Chapter 10

Simple Team Building Activities

Check out our handy guide to the 10 most simple team building activities. These ideas are so simple you could run them with one eye closed.

Heather Harper

Written by Heather Harper

Last updated: Mar 30, 2020

In this chapter we'll take you through the most simple team building activities. Perfect for those short on resources and preparation time!

For large, well-established organizations it’s not uncommon for them to fly out their whole team to some exotic location and have them spend the day doing trust falls and juice cleanses on the beach.

But, sometimes less is more, especially in the cases where you’re not in the mood to spend a whole heap of time and money on lavish team building events.

Keep it simple with the following team building events where, despite their simplicity, they’re guaranteed to help teams of all shapes and sizes start bonding.

Due to the simplicity of the activities, this chapter is short and sweet. We hope you enjoy heading back to basics and reminding yourself that life doesn’t always have to be over complicated!


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.


1) Two Truths And One Lie

Objective: To promote team bonding and getting everyone to know one another

Participants: 4 to 25 people

Duration: 10 to 20 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: None

team slogan

We love two truths and a lie because it is a classic ice breaker game that can be used to get the conversation flowing, and allows everyone to have some fun while you’re at it.

Instructions

  1. Seperate your team into groups of around three to five participants.
  2. Get everyone to introduce themselves by telling two truths, and one lie about themselves.
  3. Everyone else in the team must try to figure out which two are the truths, and which is the lie.

2) First/Worst Job

Objective: To promote team bonding and helping teams to get to know each other

Participants: 5 to 20 people

Duration: 10 to 45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: None

can we build it

We love this activity because it allows everyone to get to know each other on a personal level as they get to understand how people grew and developed.

We also love this activity because it works people’s memories, and there is some evidence to suggest that memory training produces short term effects that help with training. So, we recommend using this activity at the beginning of training sessions.

Instructions

  1. Get everyone to remember their very first job, and the worst job they ever had.
  2. They must the present to the group the most important lessons they learnt from that job.

3) 10 Things In Common

Objective: An easy way to find similarities within a group

Participants: 10 to 50 people

Duration: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: None

10 things in common

Beyond simply working at the same place, there are so many things that people have in common with their colleagues that they simply don’t know about.

Although research has suggested that characteristic diversity in teams enhances team performance, people feel connected when they realise they have things in common with each other - it promotes trust and gives a base for healthy relationship building.

The goal of this team building activity is to remind us of exactly that and to help employees feel more connected with their colleagues.

Instructions

  1. Break your team up into small groups.
  2. Get each team to find 10 things that they have in common that have absolutely nothing to do with work.
  3. Suggest the teams write down these 10 things and discuss them.

4) Trivia ball

Objective: Team Bonding & Confidence Building

Participants: 5 to 15 people

Duration: 10 to 20 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: A small ball

trivia ball

While simple, this team building game encourages quick-thinking and is a fun way to learn more about each other's interests.

Instructions

  1. Pick a topic that you’re confident that everyone knows like “Action movies” or “Did you know facts”.
  2. From there, gather everyone in a circle, or perfect square, and have them throw a ball at each other.
  3. Whoever has the ball is given a few seconds to name something that nobody else has mentioned before.

5) Potluck

Objective: Team bonding and to get to know one another

Participants: 5 to 15 people

Duration: 1 to 4 hours

Difficulty: Hard

Materials: Food supplies

potluck

You can learn a lot about a person based on what kind of food they like to eat and cook. An office party staple, potluck involves having everyone bring in a dish that they’ve cooked themselves and you end up with a diverse and delicious feast.

We love this activity because it incorporates socialising (who doesn’t love to socialise) with a focus on developing and improving team bonds.

Instructions

The rules for this are too simple to warrant a numerical list of instructions.

Simply arrange a time after work and get everyone to bring a dish.

We recommend providing a theme, such as ‘italian’ or ‘something your mother used to make you when you were sick’.

This work meet up should be fun, relaxed and light-hearted… and for crying out loud, don’t speak about work related topics!

6) Happy hour

Objective: Getting to know each other

Participants: As many, or as little, as you like

Duration: 1 to 3 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: None (except some cash!)

happy hour

Sometimes you don’t need to host big fancy events or sweat-inducing games to get everyone bonding. Sometimes all you need is to take everyone out to the local watering hole and buy everybody a few rounds.

With modern offices placing a huge emphasis on socialising out of hours, we cannot recommend highly enough that you jump on the bandwagon with this fun team building activity!

Instructions

Sometimes you don’t need to host big fancy events or sweat-inducing games to get everyone bonding. Sometimes all you need is to take everyone out to the local watering hole and buy everybody a few rounds.

Make your office happy hour more unique by holding a wine or whiskey tasting class, or make it a more chill event by setting up something like a ping pong table or a game of foosball so that people have something to do other than stand around and drink.

Heck, combine happy hour with any number of team building activities that we’ve listed in this guide to give it that extra boost.

7) Purpose Mingle

Objective: To get participants to focus on team contribution and communication

Participants: Any

Duration: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: None

purpose mingle

We love this activity because it focuses on collaboration and communication.

It gets people to think about what they will actually contribute in the meeting, and makes them accountable for their behaviour - this promotes engagement and involvement in team meetings.

Instructions

  1. Before a meeting, tell your employees to walk around the room and talk to each other about what they plan to contribute in the meeting.
  2. Have them speak with as many people as possible - we suggest getting them to get everyone they’ve spoken to to sign a piece of paper so that the winner (the person who has spoken to the most people) is awarded a prize.

8) Fortune Teller

Objective: To get to know personal details about your team

Participants: 4 to 10 people

Duration: 20+ minutes

Difficulty: Hard

Materials: A deck of tarot cards (you can buy these at any large bookstore, or on amazon)

fortune teller

We love this activity because it helps you understand what each member of your team values most in the team.

It can also help you plan for future directions of your team and have goals, by figuring out what each member expects and wants

Instructions

  1. Shuffle the deck well and hand out five cards to each team member.
  2. Put the deck in the middle of the team.
  3. Have members pick a card that represents how they feel about the team most.
  4. Have members select a second card - this represents the way they want the team to be in the future.
  5. Each member has the chance to return one card to the bottom of the deck and then select a replacement card.
  6. Once everyone has chosen their two cards, get everyone back together again and have each member share their card selections and explain why they chose the cards.

9) Fortune Teller v2

Objective: To get to know personal details about your team

Participants: 4 to 10 people

Duration: 20+ minutes

Difficulty: Hard

Materials: A deck of tarot cards (you can buy these at any large bookstore, or on amazon)

fortune teller v2

To be honest, there's not much to say about this team building activity.

It's simple, fun, effective… oh, and just a different variation of the one talked about above!

Instructions

  1. Deal out the tarot cards in the same way as before.
  2. Each team member chooses a card that represents how they see themselves as part of a team.
  3. Each team member then also chooses a card the represents how they want to see themselves in the future - there is not wrong or right answer.

10) What Do You Value

Objective: To promote bonding through company values

Participants: 6 or more (enough to form two or more groups)

Duration: 30 to 60 minutes

Difficulty: Hard

Materials: Paper, pen, poster board for each group and markers

what do you value

Last, but most definitely not least, on our list is ‘what do you value’.

We love this activity because it promotes the understanding of each team member's values.

This is critical in teams as research has consistently found that understanding an employee's core organisational values improves their performance and productivity; so we really think its an ice breaker that will get the most out of your team.

Instructions

  1. Have each team member write a list of the most important values of the team or organisation to which they belong.
  2. Have the group narrow this down to the top five values.
  3. Get the teams to list these on the poster board and decorate or colour the poster to emphasise these values.
  4. When complete, get the teams to share their values with the rest of the group.

Conclusion

And there you have it. Those are our favourite simple team building activities.

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!

Heather Harper

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.

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