Why are team building activities beneficial for kids? Children are very sociable and curious about their environs, practically from birth. As they begin the maturation process, this curiosity intensifies, along with a natural inclination to embrace feelings of freedom, either alone, or, more frequently, in groups with their peers.
As early as age 7, in school, and in extra-curricular activities, children join in with their friends and classmates in group activities, to build friendships, and have challenging, entertaining, and even exciting fun.
The Early Years
When kids are young and just beginning to interact with peers, and step tenuously, into the strangely wonderous world outside the family unit, many of them are shy, awkward, and a little intimidated by “more than one” numbers of others that are ready to play. Being unsure of the process of becoming sociable, their participation in activities is sometimes frustrating, as they learn to share, trust others, win, lose, and even worse “tie,” when game playing. The first skills of “team-building,” for curious and energetic kids, which are also life lessons that create skill-sets (habits) for a happy life, are: learning co-operation, sharing ideas, and building trusting relationships.
Ice Breaking Games
By participating in group games, kids learn “by doing”, and find out about their capabilities and strengths, in natural, often hilarious ways. The game “Touch Blue” is a perfect and engaging way to peak their interest. An adult calls out a color or pattern, in the room, and the first to find and touch it, gets points. The rules are simple: the color called, cannot be touched on the child or other people. Kids learn, of course, as they identify various hues, strips, plaids, etc., and their self-worth increases dramatically, along with problem solving skills.
Increasing the games object challenges, heightens the fun, as well as, fostering team work and focus. The game “I See a Shark” is a perfect outdoor, team building game. Circles are drawn in a large play area, as safe zones; and the kids are instructed to walk around this designated space until the chosen as leader, calls out “shark”! They must quickly step inside a circle without being tagged by the leader. The number of circles is reduced after each round, and more skill is required to fit inside the circle and keep from being tagged. Kids love stuffing themselves in crowded spaces, and being chased, it’s true. With this game they learn to trust, to share, and stay focused, to keep themselves, and each other, safe.
Ice Breaker games are the perfect social tools to demonstrate that group play interactions are challenging, engrossing, enjoyable and gratifying.
Oh, Those Middle School Years
When kids have reached the 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade levels, known with some dubious distinction, and dread, as the Middle School Years, they find themselves stuck between feeling awkwardly like a late-blooming child, and a too-young teen, or adolescent. The physicality, intellect, and emotions they experience, are in huge transition, and team-building activity, can be a prominent tool in fostering:
o Positivity, mindfulness
o Effective communication
o Stronger inter-personal relationships
o Self-esteem, confidence
o Creative, more complex thinking
o Leadership, compromising skills
by challenging them with the kinds of tasks, in social situations, which require peer interaction to achieve goals, and experience success. These games, designed specifically to be enjoyed by groups of kids, just to have fun and share experiences, have proven to be invaluably enriching with a long-lasting impact on their happy lives.
Team Building Games - Tweens
As parents and teachers work to build good chemistry among siblings, peers, and students, choosing the types of games played, that are both age appropriate, and challenging, in a team-building framework, for tweens, isn’t difficult.
One very popular example is “Blanket Volleyball”. Two teams (six or seven players), use a very large blanket to toss the volleyball over the net to the opposing team.
The objective is to get the ball over the net using: team strength, a big blanket, and coordination, in an attempt to make it difficult for the opposing team to return it, using their own big blanket and agility. In this challenging game, players must work together to successfully launch the ball and catch it. Teams can add rules to increase the difficulty level, and point scoring adds to the challenge.
Note the variety of creative team building games in this clip. Any group, team, or family may use these ideas to inspire a creation which is uniquely their own.
Teen (13-19) Team-Building – No “I” in team
Teen years are turbulent, due to the myriad of changes, emotional and physical, which must be experienced to reach a healthy adulthood. This is a time of exciting self-awareness, independence seeking, and peer bonding, as well as, the development of a fiercely intense focus on appearance, romantic interests, and the majorly, important, social life. All of these issues are scary, exhilarating, dramatic, and powerfully overwhelming. Team- building engagement, at this crucial time, is able to offer: a broader perspective on making healthy choices, a more positive self-image, greater confidence, stress relief, improved critical thinking, selflessness and empathy for others.
5 Types of Teen Team-Building Games
Keeping life more fun, through team building activities, specifically created for any teen group, should include the following four categories: trust building, leadership, teamwork and creative thinking.
1) “Moving Tic Tac Toe” builds teamwork. This fast paced, real time X’s and O’s with flags as markers, strengthens critical thinking skills, as the teams run to the board, recognize the placement challenge, act and compete, to win victory.
2) In “Karaoke Performance” creative thought is utilized, and team work, as each participant chooses their part in the presentation of a song from YouTube, such as: vocalist, back up singer, air guitar or drums player, and then performs. Laughter and high energy are always present during this game. Bonding and trust are built, and egos are put aside, for a great time.
3) The “Trust Game” can be played many ways, and is based on interdependence. A circle is formed by 5 or more members. One person is blindfolded and occupies the center of the circle, and then explores the room full of interesting, sticky, furry, and even wet, obstacles, while either dancing, or just moving. The other players warn of structures and hazards, until the person returns to the circle. Each player takes a turn warning or being the seeker. Players learn to act as a single unit, and count on each other for guidance. It’s chill and cool, mixed in relate-able teen interactions.
4) A “Snapshot Scavenger Hunt”, is a well-planned, timed, contest between small groups, who use smartphones or cameras, and a specific check list of amazing, funny, trending or on-point snaps, for points. The team with the highest score wins. Points are pre-set for originality, humor, and uniqueness, like landmarks, silly pet tricks, graffiti/street art, the environment, foreign cars and more.
5) Reward – No team can thrive without celebration. After all the hard work is said and done, win or lose, a team should always celebrate comradery, effort, and the passion that goes into every practice, game, or event. Lucky Poke Games are a great way for teams to continue the thrill and excitement of competition with the reward of treasure, laughter and toys. Visit LuckyPokeGames.com to kick off an amazing team reward experience.
The list of team-building games and activities is now very populated. For example: “Spot the Difference”, “Snake”, “Face Your Fears”, and numerous others, which are not only chill, and bang, they help to establish resilience, and many other key values, which lead to a happy, well-adjusted adult life for teens.
Communication is strengthened when kids, and teens interact with respect, avid interest, and team-thinking, that wraps its arms around everyone’s needs, while using the high energy, curiosity, and growing, intellectual prowess, which teens exhibit daily. Families too, are utilizing these kinds of activities to propagate the kind of positivity and bonding, which love, time, and commitment generate for everyone.