Kookiest team building exercises that really work

We’ve all experienced those classic school-time activities that make us groan in despair; think falling into someone’s arms or sharing something you just learnt about the person sitting next to you. However, effective team-building exercises are essential for creating a tight-knit, happy and productive team at work. So what sets the engaging activities apart from the eye-roll-worthy ones?

We believe the best team-building activities not only serve to increase communication amongst your team members, but also help to form some great memories they can share. We’ve rounded up our top three kookiest team-building exercises that actually work!

  • Salt and Pepper (15 minutes)

    Why your team will love it: It’s fun, energising and great as a quick ice-breaker.

    Why you’ll love it: It’s simple to set up and suitable for teams of 10-40 people (ideally even numbered).

    As a facilitator, think of pairs of things such as salt and pepper, yin and yang, shadow and light, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, girl and boy, etc. Write each single item on its own piece of paper, and tape one word on the back of each person, making sure they can’t see it. When the game starts, everyone must walk around asking yes or no questions in order to find out what word they have taped to their backs. Once they work out the answer, they need to find their other pair. Learning how to ask the right questions is the key.
  • A Truth and a Lie (0.5 – 1 hour)

    Why your team will love it:
    It challenges people’s perceptions of others and helps them get to know each other better.

    Why you’ll love it: It encourages group interaction and communication.

    Ask each member to introduce themselves by stating their name, and one truth and one lie about themselves. After each person makes their statements, allow for a quick open conversation where everyone questions each other on their two statements. The idea is to convince the other members that your lie is actually a truth, while guessing the truths/lies of the others. After the questioning period, vote as a group on each member’s statements. Points are awarded for each lie guessed right or for stumping other members on your own lie. You can increase the difficulty by having two truths and one lie, or two lies and one truth. Remove the open conversation segment if time is constrained.
  • Create a New Team-Building Activity (0.5 – 1 hour)

    Why your team will love it:
    It’s creative, results in tangible outcomes and puts the ball in their court.

    Why you’ll love it: It will give you fresh new material to use in your next team-building session.

    After running a few short creative team-building exercises, and discussing among the group why they’re done, separate the team into small groups, giving them the task of designing and presenting a new team-building activity. It’s a challenging exercise that requires all the elements of teamwork – communication, goal-setting, planning, cooperation, creativity and task orientation.

    Remember that as a facilitator, the success of the activities you play with the team will also be influenced by your own enthusiasm and the quality of your brief and debrief, so get prepared and have fun!