5 budget team building exercises

By David Lawrence |

Whilst it’s an incredibly important part of growing a healthy workplace culture, just the words “team-building” can bring on eye rolls and negativity from your staff. It’s understandable; for your team members who have been part of the company for a long time they may not want to repeat exercises they’ve done many times before, or others may anticipate having to give up a full day for team-building exercises to then struggle to catch up on their workload afterwards.

We’ve pulled together five of the best team-building exercises that are budget and time-friendly, whilst being enjoyable all year round.

1) Blind drawing

This is an exercise that helps team members really focus on their communication and listening skills. Sitting in pairs back to back, one team member is given a picture of an object or a word and their partner has to draw the item as they describe it. The catch – the person describing the picture can’t use words that clearly give the item away, encouraging them to stretch their creativity and innovation skills. For example, if the picture is a flower, then the person describing it may say “draw hearts together” to form flower petals and so on. Plus sharing the final drawings is always entertaining! For any that have gone particularly well, encourage those pairs to talk through their approach.

2) Guess the lie

This is a great one to start working groups with lots of new people in. The premise is simple, each person has to state three facts about themselves, but one of them is a lie. The key is to make sure the lie fits in the framework of the other truths so doesn’t stand out too easily! This is such a simple team exercise, but it’s fantastic for breaking down preconceived ideas on your colleagues and genuinely helps team members get to know each other quickly in a new environment and is often really interesting!

3) Birthday line-up

This one will seem simple on the surface as each team member is asked to order themselves by their birthdays. The twist? They can’t speak to each other, so will rely on gestures, sign language and other techniques to work out their birthdays. It’s a great game for slightly larger groups (8+ participants) and is a strong team-building exercise for problem-solving, communication and co-operation.

4) Memory wall

This is a brilliant activity for a team who have been working together for a long time. On a white board, write down work-related themes including “my first day”, “favourite team celebration”, “our team’s way of working” and so on. Give each team member some Post-Its and ask them to write down memories relating to the subjects on the board. Once everyone has written down their thoughts, take the team on a walk down memory lane to go through them all. Sharing positive memories and accomplishments achieved with a little nostalgia is a really positive way to start a new working session. This is especially effective for teams who work very well but are maybe under pressure on a particular project, as it can remind them how well they work together and how fantastic they are at their jobs.

5) Paper plane contest

This one is just pure fun whilst bringing collaboration, strategy and creativity to your teams. You’ll need a long corridor space ideally and some (recyclable!) strong paper or card. Group people into small teams and the premise is simple; they have to build a paper plane that will fly the farthest. To build more creativity into the task, ask them to also brand their planes, creating an airline name, tag line and logo, and award bonus points for this too.

David Lawrence

Written by David Lawrence

David is the founder of Vine Resources.


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