Team building activities for school are a fundamental way of improving communication, teamwork, motivation and confidence among students. Not only do they help establish expectations, friendships, and break down barriers, they are also quite enjoyable, and help students familiarize with each other. These team building activities for school can serve as effective icebreakers as well. This is especially true for the first few days of school when students may not really know each other all that well.
It’s true that most students would probably let out a huge groan of disapproval at the mere mention of team building. But these activities have been proven to help students feel at ease with each other and work together for the greater good. And even if the students don’t want to take part in them, they will most probably end up enjoying them nonetheless. The key is to make sure that they don’t realize that you’re having them go through team building activities. Instead, the focus should be on fun and competition. The rest will come automatically.
Team building exercises for students is not a new concept. It is an area that has long been the subject of study and debate. If your school is looking to establish a sound STEM program, implementing these activities is a no-brainer. The benefits that these activities provide to youngsters make it a necessity these days.
There are plenty of great team building activities for school that you can try. The best thing about these activities is that they are all quite easy to follow and flexible with their rules. This allows you to change the nature of the activity to suit the kind of students with whom you deal.
Team Building Activities for Teens
Teenage is the hardest age group for implementing team building activities. The fact is that teenagers are a hard bunch, the hardest bunch of them all. They can be moody, rude and aren’t really ones for doing activities the purpose of which doesn’t make sense to them. They often do the opposite of what is expected of them and can be hard to control.
Getting them interested in these games or activities could be a chore. It is well worth it in the end, so you have to try. The key is how you present these activities to them. The activities need to be presented to them as competitions without them realizing what you’re really up to. They need to get a sense of achievement when they come out on top. They will not respond if they are told of the real purpose of these team building exercises.
At the mention of ‘games’ some students may lose sight of the objective of these activities and may become too fixated on enjoying themselves. The trick is to keep them focused on the objectives. It must be carefully conveyed to them what the expectations are. It’s not all about the fun, but about the final result. This may well turn out to be the difference between the success and failure of these team activities.
You must keep in mind that teenage is the most delicate time of an individual’s life. It is the time when youngsters are trying to figure themselves out, trying to understand who they are and where they stand in the society. Team building activities for teens are proven to work. They help in building character, raising morale and establishing friendships. And while implementing these activities is difficult, being helpful and encouraging to the teenage participants is vital for their success.
Easy Team Building Activities
Team building activities can range from trust games, communication activities, problem solving, puzzles to creativity based games. All of these activities differ widely but at the core of them, they all promote team building and cooperation between participants.
Some of our recommended easy team building activities for school include:
1. Have You Ever
‘Have You Ever’ is a great game for students to get to know each other during the first few days of school. What makes it so compelling is the fact that it is easy to play and is interactive enough to make it attractive for teenagers.
The rules are simple. Have all the students form a circle, standing on markers (safe spot), while one of them stands in the center of the circle. The student in the center is ‘it’ and must ask a question starting with ‘have you ever?’ Ending with something that they might have done. For example, a question might be, ‘have you ever gone fishing?’
Everyone who has done the thing that was asked including the student who was ‘it’ must change their positions and move to one of the safe spots along the circle as quickly as possible. They cannot move to a marker right next to where they were standing. The student who cannot find a safe spot or is last to a spot becomes ‘it’ for the next round.
Another popular variation of ‘Have You Ever’ is ‘I Never’. The game is based on the same premise except instead of the question being ‘have you ever?’ it is the statement ‘I never’.
2. One Minute Talk
One Minute Talk involves each student talking for a minute on any topic. The topics may be assigned by the teacher or may have been picked by the students themselves. The objective of the activity is just to have the students talk to the class. The topic is not important. They could talk about their pet, a favorite book, a hobby, a vacation, something they did in the summers, etc.
This team building exercise is great for building confidence among students. It also gives the opportunity to the students to get to know each other a little bit more.
3. Alien Greeting
Make the students stand in a circle. Ask them to imagine that they are aliens from another planet. Their task is to think of a sound that their alien race uses to say hello. Allow them a few minutes to come up with something and then they must share it with the student standing next to them. This fun activity ends with each student sharing his unique ‘hello’ with the class along with an explanation as to why they came up with that sound.
This great activity not only works as an awesome icebreaker between students who don’t know each other all that much, but it brings out their creativity as well. The fact that students get to make alien sounds makes it all the more fun for teenagers.
4. Scavenger Hunt or Treasure Hunt
Scavenger Hunts or Treasure Hunts are two of the all-time favorite team building activities for school. Both students and teachers can have a ton of fun with them. The best thing about them is that their scope can be as expansive or as confined as you may like. It can be limited to just a Treasure Hunt in the classroom, or it can encompass searching the whole school campus for clues and treasure.
Usually, a hunt involves splitting the students into a number of small groups of preferably not more than five each. Now each group will be given clues to find treasures hidden within the classroom or campus. The clues might not necessarily be simple and can be in any form that makes it harder for the students to understand. It’s a great team building exercise that engages both the collective and individual puzzle solving capability of the students.
5. Balloon Frenzy
In this exercise, you will require two sets of balloons of two different colors (say red and yellow). Now, divide the students into two teams and ask each student to blow up a balloon. Once they have done so, make the two teams stand at opposite ends of the room and have them launch the balloons in the air by hitting them repeatedly.
The objective of the game is for the teams to knock down the balloons of the opposing team while trying to keep theirs in the air. Players are not allowed to catch the balloons and must only hit them to keep them in the air or knock them down. If anyone catches a balloon, they are disqualified, and their team has to continue with one less team member.
6. Trust Me
This trust game is a unique variation of the obstacle course that works brilliantly as a team building exercise. It will help build trust among the students as well as make them work together to try and win.
You will need to create an obstacle course for this activity. You may do this by yourself or take the help of your students.
Divide your students into two or more teams. Pick a team and blindfold all of its members except one. The one team member who is not blindfolded must guide his teammates around the obstacle course all the while you time them with a stopwatch. The team that takes the shortest time to complete the course wins. You can repeat this for each team by rotating swapping the non-blindfolded team member with one of the blindfolded ones.
7. Blind Square
This team building exercise might not be suitable for younger teenagers but is definitely one of the most useful ones for older students.
You will need blindfolds and a long looped rope for this activity.
Distribute the students into teams of 8 to 10 and blindfold them. Ask each of them to hold onto a part of the looped rope and by talking to each other try to form a square. Since they are all blindfolded, they need to reach a consensus. Once they agree that they have indeed formed a square, their blindfolds are removed to make them see how well they did. Whichever team makes the best square wins.
This activity builds communication and understanding between students. Since they are blindfolded, they need to trust each other and reach a consensus. This activity is one the most powerful team building activities for school out there.
Possibly the most well-known team building activity, the tug-of-war is popular for a reason. It is easy to play and really brings out the togetherness and competitiveness of students. It is great team building exercise that forces the students to work together in order to win a battle of strength. After all, nobody wants to come across as being weak.
All you need is a long piece of rope. Make two teams and have each of them hold onto one end of the rope. Mark a middle distance between the two teams. As you shout GO, the teams have to pull on the ropes to bring the other team across the mark to their side to win.
9. Inside-Outside Circle
Another one of the easy team building activities is the inside-outside circle. Pick a topic for discussion. It could be anything being taught in class. Arrange the students to form two circles, one within the other. Both circles must have the same number of students. Ask the students of the inside circle to turn and face towards the students in the outside circle.
The two students that face each other must talk about the topic that you picked. Set a time limit for each conversation, say 30 seconds. Then ask the inner circle to rotate clockwise and repeat the exercise with a different combination of students. You will need to act as the moderator for this exercise to make sure that only the relevant topic is being discussed. The inside-outside circle is a favorite among teachers who want to promote discussion and team work for learning in their classrooms.
10. Escape The Room
Escape The Room is a team building game that has teams trapped in a room, and they have to try and get out on time. The teams are provided with clues that they have to work through and find a way out. The team that takes the shortest period of time to escape wins the title.
The effectiveness and enjoyment of this awesome team building exercise can be increased tenfold by moving it to a themed location. There is a quest room in Atlanta called the Paranoia Quest: Escape the Room that offers an outstanding experience. There are other establishments that offer Escape The Room as a team building exercise at other locations across the country that could be worth checking out as well.