17 Fun Team Building Activities for Kids in Your ClassroomAll Posts
Written by Ashley Crowe
- Teacher Activities
Teamwork and cooperation are essential for learning. Administration works with teachers. Teachers work together with other teachers and their students. And students work together with one another.
Not only does more learning happen when everyone works together, but it also creates more fun. Classmates working together are more likely to succeed. Teamwork helps students build communication skills as they collaborate and strategize. And, as student groups work together to conquer problems, student confidence grows.
Of course, these skills don’t just apply to the classroom. They’ll continue to serve your students in their everyday lives — from playing sports to building friendships, and even into their adult years.
Ready to incorporate more teamwork into your classroom? Team building activities are a great place to start! Here are our favorite team building activities, including icebreakers, indoor games, and outdoor fun.
What are the benefits of team building activities for kids?
Team building activities are beneficial for students from elementary school all the way to high school and beyond. They can be used as fun first day of school activities or as everyday boredom busters. Either way, these moments of teamwork are building essential skills.
- Problem-solving skills — Problem-solving and strategizing are built into team activities. Since students can’t complete these exercises on their own, they have to work as a group to reach a solution.
- Creative thinking — Team building activities are a great way to help students think outside of their box. By grouping students of different backgrounds and experiences, everyone is exposed to new thoughts and ideas.
- Verbal communication skills — Communication doesn’t just mean knowing what to say. It’s also important to develop listening skills in order to effectively work together.
- Resilience — Many team-building activities aren’t completed on the first try. Having to try and try again to solve a problem builds a student’s resilience.
17 team building activities for every setting
Whether you’re looking for an activity to fill those last five minutes of class or go specifically with your lesson, we’ve got you covered!
Icebreaker team building activities
The first day of anything can be scary. Who will I sit by? Who will I talk to? What will we talk about? Ease student anxiety with fun icebreaker activities.
1. Birthday lineup
This game can be done in two ways. In the first, instruct your students to line up in order of their birthday, starting with January 1 and ending with December 31. Everyone will have to chat to find their place in line.
Or add an extra challenge by asking your students to line up in order of their birthdays, but with no talking. With some guessing and gestures, they’ll have to find their spot. There are sure to be lots of giggles — the mark of a great icebreaker!
2. Catapillar race
All you need for a caterpillar race is a starting line and a finish line. Split your classrooms into teams that have four to ten students. Each team will form a straight line. Then, everyone places their hands on the shoulders of the student in front of them. On the count of three, everyone crouches down like a caterpillar, being careful not to let go of their friend’s shoulders. Then, go!
Make your own bingo cards that include different characteristics your students may share. For example, “I have a sister” or “I like pizza”. Every card should have the same boxes to check off.
Ask students to read through the boxes and find one that’s true for them. Have them walk around the room, comparing their box with the other students. Once they find a friend who has chosen the same box, they both mark that box and return their seat. Repeat the process until someone has a Bingo.
This activity can be done with the whole class or small groups. Together they’re going to tell a story. Provide a theme, or let them have free reign.
The first person will start the story by saying just four words. Then the next person will add on four words of their own. Keep it going until everyone is giggling about the turtle who went to the supermarket and then jumped in the pool!
Sitting in a circle or line can make it easier to tell who’s turn is next, but it isn’t necessary. Happy storytelling!
5. Common denominator
Common denominator, also called Thread, is a simple activity to build your students’ communication skills. Assign students to small groups and set a timer for five minutes. Ask your students to find one thing that they all have in common. It may be a type of pet or favorite food. Once a group finds a common thread, they can chat about it until the time is up.
You can end the activity there or rearrange the groups and do it again. Or add arts and crafts and have your students draw a picture or flag to represent their group’s common denominator.
Of course, icebreaker activities don’t have to be for just the first day of school. They can be great tools to start a small group conversation or to help reintroduce students when the seating chart is rearranged.
If you’re looking for even more ideas for icebreaker questions, check out our article 50+ Unique Icebreaker Questions for Kids Your Class Will Love.
Indoor team building activities
Most of the time, you need activities that can happen right inside your classroom. Even though most classrooms don’t have a lot of extra space, these fun team-building activities will do the job.
6. Human knot
This activity requires no set-up or special materials. All you need is your students!
To start a human knot, have small groups of 5 to 10 students stand closely together in a circle. Instruct them to reach their hands into the middle of the circle and randomly grab another student’s hand. Once every hand is grabbed, have students untangle themselves without letting go. Giggles will ensue as the group works together to bob, weave and climb their way back out.
7. Cup stacking
This quick-paced activity requires loads of teamwork and communication! You’ll need a rubber band, some string, and a few cups.
Split your class into teams — groups of four to eight work best. Each team needs one rubber brand and as many strings as there are teammates. Each player ties their string to the rubber band. Then, everyone steps back and works together to place the rubber band around the cup, expanding and contracting as needed to place it just so.
8. Hula hoop fingers
This simple activity only requires a hula hoop and a group of up to eight students. Arrange the students in a circle and have them all hold out their hands, palms up. Place the hula hoop in the center of the circle, resting it on their fingertips. Their goal is to set the hula hoop on the ground without dropping it or hooking their fingers around it. And there’s absolutely no grabbing! For added difficulty, ask students to use only one hand or just their index fingers
9. Marshmallow and toothpick challenge
Divide your classroom into two equal teams. Give each team a set number of marshmallows and toothpicks. Then give them their challenge — make the largest, tallest, or most creative structure!
You can give the students a few minutes to strategize or just jump right in. Teammates should take turns adding one toothpick and one marshmallow at a time to their structure.
Your students will quickly learn that faster doesn’t always mean better. Their structures will need to have a good foundation and be well-built to stay steady as they get taller. It’s sneaky physics learning that’s a ton of fun.
Outdoor activities for team building
If it’s a pretty day, take your students outside and enjoy some team-building activities in the sunshine.
10. Chuck the chicken
Chuck the chicken is an awesome team-building game for burning some energy! It’s a crazy striking and fielding game with three different variations. Check out this video for all the details and get your students moving.
Tug-of-war is a classic team game. Split your class into two teams and grab a sturdy rope. Try your best to make sure the teams are equally matched so it’s fun for everybody. And before starting, survey the environment to make sure that there are no obstacles that can injure the players. Then have each team pull as hard as they can in order to bring the other team across the line or off their feet.
12. Hula hoop pass
Teaching a large group? Hula hoop pass is a perfect choice!
Have your entire class form a circle and hold hands. Grab a hula hoop and place it on a student’s arm at one point in the circle. The goal is to get the hula hoop all the way around the circle without releasing their hands. Then enjoy the laughter as everyone wiggles the hula hoop around themselves.
Need an extra challenge? Have your students race against the clock to see how fast they can get the hula hoop all the way around the circle, or divide the class into groups of two for more competition.
13. Group jump rope
Group jump rope can be lots of fun if you have multiple adults or teenagers to help out. You'll need an extra-long jump rope and plenty of space. Start swinging and have your students jump the rope in groups of two or three. They’ll have to work together to not get in each other’s way while jumping together.
14. Obstacle course
An obstacle course can be used in several different ways to build teamwork. One option is to split your students into pairs. One student is blindfolded while the other only uses their words to guide them through the course. Good communication is key!
Another option is to complete the course as a relay. Students can cheer each other on as they encourage each team member to complete the course the fastest.
Strategic team building games
Build problem-solving and critical thinking skills with these strategy-based team building games.
15. Scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are a great option for larger groups. Students can search for a single hidden prize or a list of objects. Another variation is to have students find one object for each color of the rainbow or letter of the alphabet.
Students can work in pairs or small groups. If they’re looking for many objects, they’ll learn it’s fastest to strategize and divvy out the objects each person is responsible for finding.
16. Build as a team
This activity is a fun way to get those creative juices flowing! Give each team the same building materials and a set time for creating a structure. The building materials can range from books to duct tape to boxes to string. Whatever you have available works.
Decide if your student teams should all build the same thing, like the best bridge, or leave it open-ended and see where their imaginations take them.
17. Hidden structures
Hidden structures is an awesome team-building activity. To start, you’ll need to make a structure out of legos or building blocks. Then hide it from view, under a tarp or a bedsheet.
Split your students into small groups, and instruct them to designate one person as the leader. The leader on each team comes to your desk and has ten seconds to look at and memorize your structure. Then they get 25 seconds to describe to their teammates how to build it.
Finally, the teammates will get one minute (or longer if it’s complicated) to replicate your structure. Once the time is up, unveil your structure to the class and decide which team got the closest to the original.
You can repeat this process with a new structure and new leader from each team as often as you’d like.
How to easily empower team building skills in your classroom
Choose one of the activities above and start strengthening your classroom’s bonds. Just remember to always keep the activities fun. If students start to get frustrated, modify the game to make it easier. It’s not as much about sticking to the rules as it is about your students learning teamwork and cooperation.
Not every student will love every activity you try. And not every activity will be a hit. But with our list, we feel confident you can find a new favorite that your students will love.
Looking for more resources to empower teamwork in your classroom? Prodigy offers game-based learning solutions to keep your students entertained and excited about learning with Prodigy Math or Prodigy English. Encourage them to share their gaming wins, tips, and tricks with their fellow students, and build a culture of teamwork over competition in your classroom.
Plus, create your free teacher account to access tools for learning, including assessments, reports and test prep. Getting started is easy, so sign up today!