We've put together the ultimate list of team building games. It's even in ranking order. Also includes instructions and handy links!
Written by Heather Harper
Last updated: Mar 30, 2020
In this chapter you'll learn about the very best team building games you can try with your team.
Team building games are somewhat different to team building exercises or activities, they are specifically about having fun with your team.
Furthermore, research has highlighted the importance of humour during meetings in improving team performance both in the present, and over a two year period.
Based on the scientific evidence, we can't recommend enough ensuring that your team building activities are fun and humorous.
So get ready to have a boatload of fun as your team will absolutely love these team building games!
If your team is working remotely at the moment then you should check out our 7000 word guide on remote team building games and activities for virtual teams. In there you'll find 40 ideas with instructions that you can try with your newly remote team.
Objective: Encourages cooperation and reinforces communication skills
Participants: 5 to 15 people
Duration: 12 to 15 minutes
Materials: 40-to 50-foot of rope
We suggest using this ice breaker when individuals are not cooperating well as part of a team.
Research has found that teamwork is one of the driving factors to successful teams because it promotes better organisational culture, goal attainment, positive attitudes and satisfaction.
Based on this, if your team is not working as well together as they could, there could be catastrophic consequences.
So, this game is our top favourite because it improves team outcomes by encouraging teams to work effectively and cooperatively again.
Objective: To get team members to understand how to react to changing goals or resources
Participants: 10 to 30 people
Duration: 12 to 15 minutes
Materials: An identical set of building materials for each team and a set of identical items to act as weights
We recommend using this when a group is experiencing a lot of change at work. Evidence has suggested that optimism and positive emotions are positively related to increased acceptance of organisational change.
We love this team building game because it enhances optimism and positive emotions surrounding change, which means your team is more likely to accept organisational change.
Objective: To get team members to see that, even when changes seem to create problems, they can find ways to overcome and be successful
Participants: 4 to 40 people
Duration: 10 to 15 minutes
Materials: Pen and paper for each participant
We recommend using this team building game when your team is experiencing a lot of change at work.
This game is one of our favourites because it improves the confidence of team members, and research has found that increased confidence (self-efficacy) predicts individual performance and satisfaction within teams.
We all know that highly satisfied employee’s work better together and produce better organisational outcomes.
Objective: To help teams find creative ways to overcome adversity and be successful
Participants: 15 to 30 people
Duration: 15 to 20 minutes
Materials: a tape measure, 50 index cards for each team, a roll of tape for each team
We love this game not only because it is fun, but also because it adds a shot of competitiveness. Which we can all admit, is good for us from time to time.
This game is also fantastic because it encourages creativity; and with research finding that creativity in teams increases knowledge sharing - an attribute that all successful teams possess, we cannot recommend this game enough!
Objective: To get participants to learn that change can create opportunities for improvement
Participants: 12 to 30 people
Duration: 10 minutes
We love this game because it is a simple, yet effective, way to help participants understand change and the opportunities it has to offer.
Objective: To rearrange pictures into new images to see how new things come from change
Participants: 5 to 10 people
Duration: 12 to 20 minutes
Materials: At least one picture from a magazine for each participant, scissors and glue stick for each participants and a piece of flipchart paper
We suggest using this game with teams who know each other really well, but are experiencing some negative outcomes.
Perhaps they are struggling with change in their team, or aren’t thinking in a positive and optimistic way.
Objective: To get participants thinking quickly and working as a team
Participants: 6 to 14 people
Duration: 5 minutes
We love this team building game because it is short and effective.
We’re not sure if you know, but humans can only concentrate for around 15 minutes, so sometimes short and sweet games will reap the greatest benefits!
Objective: To get participants to learn to cope with rapid-paced changes Participants: 15 to 100 people
Duration: 5 to 15 minutes
We love this team building activity because it is fast-paced and fun.
It gets people thinking on their toes and encourages them to work as a team, which we know leads to many positive outcomes.
Objective: To change the rules of the puzzle assembly halfway through to realise the value of information sharing
Participants: 8 to 20 people
Duration: 10 to 20 minutes
Materials: One children's puzzle for each group (around 15 to 25 pieces)
We love this activity because it is quick and engaging.
We all love puzzles as they fill us with fond childhood memories, so this game is guaranteed to be enjoyed by everyone.
We also love this game because it’ll help you to notice the natural leaders and problem solvers in your team.
Objective: Encouraging participants to think outside the box
Participants: 10 to 20 people
Duration: 10 to 20 minutes
Materials: Large (12” by 12” or so) squares
We love it because it encourages teams to think in a less ‘black and white’ way.
In organisations, we often fall into a pattern of thinking in the same pattern and not using our imagination.
This game reminds team members that it is crucial to think outside the box and break assumptions in order to solve problems.
And there you have it. Those are our favourite team building games.
We hope you've liked our list!
Try these out and let me know how you go.
Is there one that we've missed that should definitely be in our best of list?
Let me know in the comments below!
About the author
Heather Harper has a Masters in Occupational Psychological from the University of Manchester. She currently works as an editorial writer specialising in organizational psychology - helping teams work better together.