Team Building Activities and Challenges for Children
Addie Kiley, Atlantic Gymnastics. firstname.lastname@example.org
As you hear often team effort, is one of the key elements for any successful venture. Ice breaking games are designed to break barriers and bring people closer among team members. A well designed icebreaker or challenge is motivating, energizing, and establishes solid team rapport. Games, challenges, and activities encourage kids to laugh and be silly together while minimizing the fear of “being laughed at”
Some benefits of team building within a sports team:
- Builds communication skills. Forces kids to speak with one another in order to accomplish a goal.
- Defines roles within the group/team. This forces the chief(s) to come out and then the group indirectly chooses a “leader”.
- Morale and productivity are increased when a goal or challenge is set.
- Breaks down barriers between individuals and/or groups.
- Forces the group to accomplish a task with little direction.
When looking at a gymnastics season, we are often trying to find more time. It just isn’t possible to set time aside every day for activities and challenges. If we as coaches use these activities and challenges before a meet it will remind the team that there are multiple people and factors that empower a mission. I have found when coaching, this is by far the most productive tool I have to get the group as a whole to contribute. The kids feed off each other’s excitement which results in more proficient workouts.
Though on task challenges are productive in the gym, it is also important to take a step outside the sport. Creating team building activities that start everyone with an equal level of knowledge and ability will strengthen relationships within the group. Non-related activities will open up the challenge of a new experience that the group can adventure through together. Children tend to help and encourage each other more when there is a challenge or a goal set out. This also forces the kids to connect with something that they do not already have in common.
Many random objects will be strewn in the floor. It will be scatted all over the room too. Any one of the team is allowed to have less than 2 members. One of the members should try to find out his way in the room when other member telling the instructions. If the room is very large almost 3 groups can compete at the same time. Referee must make a note on the timing…
Bigger and Better (good for summer camps)
How is it possible to turn a paper clip into a guitar, laundry machine, bicycle, or other huge objects like a yacht? Through a team-building activity called Bigger and Better! Split the teams into groups of two to ten, depending on the size of your overall group. Distribute paper clips (or some other small object) to each group. Clearly indicate the time limit for this activity (e.g. 2-3 hours), and let them go off to trade. The goal is to come back with the biggest, best, most creative object after a series of trading and upgrading. When the time expires, everyone reconvenes at a predefined location for the show-and-tell and judging process.
Judges choose the best items on various criteria: size, value, creativity, and overall best. This game has benefits of having team members work together and think creatively on how to upgrade their items. Camaraderie is gained through this fun process – enjoy!
Everyone stands in a circle. One person starts by throwing the ball to another person. Continue passing the ball around so that everyone gets the ball once. The ball should end up with the person who started it. Remember the order and then time how fast the group can get the ball through everyone. See if the group can beat their fastest time!
Blindfold Game: Moles are blind, and use their noses to get around. In this game, one child is the mole and wears a blindfold. This mole has a poor sense of smell, and can’t find the way back to the molehill (represented by a chair in the middle of the room). Have the mole try to find the chair and sit down without help. Then you or another partner can help guide the child to sit on the chair. (Make sure the room is clear of obstacles.)
Crossover: Give each group a pile of dots. All players must cross to the other end without stepping off the dots. (Provide ground rules so children know they have to work around each other.)
Blanket Volleyball Divide group into two teams, each with a blanket held like a parachute. Toss in an object that is volleyed from team to team using the blanket for propulsion.
Fingertip Hula Hoop:
In groups of around four, have students all put the tips of two (fingers of each hand) under the hula hoop. The object is for the group to be able to lower the hoop to the ground without anyone’s fingertips coming off. Their fingertips MUST be in contact with the hoop at all times. To make this even more challenging, you can have the students try it WITHOUT ALLOWING ANY TALKING. This activity takes a lot of team work and cooperation. It is also a lot of fun for the kids.
Have the kids stand in a circle and hold hands. Start one hula hoop hanging over one pair of joined hands. Each person in the circle must pass the hoop/loop over him/herself and on to the next person – WITHOUT letting go of hands. I generally do this with 2 or 3 loop/hoops going at the same time in different directions.