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Team Building Exercises for Small Groups

by
author image Linda Basilicato
Linda Basilicato has been writing food and lifestyle articles since 2005 for newspapers and online publications such as eHow.com. She graduated magna cum laude from Stony Brook University in New York and also holds a Master of Arts in philosophy from the University of Montana.
Team Building Exercises for Small Groups
A happy office team giving each other high-fives. Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Team-building activities encourage participants to build camaraderie, improve communication, develop collective strategies and establish trust. The successful completion of most team-building tasks requires cooperation, listening to others, sharing of ideas or the willingness to try new approaches. Most team-building programs aim to help participants see how they can apply similar skills and techniques at work, in school or in other everyday situations. Small groups, usually defined as fewer than 12 people, are ideal for most team-building activities.

Back-to-Back Drawing

You will need at least two people for this activity. Break your group into pairs. Ask each pair to decide who will be the director and who will be the illustrator. Hand a simple drawing to the director. Instruct her to conceal the drawing from her partner. The illustrator gets a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. He, too, must conceal his paper from his partner. Next, directors tell their illustrators how to replicate the drawing, using only verbal instructions. To make this more challenging, do not allow the illustrators to ask questions. Alternatively, you may choose to allow illustrators to ask only questions with yes or no answers. When all pairs are finished, bring the group back together to compare drawings and discuss how they handled the assignment. Invite participants to discuss the process of giving and receiving instructions.

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Electric Fence

You will need at least two people for this activity. A slightly larger group is better. Tie a rope between two objects at about waist height; two trees will work well. Ask participants to stand on one side of this "fence." Challenge them to get everyone over the fence without touching it. Consider planting something nearby that could be used as a step, but do not make it obvious. This game requires planning and collaboration. Before beginning, check the area for dangerous items such as broken glass or poison ivy. If participants try risky maneuvers, make sure to spot them. This game could also be played in the water.

Antique Can

For this exercise, you will need at least five people. You will also need a large can and a ball, rock or other object to place inside the can. Tell a story about the object inside the can to establish its great importance or value. Assign constraints to each person or on the entire group by placing limitations on hands, arms, legs, sight or speech. Direct the group to stand in a circle and pass the can around clockwise or counterclockwise until it passes completely around the circle. If the can or the item in the can drops to the ground, the group must start over. If the group completes the task quickly, assign greater limitations. Ask participants to discuss how they worked around the constraints imposed on them and how these compare to the obstacles they face in their lives.

Tarp Flip

For this game you will need at least two people and a tarp or blanket. The tarp should be folded such that it provides enough space for everyone to stand on it. The smaller the tarp, the more difficult the activity. Ask participants to stand on the tarp, then challenge them to flip half the tarp over without stepping off it onto the ground. At the end, each participant should be on top of the underside of the tarp, which will be approximately half the size it was at the start. You should use this activity with people who will not be uncomfortable in close proximity to each other in an effort to promote communication and collaboration in problem solving.

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References

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