35 Team Building Activities & Game Ideas For Work

Boost interpersonal relationships, strengthen communication and encourage collaboration with our comprehensive list of team building activities and games.

Introduction | Indoor Games | Outdoor Games | Other resources

 
 

Team-building exercises (from corporate retreats to competitive Lego-building to go-karting) have been the brunt of many jokes in popular culture, but they exist for a reason – great teams rarely form naturally, and creating shared experiences is an effective way of building camaraderie and fostering teamwork.

Given that Googling ‘team building games’ will yield you some 254 million results, it can be difficult to know which game or activity will work for your team. The type of game or activity you pick will depend on a few factors, including the size of your team, your objectives, and your company culture.

Whether you need an activity to break the activity to break the ice with a new team, one that fosters communication, or one that helps your team improve their ability to strategise, you’ll find what you’re looking for in our comprehensive list of 35 team building activities. With activities for teams of all sizes, indoors and out, we’ve got all bases covered.

What are team building activities?

The term ‘team building activities’ is a fairly broad one, and there are any number of activities that can fall under this banner. Ultimately, it refers to any type of activity that improves the interpersonal relations between team members.

All types of teams, of all sizes and purposes, can benefit from team building activities. The best results come from teams who know each other, know how to communicate and how to collaborate, and that’s exactly what team building activities serve to achieve.

Why are team building activities important?

Putting a team together is something most people can do with their eyes closed. Picture your primary school PE teacher dividing your class into teams for a horrifying game of rounders, or a tutor at uni forming groups for an equally horrifying group assignment.

Putting together a team that is capable of doing great things, however, is more of a challenge. One of the best ways you can get the best out of your team is actively encourage the development of bonds between your team members, and the fortification of said bonds.

That’s where team building games come in.

Indoor Team Building Activities

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A Truth and a Lie

Duration: 30 minutes
Materials: Pen and paper
Objective: This game encourages communication between team members
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Icebreaker
How to: Have your team form a circle. Each person takes turns in introducing themselves to the group, then telling everyone two facts – one true, and one a lie. Everyone will then vote for the statement they believe to be true. Points are awarded for each correct guess, as well as for every team member who believes your own lie.
 

circle

Awareness Circle

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: A silent exercise that helps your team see the differences and similarities between themselves and other members
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Icebreaker
How to: Have your team form a circle. The game runner has a list of statements (e.g. ‘I play a musical instrument’, ‘I am an only child’, ‘I am a vegan’) and reads through these statements one at a time. If the statement is true for a team member, they should step forward into the circle. Once the team members have seen who is in the circle and who isn’t, they can step back, and wait for the next statement.
 

Back-to-Back Drawing

Duration: 30 minutes
Materials: Clipboards, paper, pencils, drawing templates
Objective: An activity that helps team members experience giving and receiving directions without visual or other non-verbal clues
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: Divide your team into pairs, and have them sit back-to-back. Give one person the clipboard and pencil, and the other a drawing template – that is, a sheet of paper with a shape or image on it. The person with the template needs to get their partner to draw an exact replica of the image on their sheet, using only verbal instructions. When they’re done, the partners compare the original to the copy.
 

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Beach Ball Toss

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: Beach ball, permanent markers
Objective: A great way to break the ice in larger groups
Perfect for: Large groups
Purpose: Icebreaker
How to: Use the marker to write different questions on the beach ball, focusing on questions that help team members get to know each other better. Start tossing the ball around. When someone catches it, they’ll need to answer the question closest to their pinky. Once they’ve answered, they can toss the ball to someone else in the group.
 

Best and Worst

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: A great option for teams who collaborate online, this exercise helps people get to know their fellow team members better
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Icebreaker
How to: Each member of the group writes down one ‘best’ question and one ‘worst’ question to ask their fellow team members. (E.g. ‘What’s the best holiday you’ve ever been on?’ or ‘What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?’) These questions are collected and put into a hat, so each member can draw two at random. Each group member then takes turns to answer the questions they’ve been drawn, giving a little background information for each.
 

Birthday Lineup

Duration: 30 minutes
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: This simple activity tests your team’s ability to both communicate, and solve problems quickly
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: Team members will need to line up in order of their birthdays, without talking or writing anything down. Team members will need to figure out a system of communicating their birthdays with each other wordlessly, before commencing the lineup.
 

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Blindfold Rope Square

Duration: 30 minutes
Materials: Blindfolds, rope
Objective: A short exercise that helps small groups learn how to communicate without visual cues or being able to monitor progress
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: In a safe, clear space, blindfold all participants, and have them turn around a few times. Place the length of rope on the floor, then tell the team they need to locate the rope, and work together to make a perfect square out of it on the floor.
 

Classify This

Duration: 30 minutes
Materials: A range of random objects you’ve collected (the fewer similarities between them, the better), pens, paper
Objective: A quick, fun activity that encourages teamwork and communication, and highlights that there are many different ways of seeing things
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: Split your team into small groups, and ask each group to categorise the items you’ve chosen into different families. Have each group write down their categories within a time frame – say, 10 minutes. Once the time has lapsed, have each group present their categories to the rest of the team, explaining the reasons behind their categories.
 

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Concentration

Duration: 15 mins
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: A fast, fun game designed to boost energy and concentration
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: The team forms two even lines, facing each other. Give all participants a minute to study their partner, then have one line turn around. The other line now has 40 seconds to change 10 things about themselves – things like changing hairstyles, tying scarves differently, swapping watches to the other hand. After 40 seconds, the other line turns back around, and has to identify all the changes. Once they’ve all been identified, the teams swap.
 

Coriolis Effect

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: Plastic pipes (one per person), one small ball, timer
Objective: This activity allows your team to understand the different ways in which people work to solve a problem
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Problem solving
How to: The team forms a circle, and each person is given a piece of plastic pipe. Starting from the tallest person, the ball is passed around the circle, clock-wise, via each piece of pipe. To be successful, each of the following rules must be observed: No pipe can be skipped. Pipes cannot touch. Each person’s pinkies must be touching at all times. Team members can only touch their own pipes. The ball cannot be touched as it travels. If the ball falls, the process must start again.
 

egg drop

Egg Drop

Duration: 2 hours
Materials: Raw eggs, cardboard, duct tape, straws, paper
Objective: Also known as Defend the Egg, the Egg Drop is a classic team building activity that encourages problem solving and communication
Perfect for: Large groups
Purpose: Problem solving
How to: Divide your team into even groups – ideally, no more than 5 people per group. Each team is given an egg, and a limited amount of supplies (the list we’ve given is just an example; you can provide any materials you like). Find a point in your office that’s around 5m off the ground and easy to clean. Teams are tasked with building something that will protect their egg when dropped from a 5m height.
 

Escape Room

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: A relatively young concept, escape rooms are an immersive, challenging exercise in problem solving and teamwork
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Problem solving
How to: The concept of the escape room is simple – you get locked in a room laden with secrets and puzzles, and you have to use those clues to find your way out within an allocated timeframe. There are any number of them in capital cities across Australia – http://www.escaperoomhunters.com/ has a comprehensive list.
 

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Friendly Flyers

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: Pens, paper
Objective: Foster a spirit of healthy competition within your team, while helping them learn more about each other
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Icebreaker
How to: Split the team into pairs, and ask each pair to construct a paper airplane. After making the plane, each pair needs to write personal characteristics that define them on the plane. Teams then compete to see which plane is able to fly the farthest. The group then reads the characteristics written on that plane, and tries to guess who it belongs to. Repeat with all planes according to distance flown.
 

Helium Stick

Duration: 15 minutes
Materials: A stick
Objective: A quick game that serves as a great icebreaker or energy booster
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Icebreaker
How to: Get your team to form two even rows, facing each other, and have everyone hold their right hands out at chest-height, index finger extended. Place the ‘helium stick’ on top of the outstretched fingers. The team needs to work together to lower the stick to the ground, without anyone losing contact with the stick.
 

human knot

Human Knot

Duration: 15 minutes
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: A quick brain teaser that fosters teamwork and problem solving
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Problem solving
How to: Form a circle, with everyone standing shoulder to shoulder. Everyone raises their right hand in the air, then grabs the hand of someone standing across the circle from them. Repeat the process with left hands, making sure everyone is holding the hands of two different people. Now, the team needs to work together to untangle everyone without letting go of the hands they’re holding. If the chain is broken, the game starts over.
 

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: ‘Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes’, available from the Steam Store
Objective: Great for remote teams, Keep Talking is a video game that relies on excellent communication skills
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: In Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, one player is trapped in a virtual room with a bomb they must defuse. The other players are the bomb ‘experts’, who must give instructions to defuse the bomb by deciphering information found in the bomb defusal manual.
 

lost at sea

Lost at Sea

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: Lost at Sea toolkit – find it here
Objective: This game not only forces your team to work together and methodically to solve a problem, it also highlights how teamwork can produce far superior results to working alone
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: Lost at Sea asks you to split your team into groups of 3 or 4. Each team is asked to imagine that they have chartered a yacht with your teammates, but have been lost at sea due to a fire in the galley. Each team is able to escape, with 15 items, a lifeboat and a box of matches.

Teams are required to rank the 15 items in order of importance, both individually and as a group. These rankings are then compared to the rankings given by the US Coastguard, and scores assigned based on how far the individual and team rankings differ from that of the Coastguard. The lower the score, obviously, the better the result.
 

Mine Field

Duration: 30 minutes
Materials: Bottles, cans, cups or anything else than can be used as a ‘hazard’
Objective: Ideal for smaller groups, this exercise endeavours to improve communication and trust between team members
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: For this activity, you’ll need an empty, open space. You’ll then distribute ‘mines’ throughout that space. Teams will be split into pairs, and one member of each team blindfolded. The blindfolded person will need to make their way from one side of the space to the other without stepping on any ‘mines’, by listening to the instructions of their partner. If a mine is stepped on, they’ll need to start over.
 

team

One Question

Duration: 15 minutes
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: This is a simple, quick activity that gets your team members talking to each other
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: Come up with some scenarios in which someone is chosen for something specific – for example, let’s say you’re looking for a new babysitter. Each person in your team needs to come up with just one question they can ask in order to determine whether someone is right for this role.
 

 

Online Games

Duration: Ongoing
Materials: Computers, internet access, access to online games
Objective: For remote teams, online multiplayer battle arena games are a great way to foster communication and problem solving skills
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm are multiplayer battle arena games, where teams compete with other teams in order to accomplish an objective or victory. Both of these games are free to play, available on Windows and OSX, and generally considered safe for work.

Counter-Strike is an online action game where teams compete complete strategic missions to take down terrorists. It’s more violent than League or Heroes, so you’ll need to assess whether it’s suitable for your workplace.
 

salt

Salt and Pepper

Duration: 15 minutes
Materials: Pen, paper, tape
Objective: A fun, fast game that helps to break the ice and get energy flowing
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Icebreaker
How to: You first need to think of pairs of things – such as salt and pepper, ham and cheese, lock and key – and write each item on a separate piece of paper. Tape one sheet of paper on each person’s back so they can’t see it. Once everyone has been assigned an item, they’ll need to walk around asking yes or no questions, in order to figure out what word is taped to them. Once they know what they are, they need to find their ‘match’. Once a pair has been matched, they can sit down and share three interesting facts about themselves.
 

Take What You Need

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: Coins, tissues or other easily counted item
Objective: A fun, simple activity that helps team members get to know each other better
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Icebreakers
How to: Get your team to sit in a circle, then pass around a box of tissues, bag of coins, or similar. Tell everyone to ‘take as much as they need’, without telling them what for. Once everyone has taken what they need, they’ll need to tell the group one interesting fact about themselves for every item they took.
 

talk in circles

Talking in Circles

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: One length of rope or string (you’ll need it to be quite long – assume a minimum of 1 meter per person)
Objective: A challenging activity that gets your team communicating and working together
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: Tie your piece of string together at the ends to form a circle, then have your team form a circle around it. Now get everyone to grab the piece of string with both hands, and hold it at waist height. The team will then need to form different shapes with the string, without letting go. Start easy (a square, a triangle), then move into more complex shapes (figure eight, star, etc).
 

Trivia

Duration: 2 hours
Materials: Paper, pens, trivia questions
Objective: A fun, high-energy activity that boosts competition, teamwork and collaboration
Perfect for: Large groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: If you’ve ever been to a pub trivia night, you’ll have an idea of how this works. Your team is split into equal-sized groups, and each group is given paper and pens. The host then reads out a number of trivia questions, ideally spanning a number of topics (pop culture, sport, geography, politics, etc). Teams write their answers down (no Googling!) and the team with the highest score wins. Make things more interesting with spot prizes and games throughout. If organising a trivia event sounds like too much work, companies like Quiz Meisters also run corporate trivia events.

Outdoor Team Building Activities

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amazing race

Amazing Race

Duration: Half day
Materials: Dependent on the nature of the race
Objective: The Amazing Race is a series of fun challenges to encourage teamwork, bonding, adaptability and problem solving.
Perfect for: Large groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: Australian company The Great Race runs a number of team building events, but their ‘Amazing Race’ is definitely one of the most intriguing. Fully adaptable to your needs, The Great Race subjects your team to a series of challenges that push them out of their comfort zone. This is an activity that will test teamwork, communication and the ability to work together to meet goals. More info at http://greatrace.com.au/corporate/amazing-races/
 

Bounce

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: Encourage teamwork, fun and physical activity
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: If you’re looking for an activity that combines fun and exercise, look no further than Bounce. With 7 locations across Australia, each housing over 100 interconnected trampolines, Bounce describes itself as a ‘spring-loaded urban playground’. There are a number of activities you can undertake at Bounce, but if you have a group of 8 or less, we recommend dodgeball. Find out more at http://bounceinc.com.au/
 

garden

Build a Garden

Duration: Ongoing
Materials: Plants, gardening tools, potting mix
Objective: Giving your team a common goal helps to build trust and communication
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: While you may think office gardens are only for offices with a lot of space, but almost any workplace has space for a garden of some type – think planter boxes on a balcony, potted herbs in the kitchen, or a vertical garden in a courtyard. Spend a day with your team putting together a garden your whole workplace can enjoy.
 

Clip & Climb

Duration: 2 hours
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: Build relationships and trust with a challenging but fun physical activity
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: With locations in Moorabbin and Richmond in Melbourne, Clip n Climb is somewhere between indoor rock climbing and theme park. With dozens of safe, fun and exciting climbing challenges available, it’s great way to build camaraderie within your team. Since climbing is a physical activity, take the physical abilities of your team into consideration before organising a Clip n Climb session. That said, children under the age of 5 are able to handle a number of these challenges. Find out more at https://www.upunlimited.com.au.
 

garden

Hooping

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: Hula hoops
Objective: Fun, fitness and camaraderie all get a boost in this activity
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Icebreaker
How to: Hooping classes have exploded in popularity in the past few years, thanks to its ability to straddle the line of nostalgia and exercise. For a quick, fun and challenging activity to help break the ice in a newly minted team, consider hiring a hooping instructor to give your team a class in the finer points of hula hooping. Suitable for people of most activity levels, hooping will help a new team bond. Expect a lot of laughter.
 

Picnic

Duration: Half day
Materials: The usual picnic supplies – food, drinks, blankets, games
Objective: A classic team activity, getting out of the office allows your to socialise and bond in a fun environment
Perfect for: Large groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: A great excuse to get out of the office on a sunny day! Take your team to a nearby park, beach or other outdoor area for a relaxed afternoon of bonding. As well as the food and drinks you’ll need to bring, make sure you bring some games everyone can join in on – such as frisbees, grip ball, cricket or soccer. Keep it less structured than other team building activities on this list – this is more about building relationships than anything else.
 

scavenger

Scavenger Hunt

Duration: 1 day
Materials: A list of clues, cameras
Objective: Get your team out of the office, with an activity that gets your team working together
Perfect for: Large groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: If you want a fun, all-day activity that encourages problem solving, teamwork and initiative, a city-wide scavenger can be a great option for large teams. While an activity of this magnitude can take considerable effort to organise, there are resources online to help you out. The Matador Network has a great ‘how to’ here. Alternatively, you can engage the services of one of the myriad companies that organise corporate scavenger hunts.
 

Ships in the Mist

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: Improve your team’s ability to communicate and listen to each other with this easy game
Perfect for: Medium groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: Similar to Mine Field, Ships in the Mist hinges on listening and communication skills. In this game, one team member becomes to be the ship, and another team member becomes the commander. The rest of the team becomes the obstacles, and scatter themselves about the playing area. With the ‘ship’ blindfolded, the commander must direct the ship around the space, navigating them around the obstacles. If the ship runs into an obstacle, that player is out. The hit obstacle becomes the new ship, and the remaining obstacles rearrange themselves.
 

adventure

The Great Adventure Challenge

Duration: 1 day
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: Challenge your team physically, while boosting teamwork and raising money for charity
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: The Great Adventure Challenge is a multisport team-based corporate adventure race that raises money for the Starlight Foundation. Each race covers a range of activities – from mountain biking to kayaking to coasteering. It also includes ‘mystery tasks’, designed to test both mind and body. There are events in WA, QLD, NSW and VIC – click here for more information.
 

The Tire Pass

Duration: 1 hour
Materials: Tire (or other circular object, such as a hula hoop), rope
Objective: Your team will need to come together and find a way to achieve a goal together
Perfect for: Small groups
Purpose: Collaboration
How to: In this game, you’ll suspend a tire or hoop from a tree, ceiling or similar – ideally, you’ll have it 1 – 2 meters off the ground. Secure the tire with rope so that it doesn’t swing wildly. Your team will need to come up with a way to get everyone through the tire without touching the sides. If someone touches the sides, the whole team will need to start over.
 

volunteer

Volunteering

Duration: 1 day
Materials: No materials needed
Objective: Strengthen the bonds between your team members and help out your local community.
Perfect for: All groups
Purpose: Communication
How to: Corporate volunteering has become more and more commonplace in recent years, and it’s a great way to build bonds in your team. The easiest way to find volunteer opportunities in your area is to Google ‘corporate volunteering’. Plenty of NFPs – from multinationals to local operations – have programs setup to take advantage of corporate volunteer programs.
 

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