Ten team building ideas everyone will love! - The Canvas Riversands

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Ten team building ideas everyone will love!

Want to impress your bosses and wow your colleagues with something exceptional for your company’s conference or team building event?

The first step is finding the right location, like Johannesburg’s The Canvas Riversands. This conference and eventing centre is centrally located in Fourways, with lots of parking and plenty of adaptable spaces that are perfect for everything from full audience plenaries to small group breakaways, and it has the added bonus of rolling, green lawns so you can also arrange outdoor activities.

The next step is finding the right mix of activities to ensure a memorable experience. Here’s some great ideas that are guaranteed water cooler conversation starters.

Take it outside
Mindful Matters
  • Time: 45 – 60 minutes
  • Number of participants: Two at a time
  • Tools needed: Wide open spaces and the relevant instructor
  • How to: Shake things up with some soul lifting mindfulness exercises. Doing something different in an unexpected setting will not only get everyone bonding but it will also get those creative juices flowing. Take attendees outside their comfort zones with one of these three mind, body activities: Tai Chi, Yoga or meditation. While Tai Chi is a form of martial arts, it’s extremely low impact as it’s more like meditation in motion.
  • Objective: A great stress reliever, bonding exercise and overall mood booster.

Sumo wrestling

  • Time: 1 – 3 hours or even longer
  • Number of participants: Any
  • Tools needed: Inflatable sumo wrestling suits and ring
  • How to: Simply hire the equipment from a local company and get ready to have some fun. This is the only chance you’ll get to legitimately push down and pin to the ground that annoying guy who’s been stealing your lunches!
  • Objective: A wonderful bonding exercise with guaranteed fun!

Scavenger hunt

  • Time: 2 – 4 hours (or even a whole day activity)
  • Number of participants: Even sized groups
  • Tools needed: Pen and Paper
  • How to: Divide the group into several smaller, equal sized teams. Make a list of tasks for the teams to do as a group. Tasks can be funny, hard, or goofy – just know your audience and plan appropriately. Some fun tasks include:
    finding hidden objects, taking pictures of a building or with a specific person (like a moustachioed man in a red shirt), finding hidden QR codes or even solving riddles. Set a time limit and send them off – the first team back with a completed list wins.
  • Objective: A great bonding exercise that spurs creativity, gets the blood flowing and encourages teamwork.

The mine field

  • Time: 15 – 30 minutes
  • Number of participants: 4 – 10 people (even numbers)
  • Tools needed: Blindfolds and various handheld objects
  • How to: Place the objects (cones, balls, bottles, etc) sporadically across an open space. Split up into pairs, with one person in each team donning the blindfold. The other, sighted person must help their teammate cross the space — without stepping on any of the objects — and they can only use verbal instructions. The blindfolded person can’t speak at all. You can up the level of difficulty by creating specific routes for the blindfolded team members to walk through.
  • Objective: This game works on building trust, improving communication skills, and effective listening.

Water balloon toss

  • Time: 15 – 30 minutes
  • Number of participants: Even numbers
  • Tools needed: Water and balloons
  • How to: Fill up a number of water balloons. Divide the team into pairs and have them throw balloons back and forth to each other, taking a step back with each successful exchange. Last balloon standing wins.
  • Objective: A fun activity that builds focus and concentration.
Bringing it inside

Puzzle pieces

  • Time: 1 – 2 hours
  • Number of participants: Four or more small groups
  • Tools needed: Different jigsaw puzzles for each group
  • How to: Divide people into small, equal-sized groups. Each group gets a different jigsaw puzzle with the same difficulty level. But, make sure you’ve mixed up some of the pieces into the other teams’ puzzles. Teams must find creative ways to get the pieces back – like negotiating, trading, exchanging team members, etc. The only caveat, everything must be decided as a group. First team to complete the puzzle wins!
  • Objective: This activity promotes problem solving and leadership skills.

Telephone, on paper

  • Time: 15 – 45 minutes
  • Number of participants: Any
  • Tools needed: Pen and paper
  • How to: Each team member needs a piece of paper (and without talking to anyone) has to do a simple drawing on the page which they will pass to the right. Then the new person will look at the drawing they have, fold the paper in half, and write what they think the drawing depicts. They then fold the word over and pass to the right for the next person to draw their word.  Each pass alternates between determining what the picture was and drawing what was described. Note, each new turn should only reveal the word or picture from the previous round and everyone should pass together. When the paper is back to the original owner, each member reveals what was written and drawn.
  • Purpose: A great way to loosen people up and help them get comfortable with each other.

Find the common thread

  • Time: 15 – 45 minutes
  • Number of participants: Any
  • Tools needed: None
  • How to: Divide the team into groups and instruct each group to find one commonality among them. It can be a hobby or interest they share, for example, the same favourite genre of music or cycling. Once the commonality is agreed upon, they must create a group name and a list of possible stereotypical qualities of such people. Next they announce their new team name, like Hip-Hop Heads or Dancing Queens. For the rest of the morning (or even for the day, if it’s a hit) the group members fulfil the stereotypes they listed. The Hip-Hop heads could break out into song when a certain word is used while the Dancing Queens could periodically just bust a move. Just before the end of the morning, have them talk about the stereotypes we give to people, looking at how they affect how we perceive other people’s abilities.
  • Objective: A useful bonding exercise especially for new teams as it helps them get to know each other.

Paired up

  • Time: 10– 20 minutes
  • Number of participants: Even numbers only
  • Tools needed: Pen and paper
  • How to: Write down a bunch of pairs on different pieces of paper (like, Batman and Robin, Thelma and Louise, peanut butter and jam, brandy and coke etc). Tape one piece of paper to a person’s back and they must walk around trying to figure out who they are and find their match.
  • Objective: A fun bonding exercise that helps loosen up the crowd.

Truth and lies

  • Time: 10 – 15 minutes
  • Number of participants: Five or more people
  • Tools needed: None
  • How to: Have everyone sit in a circle facing each other. Every person has to come up with two truths and one lie about themselves. The lie needs to be realistic and believable. Go around the circle and have each person state the facts and lie without revealing which is the lie. After each turn the others must guess which is the lie.
  • Objective: A great ice breaker that helps eliminate snap judgements of colleagues and gets the introverts talking.
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