Team Building

Exercise: The circle of confusion

Useful for: team work, fun, physical exercise, leadership, supervision.

Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Group size: 10 to 15 participants (for very large group sizes divide the participants into two groups)

Materials: None


Ask participants to stand in any direction next to another participant while crossing their arms in front of them or behind them. Ask participants to hold the participant’s hand next to them on either side to ultimately form a circle. The idea is for the participants to untangle the knots so that everyone’s arms are no longer crossed.

Remember, this is a lot of fun and you could motivate the participants as they do this. The idea is for the group to work as a team to undo the knots and reflect on this process post the exercise. There are no winners or losers whether the knots are undone or not, it is all about how the team works together.  


Exercise: Laces

Useful for: Team work, communication, helping.

Time: 5 to 10 minutes

Group size: Any group size preferably even numbers

Materials: Participants own shoes with laces or shoe laces equal to the number of participants


Divide all participants into pairs of two. Provide participants with shoe laces to tie once around their ankle. Ask each participant to keep one hand behind their back and one of the shoe laces untied. The pairs have to complete tying each of their shoe laces.

Remember tying a shoe lace may be a simple task but it’s hard and takes a lot of communicating between the two participants to tie a shoe lace together. You could add variations to the communication medium used to make it more fun or even repeat the exercise by repairing participants and changing the rules.


Exercise: Tangles and untangles

Useful for: Team work, communication, supervision, team-roles, team-bonding.

Time: 15 minutes

Group size: 10 to 15 participants (if you find the group size very large then split them into two groups)

Material: A cotton rope of 10 to 20 meters


Take a long tangled up rope and toss it in the middle of the room. Ask participants to stand around the tangled rope in a circle. Have each of the participants to grab a spot on the rope and pick it up. As a group the participants would need to work together to untangle the rope without letting go of it. Any participant forced to let go of the tangled rope is out of the group, and can help direct the others.

Remember to tangle the rope enough before placing it in the midst of the participants. This requires good team work and gets participants loosened up and laughing and is a good bonding exercise. You could add variations to the communication medium to make it more interesting. 


Exercise: Balloon Tower
Useful for: Team building, fun, leadership. 

Time: 10 to 15 minutes (or less)

Group size: For large group sizes 15 to 30 or more

Material: 20 deflated balloons per person and plenty of clear tape, thread, scissors, stopwatch, and tape measure


Separate players into, preferably 3 or more teams of about 3-10 participants each. Provide each team a pile of uninflated balloons and a few rolls of clear tape. Instruct the teams that they are to build the largest free-standing balloon tower possible in a certain amount of time. Give no further restrictions on the game. Start the clock, and everyone begins building the towers. When time is called, look at the towers (measure if necessary) and declare whose tower is tallest. 

Remember, this is a great exercise both for teambuilding and just for fun. If at a leadership retreat, you can go on in detail about what went well and what didn't, and shock (and slightly annoy) the players by suggesting that it would not have been against the rules to combine resources with each other to make a much taller tower. Note on location: Be advised that carpet works quite well, but surfaces like concrete tend to pop the balloons. Experiment ahead of time to make sure the surface is satisfactory. 



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