Learning to work as a team teaches kids problem-solving, listening, leadership, and creative thinking. Through group activities, children develop self-esteem, self-confidence, and compassion. Below are excellent team building activities for kids, designed to nurture these important life skills.
Group Jump Rope
From China to Egypt to Greece, jump rope games have existed for centuries. The sheer number of available game variations makes it one of the most versatile team building exercises for kids that makes them break a sweat. One popular group game is Helicopter, Helicopter!
One player (the helicopter) grabs one rope handle, bends down, and lays the rope in a straight line in front of himself. The rest of the kids stand around “the helicopter” as the kid turns in a circle, swinging the rope low enough for the other kids to jump over. When a kid fails to jump over it, they’re out. The last player standing becomes the next helicopter.
Snake is also another fun jump rope exercise for younger kids. Two players hold the ends of the rope close to the ground and move it back and forth, so the rope “slithers” like a snake as the kids jump over it. This game helps smaller children develop the coordination required for more advanced jump rope games.
The Human Knot
Often used for team building at the workspace, the Human Knot should be part of your list of teamwork activities for kids. Have children stand shoulder to shoulder in a very close circle. Then invite them to take the hands of two other kids in the circle. They can take hands across the circle or near their position, but may not hold both hands of the same person.
Once everyone is holding someone else’s hands, the kids have to continue to hold hands while they untangle “the knot.” The goal is for everyone to end up standing in a simple circle again. The participants can end up facing into or out of the circle but should not drop their hands at any point. It’s important to note; some knots can’t be completely resolved, but it’s still a fun team-building activity, nonetheless.
After finishing the game, you can include an additional debriefing session where discussion is encouraged around how they’re all tied together as a team and what types of benefits and challenges it presents. You can also ask whether they think the game would be more fun if they dropped hands etc.
From Egg and the Spoon to Three-legged Races, the Wheelbarrow, and obstacle-course activities — there are so many fun ways to get kids to work collaboratively with relay races. Some of these school-age team-building activities require props, while others don’t, and almost all can be adapted to suit different age groups.
Red Light, Green Light!
This is a great game to get kids moving while developing their listening and concentration skills. The classic version involves an adult or kid standing at the head of a room, intermittently shouting “red,” “yellow,” or “green.” The kids have to stand on the opposite side of the room. They can run forward on “green,” must stop on “red,” and can walk slowly on “yellow.”
The person standing at the head of the room, AKA the “traffic light,” must shout the commands with their back to the group and then whip-round. When they do, the other kids should freeze. If the “traffic light” detects movement from a player, they’re disqualified.
Kids can play this individually, or you can split them up into groups and make it a team challenge. The first kid or team to reach the “traffic light” wins, and it’s then their turn to call out “red,” “green,” or “yellow.” The point is to teach them that it’s not always the fastest who wins, but rather those who are steady, careful listeners.
Hula-hoop pass is one of those working together games for kids that relies on the whole group to complete the activity. Have the team form a circle, holding hands. The goal of the activity is to pass the hula-hoop completely around the circle as quickly as possible without breaking hands. If there are a lot of kids, you can split them into two teams.
Used as an ice-breaker communication game, Forehead Dots is great for organizing smaller groups and works well with older kids. Fix a colored dot on the forehead of each kid. Ask participants to stand up and walk around the room in silence. The goal is for them to find out what color dot they are without talking. Once they’ve figured out what color their dot is, they have to join others with the same color.
There’s another version for older kids where they’re given a label of a famous icon or character or object, and they have to ask other questions to determine who or what they are. “Characters” may take on a group theme, so for example, “things used in the kitchen,” movie stars,” or “different sports.”
As a popular children's team game, this is best deployed if you need a group of kids to quiet down and focus. It’s almost impossible for kids to get this right after the first round, so the game can be played numerous times, using different variables. As the instructor, you can tell kids to line up according to their birthday, hair length, height, or house number, etc., without talking.
The game illustrates the power and importance of communication and can be used as an ice-breaker if the kids aren’t familiar with one another. Line-Up works best in a large open space where participants can move around freely. This engaging activity can also be used to pinpoint natural leaders who emerge as the game progresses.
This is another one of those silent bonding games for children that promotes communication and team-building skills. Get the kids to stand in a circle and try to pass the ball to each other without using words or sounds. The aim of the game is to get the ball to everyone without literally “dropping the ball.” If the ball drops, then the group has to start over.
Each student should hold up a finder to represent how many times they’ve had the ball to ensure everyone in the group is awarded a turn. Healthy competitions can be held between teams if you have a huge group, the idea being that the team that passes the ball the most wins. Trust Ball can be played at the beginning of a session to get kids to focus or at the end to get them to quiet down.
Trust Walk is one of those classic trust-building games for kids that can be played in pairs or groups. One kid is blindfolded, gently spun around, and moved a few steps away from their initial position. Another kid comes over and acts as a guide. They have to get the blindfolded kid back to their original position through verbal cues. This game can be multiplayer to make it more of a challenge.
A variation of the game involves pairs working together as one participant closes their eyes and is led through a playing space by another participant. The goal is to create an emotionally and physically safe experience for the partner who can’t see. This game challenges verbal and physical direction, spatial awareness, and collaboration. You can also create safe obstacle courses to increase difficulty levels and truly test communication capabilities.
This bonding game for children seems simple but requires intense group collaboration. Using only their fingertips, kids have to raise and lower a hula-hoop to the ground without dropping it. Like all games, you can increase the difficulty by prohibiting verbal communication and increasing the number of times the hula-hoop needs to be raised.
Learning to work as part of a team helps children hone many social skills, like patience, respect, compromise, and tolerance, that they can’t always learn by doing homework. It also boosts self-esteem and teaches them how to trust others.
Our classes and camps at Hot Ground Gym are packed with fun and good team-building activities for kids. If you’re looking for physically and mentally stimulating team-building activities for your kid in Libertyville, then check out Hot Ground Gym’s new kid’s center, or better yet, call us at 847-686-3610 to book a team-building event.