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30 Team Building Activities for Teens, Families and Couples
Team-building activities utilize our love of healthy competition and creative problem solving but also add the benefit of bringing the members of a team or family closer as they work together. Here are 30 team-building activities that will get your people collaborating and having fun at the same time.
Team Building for Teens
Teens will love a challenge that allows them to be creative, get physical and solve problems.
- Human Props - Teams decide on an environment and one person starts doing an activity that somehow defines the environment (movie theater, office, school). The remaining team members become other props that would be in that environment. The first player then pretends to "use" the props built by other members and when done, has to name what they think the other props are.
- Antiques of the Future - Have a pile of materials (rubber bands, coffee filters, pipe cleaners, cardboard tubes) and give teams four minutes to choose one and make up a story about the item if it were found as an “antique” 500 years in the future. The group presents a skit that explains what it is, what it did and why it is extremely valuable. Creativity counts!
- Hat Shop - Using materials such as paper plates, plastic bowls, tissue or newspaper, have teams create hats. Then teams create a character who would wear their hat and a setting to present the hats, such as a hat shop, a talk show or an event (birthday party, sporting event). Then teams improvise a short skit showing off their characters and creations in their chosen setting.
- Sock Puppet Theatre - Grab those lonely socks and some markers and challenge teams to create a setting, characters and a conflict to resolve for a short sock puppet theatre presentation. Songs, poetry and puppet dancing are encouraged.
- Rope Challenge - Make a large circle out of rope for each team and put it on the floor. The entire team must stand at the edges of the circle so the rope is taut around their ankles while holding their hands in the air. Team members must take turns moving to work the rope up from ankles to wrists, keeping hands in the air at all times.
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- Drawing Challenge. Assign group members a partner and have them sit back-to-back. One person will receive a blank piece of paper and pen or marker. The other will receive a piece of paper with a shape or simple drawing. The goal is for the person with blank paper to recreate the drawing using only verbal instructions from their partner.
- Movers and Shakers - Give teams a Styrofoam cup with strings attached, one for each team member. Fill the cup with Ping-Pong balls, marbles or beads, and teams try to get the cups to the other side of the room using only the strings. Teams must then dump the contents into another cup.
- Use This/Make That/Do This - Get three square boxes. One box (Use This) has suggestions for materials written on each side (rubber bands, tissue paper, plastic cup). The second (Make That) has objects to be constructed from the materials (musical instrument, kitchen gadget, rocket ship). The third (Do This) tells the team what the purpose of the object is (make noise, make people laugh, be a mode of transportation). Teams roll each box to determine the material, object and purpose, construct it in a certain amount of time and then explain their process to the other teams.
- Walk the Plank - In a parking lot or other large area, teams of four to five are given two wood planks that are both long enough for all the players to stand on. The teams use the wood planks to maneuver themselves from start to the finish line. If a teammate falls off the plank, the team must return to the starting line and start over.
- Dribble Relay - Best done outside, teams have to fill an empty water bottle. This seems easy until they learn they have to pass water from a bucket down the line of team members using only the palms of their hands (or you could lay out a pile of "helper" materials such as spoons, straws and plastic Easter eggs for them to choose from).
Kids of all ages will love these challenges. Combine multiple ideas for the ultimate family fun night.
For Families with Young Children (3-10 year olds)
For Families with Teens/Pre-teens (11-17 year olds)
- Ultimate Kid-Friendly Restaurant - Set up a restaurant in your home, and make teams for menu creation, wait staff and cooking crew. Parents can supervise, and at the end everyone pitches in to clean up.
- Our House Scavenger Hunt - Use family phones for picture taking and have a list of crazy things that need to be photographed in a certain amount of time. Ideas can be "dad's oldest T-shirt" or "mom's favorite purse." Give each team a staggered list — so everyone isn't trying to get the same picture at once — and let the crazy chaos ensue.
- Driveway Olympics - Make obstacles and competitions that are team-oriented like piggy-back races, egg toss, cup stacking, three-legged race, water bottle bowling, throwing (whatever) back and forth the most times without it dropping. Medals can be a favorite candy treat on a ribbon.
- Marshmallow Masterpiece - Teams create structures with mini-marshmallows and toothpicks and then brainstorm fun ways to test the stability of the opposing team's structure. Will it stand under the weight of a wet washcloth or dad's favorite sweatshirt?
For Families with Grown Children (16+)
- The Thankfulness Challenge - Each family member has a partner and everyone has one minute to run around and find a "gift" for the other family member and put it in a gift bag. When the timer goes off, family members return with their "gift" and the receiver of the gift has to take it out, show the family and say thank you and something complimentary to the giver or about the gift. It's fun watching siblings thank each other for dirty socks or a wet towel!
- Family Trivia Night - Divide family members into teams of two and ask questions about their partner such as: "What would your partner say is his favorite color?" "What would your partner say is the messiest part of her room?" Partners must answer the same questions in another room. Bring them together and see how well they know family members. The lowest score makes dinner together!
- Team Word Builder - Using a stack of index cards, break the family into teams and give each member the same number of cards (minimum of five). Each person writes a letter of the alphabet on the cards (one per card), and then teams have a certain amount of time to make words from their letters. Use different color markers for each family member, and you can return the cards, mix up the teams and do it multiple times.
- Blessing Bundles - Divide family members into teams and give them a budget to spend on a basket of blessing for a worthy recipient such as an animal shelter, teacher or pastor.
- Stick-y Fun - Have lengths of lightweight dowel rods or PVC pipe and divide into teams. Team members stand facing each other, pointing their index fingers out to support the "stick" which is placed on the teams' fingers. Teams have to complete challenges such as carrying it across the room, lowering it to the ground, etc., while the stick stays resting on the index fingers and without any of the fingers losing contact.
- Who, Where, What - Brainstorm a list of people everyone in your family knows, places you all have been, movies you have all enjoyed or things you have done together. Break into teams and play charades using your brainstormed list.
Calling All Couples
Whether you’re newly engaged or have been married for decades, couples who work well together stay together. See what your relationship is made of and share some laughs along the way.
- Ties that Bind - Tie a long length of rope with two knots (or more) and have couples hold on to the rope with their dominant hand (they must keep this hand on the rope the entire time). Couples use the free hand to attempt to untie the knots.
- Listen Up - Make an obstacle course in your space, and couples take turns guiding their blindfolded partner thought the course. The trick is that the person without the blindfold has to guide the blindfolded partner using verbal cues only.
- Our Little Nest - Using found materials (grass, stems, leaves, sticks), ask couples to construct a nest that can hold three glass marbles without falling apart. Go deeper by asking couples what they think it takes to hold a healthy family together.
- Top Chef - Couples answer predetermined trivia questions about their spouse, and those answered correctly earn the ingredients for an easy appetizer, which they then prepare together. Teams must also make up a commercial for their dish and then all the appetizers can be shared with the group.
- Building Blocks of Marriage - Create an object out of interlocking blocks, craft sticks or play dough that is hidden away from the teams under a towel or bag. Couples have the necessary materials needed to recreate the object and one member from each team gets to examine the object for five seconds and then run back to their spouse to instruct them how to recreate the object. After 30 seconds, the other spouse gets a five second peek, repeating the process until the object is duplicated.
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- One-Handed Challenge - Tie the left hand of one spouse and the right hand of the other and give each couple tasks to do with the remaining hand, such as tying a shoe, putting a diaper on a doll, folding a towel or making a paper airplane.
- Memory Charades - Have couples independently think of a list of favorite memories as a couple (use categories such as inside jokes, memorable arguments, favorite dates, annoying habits, great vacations) and don't share lists. Each spouse or significant other uses charades to act out the memory to their spouse to see if they can guess the memory. What fun to see both sides of the same memory!
- Paper Tower – Good for “seasoned pros.” The traditional gift for the first anniversary is something made from paper. Challenge couples to return to those early years by building a tower made only from 20 pieces of paper. Up the challenge by placing coins on top and seeing which tower will hold the most weight.
- Heart Strings - Take string and cut it into varying lengths, enough for all teams to have several pieces. Hide the string around the area, and give couples 10 minutes to work as a team to find the pieces of string and tie it together to form the longest piece.
- Finish My Sentence - Couples improvise a scene (or recreate one from a favorite book or movie) with the twist that each person tries to say the other character's lines, basically mimicking their spouse's words and talking at the same time, trying to guess what they will say next. Couples must speak slowly, attempting to say exactly what the other person is saying, and let the laughter follow.
Putting people in situations where they must depend on each other to solve a problem is a great way to build trust and encourage good communication going forward. Taking time to process the activity afterward can help strengthen the bond even more. These ideas hopefully will inspire some new and creative ways to encourage happy and healthy team building.
Julie David is married to a worship pastor and after 20 years in ministry together with three daughters, she is still developing the tender balance of thick skin and gracious heart. She currently leads a small group of high school junior girls.