10 Team Building Activities That Won’t Make You Scream

Published on Nov 29, 2016.

We have all been in this scenario: it is the first few weeks of a new job, and you don’t know anyone, including your hiring manager. This is an uncomfortable time for any new employee, for some of us it might even be considered painful. Often managers believe that getting the person settled into her office and making sure that she is all set with HR will provide the new team member with the confidence she needs to contribute immediately. Unfortunately, this ideology is false. There are many psychological barriers she must overcome before she feels like she can be part of the team and even more than that until she believes that her opinions really count.

It is important to set aside some time with the new team members and current members to encourage team collaboration earlier in the process. Outlined below are 10 fun team building exercises that will transform your new employees from lost puppies to productive, interactive, crusaders for team success in no time at all.

Traverse an Obstacle Course

This event is what I call a blindfolded masterpiece. You must work together to cross an obstacle course blindfolded. Team members rely heavily on communication and trust in order to complete the course and the task at hand. Sound familiar to anything you do in your day to day work?

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The Photo Finish

Channel your inner Usain Bolt with this team building exercise. The goal with the exercise is to get all team members to cross the finish line at the exact same time. Don’t worry it isn’t easy, but it is a lot of fun. You will rely extensively on planning, timing, resilience, and communication in order for it to work.

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The Coffee Run

Who doesn’t enjoy a mid morning or mid afternoon run to the coffee shop? My personal favorite, is a little place in Nampa, ID called Hot Shots (check them out below). We live in a society where coffee shops are on every street corner, literally. Take some time with your new employee and your current team and walk over to the coffee shop. This can take up an hour or two depending on how you approach it. My advice, make it as comfortable as possible and avoid the conversation of work.

For more visit: Hot Shots Brew Crew on Facebook

Lights, Camera, Action

So I lied…. This one might make you scream if you are as introverted as I am. I am putting it on the list because it is a fun way to get to know new people. This team building activity is a great idea for a light hearted group ready to learn where they fit in best. You will split into small groups and write, direct, and produce a short play to present in front of your other colleagues.

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Video Scavenger Hunt

Has it been a long quarter and you really need to let the team get out of the office for an afternoon? This activity pushes creativity, team chemistry, and allows the troops to blow off a little steam. Run around town recording the entire afternoon while you take part in a small group scavenger hunt. Winner gets a prize!

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Who Is In Your Bunker?

I recommend this one for teams who have spent a bit of time together. Give each member of the team a piece of paper and have them imagine they in a bunker while at war. Have them draw the bunker on the sheet of paper, and then write in the names of the people they would choose to have on their right, left, and back. Collect all the bunkers and share each person’s ideas. This is perfect for teams looking to find internal leadership. It will highlight those who are trusted and motivate the others to earn the trust of the team.

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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Everyone has a pet peeve; wouldn’t it be great to know what it was beforehand? We use this team building exercise in our department to help with this very issue. The MBTI assessment is a detailed and foundational way to get to know your peers. It is backed by many years of data and science. When assessed by one of our certified MBTI instructors, it can be invaluable to a team's development. A solid foundation in communication is the most important part of team productivity, and this assessment is the perfect way to unlock those communication channels. Looking for more on the MBTI? Check out the link below.

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The Common Book

Have a group of introverts on your team? This activity lets the squad participate on its own time without having to present in front of others. Grab an empty notebook, and each week, put a thought provoking question at the top of the page. Throughout the week ask that your team members give their answer to the question by writing it in the book. Over time conversations arise, and you’ll learn what makes others tick.

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Show and Tell

Remember 2nd grade when it was finally your day for show and tell and you could show your entire class the awesome frog that you had found and was now keeping as a pet? I do. This activity gives team members the opportunity to share what they are passionate about outside of work, or even a personal item they really care about. It also provides an opportunity to present and field questions from other team members. Perfect time to get to know your team on a different level.

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Simply Dinner

Finally, host a team dinner at your house. I bring this idea in from the world of athletics. So often we know our co-workers on a work only basis and have trouble relating and communicating with them because we don’t truly know who they are. Offering up dinner in your home is a positive and simple way to welcome all new members onto a team and create a close knit group ready to take on the stresses and anxieties of everyday work together.

I believe solid team chemistry is an important part of achieving team success. The only way to help build this chemistry is to work on it. These are just some of the many ideas available to you for team building. Do you have any awesome team building ideas that you would like to share? If you do please do so in the comments section below. We look forward to seeing what you have to say.

Written by Tate Glasgow
Boise Center Site Manager
Media & Events Coordinator
The Center for Professional Development

*video and image credit goes to and and