Team Building Activities and Puzzles

team image by Andrey Kiselev from

To make a group of people feel like a team, rather than random people forced to work together, team building activities can help. Some team building activities are in the form of puzzles that the team must work together to figure out. These activities show how each person can contribute, and how important it is to work together in order to reach the team's goals.

Sequencing Pictures

This activity helps members of the team learn how to communicate most effectively in order to solve a puzzle. Each team member receives a photocopied picture from a picture book, without any words on it. Members are allowed to discuss their pictures with other members, but they cannot show the picture to anyone else. Based on their discussions, team members need to put the pictures into the correct order to make a complete story. This will be difficult to accomplish without someone stepping up and leading the process, but everyone will need to work together to accomplish the goal.

Group Stand-Up

This simple team building activity demonstrates the importance of a team in accomplishing a larger goal, and the fact that everyone needs to work together in order to reach that goal. All of the team members stand in a circle, and then turn around so that their backs face the center of the circle. They then sit down and link elbows together. Their challenge is to stand up in a circle without letting their elbows come apart from each other. In order to accomplish this, the team will need to coordinate their efforts effectively, probably through verbal communication.

Neutralize the Waste

Team members who enjoy science fiction or thriller novels will enjoy this team building activity. A small bucket of "toxic waste" (water) sits in the middle of a chalk circle with an eight-foot diameter. A large empty bucket sits several yards outside of the circle. The challenge for the team is to use bungee cords and a bungee cord loop to empty the contents of the small bucket into the large bucket. They have twenty minutes to "neutralize" the toxic waste before it destroys the entire world. They may not step inside the chalk circle. If anyone puts a limb into the circle, that limb is then destroyed (e.g., the hand is held behind the back, the leg is no longer able to hold weight). If anyone puts a head inside the circle, the person becomes blind (i.e., blindfolded). The team needs to be careful to spill as little of the toxic waste as possible.