20 Team Building Activities Your Team Will Actually Enjoy

team building activities

We’ve all been there — stuck in a day of team building activities for work that make us wish we were anywhere else. Whether they’re boring, disorganized, or just plain embarrassing for all involved, negative experiences with team building exercises can hurt team morale more than they help. 

If you want to boost morale, improve productivity, and build trust amongst your team, you may need to think outside of the box when picking team building activities. In this post, we’re going beyond the cliché trust falls and team dinners. We’ll give you 20 ideas for team building activities that both you and your team will actually enjoy. 

What to look for in a team building activity

While casual hangouts can be fun, a productive team building exercise needs to have a proper goal. For example, you might want to improve communication amongst employees, raise team morale after a tough period, or foster collaboration and creativity.  Whatever the reason, you need to ensure your team building activity helps you achieve this overall objective. 

What makes a good team building activity: 

  • It doesn’t require specific skills. While you might think an intense gymnastics class would be fun, not everyone will be as thrilled when it comes to such a physical and skilled activity. Maybe a team member has back problems, perhaps they aren’t comfortable wearing the required outfit, or perhaps they don’t love the idea of performing athleticism in front of their coworkers. It’s a good idea to send out an email to participants before you actually schedule the team building activity to check for these kinds of issues privately. 
  • Everyone will be engaged. What might be the most fun for one team member might be extremely boring for someone else. For example, if someone doesn’t drink and then gets invited to a team wine tasting or brewery tour, they aren’t going to have a great time. To make sure your activity will be engaging for all, conduct an anonymous team vote or ask for suggestions beforehand. 
  • It builds camaraderie. There are tons of potential activities out there, but you want to make sure an organized team building exercise actually works to bring your team closer together. For example, any activity that takes place in an overly loud setting (like a concert) or one where talking isn’t allowed (like a movie theatre) probably won’t be the best for fostering productive discussions. Consider activities that encourage teamwork, communication, and problem-solving to cultivate camaraderie. 

Team building games

Team building activities - Marshmellow tower
Marshmellow tower – Photo by Rebecca Freeman

1. Tied together

Time required: 30 minutes

What’s involved? 

Participants are tied together at the wrists and are asked to complete a series of tasks and activities.  

First, tie everyone together and have them stand in a circle, facing the center of the circle. Tie each person to the person next to them at the wrists using shoelaces or soft ropes. Ask the team to complete a series of activities such as untangling headphones (harder than it seems when you don’t have full use of your hands and arms!), playing Jenga, or painting a simple picture. 

The options are endless when it comes to challenges here, so feel free to ask your team to brainstorm ahead of time for some added team building. 

Why it’s great for team building

The ‘Tied Together’ game can be done anywhere, and encourages teammates to communicate clearly, foster relationships, and work together.

2. Closed-eye drawing

Time required: 30 minutes

What’s involved? 

You can do this activity with a small group of people or several different teams. 

One participant sits with their eyes closed or back to the rest of the group with a piece of paper and writing utensil. The other participants are given an image of an object, word, or famous person (make sure they’re very well known and could be guessed by everyone). 

The participants with the picture of the subject will describe what it is without naming the item, in an attempt to guide the other participant to draw the object. 

The team member with the pen and paper tries to draw the subject using the verbal information and clues provided by the others. 

Why it’s great for team building

The game only requires a minimum of two people to play, so if you have a small team or would like to build a relationship with just one other person, this is the perfect activity. Regardless of how many people are participating, closed-eye drawing initiates problem-solving, communication, and patience amongst team members. There are also sure to be many laughs, which immediately brings people together and helps boost morale. 

3. Marshmallow tower

Time required: 30 minutes to 1 hour

What’s involved? 

Individuals get into teams with the objective of building the tallest tower using only sticks of dried spaghetti, marshmallows, tape, and string. The tower must be self-sufficient and able to stay upright for at least five seconds in order to win. 

Why it’s great for team building

This is problem solving at its finest. All participants are going through basic design and troubleshooting processes such as brainstorming, creation, prototyping, and iteration — all experiences they probably encounter in their day-to-day work. The best part is that they’re going through it together, in a low-stakes environment. When it’s time to apply these principles to their actual work, they’ll understand how to work better with each individual teammate. 

Indoor team building activities 

Pottery class
Pottery class – Photo by Maggie Markel

4. Pasta-making class 

Time required: 2 – 4 hours

What’s involved? 

An off-site activity where your team attends a local cooking school for a few hours and is taught how to create handmade pasta by a professional chef. 

Why it’s great for team building

While it might seem like a solo activity, making pasta requires a lot of problem solving. You’ll find your team will end up working together, with questions like “How much flour did you use to dust your dough?”, “Can I borrow your scale?” or “Can you help me roll the dough through my pasta maker?” The team gets to build a new skill and everyone enjoys a celebratory meal together at the end. 

5. Pottery class 

Time required: 2 – 4 hours

What’s involved? 

Attending a professional-led beginners’ clay throwing or pottery painting class with your team. While it’s fun to do on its own, you could also add a friendly competition aspect to the class by voting on who’s piece is the best (or the worst, if this aligns with your team’s senses of humour). If your team isn’t quite comfortable enough with each other for a contest, you could also add in a fun element by awarding different prizes for each final piece such as ‘Most colorful’, ‘Best vase’, or ‘Coolest shape’ so that everyone gets recognition. 

Why it’s great for team building

As it’s a mainly sit down type activity and will be led by a teacher, there’s basically no skill involved. You won’t have individuals who can’t participate due to any physical issues. Additionally, as these types of spaces are usually fairly quiet, this allows the opportunity for conversation to flow freely amongst team members. 

Having an activity to do helps break the ice and reduces pressure on quieter team members who perhaps don’t like attention fully focused on them. 

6. Art gallery with discussion afterwards 

Time required: 1 – 2 hours

What’s involved? 

Choose a local art gallery and attend with your immediate team. Have everyone stick pretty closely together (as space allows), and encourage conversation amongst team members. After everyone is done browsing, go to a nearby cafe and spend an hour discussing the artwork.

Keep things accessible and unpretentious for everyone by asking simple questions such as: 

  • Which artwork was your favorite? Why? 
  • Which artwork did you like the least? 
  • What is your favorite type of art we saw (ie. sculpture, paint, sketches, video, installation, etc.)?
  • Do you read all of the associated write-ups and descriptions for the pieces, or are you more inclined to walk through freely and stop and read only what speaks to you? 

Why it’s great for team building

Shared experiences naturally help bring people together, so when this is combined with a lively, no-pressure discussion afterwards you’re given a true opportunity to get to know each other. Not only that, but with the questions listed above you’ll be given insight into the different ways each team member thinks and how they interact with the world. 

7. Team flag creation

Time required: 1 hour

What’s involved? 

In either one group or a few smaller groups, participants come together to create a flag that represents their team. 

Provide your team members with a large piece of poster board or cardboard and a variety of markers, paint, and paint brushes. Ask them to create a flag that they think represents their values and identities as a team, and have them present it once everyone is finished. 

Why it’s great for team building

This activity is great for teams of any size, and can be done anytime, anywhere. In creating something that’s meant to represent themselves, flag creation helps build a sense of ownership, collaboration, and pride in your team members. This also helps provide direction for team members who were perhaps feeling a little lost regarding their identity within the team. 

8. Curling

Time required: 3 – 4 hours

What’s involved?

The whole team visits a local curling rink to learn from a professional. Your team will learn the  basics of delivery (throwing), sweeping, and skipping (strategy); followed by a game. No special equipment or physical ability is needed. 

Why it’s great for team building

Learning and participating in curling encourages the development of strategy skills, leadership, team communication, problem solving, sportsmanship, socialization, and competition. Team members have to be in sync in order to succeed, which is a useful skill to have both on and off the ice. 

Outdoor team building activities 

Backyard barbecue
Backyard barbecue – Photo by JoJo

9. Outdoor scavenger hunt 

Time required: 1 – 2 hours

What’s involved? 

Taking place at a nearby park or around your office building if safe, participants get into teams and try to find everything on a list of items you provide. The first team to find every item gets a small prize. 

Your list could include things like a feather, a pinecone, a pink flower, or other items commonly found in the outdoors (that aren’t garbage). 

If your team would rather do a photography scavenger hunt instead of bringing back actual objects, have them use their phone cameras to take photos of things such as a billboard, a cute dog, a red car, etc. 

Why it’s great for team building

The main objective is to have teams working together to quickly find everything on the list. This means they’ll need to communicate effectively, make a plan, problem solve, and work with each other to distribute the items. 

10. Backyard barbecue 

Time required: 2 – 4 hours

What’s involved? 

Team members gather at a park or someone’s home to have a fun and casual barbecue. Add a level of engagement by making it potluck style with a theme (such as foods from around the world, or bite-sized foods) but ensure people are given a chance to share their food allergies or sensitivities. 

Set out some easygoing activities like bocce, croquet, or corn hole, along with blankets and spots for people to relax. 

Why it’s great for team building

Due to the casual nature of an activity like this, everyone can participate according to their own comfort levels. If someone is itching to be active, they can play the outdoor games, but if someone wants to relax and chat with their teammates over a beverage they can do so. With everyone having a chance to relax and kick back together, conversation and camaraderie is encouraged. 

11. Environmental volunteering 

Time required: 2 – 4 hours

What’s involved? 

Organize a public space cleanup such as a favorite local park or beach. Have everyone dress in clothes they don’t mind getting dirty, supply some gloves and garbage bags, and clean up any garbage that’s littered around.

If you want to spice things up a bit, you could also incorporate a contest aspect (ie. which team of two can pick up the most garbage?). 

Why it’s great for team building

This activity gets your team moving, together. Besides engaging employees with a goal-oriented task, an eco-friendly volunteer day promotes collaboration — and helps your team and organization connect with the local community. 

12. Houseplant workshop

Time required: 2 hours

What’s involved? 

Invite a local plant expert to come in and teach your team how to pot a common houseplant, as well as plant care tips and tricks. 

Set up stations for each team member complete with a pot, plant, potting soil, gloves, and any other supplies they might need. 

Why it’s great for team building

Your team will learn this invaluable skill, plus have something special to put on their desks. As they ask questions, help each other as needed, and learn together, they’re building a sense of community within the team.  

Remote team building activities 

Book club
Book club – Photo by Daria Nepriakhina

13. Bingo 

Time required: 1 hour or less 

What’s involved? 

Team members log on to a site like Bingo Maker where the organizer is able to call the randomly generated numbers and players can mark their cards. To boost team-connectivity, we suggest having everyone on a video call together so you can all see and celebrate when someone yells ‘Bingo!’ 

To encourage participation, offer small prizes for first person to get a line, first person to get all four corners, and first person to fill their entire card. 

Why it’s great for team building

Virtual bingo requires very little time and effort from everyone involved (including you, the organizer) but is tons of fun. With a team video call happening simultaneously, everyone can feel involved and connected as they play. 

14. Trivia

Time required: 1 hour

What’s involved? 

Participants get into virtual teams (organized via Slack or other online chat platform) and answer trivia questions on a variety of topics. As the organizer, you can either create the questions manually with a PowerPoint-type presentation or use one of the many online trivia generators

Again, use an online video chat such as Zoom or Google Hangouts to facilitate a sense of connection and teamwork as everyone plays. This also allows the organizer to read out the questions and clarify any rules as the game progresses. 

Why it’s great for team building

By having participants organize themselves into teams, everyone is encouraged to work together towards a common goal. When a trivia question is asked, a discussion takes place amongst team members as they problem solve and try to figure out the answer. 

15. Book club

Time required: A few weeks (for reading) plus a 1-hour discussion 

What’s involved? 

There are a few ways you can organize a book club for your remote team. You could either do a book exchange where every individual sends their favorite book to another member (a list created by you so everyone receives something), with a personalized note about why they love the book. 

Or, facilitate a more traditional book club by having participants vote on a book to read (nothing too heavy or long), and then coming together after two or three weeks to discuss it over a video conference.  

To make sure the discussion is engaging for all, come prepared with questions such as: 

  • If the book was made into a movie, who would you cast as the characters? 
  • What part of the book resonated with you the most? 
  • Why do you think the title of the book was chosen? 
  • How did the main character change over the course of the book? 

Why it’s great for team building

Whichever format you choose, books give teammates something to easily bond over. A book could be read and interpreted differently by every single person who reads it, and it’s in these discussions where teammates are able to truly get to know one another. 

16. Childhood photo show and tell

Time required: Half an hour

What’s involved? 

Organize a video conference call with your team, and have everyone bring a favorite childhood photo. One by one, have each team member show their photo and share a fun childhood story with the rest of the team. 

Why it’s great for team building

This is a simple activity that doesn’t require too much planning or time on anyone’s part. Additionally, activities that make use of nostalgia are a great way to build connections and break the ice. 

Unusual team building activities 

Team building activities - Mocktail competition
Mocktail competition – Photo by Matt Hoffman

17. Record a song together

Time required: 6 – 8 hours 

What’s involved? 

Take a full day where your team writes and records a fun and original song. Spend the first hour or two brainstorming and writing lyrics. Then have a record studio rental ready for the actual recording and production of the song. 

Not only will everyone have to work together creatively, you’ll have a once in a lifetime experience for most team members. 

Why it’s great for team building

While anyone embarrassed to sing might groan at this one initially, the beauty of creating a song together is that there’s a role for everyone. Someone can lead on vocals, someone can chime on the triangle, someone else can write lyrics. 

18. Mocktail competition

Time required: 1 – 2 hours 

What’s involved? 

Participants get into teams with the goal of creating the best virgin mocktail using a variety of provided ingredients. At the end, everyone participates in a tasting and votes for their favorite beverage. 

Why it’s great for team building

While budding bartenders and mixologists might be popping up everywhere, you want to ensure you’re not leaving anyone who doesn’t drink alcohol out of the festivities. This activity will inspire everyone to be creative and resourceful (as they have to use only the ingredients provided). 

19. Food truck challenge

Time required: 1 – 2 hours 

What’s involved? 

Participants are split into teams where each team has to come up with a food truck concept, logo design, and menu. At the end, everyone presents their food truck to the rest of the group. 

If you want to take it to the next level, you could organize for your team to go together to a local food truck and celebrate with a meal. 

Why it’s great for team building

There’s collaboration, creativity, and communication as the teams work to come up with their ideal food truck.  Due to the different aspects of the imaginary food truck creation (concept, menu, design, etc.) everyone is given a chance to shine with their own unique skills. 

20. Fencing

Time required: 2 – 4 hours 

What’s involved? 

Taking place at a fencing school, your team learns the history of fencing and hands-on instruction. The activity is finished off with a friendly fencing match. 

Why it’s great for team building

Not only will your team get to learn a unique new skill, they’ll work on their mental decision making, communication techniques, and determine how to work together effectively.

Which team building activities will you choose? 

Now that you have all of these ideas for team building activities, it’s time to get planning. Organize your next team building exercise and watch as team morale, communication, and trust grows. 

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