Team Building doesn’t always have to be a time-intensive process. If you don’t have the ability to do an all-day or weekend activity, a simple game that takes a few minutes can help bring your group together in a creative way, helping to make the day more fun. It can also help pull your team away from life’s distractions and get them to interact with one another.
3-5 minutes, 6 or more players
Materials: inflated balloons, with one color for each team
This game is as simple as it was when you were a child: just hit the balloons to keep them up in the air as long as possible.
For a more interesting game, split the group into teams of at least three per team. Give each team twice as many balloons as there are people in the team (for example, a team of three would get six balloons). Make sure each team has its own unique color of balloon.
One person says “go”, and each team has to throw all their balloons in the air. The team members have to keep their balloons in the air for as long as possible. If any of a team’s balloons touch the ground, that team is eliminated from the game. After the time limit is reached, any teams that have made it that far are deemed the winners.
10 minutes, 4 or more players
Materials: paper, tape, scissors, and decorative items (crayons or markers, glitter, etc.)
Divide your group into teams (ideally no more than 4 people per team). The judge says “go” and starts a timer—for example, 7 minutes. Each team has to make the best paper airplane that they can with their supplies.
Once the time is up, one person from each team forms a line. From the line, they throw their airplanes to see which one can fly the furthest, and which one stays in the air for the longest time. Planes can also be judged on their appearance.
5-10 minutes, 4 or more players
Materials: Computer, projector, small white boards with markers or pen & paper
This game is derived from a similar one on social media. One person uses the computer to put an image on the screen. It could be a couple arguing, or an animal making a funny face. Search Google Images for “caption this” to get a bunch of different ideas. Each team has to write a caption that goes along with the image. After each caption is written, players can vote on which one they think is the best.
3 minutes, 3 or more players
Materials: 2 bowls, 1 set of chopsticks some raisins for each player
Players start with one empty bowl, and one bowl of raisins. Each player’s bowl should have an equal number of raisins.
Players start with one hand behind their back, as they can only use one hand for this game. When the judge says “go” and starts the timer, each player needs to use their chopsticks, and only their chopsticks, to move the raisins from one bowl to the other. When the time is up, the player who has moved the largest number of raisins is the winner.
Lightning Scavenger Hunt
3-5 minutes, 5 or more players
This game can be played remotely, or you can gather everyone in a room at the office. At the start, the group is given something that they need to locate. It should be something easy to find, like “something green” or “something that starts with the letter T”. The instant you announce the item to find, the players rush to find something that meets that description. The first player to do so is the winner.
10 minutes, 6+ players
Materials: Pen & Paper
Divide the group into two teams. Each team thinks of an object, then writes it down on a piece of paper. Each team chooses one person to be their “answerer”. The first team asks yes-or-no questions to the answerer, to try and guess the object. For example, they might ask “Is it an animal?” or “Is it edible?” They have up to 20 questions to guess the object. Afterward, the roles switch and the second team asks questions to the first teams’ answerer. The team who guesses the right answer in the fewest number of questions is the winner. Note: if you play another round, have each team select a new answerer.
10 minutes, 6 players or more
Materials: Pen, paper, pictures
Divide your teams into pairs and have them sit back-to-back. One person gets a picture, the other person gets a pen and paper. The first person describes the picture to the second person. The second person draws the picture without looking at it, using only the first person’s description. The second player may ask questions if needed. When the time is up, each person presents their drawing. The one that most closely matches the reference picture wins!
Would You Rather
10 minutes, 6 players or more
Arrange the players in a circle. Each player comes up with two appealing or unappealing scenarios. For example, they could ask “Would you rather eat a worm or have a root canal?” or “Would you rather have the ability to fly, or have super-human strength?” After each question, players vote on which option they prefer. The more divided the players are, the better the score for the person who asked the question. For example, 50% divided would be a perfect score, and 100% unanimous would be the worst score.
10 minutes, 11 players or more
One person is the judge. The rest are divided into teams of five or more people. The judge will call out a category—for example “Birthday”, “Number of siblings”, or “Last Name”. Each team arranges its members in order—for example earliest to latest, or lower number to highest number, or alphabetically. The first team to assemble correctly is the winner. To verify, the judge will go and ask each person individually—for example, each person gives their birthday, to verify they’re all in the correct order.
5-10 minutes, 4 players or more
In this game, one person is given a topic to talk about. That person tells a made-up story about the topic, while the others take turns calling out random words. The words could be anything like “a hammer!”, “Las Vegas!”, or “Kevin Bacon!”
The storyteller must somehow work the random words into the story. After a couple of minutes, you can let another person have a turn at being the storyteller, with a new topic.
So, that’s our look at some quick team-building activities for your workplace. If you don’t have time for a two-hour professionally-produced program, try playing one of these activities every now and then. You’re sure to help build a better sense of camaraderie amongst the people you work with. Give it a try – and have some fun!