Here are three creative team building activities that are also easy to facilitate. Each is taken from excellent, professional team building resources. So, check out the list that every team building facilitator can use for further reading or gathering new approaches.
1) Create a shape!
Challenge: The group must work together to create assigned geometric shapes.
1. Tie 2 shoestrings together to form a circle.
2. Gather a team of 6 to 8 people.
3. Ask the team to grab hold of the shoestring circle with both hands.
4. Present Script: “In a moment, but not now, your team will need to form the shoestring circle into a perfect square.” Rules: No one may use verbal communication during this activity. The team is allowed to communicate, just not verbally. Everyone must hold onto the shoestring with both hands for the entire activity. Feel free to point if you want to but you must hold on to the shoestring while doing so.
In one variation of the game, participants are asked to close their eyes.
This is taken from “Team Building Games on a Shoestring. How To Use Two Normal Shoestrings to Lead 7 Fun and Engaging Team Building Activities” by Tom Heck. This free e-book has 7 simple team building exercises as well.
2) Draw toast!
You can use the Draw Toast exercise to introduce people to the concepts of visual thinking, working memory, mental models and/or systems thinking. This also works as a nice warm-up exercise to get people engaged with each other and thinking visually. Plus, it’s fun!
Duration: 10-15 minutes.
On paper or index cards, ask people to draw “How to make toast.”
After a couple of minutes, ask people to share their diagrams with each other and discuss the similarities and differences. Ask people to share any observations or insights they have about the various drawings. You are likely to hear comments about the relative simplicity or complexity of the drawings, whether they have people in them, how technical they are, how similar or different they are, and so on.
Depending on why you are doing the exercise, you may want to point out the following:
- Note that although the drawings are all different, they are all fundamentally correct. There are many ways to visualize information and they all enrich understanding rather than being “right” or “wrong.”
- Although the drawings are different in content, they tend to be similar in structure. That is, most drawings of mental models tend to contain three to seven elements, connected by lines or arrows.
- The main point of this exercise is to demonstrate the power of visual thinking to represent information.
Full description with examples that people have drawn on Gamestorming webpage. This site is worth checking out- they have really original concepts and team building activities described!
3) Bits and pieces- organizational models exercise
This is a simple and sophisticated modelling/modeling exercise, using very basic materials, for understanding and improving work structures of all sorts.
The idea of this activity is for the group to create a model of their (or a relevant) organization using ‘bits and pieces’ from their pockets, bags, cases, etc.
The use of random bits and pieces such as keys, combs, phones, tissues, etc., challenge and liberate people to think creatively about how an organization is structured and operating, including the crucial relationships/communications between working parts. Using visual tactile symbolic things enables a level of thinking and expression that’s impossible with conventional language.
Models of complex work/business organizational situations should ideally include symbolization of non-physical aspects (e.g., communications, workflow, responsibility/authority, etc) especially relationships between units within the model. Paper (torn, folded, cut, drawn on, etc) may be used to show these factors.
N.B. Limit the time to source ‘bits and pieces’, or this will take longer than the exercise itself…
Taken from Businessballs, a huge source for business and leadership materials. Be aware- this site is huge and you might drown in it!
We hope you can use these quick exercises and will find more interesting activities from the websites mentioned above. Do you know any other good websites or exercises you would recommend to others? Share your thoughts in the comments below.