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For a team to operate smoothly, members must know how to work with one another. Team building activities help adults learn how to work together, to find their strengths and weaknesses, and how those strengths and weaknesses can work for the team. When dealing with adults, remember that a change of perspective may not come easily. After each activity, take a few minutes to discuss what was learned and how the lessons can be applied to work situations.
The helium stick is an activity that seems simple, but has a surprising outcome. The completion of the activity is trickier than it first appears. You will need a long, lightweight stick. A group of eight to 12 is best, but this activity will work with a slightly smaller or larger group. Arrange the team in two lines facing each other. Have them hold out their hands, index fingers pointing out, and lay the stick on their fingers. The stick must lie on top of their fingers; it cannot be pinched or grasped in any way, and everyone's fingers must be touching the stick. The objective of the game is to lower the stick to the ground. The trick is that, because of the upward pressure on the stick from the fingers, it has a tendency to rise into the air. Lowering the stick requires teamwork and patience.
Some topics of conversation after this activity are how the group worked together as a team, how creative ideas and suggestions helped to achieve the goal, and what situations in the workplace can be represented by the helium stick.
Ultimate Team Member
This activity highlights how your groups should work together as a team. Divide team members into groups of four to six people. Give each group paper and a pen or pencil. Instruct the groups to list all of their best traits. Have them draw a picture of the ultimate team member who has all of these traits, and give it a title. Give the groups five to 10 minutes to complete their ultimate team member, and then have each group share their creation.
After this activity, discuss how the ultimate team members represent what can be achieved if each team member gives his or her best to completing tasks. Talk about things that a team can accomplish that would be impossible for a single person.
The purpose of the egg drop is to help your group learn how to create something as a team. This is a potentially messy activity, so do it outside or cover an area with a painter's tarp. Divide the team members into small groups of about four or five people per group. Give them building materials such as straws, newspaper and tape. Have them use these materials to make an egg carrier that will safely carry a raw egg down a drop of 10 or more feet.
This activity has a few applications for teamwork. First, discuss how the groups had to work together to make a successful egg carrier. Each member has ideas that contribute to the success of the team. Second, discuss how teams can be like the egg carriers. Successful teams, like successful egg carriers, work together and create a strong unit to accomplish a goal. Unsuccessful teams break up and don't accomplish anything.
Crystal Bench is a senior studying applied mathematics at Brigham Young University, Idaho. Along with her Bachelor of Arts, she has clusters in French, 3-D art, and physical science. Bench is also an avid writer, with work ranging from short stories to nonfiction pieces of many kinds, and even a few forays into poetry.