List out your name and 3 things that you do (hobby or interesting facts) on a paper. Fold it into a plane. Everyone will throw their paper planes for a minute. Then, pick up a paper plane that is nearest to you and unfold it. Find the person to whom it belongs and introduce him/her. It’s a fun way of getting to know someone.
As kids, we are more open to making friends, building teams and winning games. Though, as we lose our innocence, we forget the simple moral – ‘United we stand. Divided we fall’. It is thus that many times we fail to recognize the importance of team building. To achieve success, or to fulfill the preset goals of an organization, team work is essential. Recognizing this need, major organizations incorporate team building activities in training and orientation programs with the intention of setting a strong team and reaching the set goals.
One’s interactions in an organization are usually limited to the team that they belong to or the other departments that they come in contact with due to their work. Not all employees, therefore, interact with every other employee in the organization.
It is exactly this reason why it becomes necessary to introduce any team work activities with icebreaker games (which, by themselves are great team building exercises as well) and then follow them with other team building activities. Let us peruse through a few activities that are aimed at team building, in the following sections.
What are the advantages of these activities?
– They help break the ice among the employees and therefore open up doors for interaction, which aids in faster and more efficient work.
– These activities help prepare the employees to work under pressure.
– They help them develop problem-solving techniques.
– It teaches the teams to develop the skills of coordination and communication.
Like we said, it is always advisable to start off any team building exercises with ice breaker games, such that the group becomes comfortable with each other. These exercises also ensure that the comfort level gets carried forward to the work area as well. Here are 5 ice breaker activities that you can look through and choose.
The Newspaper Dress
Divide the group into teams with equal number of members and give each team a stack of newspapers, string, scissors, tape and pins. Assign a separate working area for each team and set a time of 30 minutes for each team. The teams have to design a costume from all the materials provided. Get a panel of judges to judge the costumes and declare a winner.
The Paper Roll
Cut out old newspapers into strips and staple them together. Pass these strips around the room and ask the participants to take as many strips as they like. Do not tell them what they’re supposed to do with the newspaper strips. Once each has taken the strips, ask them to count the number – the number of strips determines the number of facts that they have to share about themselves with the others. Encourage them to be funny when sharing the information. This game encourages sharing and helps break down barriers.
Have You, Have You Not?
Form two groups of people and hand all the members a piece of paper and a pen. The objective of the game is that each person in the group has to find something in common with every other person in the group. It could be a hobby that they share or a thing that they have done. You could provide them with a list to make things easier. Include things like:
We are both born in…
We both like the color…
We both do horseback riding/play the guitar/dance…
To win, a group needs to have all its members complete their lists.
An alternative to the game is that each member can be given a generic list that includes things like:
What is your passion?
Which is your favorite song?
Who is your role model?
Distribute these sheets among all the members and ask them to go around their group filling it up. The hitch is that each question needs to be asked to a different person. The group that fills all its sheets first, wins.
This game is perfect to get all the members to talk and learn something more about each other.
Take a paper plate and sketch the hands of a clock on it. Pass the plates around to all the people gathered there. The objective of the game is to get people to make ‘dates’ for each hour of the day with a different person every hour. Give them a stipulated time to complete this task. After which, allot 2-4 minutes for each person to carry all their dates through.
Team building Games
Once a group is comfortable with each other, team building activities can be introduced to promote the spirit of teamwork. Here is a list of 10 team building activities that you can go through.
The Song Medley
Divide the group into teams with equal number of members and ask the teams to stand in a circle. Spin a bottle to determine which team plays first, and go clockwise from then on. Start out by singing a popular song. The tagged team has to pick up a word from the song that is being sung and sing another song starting from the picked word. They are required to sing a minimum of two lines of the song. The next team has to pick a word and continue singing. The team that fails to sing a song in the stipulated time (15 seconds, for example) is disqualified. The team that manages to last till the end, wins.
To play this game, you need pens or colored pencils and paper. Divide the members in three different groups. Hand out a sheet of paper to each group. Begin the game by asking one member of the group to draw a line. Pass the sheet to the next person to continue drawing on the line that has already been drawn. Each person gets five seconds to draw. The facilitator is allowed to say stop and start at any point in the game and the game continues for a minute. After the game is over, the facilitator checks the sheets and evaluates each team’s performance on the basis of a few questions:
Did any team draw anything recognizable?
Did the members grasp the idea?
Did the calculated time lead to putting pressure on the members?
There can then be a discussion with the teams about these three factors.
Watch Your Back
Form pairs of all the people present there and make them stand with their backs touching each other’s. Ask them to lock themselves by their elbows, and place their hands in front of their stomach. Draw a start and a finish line. Make batches of the pairs, if there are too many people there. Ask the first batch of pairs to stand at the start line. At the blow of the whistle, the teams have to move forward towards the finish line. The pair that manages to reach the finish line in the minimum amount of time, wins. Once all the batches have a winner, get all the winners to compete against each other for the final winner.
Passing the Hula Hoop
Divide the group into teams and ask them to join hands. Place a hula hoop in one of the person’s hands. The objective is to pass the hula hoop around the circle without letting go off the hands. If the link breaks, they are disqualified. The team that manages to finish first, wins.
What’s that Emotion?
Make a list of emotions like ‘laughing’ or ‘crying’ and write them on chits; put these chits in a big bowl. Divide the group into teams. Each team will send their members on stage, one by one. Each member has to pick a chit and act out the emotion that has been listed, while his team guesses what the emotion being portrayed is. All this is done in a stipulated amount of time. The team that manages to get in the maximum right answers, wins.
Popping that Balloon
The group is divided into teams and each member is given a blown balloon. All teams are made to stand at the starting point while a line is drawn some distance away. At the blow of the whistle, the first member runs to the line with his balloon and then sits on it to pop it. Once it is popped, the person runs back to his team and tags the next person, who then goes and does the same; and so the exercise continues till all the members have burst their balloons. The team that manages to burst all their balloons in the shortest span of time, wins.
A Relay of Activities
Divide the people into teams of equal members. Form a list of 10 things and activities, like – do 20 push-ups, fill in the missing words and identify the following songs, run down to the parking area and retrieve a red scarf hidden there, etc. Have a panel of judges check over the activities and whether they are being done properly. At the go of the buzzer, the teams have to start doing the activities one by one by choosing and selecting the members from among the team. The team that manages to complete the list first, wins.
The Bin Throw
This game usually works best for a small group. Divide the group into pairs. One person from among the pair is blindfolded while the other is his guide. Place a bin somewhere in the room and ask the pair to stand at the starting line. At the blow of the whistle, the guide has to guide his partner to the line that has been marked some distance from the bin. He can only use verbal cues to guide him. A bucket full of ping pong balls is placed near the line. Once there, the guide hands the ping pong balls one by one to his partner. The partner has to throw the balls into the basket. Every correct throw is equal to one point. To increase the difficulty level of this game, the basket can be moved from left to right and side to side with every turn. The pair that manages to put in the maximum balls, wins.
The Running Cue
Divide the group into teams and make each team stand in a straight line. Give the person standing at the start of the line a rolled newspaper. At the blow of the whistle, the person standing at the start of the line has to hunch down, pass the newspaper from in between his legs to the person standing behind him, and then run to the back of the line. The newspaper thus gets passed from one member to the next. This whole process continues till the person who was at the start of the line, comes back to his original position. The team that can manage to do this in the shortest amount of time, wins.
Note: The trick is to keep the distance between the members at a minimum so that the line does not lengthen and the members don’t have to run a long distance.
The Floating Balloon
Divide the group into teams and ask them to gather in the center of the room. Each group has equal members and it is ideal to keep the team small. Assign each team a blown balloon. At the blow of the whistle, the referee throws the balloon into the air. The objective of the game is to keep the balloon afloat for the longest time without using your hands. The team that manages to do that, wins.
Team building in the workplace is a vital part of appreciating the value of your employees. Team building activities should be carried out in corporate houses to encourage the feeling of team spirit and increasing the efficiency of the employees. In fact, playing such games provides a break from the work and helps to make the employees more productive. All in all, a win-win situation, don’t you think?