Whether you’re trying to bring together your daughter’s soccer team or your son’s boy scouts troupe, team-building activities are a great way to teach your kids how to work with others and have fun. There are many ways to create that bond between kids and help them develop trust amongst their peers: competitions, cooperative puzzle solving, ice breakers, etc. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Have the kids form a circle and raise their right hand in the air. As they lower their hands to the center of the circle, have them grab the hand of someone across from them. Repeat the process with their left hands, grabbing the hand of a different person. Once everyone is connected, they have to untangle themselves and make a circle without letting go. It offers a great chance for kids to understand how to work together to solve a problem. Watch this video for more detail.
Here’s another game that requires kids to cooperate and listen to one another give directions. Have the kids form a circle. Put a hula hoop over one kid’s arm, and have them hold hands. The object is for them to find a way to move the hula hoop all the way around the circle without letting go of anyone’s hand.
Have kids team up into groups of four (or two or three if there’s not enough kids). Tape down two lines a fair distance apart, and have two kids from each team stand on opposite sides. At the call of “Go!” have one kid race to the other end, and tag the next kid, who runs the opposite direction. This’ll go back and forth a couple more times. The team that finishes first, wins. This will teach team cooperation, the importance of relying on and trusting others, and knowing that others can rely on you.
Another healthy form of competition: pair kids up in two, and have one kid be the “wheelbarrow” with her hands on the ground and another kid hold the “wheelbarrow” kid’s legs. Once all pairings are matched, call “Go!” and have them race to the finish line. Creating this healthy competition allows for kids to understand the importance of cooperation with their partner.
Much like the wheelbarrow races, this requires an immense amount of coordination and communication amongst the pairings. Have two kids tie their middle two legs together so they stand as one with three legs. They have to work together to cross the finish line while racing other three-legged racers.
Egg or water balloon tosses for the less messy, all rely on communication and trust. Pairs stand a distance apart, one partner holding the egg. The first partner throws it to his partner. If his partner catches it, they both take a step back. Whichever pair is left without crushing their egg is the winner.
Tug of war is a great game to play that works on team building through mutual strength and understanding of one another’s strengths. Get a lengthy rope and tie a flag in the middle of it. Have an equal number of people on each side (five on each end works well), and at the call of “Tug!” the two sides will work against each other, together in their groups, to try and get the flag to move over onto their side.
An alternative version: if some of the kids are too strongly competitive, whisper in the ear of one of the kids from one side to switch sides with another kid. Every few minutes, pick a new kid and do it again to switch up the sides so no one is on the same team they were originally on.
Team building is meant to be fun and educational toward skills that are generally taught outside of the classroom. Regardless of the occasion for the team building exercises, they provide a good outlet for kids to understand and develop sharing and coordination skills with others. Learning to work together and to trust one another is important to any kid’s growing up, and engaging in team building activities is a fun way to do it.