5 and 10-minute team-building activities (Quick & fun games)

Sometimes, you don’t have the time or resources to organise a day-long scavenger hunt or an adrenaline-pumping weekend away with the team. 

But that doesn’t mean you need to neglect team-building entirely.

With these quick and easy team-building activities you can sustain your team-building efforts throughout the average workweek. 

Whether you’re energising your team before a meeting or breaking the ice during onboarding, it’s always useful to have some five to 10-minute team-building activities hidden up your sleeve.

Quick energising games

Capturing your employee’s attention at the start of a team-building event can be tricky. 

Often, employees arrive with their thoughts elsewhere. Perhaps they recently heard that their child is misbehaving in school, or maybe they’re wrestling with some negative feedback they recently received from their manager.

Distractions like these are perfectly normal, but it’s up to you to bring your employees back to reality and keep them engaged. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is by starting with a quick energising team-building game.

Keep up the Balloons

As a child, was there anything more fun than playing balloon keepy-uppy with your friends or siblings? Well, it’s time to relive those memories in the office with this simple yet entertaining team-building game!

Great for: Energising your team

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: Balloons in a variety of colours

How to play Keep up the Balloons

Setup: Divide your group into teams of three or more. Then, hand each team a set of coloured balloons. The number of balloons per team should be at least double the number of people in the team. For example, if team 1 has four people, they would get eight red balloons.

To play: When the referee sounds their whistle, the teams throw all their balloons into the air. The aim of the game is to keep the balloons from touching the ground for as long as possible. If any of the team’s balloons touch the ground, they are eliminated. The winners are any teams that make it to the end of the time limit without their balloons touching the floor.

Alternative Application

Alternative Application is the game that challenges players to think outside the box—you’ll be surprised by the innovative ideas your employees will come up with!

Great for: Creative thinking 

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Players: 4+

You’ll need: Various office items (at least one per player)

How to play Alternative Application

Setup: Before play begins, gather a variety of random office objects (at least one, preferably two, per player). Objects might include a stapler, flipchart, kitchen kettle etc.

To play: Taking turns, pass one of the objects to a player and ask them to mime an alternative use of that object. Meanwhile, the other players try to guess what action is being mimed. 

For example, the player with the flipchart might stand it on its legs, drape a sheet of paper over their head, and mime taking a photograph on a vintage view camera. Once somebody guesses correctly, play moves to the next player.

Paper Plane Parade

Everybody knows how to build a paper plane, but who can do it the best? In this creative team game, employees go head to head to build the best paper plane!

Great for: Teamwork, creative thinking

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 4+

You’ll need: Various stationery supplies including paper, sticky tape and scissors

How to play Paper Plane Parade

Setup: Divide your group into even teams and hand each team a matching set of stationery supplies. Each set should include paper, sticky tape and scissors, but feel free to add other items such as glitter, googly eyes, etc.

To play: When the timer starts, the teams have five minutes to construct a paper plane using the supplies they were given. When the time is up, position the teams behind a line and ask them to throw their creations, one by one. The planes will be judged on three criteria: the plane that travelled the furthest, the plane that flew for the longest and the plane that looked the best. It’s up to you whether you inform your group of these criteria before or after the creation process.

Word Association

You may have played Word Association to pass the time on long journies. Well, funnily enough, it also works brilliantly as a quick team-building game!

Great for: Quick thinking, communication

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 4+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Word Association

Setup: Position your group in a circle facing inwards. Players can be sitting or standing.

To play: To start the game, somebody starts with a one-word prompt. Then, play moves around the circle as each player replies with a work they strongly associate with the previous word. For example, if player one starts with the word “tree,” player two might say “leaves” and player three might follow up with “autumn.” Play moves around the circle until the time runs out.

Caption This

You might have seen companies using the “Caption This” game as a way of driving engagement on their social media feeds. Interestingly, it also works well as a team-building activity because it’s fun, collaborative and creative.

Great for: Creative thinking, collaboration

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 4+

You’ll need: Various funny/thought-provoking images

How to play Caption This

Setup: Compile various images in a folder on your computer or print them out.

To play: Divide your group into teams or pairs and show them one of the images. Then, give them a few minutes to think of a suitable or funny caption for the image. When the time runs out, ask the groups, one by one, to present their caption. Groups can then vote for the caption they liked the most!

Emoji Quiz

John: Hey, what’s your favourite superhero movie?

Jane: 🕷👨

John: Really? Batman’s my favourite too!

Jane: 🤦

If you’re like John, you won’t be any good at the Emoji Quiz. But if you’re like the other 99% of the population, capable of deciphering emojis without a second thought, then we have the perfect game for you!

Great for: Creative thinking, problem-solving

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 4+

You’ll need: A list of movie, book or song titles written in emojis

How to play Emoji Quiz

Setup: Before playing Emoji Quiz, you need to create a list of movie, song or book titles written in emoji form. Here are a few examples:

To play: Separate your group into equal teams. Then, display each title (written in emojis) on a screen and ask the teams to write down the name of the movie, song or book. Once you’ve asked all your questions, go back and reveal the answers. The team with the most correct answers wins!

Ninja

You’ll need quick reactions if you want to stand a chance at winning this game! Ninja is a quick, light-hearted activity that’s great for energising your team.

Great for: Energising your team

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Players: 3-8

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Ninja

Setup: Arrange your group in a circle, facing inwards, with about a metre distance between each player.

To play: The game starts when the players scream “ULTIMATE NINJAAA!” in unison. Upon hearing this, all players strike a dramatic, ninja-like pose. The first player then has two options: try to strike the hand of the player next to them, or make a movement (e.g. move their arm above their head). If a player attempts to strike your hand, you are allowed to evade the attack. If your dodge is successful, you must remain in the position you landed in until your next turn. If you are struck, you are eliminated from the game. The last person remaining is the winner and is awarded the coveted title of “Ultimate Ninja.”

Frustration

DISCLAIMER: sushi-lovers will have an unfair advantage.

Frustration is a fun, interactive game in which players race against the clock to transfer as many sweets as possible into their bowls using only chopsticks.

Great for: Energising your team, remaining calm under pressure

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Players: 3+

You’ll need: Bowls, small sweets (e.g. M&Ms, Skittles, etc.), chopsticks

How to play Frustration

Setup: Place one large bowl of sweets (something small like M&Ms or raisins) in the centre of the table and position the players in a circle, at equal distances to the bowl. Give each player a small bowl and a pair of chopsticks.

To play: When the time starts, players attempt to transfer as many pieces of candy into their bowl as they can. The players can ONLY use the chopsticks—their free hand must remain behind their back. The winner is the person with the most pieces of candy in their bowl after the time runs out.

Pirate’s Treasure

Can you creep up on the pirate and steal his treasure without being spotted? This game will push your employee’s sneaking skills to the limit.

Great for: Energising your team

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: A chair, a random object (small enough to easily pick up and carry)

How to play Pirate’s Treasure

Setup: To prepare for Pirate’s Treasure, position your players in a circle, facing inwards, and place a chair in the centre. Request a volunteer and ask them to sit on the chair. Blindfold the volunteer and place the object under the chair.

To play: To start the game, the players in the circle (the pirates) start walking around the chair. When they stop, they silently pick one person to attempt to steal the object from under the chair. If the pirate manages to steal the object undetected they win the game. However, if the volunteer hears the pirate approaching and points at them, the pirate is eliminated and play starts again.

Stop-Walk

Looking for a quick team-building activity to refine your group‘s listening skills before a meeting? Then Stop-Walk is the game for you!

Great for: Listening skills

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 8+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Stop-Walk

Setup: Find a large room and delegate one person to be the “leader.”

To play: The game starts simply. The leader introduces two basic instructions: “stop” and “walk.” When the leader says “walk,” everybody starts walking around, and when he/she says “stop,” everybody stops. Then, the leader announces that the meanings of these phrases have now been reversed, so “stop” means “walk” and “walk” now means “stop.” Once the group has got to grips with these commands, the leader can slowly introduce new pairs of commands such as “clap” and “jump,” now and again reversing the meanings. Whenever somebody performs the wrong action, they are eliminated from the game.

Lightening Scavenger Hunt

Just finished onboarding some new recruits? This is how you test if they were paying attention during their tour of the office!

Great for: Energising your team

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Lightning Scavenger Hunt

Setup: Gather your group somewhere in the office. This game also works perfectly for remote teams.

To play: Make sure your group is paying attention. When everybody’s ready, announce the item that they need to retrieve. This could be something like “find something beginning with the letter ‘R’” or “bring me something blue.” The moment you finish talking, the players rush to find something in the office that matches your description. The first player to return with a valid item is the winner.

Guess the Emoji Board

What do your “recently used” emojis say about you? It’s time to find out with this fun and simple energising game!

Great for: Energising your team

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 4+

You’ll need: A screenshot of each player’s “recently used” emoji board

How to play Guess the Emoji Board

Setup: Before playing, ask each player to send you a screenshot of their “recently used” emoji board. Name the file after the sender so you know who it belongs to.

To play: Once you’ve received a screenshot from each player, you’re ready to start. One at a time, display a screenshot to the rest of the group and ask them to guess who it belongs to. There isn’t a winner per se, but it’s a fun way of energising your group and getting to know each other!

Quick communication games

Poor communication leads to unnecessary revisions, mistakes and wasted resources. These side effects create an unpleasant working environment where employees are regularly engaged in conflict and battling with simple tasks.

The following team-building games are designed to put your team’s communication skills to the test. During the games, pay attention to the dynamics of each group—who’s taking the lead? Who seems nervous to speak up? 

These insights will help you to uncover the biggest communication barriers that currently exist within your workforce. 

Classification

If your group are struggling to come up with team names, this quick team-building activity might help! Classification encourages players to find common ground and get to know one another quickly.

Great for: Interpersonal bonding

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 8+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Classification

Setup: To prepare for Classification, separate your group into even teams. Before the game starts, make it clear that consolidating people into groups or perpetuating stereotypes isn’t useful. Players should avoid classifications based on gender, race, sexual preferences, or any other theme that could be perceived as prejudicial or discriminatory.

To play: After forming teams and explaining the basic rules, you’re ready to start. When you say “Go!” the players can start to exchange basic information about themselves. Perhaps they like to wake up early? Maybe they like to grab a coffee every morning? Based on these preferences and characteristics, the players will attempt to find common ground and classify themselves. You can expect results such as “The Early Birds” or “The Caffeine Addicts.”

Sneak a Peak

Do you have a keen eye for detail? Are you a spot-the-difference wizard? Then Sneak a Peak could be the game for you. In this game, your employee’s observation and communication skills will be put to the test as they attempt to recreate a structure with their team.

Great for: Observation, communication

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: A few sets of building blocks i.e. Lego Duplo

How to play Sneak a Peak

Setup: Using your building blocks, start by constructing a complex structure. The structure should be hidden from the players and positioned at an equal distance from each team. Then, divide your group into even teams and provide them with the necessary building blocks to recreate your structure.

To play: When the game starts, one player from each group will approach the hidden structure and observe it for 10 seconds. Then, upon returning to their teams, the observer has 25 seconds to explain how to recreate the structure. After one minute of attempting to recreate the structure, another observer gets up and looks at the hidden structure for a further 10 seconds. The game continues in this pattern until one of the teams successfully replicates the structure.

Who am I?

Asking the right questions is a valuable skill. Cutting straight to the core and homing in on what’s important boosts productivity and efficiency. Who am I? Is a well-known party game that encourages employees to consider their questions carefully.

Great for: Communication, problem-solving

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: Sticky notes, pens

How to play Who am I?

Setup: Hand out a sticky note and pen to each player and have them write down the name of a famous person, or—if your team is already well acquainted—the name of a colleague. Then, ask the players to swap notes and, without looking, stick them to their foreheads.

To play: The players start to mingle with other players, asking questions that can only be answered with “yes” or “no.” The answers to these questions should help the players to decipher which name is written on their forehead. For example, players might ask things like “Am I a celebrity?” or “Do I wear glasses”? If you want the game to be shorter, try separating players into smaller groups of three to four. 

Show and Tell

Show and Tell has been popularised by schools as a way of boosting confidence and public speaking skills. But the importance of these skills doesn’t waver as we get older, in fact, they become more important.

Great for: Public speaking, communication

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 5+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Show and Tell

Setup: To keep this game quick and simple, you might want to schedule this game as a recurring weekly event with just one or two speakers. Design a schedule and ask the upcoming speakers to bring a cherished item to the office.

To play: On the day of their presentation, the speakers must stand before the group and talk about the item they bought with them. They might talk about the history of the item, how it came into their possession, why it’s important to them, etc. You can also create themes for the talks to make it easier for the speakers such as “something that motivates you” or “your most prized possession.”

Copy Cat

The devil is in the detail, they say. At the workplace, misinterpreting instructions or being unclear with your instructions can have detrimental knock-on effects. Copy Cat teaches your employees to listen more carefully.

Great for: Listening skills, comprehension

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Players: 2+

You’ll need: Various sets of identical office items, something to use as a barrier i.e a flipchart.

How to play Copy Cat

Setup: To prepare for Copy Cat, separate players into pairs and position them on either side of a solid barrier—the players should be able to see their partner. Hand each player a set of matching office items. You can use things like a wastepaper basket, stapler, pens, sticky notes, etc. In each pair, one person needs to be the Leader and the other needs to be the Copy Cat.

To play: When the timer starts, the Leader begins building his structure with the materials provided. The Leader is allowed to iterate his actions, saying things like “I’m going to lay the wastepaper basket on its side,” and “I’m sticking two sticky notes to the bottom of the basket.” Based on these comments, the Copy Cat must attempt to create an identical structure to that of their Leader. The Copy Cat cannot ask any questions, forcing the Leader to be precise with their commentary.

Quiz Question of the Week

A quick brainteaser or trivia question is a simple way to engage your team at the start of the week. This is a particularly useful strategy for encouraging engagement in remote teams. You can create a dedicated channel in Slack for employees to discuss the answer.

Great for: Facilitating interaction

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: A thought-provoking riddle, trivia question or brainteaser

How to play Quiz Question of the Week

Setup: Establish a day of the week when you’ll pose a head-scratching question to your team. When the time comes to ask the question, you can display it in any way you see fit. Write it up on a whiteboard in the common area, drop it in an email, or—if you’re working remotely—put it in a dedicated Slack group.

To play: Once you’ve asked the question, allow some time for your employees to wrestle with potential answers/solutions. It’s up to you when you choose to reveal the answer, but the idea is to encourage your employees to engage with the question as a group. If you like, you can start a leaderboard with a prize at the end of the year for the person who answered the most questions correctly.

Blind Retriever

One wrong move and you’re out of the game! Blind Retriever hones your employee’s listening skills as they attempt to retrieve the object and avoid objects while blindfolded.

Great for: Listening and communication

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 4+

You’ll need: One blindfold per team, various soft-edged obstacles

How to play Blind Retriever

Setup: Find a large open space. At one end of the space, place the object that your teams will need to retrieve and at the other end indicate some sort of start line. Then, position various soft-edged obstacles between the start line and the object. Avoid using any objects that could cause harm if somebody were to walk into/land on them. Finally, divide your group into small teams of about 2-4 players, allocate one person per team to be the Retriever and position everybody behind the start line. The Retriever is then blindfolded. 

To play: When the game starts, the non-retrievers of each team must guide their blindfolded retriever to the other end of the room to collect the object using only verbal commands. If a retriever makes contact with any of the obstacles in the room their team is eliminated from the race. The team whose retriever collects the object first without touching any obstacles wins.

3-Question Mingle

3-Question Mingle bypasses the small talk and cuts straight to the nitty-gritty. It’s a simple game that helps employees get to know each other in a short space of time.

Great for: Interpersonal bonding

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 8+

You’ll need: Pens, sticky notes

How to play 3-Question Mingle

Setup: Hand each player a pen and a sticky note and ask them to write down three open-ended questions. Examples include questions like “Who’s the most important person in your life right now?” Or “If you could have more money or more time, which would you choose and why?”

To play: Set a time limit and ask the players to start mingling with their colleagues. Once the players find a partner, they take turns asking one of their questions. Once they’ve both asked a question, they swap those questions with each other and find a new partner. This process continues until the time runs out. To debrief, ask your group what interesting things they learned about one another.

The Communication Game

Inspired by the classic game “Telephone,” The Communication Game requires players to accurately pass a physical message from one end of the line to the other.

Great for: Communication, observation skills

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play The Communication Game

Setup: Ask your group to stand in a single-file line, about arm’s reach apart, facing in the same direction.

To play: Ask the person at the back of the line to come up with a short movement sequence. Once they’ve created the sequence, they tap the shoulder of the person in front of them, asking them to turn around. The player turns around and observes the movement sequence. Then, they turn around, tap the shoulder of the player in front of them and perform the same sequence. This pattern continues until the movement sequence reaches the person at the front of the line. Hopefully, the sequence will be somewhat preserved!

Blind Drawing

Learning how our colleague's minds work enables us to see things from their perspective. Blind Drawing tests your employee’s abilities to interpret the instructions provided by their partner.

Great for: Communication, observation, listening

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: Pen, paper, reference images

How to play Blind Drawing

Setup: Divide your group into pairs and ask them to sit back to back. Give one player from each pair a reference image and give the other player the pen and paper.

To play: The player with the pen and paper must attempt to draw the reference image by listening to the instructions provided by their partner. The drawer cannot speak or communicate in any way—they must do their best with the instructions they’re given. When the time runs out, ask each team to present their drawing. The team whose drawing most resembles the reference image wins.

Quick trust-building games

For a team to function optimally, there must be trust between its members. Your employees need to feel confident in their colleagues. They need to feel supported, and safe in the knowledge that somebody is there to catch them should they fall.

One of the best ways to build trust is to provide plenty of opportunities for your employees to connect. The following trust-building games encourage employees to share personal information and experiences that strengthen interpersonal bonds and promote trust.

Two Truths, One Lie

Looking to build deeper connections between your employees? Two Truths, One Lie is the faster way to learn surprising and interesting things about one another.

Great for: Interpersonal bonding

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 4+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Two Truths, One Lie

Setup: Ask your group to sit together in a circle, on chairs or on the floor.

To play: One at a time, players present three statements about themselves. Two of these statements are true and one is a lie. To make the game more difficult, the lie should be as believable as possible. It’s the job of the other players to listen to these statements and guess which one they think is the lie. Play then moves to the next player in the circle.

Pen Pals

These days, 99% of our written communication is digital. Assigning Pen Pals revives the art of the handwritten letter and provides your employees with an opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level.

Great for: Interpersonal bonding

Duration: N/A

Players: 6+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Pen Pals

Setup: Start by assigning Pen Pals and determining the frequency of the letters. To encourage interdepartmental bonding, try pairing employees who wouldn’t usually cross paths.

To play: The game is simple. Employees will exchange letters with their pen pals at regular intervals. Through this process, your employees will develop lasting relationships that reinforce the company culture.

Bucket List

Learning about your coworker's wants and dreams outside of the office is a great way of building stronger, lasting relationships.

Great for: Interpersonal bonding

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 4+ 

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Bucket List

Setup: Ask your group to sit together in a circle, on chairs or on the floor.

To play: One by one, players tell five items from their bucket list to the rest of the group. This gives employees vital insight into the aspirations of their coworkers.

Team Trivia

How well do your team really know each other? Team Trivia is a fun and simple game that will put your employee’s relationships to the test.

Great for: Interpersonal bonding

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 6+ 

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Team Trivia

Setup: Before you can play Team Trivia, you need to compile interesting facts about your employees. The easiest way to do this is to send out a survey designed to extract as many cool facts as possible.

To play: Team Trivia can be played online or in person, making it a great solution for remote teams. Bring your team together and start asking questions to your team. These can be things that they might already know, like, “Who is the tallest member of the team?” Or things they will need to guess at, like, “Who in the office has eight siblings?” The player with the most correct answers is the winner!

Draw Your Mood

Nine times out of 10, asking your team “How are you guys doing?” returns this answer: “Good, thanks.” If you’re looking for an alternative way of checking in with your team, Draw Your Mood is a great solution. 

Great for: Expressing moods

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 6+ 

You’ll need: Paper, pens

How to play Draw Your Mood

Setup: Draw your mood is another game that can be played in person or online. If you’re playing in person, hand each player a piece of paper and a pen. If you’re playing online, players can use the integrated whiteboard feature on their video conferencing software such as Zoom Whiteboard.

To play: Ask each player to draw a visual representation of their mood. They can use words, images and symbols—you name it! After 5 minutes or so, ask your employees to present their drawings one by one.

Silver Linings

We all fall on hard times. But victimising ourselves and dwelling on the negatives can lead us to overlook growth opportunities. Silver Linings alters perspectives of apparent failures and misfortunes. 

Great for: Mindset development, positivity

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 6+ 

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Silver Linings

Setup: Divide your group into pairs. You might wish to pair employees together who don’t often have the opportunity to interact.

To play: The first partner starts by sharing a negative experience. This could be something from their personal or professional life, as long as it’s true. Upon hearing the experience, the second partner attempts to reframe the story in a positive light. Then, the first partner retells their story, highlighting silver linings they may have missed the first time around. The players then switch roles and start again.

Personal User Manuals

Tight-knit teams need to understand how their colleagues like to work. Who likes to work in silence and who likes to exchange ideas? Who likes to take phone calls and who prefers emails? By creating Personal User Manuals, new and existing employees gain a deeper understanding of their peer’s workplace preferences.

Great for: Onboarding, company culture

Duration: 5 minutes

Players: 4-15

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Personal User Manuals

Setup: No setup required.

To play: Ask your employees to record a short video of themselves that can be used as a Personal User Manual. In the video, the employee should introduce themselves, tell an interesting fact and discuss their workplace preferences. Once everybody has recorded a video, you can upload them to your company intranet or knowledge hub.

Quick decision-making games

Effective teams are autonomous. The problem is, how can employees take on this added responsibility if they don’t possess the confidence and conviction to make important decisions?

The following games are designed to inspire your employees to trust their get and build their confidence in making on-the-spot decisions.

The One-Question Game

If you had just one question to determine the suitability of your future spouse, what would you ask? The One-Question Game pressures your employees to determine theoretical suitability for a given scenario with just one question.

Great for: Communication, decision-making

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play The One Question Game

Setup: Start by dividing your group into pairs, leaving one person to act as the leader.

To play: The leader starts by posing a hypothetical scenario to the group. The leader could ask questions like, “What would you ask to determine the suitability of somebody to babysit your child?” Or “What question would you ask to determine whether somebody was capable of building your house?” This game encourages players to home in on what’s most important when determining the suitability of somebody to perform a given role.

This or That?

This or That questions force your employees to choose between two equally appealing or unappealing scenarios. As each player explains their choice, you’ll gain insight into their values, moral code and priorities.

Great for: Communication, decision-making

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play This or That

Setup: Start by compiling a list of This or That questions that you can ask your employees.

To play: Playing the game is very simple. After hearing the question, players must vote for which option they would prefer. The questions could be serious, funny, thought-provoking or silly—it doesn’t matter, as long as they force the players to think. The best questions split the crowd and cause a debate.

Birthday Line-up

Birthday Line-up is a quick team-building activity that requires very little setup and no equipment. If it’s early in the morning and your team is drowsy, this is the perfect warm-up for the body and mind.

Great for: Problem-solving, decision-making, communication

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 6-20

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Birthday Line-up

Setup: Ask your group to form a line, standing shoulder to shoulder.

To play: When the timer starts, players must arrange themselves into order from the earliest birthday to the latest birthday (month and day only). Under normal circumstances, this would be a simple task, but there’s one problem: Players cannot speak. Instead, they can use only hand signals and body movements to communicate their birthday.

Paper Tower

Ready to put your employee’s engineering skills to the test? Paper Tower challenges your team to build the highest tower using nothing but a few sheets of A4.

Great for: Problem-solving, communication, collaboration

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: A4 paper

How to play Paper Tower

Setup: Divide your group into teams of about 4-6 players and give each team several sheets of A4 paper. It’s up to you how many pieces of paper you hand out, but make sure each team is provided with the same number.

To play: Teams have just five minutes to build the tallest tower possible using the paper provided. Teams are not allowed to use any bonding materials to strengthen their tower. Don’t forget to keep teams updated on the time by announcing how much time is left. Once the five minutes are up, measure the highest tower and discuss with each team what went well and what went wrong.

Swedish Story

Challenge your team to think on their feet as they make up a story on the spot! In Swedish Story, the storyteller must make decisions quickly as they’re bombarded with random words.

Great for: Public speaking, decision-making

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Players: 4+

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Swedish Story

Setup: Divide your group into teams of about 4-5 players then ask each team to pick one person to be the storyteller. 

To play: The storytellers are given a topic to talk about. As they start to tell their made-up story, the other members of the team chip in with random words that the storyteller must incorporate into their story. For example, if the storyteller is talking about a hurricane, the other players might call out words like “cow,” “combine harvester,” or “Elvis Presley!” The aim is for the storyteller to maintain their composure as they incorporate irrelevant words and phrases. When the time runs out, you can end the game or play again with a different topic and storyteller. 

Human Knot

In this game, players will need to work together to untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands. It’s a fantastically simple game for improving communication and collaboration skills.

Great for: Communication, problem-solving

Duration: 10 minutes

Players: 5-8 

You’ll need: Nothing

How to play Human Knot

Setup: Ask your group to stand in a circle, shoulder to shoulder, facing inwards. Then, ask each player to reach out their left hand and take hold of somebody else’s hand opposite them. Repeat this action with the right hand. Players should not take the nad of the person to their immediate left or right.

To play: Players must now work together to untangle the knot without letting go of each other’s hands. To do this, players will need to turn, twist and step through each other’s arms.

Paper Chains

Paper Chains is a simple game that can be played by small or large groups. The aim of the game is for teams to build the longest paper chain without talking while using ONLY their dominant hand.

Great for: Communication, problem-solving, leadership

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Players: 6+

You’ll need: A4 paper, sticky tape, scissors

How to play Paper Chains

Setup: Separate your group into teams of 4-5 players and hand each team several sheets of A4 paper, a roll of sticky tape and a pair of scissors. Then, ask each team to allocate a team leader.

To play: Escort the team leaders from the room and explain the rules of the game in private. The rules are as follows: Teams must attempt to build the longest paper chain without talking while using only their dominant hand. Once the leaders understand the rules, they have 30 seconds to convey them to their team and devise a quick strategy. Then, teams have just three minutes to start building their paper chains. The team with the longest paper chain at the end of the three minutes wins.

Bookmark this page and use your favourites at your next team-building event

Selecting the right activities is one of the more difficult aspects of organising a team-building event.

Get it right, and your team will remember the experience for years to come. But get it wrong, and you could find yourself amidst a tirade of bored, disengaged employees.

By bookmarking this page you can relax, safe in the knowledge that you’ve always got some fun and quick team-building games at hand. 

Looking for something a little longer?

Check out our comprehensive list containing 50 of the best team-building activities.

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Interviews with more “newly-remote” companies:

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How digital product studio Pixelmatters transformed from office to remote

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From the office to remote: Real.Digital chooses quality over the location

From the office to remote: Real.Digital chooses quality over the location

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CPJ’s journey into remote work

CPJ’s journey into remote work

During these times, many companies are switching to remote work. You may have heard that large companies, like Twitter, Shopify, and Slack are doing so, but we’re also seeing this shift with smaller companies, startups, and digital agencies as well. Perhaps this transition was already in the pipeline, or maybe COVID-19 was the catalyst. Either…

WeTransfer switching to partial remote working

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