Whether your team has never met each other before your first meeting, or has worked together for years, these are some great activities to help them get to know each other better. The goal of these activities is to make them feel comfortable around each other, to learn more about each individual team member, and to have some fun!
(Image courtesy: State Library of New South Wales collection )
Two Truths and a Lie
Time Required: 15-30 minutes
Materials: One piece of paper and a pen/pencil for each team member
1) Have every team member write down two things that are true about themselves and one lie. (Example: I have two dogs, my favorite class is math, and I love broccoli.) Make sure they do not reveal to anyone what they have written down.
2) Allow 10-15 minutes for conversation (like a dinner party), where everyone mingles and discusses the three things they wrote down. Each team member wants to convince the others that their lie is actually true. They also want to discover other team members’ lies by asking questions. (Example: What are your dogs’ names? What breed are they? How long have you had them for?)
3) Gather team members around a table, or in a circle, and have them each say their three statements. Have the rest of the team vote which one they think is the lie.
*Even if your team members already know each other, this game can still be fun! Encourage them to put down things they don’t think anyone else on the team knows about them!
Draw, Caption, Draw, Caption!
Time Required: 10 minutes-30 minutes
Materials: One piece of unlined paper and a pen/pencil for each team member
1) This is similar to the game “Telephone,” where you sit in a circle and pass along a phrase by whispering it in the ear of the person next to you. When the phrase gets back to the first person, it has changed dramatically and usually results in a lot of laughter. In this game, instead of whispering phrases, you draw pictures and write captions.
2) The team should sit in a circle. Each team member should have a piece of blank paper and a pen/pencil. At the top of the page (holding the sheet vertically), have each team member draw a simple picture (it should be fairly small–no larger than a few inches tall).
3) Have team members pass the paper they have clockwise.
4) Have each team member write a caption for the drawing they received. After they write the caption, they should fold down the sheet of paper so the original drawing can no longer be seen. Only the caption should be visible.
5) Have team members pass the paper they have clockwise.
6) Now each team member should have a caption. They should draw a picture that goes with the caption. After they draw a new picture, they should fold the paper down so that only the picture is visible and you can’t see the caption they based it off of.
7) The next person will write a caption for the new picture. Repeat as many times as you like, or until each sheet gets back to the original artist.
8) Have team members share out how their pictures/captions evolved as they went around the circle!
A Cold Wind Blows
Time Required: 5-15 minutes
1) Have team members form a circle, with one person standing in the middle. Each team member standing on the outside of the circle needs something to mark his or her place. Shoes work well as place markers. If there are seven team members, there should be six sets of shoes on the outside. If there are six team members, there should be five sets of shoes.
2) The team member in the center says, “A cold wind blows for anyone who __________.” They fill in the blank with something that is true about them (is left handed, went to the beach this summer, is an only child, loves painting, enjoys skiing, etc.)
3) If the statement is true for them, team members must move into the center of the circle and then quickly move back out and try to find a pair of shoes to stand behind. The person who was in the center also tries to move to the outside of the circle.
4) Whoever is left in the center comes up with the next “A cold wind blows…” statement.
Time Required: 15+ minutes
Materials: A roll of toilet paper
1) Explain to the team that they are going camping and need to take as much toilet paper as they think they may need for a two-day trip. Pass the role of toilet paper around the table.
2) Once everyone has an ample supply, explain to the group that for every square in their possession, they must share something about themselves. (Examples: I can touch my tongue to my nose, I love pizza, I enjoy drawing, I wish dinosaurs were still around, etc.)
Time Required: 10-15 minutes
Tell the team that they will become different machines, using only their own bodies. Tell them that every team member must be a part of the machine. Sample ideas for machines:
- Washing machine
- Vacuum cleaner
- Lawn mower
Give them a set time to work it out (say two minutes), and then have them present. Quickly give them another machine to become!
Team-created Team Building Activity
Time Required: 15+ minutes
The Team Manager should present teams with the following problem: This part of the meeting was going to be spent completing an ice breaker/team building activity, but as the Team Manager, you don’t have any ideas. The team will then design their own team building activity. Be sure to tell them that they are inventing and designing an activity, not just identifying an icebreaker they’ve done before. Afterwards, they can participate in the activity they designed!