Why are Team Building Activities Important?
We most often associate team building activities with adults in a corporate environment. But teens can benefit from participating in these activities too. They’re at at important developmental stage of their lives and honing skills that they may need later on is a great idea.
Skills such as communication, problem solving and collaboration are used in all areas of life. Team building activities empower participants to learn and perfect these, and other, skills. What’s more is that they’ll have fun whilst doing it. These activities get participants laughing and bonding, otherwise they wouldn’t work!
The majority of team building exercises are based around working towards a common goal. This will help participants improve their logic and problem-solving skills. They’ll need to develop unique ways to think about tasks and tap into methods they haven’t used before. In turn, they will be able to tackle issues that they face in their day to day life, job or studies, for example.
But they won’t be doing it alone. So whilst they are developing new problem-solving skills, they’ll be learning how to collaborate with others. This improves communication; teaching teens to listen and value everyone’s input. It’s especially useful to learn how to work with those you may not gel with.
They may even gain some insight into which career they would like to pursue. It will become clear whether they are comfortable in a leadership role and whether they’re a confident public speaker. They’ll learn whether they excel in problem solving situations and whether they enjoy helping others.
Types of Team Building Activities
There are tons of different group activities that teens can do in order to encourage teamwork. Generally, they can be broken down into categories based on the type of activity itself and the skills that they develop.
- Logic/Problem Solving
These games involve collaborating to solve a puzzle. They can be based on physical activities or sitting down to calculate a strategy. In any case, participants are presented with a scenario or challenge that they must overcome by working as a team. Ideas include an Escape Game or a Survival Game.
Team building activities with a creative spin mean collaborating to produce an end result. They usually take the form of each person contributing something to the project, for example; painting, music or writing. The goal here is to set up a project where everyone must first collaborate to find out which part of the project they want to take and how they can help. They will learn the importance of communicating and providing constant updates on their progress.
You can choose to set a difficult challenge for your teens and find out how they overcome it. One idea is the Faraway Kingdom game. The difference between these types of games and problem solving is that there will be a difficult element of the task to overcome. Rather than working together to solve a puzzle, participants will have to make difficult decisions.
Some team building games are simply fun! By doing a pleasant activity together, the participants will feel positive towards one another and create a bond. This can be as simple as going to the movies or getting lunch together. What makes this different to a friendly outing? The participants are people who need an activity to bond them; they aren’t necessarily friends yet.
Usually based on problem-solving tasks, there are some activities that encourage participants to prove their leadership skills. Even if they find out that they aren’t a natural leader; that’s okay. They will learn that they thrive in an environment where they can contribute, but don’t necessarily make the decisions.
8 Awesome Team Building Activities for Teens
- Escape Game
No preparation is needed for this activity, but, it does cost money. Escape Games have been enjoying a surge in popularity in recent years so it’s a great time to go. This is an especially good option if you have a smaller group of up to 6, as these Escape Rooms will only allow a certain number of participants. They are usually centered around a theme and you have a series of puzzles to solve in order to get to the end. Often, there are several rooms and you need to unlock the clues before moving on to the next. Escape Games encourage teens to use their problem solving skills, work together and delegate tasks.
- Creative Project
If you want to get your teens experimenting with their creative side, you can make a team building activity out of it. Whether they’re drawing, painting, doing pottery or making music. To make it into a team activity, choose a final project that has many elements and have them create the parts. For example, you could have them draw a comic book and each person could draw a page. They would need to get together to work out the story and who takes on which part. By working to a common goal, but creating individual components, they will learn collaboration skills and the importance of communication.
- Murder Mystery
It may seem like a stuffy old game, but you can give the classic Murder Mystery a 21st century makeover. Give your teens a theme such as singers, actors or sports stars and have them get into character. If you plan ahead, you can give them their character a few days in advance and have them make it extra fun by dressing up. You’ll find examples of organized games which outline the rounds and how to find out who the murderer is. Choose a game where the victim still plays an active role throughout the game, so that everyone’s included.
- Silent Line Up
Simple but effective. In this game, participants are told to organize themselves into a line ordered by a certain characteristic. So you could choose height, shoe size, birthday etc. But the catch is that they can’t talk. It’s interesting to see how teens work together when they can’t simply discuss the facts and act upon that information.
- Paintballing or Laser Tag
For something active that involves teamwork, why not try paintball or laser tag? Paintballing can be a bit too rough for some people, so laser tag is a great alternative. You’ll have two teams and one team has to eliminate the most players from the other team. Or in the case of laser tag, one team has to get the most hits against the other team. Players learn to work together, defend themselves and protect one another in this game. They’ll learn strategic skills as they hide, navigate the course and attempt to target the opposition.
- The Human Knot
A simple idea that involves no preparation and is totally free. Have your teens stand in a circle and then put their hands in the middle. Once they do that, have them hold the nearest hands. They shouldn’t look at whose hand they hold and they should only hold one other hand. The fun part is having them detangle themselves! They will need to work together to go over and under one another, to weave in and out. Once they’re back in an open circle, they’ve completed the challenge.
- Survival Games
Again, this game needs minimal preparation, is free to do and can be done anywhere. Choose a theme such as washed up on a desert island, stranded on the moon or lost in the desert. Create a list of 15 items that players must rank by importance. They should do it individually and then as a team. You’ll find lists that have official rankings online such as NASA’s Moon Landing list or the Coast Guard’s Lost at Sea list. These helpful links allow players to compare their individual rating, team rating and the official ranking. The point is to see how participants react to a situation alone and within a group. By comparing the individual and group lists to the official ones, we can see how players value individual contributions.
- Faraway Kingdom
If you’re feeling particularly brave, you could have your teens play Faraway Kingdom. The reason you’d need to be brave is that half of your teens will end up doing nothing during this task! The idea is that half of the group wait and half have a problem to solve. The first group wait in a room standing in specific positions. Each group has a communicator who should relay information between one another. The second group have puzzles to solve which correspond to the first group’s positions. Once they’ve solved the puzzle, they come in and move the first group around and that’s where the game ends. It seems pointless but the goal here is to see how your teens communicate. Do the second group provide any updates to the first group, do they ask for help?
So with all these ideas in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to get a group of teens working together. Whether they’re in the same class, on a sports team or at a summer camp, they will learn valuable life skills. What’s great is that they will be learning these skills under the guise of having fun. Though these activities are aimed at team building in mind, they’re still fun. Your teens will get so involved that they’ll forget that it’s about developing teamwork skills and they will learn to collaborate naturally.