One of the most popular game shows ever created focused on games where contestants were given only a minute to complete a task or challenge. People had so much fun watching that many of them came up with their own “minute to win it” parties! Now, the concept has evolved and can be the most fun part of a work or team event.
With some imagination and a few supplies, you can make sure your colleagues get in on the fun at your next team-building retreat. In this article, we are covering 31 of the most fun “minute to win it” games for adults that can break the ice and amp up the fun at your next retreat.
Our favorite “Minute to win it” games for team-building
These games are a great alternative to more lengthy or involved group activities. Remember, the overall concept of the games is that contestants only have one minute! Have your supplies handy ahead of time and make sure to have your timer ready.
1. Jenga unstack
Try a condensed take on the popular game Jenga. Start by building the tower according to game instructions. Then see who can remove the most pieces in one minute without knocking everything down. You can do this as a large group and simply set the timer for a minute and see how far you can get, or you can have a Jenga tower prepared for smaller groups or pairs and have them compete to see who can remove the most. Either way, watch out for the falling pieces!
2. Cookie monster
Who doesn’t love cookies? In this game, each player puts a single cookie on their forehead and tries to get it into their mouth using only their facial muscles - no hands. This is tougher than it looks but leads to a lot of comical moments.
3. Defy gravity
For this game each player needs two balloons. Using only one hand, each player tries to keep them both from touching the ground for a whole minute. If you want more of a challenge, increase the amount of balloons to three per player. No holding onto the balloons! Tip: Use different colored balloons so you can better keep track of which have touched the ground.
4. Penny stack
Players should try to stack 25 pennies in under one minute using only one hand. This game works best for small groups and is ideal for groups of three players competing in rounds of play. You’ll need to make sure you have a few rolls of pennies to start the game.
5. Wanna spoon
Using only a spoon, players should attempt to transfer as many ping pong balls as they can from one bowl to another - no hands! Hands would be allowed if you drop the ball on the ground but then they should be placed back into the original bowl for another attempt. Whoever moves the most ping pong balls in the minute timeframe wins.
6. Egg-cellent fun
If you want to up the ante on the previous game, try using eggs instead of ping pong balls. Using only a spoon, players should carry an egg from one end of the room to the other. How many times can people cross the room? This game is best for playing outdoors or in other spaces that can withstand a little mess.
If you have ever played the popular college drinking game “beer pong”, then this will look familiar to you. Fill plastic cups with water and place six of them on the opposite ends of a table. Take turns throwing ping pong balls with the goal of landing in the cups. Whoever sinks the most shots in a minute is the winner.
8. Marshmallow stuff
You’ll need big bags of fluffy marshmallows for this one. Simply have contestants stuff as many marshmallows as they can into their mouth in one minute. Bonus points for asking them to repeat a silly phrase once their mouths are full.
9. State list
How many states can you name in one minute? Have players list as many states (and capitals, if you want to make things extra challenging) as they can in a minute. It’s easiest to do this in written form. Whoever names the most wins!
10. Pop explosion
Another game that’s best for outside! If you have ever seen YouTube videos of dropping a mint into a soda bottle, then you know that a large explosion happens. This is a fun little experiment that you can make into a game by seeing who can reach the explosion first. You may also want to name a winner for the highest-reaching eruption too.
11. Solo pyramid
Have players stack red Solo cups in a pyramid shape without it collapsing. You can kick things up a notch by having them dismantle the stack without knocking any over, all within a minute. A one-hand requirement makes things extra tricky.
12. Spray balloons
This is a really fun game for beating the heat. If you will be doing any outdoor activities, this is a good one to add. All participants will need a balloon, a spray bottle filled with water, and some form of receptacle like a trash can or box. The goal is for players to guide the balloon into the container using only the spray bottle to propel it. Contestants can spray the balloon with the water to guide it off the ground and where they want it to go. Challenge everyone to complete the challenge in one minute!
13. Rice bowl
Everyone could use more practice with chopsticks. Have players use them to transfer as much rice as possible from one bowl to another with only one hand (and their chopsticks). If you want to make things more difficult, you can use uncooked rice, which is much harder to maneuver.
14. Name dropping
Players should try to name as many [type of people] as they can in one minute. You might choose celebrities or athletes, or get even more specific by choosing baseball players or eighties bands, for example. Whoever comes up with the most names in 60 seconds wins.
15. Mr. President
Follow the same concept as the game above, but try to name US Presidents instead. It sounds easy until you try to do it!
16. Lucky Charms
Give all players a large bowl of Lucky Charms cereal. Have everyone sort the charm marshmallows into categories as fast as they can (for example, all hearts together and all clovers together). Whoever sorts through the most cereal in a minute wins.
17. Gift wrap
Gift wrapping is a true talent! See who on your team has this skill by tasking everyone with wrapping gifts in under a minute. You can either have several packages ready and see who gets the most wrapped, or pick containers that will be especially difficult to wrap and see how far each player gets in one minute. You might be surprised how difficult this can be. Remember that for this one everyone will need their own scissors, tape, wrapping paper, and area to spread out.
18. Rolling the dice
You can’t beat this one for simplicity. Have players break into groups of two and provide a set of dice to each pair. The goal is simple: roll the die and try to get the highest total possible in one minute. So, one person should roll and the other can document the number they get. This should go on as many times as they can in one minute. Whoever has the highest number wins.
19. Thread it
The goal is for contestants to thread as many needles as they can in just one minute. This game can become highly competitive (and even frustrating). Make sure to have enough needles and thread set out for everyone.
Do you have access to a basketball hoop and basketballs? Have an old-school competition where you see who can make the most baskets in one minute.
21. Budget balance
For all the math geeks out there! Give each participant a word problem describing an individual’s income and spending habits, such as regular bills and discretionary spending. Does the imaginary individual have a balanced budget? Or perhaps they have a serious spending problem. Who can figure it out first? This is a fun little math competition that can be done independently. Make sure to provide calculators.
22. Name that tune
This classic never gets old. Play five-second snippets of 12 songs - this will total one minute. Have players write down each song they think they heard. Whoever has the most correct answers wins! You can streamline this process by creating your one-minute compilation in advance, so you don’t have to keep stopping and starting music.
23. Times tables
This one will take everyone back to third-grade! Print out the old-fashioned multiplication or division worksheets that you can find online. You can find many of them with 100 problems. Set the timer for a minute and see who can answer the most (correctly).
24. Lego builders
If you have enough space to spread out a bit, try some lego construction. Give everyone the same set of lego pieces, and print out brief instructions for creating a certain project. Who can complete the project in under one minute?
25. Pretty windy
This game is fun because it’s so active and engaging, it makes for a lot of laughs! To play, you’ll need balloons and plastic cups. The goal is to blow plastic cups over using only air from an inflated balloon. You can start by lining up 5 or 10 plastic cups on an empty table. Then give each player a balloon. Everyone has one minute to blow up their balloon and then release the air from the balloon to knock the cups over or off the table. Whoever has knocked over the most cups in one minute wins.
26. Posture obstacle course
If you have a space that is good for moving around, such as an open concept office, you can give this one a try. Use various furnishings or furniture to create a short obstacle course that everyone must go through in one minute. The catch? They need to balance a book on their head to ensure “proper posture”. If the book falls off they must start over. Have everyone go, one at a time, setting a minute timer for each instance.
27. Backward ABC
This is a great one because no supplies are required! If you’re tight on space or budget give this game a try. For this activity, each player must attempt to say the alphabet in reverse. They only have one minute to complete the task and whoever can say the full alphabet backwards in the shortest amount of time wins.
28. Boxes and bells
This is a great one for holiday events! You’ll need five boxes and 15 small round bells. In each box, place between 1 and 5 bells (so 1 bell, 2 bells, and so on). Make sure they are in random order, and then task each player with picking up and shaking the box, then guessing the number of bells. Their ultimate goal is to reorganize the boxes based on the number of bells inside. Have each player try and whoever does it fastest wins.
29. Office tennis
This is another game that doesn’t require many supplies other than what you probably already have around the office. Start with a crumpled piece of paper. The goal is for teams of two to use clipboards as “tennis racquets” to hit the paper into a trash can. Whoever achieves this fastest wins. Make sure you have an open space for moving around.
30. Speed eraser
If you ever played the game of “quarters”, you’ll have an advantage for this game. Another game with a simple supply list, this one starts with six or seven small but sturdy cups and a few boxes of unsharpened pencils. Each player has one minute to bounce pencils off the eraser end into the cups (one per cup). Starting with a large number of pencils available makes the game easier. Reminder: you’ll want to use unsharpened pencils for this game, and sharpened pencil tips flying around could be dangerous.
31. Cup toppers
For this game you’ll need some cups or tumblers and some old compact discs. Place the cup a reasonable amount of space away from the player (such as a few feet, across a table). Have them take a stack of CDs and toss them, one by one, onto the cup. Their goal is to land as many as they can flat onto the top of the cup. Whoever strikes the most landings wins.
“Minute to win it” games are an easy part of team-building with Surf Office
If you’re planning a team retreat or other company event, you need to make sure to incorporate plenty of down-time and entertainment. No matter how valuable the information being shared, or how important the relationship-building, attendees will have negative views of the event if you don’t take time for some good old-fashioned fun.
Luckily, “minute to win it” games are perfect for corporate events. Not only do they require very little set up, some of them don’t even need additional supplies. In most cases, you can use the space and equipment you already have on hand wherever your event is taking place. Most important of all: the games are only a minute long! This means you can make people more comfortable, build trust, improve problem-solving skills, and encourage collaboration in only a few moments.
We suggest reviewing this list and choosing a few favorites. Make them a part of your next offsite - we promise attendees will appreciate it! While you plan the fun stuff, let Surf Office take care of the logistics. Whether you’re planning an event for the whole office, or simply a meetup with your remote team, our unique combination of work and play is sure to bring you and your employees closer together.