It is a known fact that companies use team building activities to enhance employee productivity and cooperation. But have you stopped to realize that they are an amazing tool to use for teenagers as well? Even though we tend to associate team building games with the workplace, they actually work amazingly for other areas of our social life as well. Teens and young adults can benefit greatly from team building activities. They promote healthy relationships among peers based on trust and communication. They enhance team engagement and strengthen preexisting bonds. Whether you plan on using team building activities for a group of classmates, the members of a sports team, or even your own family, you will be sure to expect some great results.
In this article, I will walk you through everything related to team building activities for teens. You will learn how to organize such games, the benefits of incorporating these activities in your lifestyle, tips on managing players, and a few examples if you want to try one for yourself.
The Benefits of Team Building Activities for Teens
But, first things first: what are team building activities for teens, and why are they important? We already know that teenagers are at a crucial point in their lives, where they can thrive on knowledge and insight if it is provided to them properly. This important developmental stage that they go through can prove to be beneficial if it is directed toward honing fundamental life skills. Here we are talking about collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. All of these are paramount to the evolution of any human in society. As such, team building activities are a great help in enhancing that exact skill set and what’s best about it is that they are also a great deal of fun to participate in.
Of course, talking about the benefits of team building activities for teens is a long discussion, but in the spirit of time management and giving you only the most important details, the basic advantages you have to remember are the following:
- Team building activities are a great way to build trust among individuals
- They develop strategic thinking in teenagers
- They work perfectly in creating a productive environment
- They are an asset in developing leadership skills
- They contribute immensely to developing your communication skillset
- They are a great motivation enhancement tool
Tips for Organizing a Team Building Activity
Now, you’ve heard me talk about the benefits of team building activities for teens and you can’t wait to try one for yourself. But you might find it a bit challenging to start delivering such an experience to others right? Worry not, because I will give you some tips on how to organize one similar activity yourself.
First things first: to get teens to engage means you have to turn everything into a competition. Make things difficult enough, yet attainable at the same time. Your role as a game facilitator is to guide the players only in so much as they are aware of the rules of the game and have a good grasp on the way the activity is headed. Leave the rest to them! A generous amount of freedom is needed especially when it comes to teenagers.
As a game organizer, your primary job is to ensure that the environment that you are creating for that specific activity is one grounded in positivity, safety, and support. Players need to be comfortable enough to relax and for that, they need to trust whoever is around, guiding them. If the competition is fierce, make sure every safety regulation is on point and you are ready to take action if things go south.
And last but not least, plan ahead. Have every detail of the event down on paper and under your control. Since we are dealing with young individuals, it is better not to leave things to chance. Know your territory, the steps of the game, the rules, and the players. Be a knowledgeable guide, acting from the shadows if need be.
Examples of Team Building Activities for Teens
1. Cross the River
This game is perfect for a large group of teenagers and it is also a lot of fun to play. Once you have your team, you’ll only need sheets or wooden boards. Divide the team into two groups. Each one will cross a marked distance walking only on the sheets/boards. If you leave the sheet, your team will start all over again. Give the first player two sheets. Let’s say you’re the first to go: place the two sheets on the floor and walk over it, while your team follows suit. When it gets to the last person, he’ll pass you the last sheet so you can place it on the floor and continue. You’ll continue switching the sheets till you get to the finish line.
2. Survival Game
This game is perfect for any occasion as it can be easily customizable to your needs. Simply choose a theme for the game such as “stranded on a deserted island” and build your game around it. Create a list of 10 items that players must rank based on importance. Then bring out the official list posted by the Coast Guard and compare notes. The team that comes closest, wins the game. This activity is great because it tests participants on how they would react in a similar difficult situation. It also improves their problem-solving skills and their communication as the members will have to discuss among themselves before compiling their list.
3. Back to Back Drawing
Find yourself, two teams. Select two players from your team for each round. The two will sit back to back from one another. One will have pictures, and the other, some drawing tools. Describe what you have in your picture while the other person draws it. While describing, you must not mention the name of the item you are seeing. The other participant has to draw only from your description and you’ll see how close the drawing looks when compared to the real picture.
4. Pictionary Game
This game is a perfect icebreaker and a great way to bring some fun and excitement to your group of friends. The goal of the game is the following: players must successfully name whatever pictures their teammates are drawing. The participants should team up in 2 to 3 groups at least. The team that begins the game will go to the organizer and pick a name card that will contain a word that has to be represented visually. You have 1 minute to draw and during that, the team has to guess what you are trying to convey. If they manage to guess correctly the team gets one point.
This game requires a bit more planning, some extra materials, and wide outdoor space in order to make it work. But it is such a bundle of fun to play, that you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to organize it. You need two teams. Each team will receive a number of balloons filled with a colorful harmless substance. Each team has to use the balloons as weapons that will be thrown toward the members of the opposing team, marking them with colors in the process. Any player that will be hit by a balloon will be eliminated. The goal of the game is to eliminate as many players as possible in the given amount of time.
6. The Bodyguard
If indoor games are your thing, then look no further than the Bodyguard. The goal of the game is simple: defend the peaceful man from attacks coming from outside of your territory. To play this game, all players must form a circle and within that circle, two participants will stand. One will act as the bodyguard and the other will be the one who needs protection. Each player outside the circle will mark his spot with a cone. The game starts with a ball thrown at the furnace that is protected by the bodyguard. During the game, he will have to protect the target at all costs. If the peaceful man is hit, he will take the place of the bodyguard, and the player that hit the peaceful man will be the new bodyguard.
7. The Mafia Game
This game is perfect to boost your creative thinking and to perfect your attention to detail. You only need a pack of cards that you use to assign characters to each player ( e.g. the mafia, the police, the doctor, the villagers ). The goal of the game is for the village to catch the killer before he murders everybody else. When each player knows their character, the game moderator will guide everyone through the steps of the game. When the night falls over the village, all players will close their eyes. Then, the moderator will call for each character to awaken in turns. First, the killer gets to choose their victim. Afterward, the police get to guess the identity of the murderer, and finally, the doctor gets to rescue somebody. Then, daytime comes once again and the game moderator will reveal what the night has brought upon the village. The players will then begin a debate on who they believe the killer is and voting one player out of the game. The process continues until the killer is discovered or until all the innocent people are dead.
8. Murder Mystery Games
Now, this is a type of game that teens won’t be able to refuse. Simply pick your theme for the murder mystery party and follow the rules of the activity. Assign characters to each of the players, guide them through the storyline and watch them solve the mystery at hand. You can even encourage them to go all out and dress to look the part. Make this experience as immersive as possible. This game is perfect for teens as it will stimulate them to work together, communicate properly and put their problem-solving skills to the test in order to figure out who committed the crime. This is a perfect game for a rainy day indoors and it can even work out in a virtual environment.
9. Photo Scavenger Hunt
Photo Scavenger Hunt is the perfect game for the big outdoors because it fosters creativity and quick thinking. Participants will have to rely on their wits and imagination while being in a vast area outside and move as fast as they can in the given amount of time. It is the perfect game for when the weather is nice and everybody is high on energy. All you have to do is gather two teams, get your cameras ready and start taking pictures. You must closely follow the list of items you need to capture on your camera, strategize with your teammates and finish first. And, for some bonus points, make sure you tap into your artistic side and return with some gorgeous creative photos. This will definitely get you and your team the crown.
10. The “Thank You” Challenge
In life, it is always a good idea to give thanks to the people around us. This activity is perfect for teens that already know each other. So use this one for the members of a sports team or your classmates. You need some pairs for this game. Simply put two numbers of the same kind in a bag and let the players draw their partners out. Then, in the given amount of time, they have to find some sort of way to express their gratitude towards their partner. Whether they choose to give each other gifts, write a poem or sing a song, they must do so within the time limit provided to them. This game teaches teens the importance of giving thanks even in uncomfortable or rushed situations. It makes them communicate their feelings more openly and honestly. It is a perfect way to ensure team bonding.
In case you aren’t convinced enough that team building activities for teens are the tool you need in your life right now, then take one last thing into account: teenage years can get quite hectic and turbulent for most people. Anxiety is one of the most common afflictions among teens in the last decade and that is the least serious among a myriad of problems that kids today face.
And you might be thinking that a solution to such a problem couldn’t possibly come from something as easy to put together as team building activities, but think again. It is actually a great way to build self-confidence and it can be particularly beneficial to troublesome teens. In the right environment, team building games can definitely provide opportunities for collaboration and communication. Not only that but they are a doorway to strengthening a teen’s self-image through positive experiences.
With that being said, don’t hesitate to give team building activities for teens a try and get the word out on this amazing tool.