“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” –Henry Ford
Just saying, “teambuilding exercise”, is synonymous with the words “boring” and “dreadful.” Many correlate the two and often times employees dread hearing, “a day of team building” or “off-site teambuilding activities.” So how do you work on creating stronger teams and communication? By designing teambuilding activities your teams won’t hate. WorkSource offers some unconventional and great activities for you and your employees.
Utilize Children’s Toys
A game called Legoman will teach participants how to strategize, communicate effectively, and problem solve in a group—all while using children’s building blocks and Legos to essentially play and have fun! Have a manager build a small sculpture with some building blocks and hide it from the group while in the process of building. The participants should then be divided into small teams of 3-6. Each team should be given enough building materials so that they can duplicate the structure the manager has created, right down to the colors used. The manager will then place their sculpture in an area that is the same distance from all groups. One member from each team should be designated to come up and look at the sculpture for as long as need, without touching it, and try to memorize it before returning to their team. No paper, pen, or camera are allowed to be brought to the sculpture. After they return to their teams, they instruct their teams about how to build an exact replica of the manager’s piece.
Mine Field and Word Jumble Activities
These activities will build (or re-build) trust among team members, strengthen working relationships and teach more effective communication skills. These activities are both great for either a conference day when there is a large space or for outdoors during nicer months. For the mine field activity, distribute “mines” haphazardly around a large outdoor space or indoor area. The mines can be cones, balls, Frisbee’s etc. Team members are paired into teams of two. One member will be blindfolded and the other will be their communicator, able to see and talk but not allowed to enter the field or touch their partner. The challenge is for the blind-folded person to walk from one side of the field to the other, avoiding the mines by listening to the verbal instructions of their partners, without touching any of the mines. The second activity— word jumble, works much the same way only in a smaller confined room. Everyone is broken off into teams of two and everyone is blind-folded. Each person is given a word that connects to or is paired with another word, for example—peanut and butter or ice and cream. The organizer needs to know which two members are paired together, and whisper one word into each ear. But the teammate can’t know what their partner’s word is. Everyone is brought back together, blind-folded, and then walks around saying their word out loud while also listening for their “match.” Once found, they link arms and stay together until the game is complete. This activity challenges both listening and communicating skills in a chaotic or busy environment. And the employees have a blast!
This activity is enjoyed by all, and great for those who love to be outdoors. Charlotte’s Web is usually done in a “ropes course” development program but can be done with individual businesses. It’s an activity that requires either a wooded area or an area with at least two trees fairly close to each other. Take a medium thick rope and start winding it between the two trees until you have built a spider’s web (zig-zag back and forth and inter-loop the rope to create the effect). Once complete, you will separate your teams into two or four teams of 8-10 members. If there are four teams then two teams challenge against each other for each grouping. The challenge is to get each person through the ropes without touches the ropes. The last person to go through has to find a way to get through on their own or with help from the completed side. For each person that touches, they are then out and the teams with the most people making it through without touching wins. This is a high level activity for critical thinkers and great for strengthening problem-solving skills.