Team building is an important skill for children to learn. Not every child grows up with a “team” mentality. If a child doesn’t have siblings, isn’t used to playing with friends or isn’t involved in sports, he may not have a honed set of skills for getting along in groups. Teamwork activities help children communicate, collaborate and deal with conflict in healthy ways.
Ask kids to split up into groups of three or four children each. Give each group a deck of playing cards and ask them to construct a tower out of the cards. This activity is best for children ages 8 and up. If you want younger children to engage in a similar activity, you can have them build a structure out of blocks, which are easier to stack than cards. Turn this activity into competition by awarding a prize to the team who has the highest standing structure at the end of an allotted amount of time, such as 10 or 15 minutes.
Untie the Knot
A simple, fun activity that encourages children to communicate and work together is Untie the Knot. You’ll need an even number of children for this activity -- an ideal number of kids is between eight and 12. Have them stand in a circle and face in. Each child puts his left hand into the circle and grasps another child’s left hand; they do the same with their right hands. Without letting go of each other’s hands, the children must untangle themselves. The only way to accomplish this task is to work as a team.
Stranded on a Desert Island
Stranded on a Desert Island is a great activity if there’s limited space or no props to work with. Each child has to think of one object that he would bring to a desert island. The object should be one that would help them survive, not a frivolous item intended to simply pass the time. Once everyone has thought of their item, the kids should break up into groups of five people each. They’ll need to come up with ways to combine their individual items in order to have a better chance at survival. They can draw up plans and present their ideas to the other groups. This is a great activity for kids ages 12 and up.
Photo Scavenger Hunt
The Photo Scavenger Hunt is a great collaborative game for young children, if they’re in an area that’s fenced in, like a playground, or older children who can be trusted to explore a certain area like a mall. Give teams of three or four kids a list of photo ops that they have to find and capture with a digital camera. Teammates will have to talk about where to find the required photos, choose who takes the photos and determine the best route to take so that they can take photos quickly and be the first team to finish.
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