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Team Building Tips!

Team Work Makes The Dream Work!

We all know that just because we're IN a GROUP doesn't mean we're ON a TEAM. After all, we've all been on that committee where we've struggled to work together. Starting out can be difficult. Team builders are an amazing way to fix that problem. Getting a your team together for a team-building activity for just a few minutes at the start or end of your meeting time can make a HUGE difference in how they learn to work together.

Working As A Team
Team building with children means you are developing their ability to work together toward a common goal. This makes solving the long-term challenge easier because the team members are working together. When a team works together to solve a challenge, everyone in the group wins and all team members have a positive experience. Conduct team building activities with children that emphasize cooperation and collaboration, not competition. The skills learned from being part of a team are necessary for positive action in everyday life in school, work, and the community.

Conducting team building activities can help team members work on developing the following skills:
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Listening
  • Self-esteem
  • Idea exchange
  • Working with others and different groups
  • Leadership
  • Creative thinking

Tips For Team Building
  • Make sure that YOU are excited about the team builder! Your team members will reflect your attitude so make sure that you present it with enthusiasm and positivity. Always set a timer for how much time you would like the activity to take. Announce what time you are setting the timer to the group so everyone knows that when the timer goes off it is time to wrap up.
  • Gage your audience. Select an activity that you think will match the group's age, mood and tone for that time.
  • Let the kids know that if they cannot think of anything to add they can say "I need an idea" and the group can suggest and idea. You should also allow team members to say "pass" if they don't feel comfortable sharing and challenge them to think of something so you can come back to them later to share.

Here are some awesome team building activities
that are fun and easy to do!

Human Knot
Ask your team members to stand in a circle and put their hands in the middle. Each team member should grab the hands of two different people, neither of whom are standing next to them.

To ensure it will work, have one team member squeeze her right hand and then the person who is squeezed will squeeze their right hand and so on. The chain squeeze should reach every hand before getting back to the person that started. If that works then you are good to go! If it does not, have everyone try again and switch hands.

Once you know your chain squeeze worked, the fun begins! Ask the team to untangle themselves so they are in a full circle (a figure 8 is also a possible solution to this game).

Back To Back
Pair up team members by height. Ask them to lock arms with their back to each other.

With their arms locked see if they can sit down, kick their legs out straight, and then stand up straight again.

If they are able to do that try it with a group of 4, then 8!

The goal of this game is to ALWAYS keep your teeth covered by your lips. If someone's teeth show, they are out!

The game begins with everyone in a circle (sitting or standing) and one player saying "pterodactyl" with their lips covering their teeth. Then the player to the right of them says "pterodactyl" with their lips covering their teeth.

The catch is that any player can change the direction by giving their best pterodactyl screech! This is when the game gets really fun and almost every person is laughing.

Play until there's a winner!

Create A Work Of Art
Materials: Large piece of paper, crayons, paint or markers

Decide on a theme for the artwork. Spread a large piece of paper on the floor and have the team members work together as a team to create a piece of artwork based on the chosen theme. Encourage the team to share ideas and divide duties to create their masterpiece.

Knot Me
Materials: A piece of rope. The rope should be at least 1-2 feet long per team member.

This game requires children to work on a problem. Take the piece of rope and tie a knot about every 2 to 3 feet. There should be one knot per child. Lay the rope out and have each child stand by a knot. Have each child grab the rope with one hand, holding onto a side of a knot. The children have to use free hand to untangle the knot. Children have to work together to figure out how to untie the knots without letting go of the rope.

Rope Challenge
Materials: A piece of rope. The rope should be at least 1-2 feet long per team member.

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.

Dribble Relay
Materials: One empty water bottle, a bucket of water.

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).

Dump Soup
Materials: One can of soup per team member, large pan, bowls and spoons

Have each team member bring a can of their favorite soup to the next meeting. Dump all the cans of soup into one pot. Yes, this means if one team member brings Cream of Asparagus and another brings Beef Stew they all get mixed together. Add milk or water to adjust the consistency. Heat and eat. (PS - In all my years of doing this with teams we only had one batch of soup that was questionable in taste. In fact, the kids loved this so much it became a regular part of Saturday meetings along with toasted cheese sandwiches.)

After Each Team Building Activity
After each activity, discuss some of the following team building questions: How well did your team work together? How can we improve this? How did the group communicate? What else could you do differently? What did you learn from this activity? Taking time to process the activity afterward can help strengthen the bond even more. After your discussion try the activity again to give them the opportunity to reinforce their suggestions.

These ideas hopefully will inspire some new and creative ways to encourage happy and healthy team building.
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