If you end up with a tie, gradually increase the height of the drop until you’re left with a winner.

10. Scavenger Hunt 
For: Collaboration Skills & Team Bonding
Items Needed:Just your creativity and about 30 minutes
Instructions: Classic team bonding game  that is a lot of fun! Split your team into groups and make a list of fun things to find or do outside your office. Make it each team’s mission to find and photograph everything on that list within a certain time limit. The first team to complete each item on the list, wins!

11. Plane Crash 
For: Creative Problem Solving and Collaboration
Items Needed: 20-30 minutes
Instructions: Here is the scenario: the plane carrying your team has crashed on a desert island. Have your group work with 12 items from around the office that they think would be most useful in their survival, ranking each item in order of importance. Alternatively, have individuals make their selections first and then have the group discuss and come to a consensus. This game focuses on communication and negotiation skill building.

12. Spider Web
For:Creative Problem Solving and Collaboration
Items Needed: String and tape
Instructions: Tape two pieces of string across a doorway, one at about three-and-a-half feet and the other around five feet. This string is the poisonous spider web. Teams must get all their members through the opening between the strings without touching it. Increase the difficulty by taping more pieces of string across the doorway.

13. Jenga
For: Team Bonding and Icebreaker
Items Needed: A Jenga set (preferably with large blocks)
Instructions: This one is a fun team building icebreaker for work that will get your team to test their limits. Write a dare on the surface of each block. Make them fun dares around the office such as: do 15 push-ups, sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star“ out loud, or wear the over-sized sombrero for the rest of the work day (yes, we have an office sombrero). When all the blocks have dares on them, stack them up like in Jenga. When people pull a block out, they have to perform the dare that’s written on it.

14.  Paper Plane Contest 
For: Collaboration Exercise
Items Needed: A long hallway, tape to mark launch line, measuring stick, card stock
Instructions: This game can be played either indoor or outdoor. Each team gets a piece of card stock to construct a paper plane. Show them a variety of airplane designs and let them work together to construct one they think will fly the farthest. Add to the fun by decorating the planes before launch. The team whose plane flies farthest wins all the glory!

Team Building Activities

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What team building activities have worked at your company? Is there is one that we missed that you think we should have included, let us know! Share your feedback and tips in the comments below!