The 7 most challenging team building exercises for your staff

The 7 most challenging team building exercises for your staff

Team building exercises can help to promote cohesion and unity between the members of your team, but it can also be used on a larger scale, in a company or corporation. If you have a department or group of people who need to be brought together, it’s a good idea to plan team building exercises for the staff. Our exercises will force them to think carefully, work together as a team, and use each person’s strengths to counteract their weaknesses. The result will be a much more efficient team.

But what if you’ve already done all the “classic” exercises: trust falls, getting to know you, etc.? How do you take it one step further and really push you team to the limits of their capabilities? We’ve come up with a few challenging team building exercises to give your staff a trial that will force them to unite and work together to solve problems.

 


House of Cards

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pack of playing cards per team
  • 2 pairs of scissors per team

Set Up:

  • Divide all of your team members into teams, with 2 to 5 people per team. Distribute a pack of cards and a couple of pairs of scissors to each team.

Group Size:

  • Ideally, his game is best played with 4 to 10 groups.

The Activity:

  • Give all of the teams a certain time limit to work with (usually 45 to 60 minutes), and tell them that they have to build the highest tower possible using ONLY the playing cards and the scissors. They can cut the cards however they want, but they cannot use tape to hold the cards together. They have to stack the cards in whatever way works best, and build it as many times as it takes to produce a tower that stands long enough to measure.
  • The team with the highest tower wins.

Total Time:

  • 45 to 60 minutes.

Objective:

  • The goal of the activity is to encourage unity and creative thinking. Each team is presented with an identical problem, but it’s up to each team to figure out how to solve that problem in the most efficient way possible. The team members all have to work together to find the best way to stack the cards, as well as actually do the stacking–a task that takes a lot of patience. It’s definitely going to bring your teams together once they figure out how to do it right!

House of cards on a wooden table (very shallow Depth of Field)


Junk Wars

What you’ll need:

  • An assortment of “junk”: balls, hoses, paper plates, plastic cups, wooden planks, cardboard boxes, and the list goes on. The more junk you have, the better!
  • Duct tape, masking tape, screws/nails, putty, and other adhesives.

Set Up:

  • Divide all of the junk into three or four piles. Give each team as wide a selection of items as possible.

Group Size:

  • Teams should have from 6 to 10 people, with three or four teams.

The Activity:

  • The goal of the activity is for each team to build “something useful”. They can build whatever they want: a model car, a Rube Goldberg machine, a device to shoot something, and the list goes on. They have to take all of the items they find in their “junkyard” and use it to build their device/machine/contraption. They can get as creative as they want, and all that matters is that their construction actually does what it’s designed to do.
  • The team with the most creative, most efficient “machine” wins.

Total Time:

  • 1 to 2 hours

Objective:

  • This is definitely an exercise to promote cohesion and unity among your team members! It’s going to take a lot of brainstorming to figure out what to build, teamwork to agree on how to build it, and pulling together to actually put it together. Even if they don’t win, all the teams will find themselves working much better together.

Egg Drop

What you’ll need:

  • 1 egg per team
  • Newspaper, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, straws, wooden tongue depressors, tape, balloons, plastic wrap, rubber bands, etc.

Set Up:

  • Divide all of your “building items” into four separate piles, one per team.

Group Size

  • This works best with groups of 4 to 7 players, with 4 to 6 teams.

The Activity:

  • The task is simple: create a package that will allow you to drop your eggs from 2-4 storeys up without it cracking. The teams have a wide assortment of materials to choose from, and they can use any and all of them to build the most effective, safest package.
  • Any team that can drop their eggs from 2-4 storeys without it breaking wins.

Total Time:

  • 1 to 2 hours.

Objective:

  • This is another problem that will take creative thinking to solve, and that will force your team members to work together. It’s definitely a challenging problem (gravity versus a fragile object), so it will encourage unity and creative brainstorming to find the best solution.

Boat Race

What you’ll need:

  • 1 boat (kayak, rowboat, paddleboat, etc.) per team
  • A body of water for boating

Set Up:

  • Divide your participants into teams of 2 to 6, depending on how many people fit per boat. Set up a “Start” and “Finish” line.

Group Size:

  • With 2 to 6 people per team, you want at least 4 to 8 teams to present a proper challenge.

The Activity:

  • The activity is fairly simple: all of your teams need to row from one side of the lake/pond to the other. You can give each team 10 to 15 minutes before the race to warm up, get to know each other, and learn how to row the boat as efficiently as possible.
  • Once you’re ready, all of the boats have to come back to the starting line and, at the “Go” signal, race to the far end. The winner is the first boat to cross the finish line.

Total Time:

  • 30 to 60 minutes.

Objective:

  • This is all about teamwork, especially given how much work it takes to row a boat. Unless all of the oars are pulling together, the boat will go nowhere. The truth is that the strongest team isn’t the one guaranteed to win. The team that works together best has a much greater chance of victory.

Team building activity, rowing dragon boat racing


Lego Monster

What you’ll need:

  • A box of Jenga blocks per team
  • A marker per team

Set Up:

  • A large bucket of LEGO pieces (assorted) for each team

Group Size:

  • You want at least 5 to 8 teams for this activity.

The Activity:

  • The goal of the game is to build the largest, most “realistic” monster possible. The teams can use as many pieces as they want, and they can trade pieces amongst the other teams. All of the teams will vote on which monster is the best, and the team with the most votes is the winner.

Total Time:

  • 30 to 90 minutes.

Objective:

  • This is more than just an exercise in creativity. It’s also about seeing the big picture, working together to come up with a shape that can realistically be built, and carrying out the task in a practical manner. Definitely one of the team building exercises for the staff that needs to learn how to solve problems together.

Horizontal image of assorted plastic toy bricks


Paintball Wars

What you’ll need:

  • Paintball equipment (guns, helmets, balls, etc.) for all of your team members
  • A paintball field

Set Up:

  • Divide your team members into 2-4 teams (depending on the layout of the field), and give each team a “base” to work from.

Group Size:

  • You’ll want at least 6 to 12 people per team.

The Activity:

  • This is one heck of a fun way to spend a day of team building exercises! The teams have to try to Capture the Flag, sneak past the enemy to touch their “base” without getting shot, or knock out all the other team’s members.

Total Time:

  • 2 to 4 hours.

Objective:

  • As with any “war game”, paintball will help to promote teamwork and unison among the various members of the team. After all, anyone who tries to “go solo” or play hero will end up getting shot. Teamwork wins the game!

4-Way Tug of War

What you’ll need:

  • 2 long ropes

Set Up:

  • Divide all of your team members into four groups, with the groups as evenly divided as possible.

Group Size:

  • This works best with 20 to 32 people.

The Activity:

  • The ropes should be tied together so that they can be pulled in all directions at once. Give each team an end of the rope, and have them tug it out. The winner is the last team standing.

Total Time:

  • 15 to 20 minutes.

Objective:

  • This is an exercise in teamwork, but it also teaches creative problem-solving. Sometimes, two teams can unite to bring down a third team, or pulling in a certain direction will knock out two teams at once. It’s all about finding the best way to achieve the objective.

many of people with equipment in team building activity


These team building exercises may appear a bit challenging at first, but that’s the point, isn’t it? We want to give your teams real challenges that they will have to strive to overcome by working together, thinking outside the box, and finding their common ground, Thanks to these exercises, you can have a more cohesive team in no time!

What do you think of all these team building exercises? Would you want to give them a try? Which of them is your favorite? If you have any more exercises you think would prove challenging, drop a comment below and let us know…

Eventwise Staff
Eventwise has been at the forefront of corporate events since 1986. Over the years we have organised events for corporate clients in most industry sectors all over the UK to design and deliver unique and memorable events.
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