Cheap Team Building Ideas
It's that time of year and we need a pick up and go to make these last three months count. Team buildings are great fun, and a cool way to get to know everyone.
They need not be expensive, here are a couple of cheap and fun ones we found (and use), that you can give a go.
1. Two Truths and a Lie
Time Required: 15-30 minutes
Start out by having every team member secretly write down two truths about themselves and one lie on a small piece of paper – Do not reveal to anyone what you wrote down! Once each person has completed this step, allow 10-15 minutes for open conversation – much like a cocktail party – where everyone quizzes each other on their three questions. The idea is to convince others that your lie is actually a truth, while on the other hand, you try to guess other people’s truths/lies by asking them questions. Don’t reveal your truths or lie to anyone – even if the majority of the office already has it figured out! After the conversational period, gather in a circle and one by one repeat each one of your three statements and have the group vote on which one they think is the lie. You can play this game competitively and award points for each lie you guess or for stumping other players on your own lie. This game helps to encourage better communication in the office, as well as it lets you get to know your co-workers better.
2. Life Highlights Game
Time Required: 30 minutes
This is an excellent icebreaker activity that’s perfect for small and large groups alike. Begin by asking each participant to close their eyes for one minute and consider the best moments of their lives. This can include moments they’ve had alone, they’ve shared with family or friends; these moments can pertain to professional successes, personal revelations, or exciting life adventures. After the participants have had a moment to run through highlights of their lives, inform them that their search for highlights is about to be narrowed. Keeping their eyes closed, ask each participant to take a moment to decide what 30 seconds of their life they would want to relive if they only had thirty seconds left in their life. The first part of the activity enables participants to reflect back on their lives, while the second part (which we’ll discuss in a moment) enables them to get to know their coworkers on a more intimate level. The second portion of the game is the “review” section. The leader of the activity will ask each and every participant what their 30 seconds entailed and why they chose it, which will allow participants to get a feel for each other’s passions, loves, and personalities.
3. Classification Game
Time Required: 10-15 minutes
The classification game can be a quick icebreaker or a more complex activity. For the purposes of this example, we will treat this activity as a quick icebreaker. Before splitting the room into teams of four, explain the concept of “pigeon-holing someone,” which means classifying someone as something or stereotyping someone. It should be made clear that this type of classification is subjective and unhelpfully judgmental. Instruct the participants to introduce themselves to those in their team and quickly discuss some of their likes, dislikes, etc. After the introductions, reveal to the teams that it will be their job to discover how they should classify themselves- as a team- into two or three subgroups by using criteria that contains no negative, prejudicial, or discriminatory judgments. Examples of these subgroups can include night owls and morning people, pineapple pizza lovers and sushi lovers, etc. This activity encourages coworkers to get to know each other better and enables them to collectively consider the nature of all individuals within the team.
4. The Great Egg Drop
This messy, yet classic and engaging problem solving activity requires splitting the room into two large groups with the task of building an egg package that can sustain an eight foot drop. A variety of tools and other materials should be provided to the teams. After the packages have been built, each team must also present a 30-second advert for their package, highlighting why it’s unique and how it works. At the conclusion of the presentations, each group will have to drop their egg using their package to see if it really works. Aside from teaching the groups to work together and communicate, it also brings them together with the common goal of both winning the egg drop and successfully creating an egg package.
5. Helium Stick
Time required: 15 minutes
This is a quick game that serves well as an ice-breaker or a short coffee break. A long thin stick is required. Be sure to call the pole a “Helium Stick” when you introduce the exercise. Place your group in two lines facing each other. Have each person hold the index finger of their right hand chest high. Place the helium stick on top of the outstretched fingers. The challenge is to lower the stick to the ground while keeping everyone’s fingers touching the stick. If anyone’s finger loses contact with the helium stick, you must start again. At first the stick will seem to rise (hence the name Helium Stick). In fact, it is simply the upwards pressure of everyone’s fingers causing the stick to go up instead of down. Once everyone relaxes they can easily lower the stick to the ground. This usually takes ten minutes of laughter and a leader to complete. (Optional: swap the helium stick for a helium balloon for a smaller team)
6. Talking in Circles
Time Required 30 minutes - 1 hour
This is a highly challenging game that is only recommended for teams who love challenges. Place everyone in a circle around a long piece of string that is tied at its ends to form a circle. Have everyone grasp the string with both hands and hold the string waist high. Without letting go, the team will have to form shapes with the string; a square, a triangle, a figure eight, a rectangle, etc. Repeat the game but with everyone’s eyes shut! This will require everyone to communicate clearly and listen well. Make the shapes progressively harder and periodically have them stop and open their eyes to see their progress…or lack there of.
Do you have any cheap team buildings you have done at the office? Share them in the comments!
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