Those first few weeks of school are vital when it comes to establishing a positive and supportive classroom environment. Helping students get to know one another and build strong relationships can make or break a classroom community later in the year. As teachers, we’re used to playing ‘get to know you’ games at the beginning of the year, but it’s also very important to make sure we take time to show students how working together and cooperating are going to be important components of success in your classroom. How do you do that? With team building activities! I’ve gathered my five favorite team building activities to share with you, each perfect for the elementary classroom!
Team Building Activity #1: Team Puzzles
Here’s how this works. Begin by putting students into equal groups and provide each group with a different puzzle. Each of the puzzles needs to be the name number of pieces and equally difficult. BEFORE you hand out the puzzles, secretly take a few pieces and switch them with other groups’ puzzle pieces. Each puzzle should be missing a few pieces.
The goal of the activity is to have your group finish the puzzle before the other groups. Students must figure out how to convince the other teams to give up the hostage puzzle pieces that they have. This can be done through negotiations, merging teams, changing teams, donating minutes, etc Let the students be the ones who figure out the terms on which negotiations are done.
Team Building Activity #2: Body Spelling
Materials needed for this activity are: felt tip marker and wipes to clean off hands and feet. To begin, have students take off their shoes and socks. Place students into groups of 5. On each student, wrote one of the groups of three letters on the students hands and feet. You can choose to write a letter on each palm and the third letter on the foot OR one letter on each foot and the final letter on the palm. When all students have a group of three letters on them, call out of the words below. Have the students work with their team to clearly spell out the word using their hands and feet.
Letters to write: 1. TDO 2. HYI 3. HER 4. BFT 5. OCS
Words to Spell: rest, fist, dice, trot, crib, boot, rich, host, shoot, first, drift, shirt, roost, shred, hired, forest, theory, bitter, bother, frosty, boiled, strict, thirsty, ostrich, October, boosted, shifted, hoisted, stitched
Team Building Activity #3: Wink Murder
No materials needed for this activity! Make sure all students can easily see each other’s faces. Have everyone close their eyes. The teacher taps on a student’s shoulder to assign who the ‘murderer’ is. When ready, have students open their eyes. The object of the game is to have the ‘murderer’ get other students out by winking at them without getting caught. The murderer needs to be as discrete as possible. The other members of the class are trying to figure out who the murderer is without getting out the game. Once the murderer is discovered, you’re done and can play again!
Want to grab these activities and MORE? I’ve got 14 awesome Team Building activity cards ready for you.. for FREE!
Team Building Activity #4: Look, Speak, & Draw
To begin, find a fun, interesting image to use that students will be able to replicate in an illustration. For example: Use an image of a leaf with raindrops. Place students into groups of three. Have them decide who is the ‘looker’, the speaker, and the artist. Once decided, have all of the lookers come to you to take a look at the image you have chosen. They are the only ones who will get to see it. Have them run bak to the speaker and without talking, communicate what the image is. This can be done by air drawing, miming, etc but NO drawing on surfaces. ]
The artist can NOT see the looker and the speaker’s interactions. The speaker will then communicate in words what they are understanding from the looker. the artist will draw with the speaker says to draw. The looker can run back tot he image as many times as needed. When time is up, the team with the best drawing that matches the original image, wins!
Team Building Activity #5: Knots
Place students into groups of four. Have them stand in a small circle facing one other person in the circle With their right hands, have them reach out and grab the other person’s hand who is across from them. Then with their left hand, have them reach out and grab a different person’s hand.l Doing this should create a small knot with their arms without letting go of each other’s hands have them twist and turn to try and undo the knot they have created. Some students may need to go under or over other students arms.
Want to save these for later? Pin the image below!