Motivation Games for Team Building

By Matthew Schieltz

Youth groups, a variety of organizations, as well as some employers use team-building games and activities to promote motivation and teamwork. These types of games require interaction, communication and oftentimes decision-making on the part of all group members involved. Following the use of motivation games, team members are usually excited and more willing to put forth their best effort in completing some task and/or working with others.

Human Pretzel

The Human Pretzel game, also knows as the Human Knot, teaches team-building, leadership and even patience. It also builds the self-confidence of the entire group. This game is suitable for a large group of people, ideally around eight to 12. When playing this game, the group stands in a closed circle. Each person in the group reaches across the circle and grabs the hands of two different people. Everybody's hands will be joined with those of two separate people. This tangled web is known as the "Human Pretzel" or knot. The group tries to untangle itself by using communication among the team members and creative strategies. This game fosters team-building as it makes the team members reliant on one another to get untangled. Two teams can play the Human Pretzel game and compete against each other for added motivation.

Video Scavenger Hunts

Video Scavenger Hunt games increase motivation and also help develop team-building and leadership skills. This game can be played either by a large or small group of people. Teams are optional in Video Scavenger Hunts, but they increase the group's motivation. A time limit can also be used during this game as an added twist and for extra motivation. During the game, the group is provided with a list of scenarios that must be carried out. Each scenario is worth a certain amount of points. The group captures these scenarios on a video recorder or a digital camera. The scenarios that must be recorded are silly or unusual. For example, one scenario could be having the group sing a song while in a restaurant, or having a group member shake the hands of or hug a police officer. The recorded scenarios are taken back and the group points tallied.

The Video Scavenger Hunt increases team-building since group decisions may need to be quickly made; leadership skills from particular individuals may also emerge. It's important to discuss these elements of the game after watching the group scenarios.

Toy Modeling

A Toy Modeling game uses Lego-type blocks or similar toy construction pieces that connect together. The preparation needed for this game requires that the leader or manager of the entire group build a toy model such as a large ship, plane, house or some other figure that takes some time to accurately copy. Teams either large or small in size can be formed, but smaller teams of three or four people may be ideal to foster more communication. Show the teams the model that the leader constructed from a distance and tell them to copy the model. Give the teams a time limit. An optional direction is to allow one team member from each group to take a long, in-depth look at the model and then report back to his team on how to build it; each team member can have a chance to do this. The team that most accurately constructs the toy model wins.

This game makes each of the teams work together to construct models, and teamwork is crucial during these tasks. In the end, the groups should discuss leadership aspects, who led the team more than others, and how they came to decisions about how to construct the toy model.

About the Author

Matthew Schieltz has been a freelance web writer since August 2006, and has experience writing a variety of informational articles, how-to guides, website and e-book content for organizations such as Demand Studios. Schieltz holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He plans to pursue graduate school in clinical psychology.