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Team Building Exercises

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

~ Andrew Carnegie ~

Back-to-Back Drawing

Divide your group into pairs, and have each pair sit on the floor back to back. Give one person in each pair a picture of a shape, and give the other person a pencil and pad of paper. Ask the people holding the pictures to give verbal instructions to their partners on how to draw the shape – without actually telling the partners what the shape is. 
After they've finished, ask each pair to compare their original shape with the actual drawing, and consider the following questions: How well did the first person describe the shape? How well did the second person interpret the instructions? Were there problems with both the sending and receiving parts of the communication process? 

Survival Scenario

This exercise forces your group to communicate and agree to ensure their 'survival.' Tell your group that their airplane has just crashed in the ocean. There's a desert island nearby, and there's room on the lifeboat for every person – plus 12 items they'll need to survive on the island. Instruct the team to choose which items they want to take. How do they decide? How do they rank or rate each item?

Human Spring

Ask group members to stand facing each other in pairs. Their elbows should be bent, with their palms facing toward each other. Instruct them to touch their palms together, and gradually start leaning toward each other, so that they eventually hold each other up. Then, instruct everyone to move their feet further and further back, so that they have to depend solely upon their partners to remain standing.

Mine Field

This is a great exercise if you have a large room or outdoor field. Set up a 'mine field' using chairs, balls, cones, boxes, or any other object that could potentially be an obstacle and trip someone up. Leave enough space between the objects for someone to walk through. 
Next, divide your group into pairs. Pay attention to who you match with whom. This is a perfect opportunity to work on relationships, so you might want to put together people who have trust issues with each other. 
Blindfold one person, the 'mine walker' – this person is not allowed to talk. Ask his or her partner to stay outside the mine field, and give verbal directions, helping the mine walker avoid the obstacles, and reach the other side of the area. Before you begin, allow partners a few minutes to plan how they'll communicate. Then, make sure there are consequences when people hit an obstacle. For example, perhaps they have to start again from the beginning.

Source: Mind Tools, Team-Building Exercises - Planning Activities that Actually Work, Mind Tools Ltd. Retrieved November 13, 2013 from www.mindtools.com.

Contributed by Faye Dundas, Early Childhood Consultant ~ Humber Child Care Consultation Services