Unity-building games can bring group solidarity to many situations. They're great for college dorms, helping new students to connect and bond with each other. In an office setting, they can be a team-building tool. Within more informal settings, such as family gatherings, they also help people to bond while having fun together.
In this exercise, as shown on Teampedia.net, each team strives to build the tallest tower from a variety of simple materials. They could use popsicle sticks, paper cups, paper, tape, small boxes and other inexpensive supplies. Give them a time limit, such as 15 minutes, instructing them only to use the supplies provided. Teams are sure to laugh a lot in this exercise, which is one of the best ways to build group unity.
Tug of War
In tug of war, each team must work together to win the contest. Together, they pull on a thick rope, trying to take it from the other team. This game emphasizes that their combined strength is greater than that of any individual, showing the value of working together. With the right equipment, a larger group can play a multiteam version of tug of war, as shown on Wilderdom.com.
Fear in a Hat
This game, as described on Icebreakers.ws, is a popular icebreaker that can build solidarity by helping people empathize with each other. Each person writes one of his fears anonymously on a piece of paper, then places it into a hat. The group leader shuffles the papers and hands one to each person. Each group member must read the description on the paper she received, and talk about why the writer may feel this way. The next reader then does the same. Once everyone has read, they all discuss insights they may have had about fears expressed by the group, including how people can overcome these fears.
Group members could participate in a trust walk, where each person takes a turn leading a blindfolded partner around. The blindfolded group members must rely on their partners to guide them safely around obstacles. This requires the "seeing" partner to anticipate how she can guide and reassure her partner. For instance, she must tell him if they are approaching a small step, or a change in terrain, and guide him around tree branches, rocks or other obstacles. Then, the partners switch roles, so they each have a turn to be blindfolded.
For another unity-building exercise, make up a list of questions for group members to ask each other. Icebreakers.ws offers a list of such questions including, "If you were an ice cream flavor, which one would you be and why?" and, "What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?" These questions are silly and fun, which helps people to open up a bit more. They don't feel threatened by the questions, so they relax and show more of their personality, which is one of the main objectives of any unity-building game.
Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.