Free Team Building Games for Kids

Young Boy and Girl Sit on a Rug in Their Garden Playing a Game of Cards
Kids are playing games together. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Team-building activities are a fun way to teach children teamwork, leadership, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills. To succeed at team-building games, children have to learn to work together, listen carefully, communicate clearly and think creatively. Many team-building games require no props and can be played in a backyard or even indoors. After each activity, discuss with children what they tried, what worked or didn't work and what they learned. Be sure to let insights come from the children themselves; do not turn the discussion into a lecture.

Go!

Choose a volunteer from the group. Have this person step aside while the other children stand in a circle, about two feet apart from one another. The extra person is the starting player; she will choose a space in between two other players. Tell players they are not allowed to say anything except the word "Go."

Blow a whistle or clap your hands to start the game. The starting player will make eye contact with someone in the circle with the intent of getting that person to say "Go." Once she receives the command, she will walk slowly toward the child who said it. The child who uttered the command will then make eye contact with another person in the circle with the intent of getting that person to say "Go."

Once this second person receives the command, he will start walking toward the person who said it. The idea is this: Each person who gives a command should receive a command quickly enough to vacate his position and give it over to the player who is approaching him. Once the group is able to successfully complete the task, challenge them to change spots while dribbling a ball.

Antique Can

For this exercise, you will need a large can and an object to place inside of it. Direct the group to stand in a circle. Assign limitations to each player or to the entire group. You could, for example, blindfold one or more participants while asking others to use only their feet.

Show the children the can. Make up a story about how ancient, powerful or valuable it is and that it must not be dropped on the ground. Challenge the group to pass the can around to each member without dropping it or spilling its contents.

If the can--or the object in the can--drops to the ground, the group must start over. After explaining the task to the group, ask them to set a time goal for completing the task.

Discuss with participants their tactics, methods of communication and performance. Ask them how they felt about or dealt with the limitations placed on them. Invite them to connect the limitations imposed on them in the game to the obstacles they sometimes face in life.

Hula Hoop

For this exercise, you will need a hula hoop. Ask the children to stand in a tight circle with one hand inside the circle, raised to about head level. If you have available to you an area with a mild slope, use it; it will make the game more challenging.

Tell participants to extend a finger from their raised arm. Lay the hula hoop on top of their fingers. The hoop may immediately start to rise. Hold it in place as you give the group directions.

Tell them they must remain in contact with the hula hoop at all times, but they must not hook a finger around it or pull it. The hula hoop must simply lay on top of their fingers.

Once they understand the rules, tell the children to simply lower the hula hoop to the ground. Step aside and allow the children to figure this out on their own. At the end of the game, ask participants to discuss their tactics, conflicts and methods of communication.

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