Updated: November 28, 2022

13 Quick Team Building Activities

You found our list of quick team building activities, games and ideas.

Quick team building activities are short exercises designed to strengthen interpersonal relationships and encourage cooperation. For example, Paper Plane Parade or Caption This.The benefits of doing quick team building activities include increased employee satisfaction and decreased workplace conflict.

These exercises are similar to fun group activities and team building games and serve as an excellent way to garner team cooperation in the workplace.

This list includes:

  • Quick team building activities for small groups
  • Quick team building activities for large groups
  • Fast team building games to play
  • Quick group bonding activities

Let’s get started!

List of Quick Team Building Activities

From Keep up the Balloons and Emoji Quiz to Paper Plane Parade and Caption This, here is our list of fun and quick team building activities.

1. Roses and Thorns

Roses and Thorns is a quick team building activity for groups of three to five people that lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. The game is perfect for building trust, relationships, communication skills, and positivity.

How To Play:

  1. Each team member is given three minutes to share their “roses” and “thorns.” These roses and thorns represent good and bad events that have happened during the week.
  2. Limit distractions by silencing phones and closing laptops.

The game presents an excellent opportunity for employees to get feelings off their chests. Roses and Thorns may also work well to encourage team members to more openly share suggestions and feedback with colleagues.

2. Keep up the Balloons

As children, there are few things more fun than playing with balloons. Enable your team to relive these memories at work by introducing this fun and quick team building activity.

Keep up the Balloons is an effective game for energizing your team. In just under five minutes, teams of five or more will be ready to tackle their duties head-on.

How To Play:

  1. Gather balloons of all colors and sizes.
  2. Divide your team into groups of two or more.
  3. Hand each group a handful of balloons that is at least double the number of team members.
  4. Sound the whistle and instruct each team to toss their balloons in the air.

In Keep up the Balloons, the teams must try to keep their balloons in the air the longest. If a balloon touches the ground, then it is eliminated. The winning team is the one that reaches the time limit with the most balloons still in the air.

3. Weekend in a Word

If you are looking for a super quick team building activity, then check out Weekend in a Word. This game only requires one minute per team member. Weekend in a Word is good for teams of between two and ten people.

How To Play:

  1. Each employee sums up their weekend in just one word.
  2. Team members cannot use the same word twice.

To spice the game up, require the team to offer words in alphabetical order. For example, the first person uses a word that starts with the letter A. Then, the next person would use a word starting with the letter B, and so forth. Weekend in a Word is helpful for improving communication skills and building relationships.

4. Paper Plane Parade

Most people know how to build paper airplanes, but some people know how to build them better. Paper Plane Parade is a quick, creative team building exercise that pits employees against each other to build the perfect paper plane.

How To Play:

  1. Divide the employees into even teams.
  2. Hand each team matching stationery supplies such as sticky tape, paper, and scissors.
  3. Give the team five minutes to construct a paper plane out of the provided supplies.
  4. When the timer goes off, line the team up and have them reveal their creations one at a time.

Each of the planes will then be judged on three criteria: the plane that looked the best, flew the best, and traveled the furthest. Choose this quick team building activity to encourage creative thinking and teamwork.

5. Pirate’s Treasure

Pirate’s Treasure is a popular team building activity that requires five to ten participants and less than ten minutes of time. To play Pirate’s Treasure, you will need to gather supplies like a blindfold, a chair, and “treasure.”

The team building activity is easy to play and enhances team building skills and camaraderie. To play Pirate’s Treasure, you place the chosen “treasure” under the chair and choose someone to play the pirate. The pirate must sit in the chair blindfolded and guard the treasure without leaving the chair. Teammates will attempt to steal the treasure, but if the pirate touches a thief, then the thief is eliminated.

6. Bucket List

The objective of Bucket List is to get your team to share the items on their bucket list. The game can accommodate teams of five to 15 people and only takes about ten minutes. Bucket List is an easy game that requires no additional materials.

During gameplay, each person expresses their top five bucket list items. This team building exercise works especially well with new recruits, as it allows leadership and colleagues to know the new hire on a more personal level.

Moreover, depending on the participants’ answers, a Bucket List may provide a great way to give the person value outside of work. For instance, if someone lists travel on their bucket list, then you could send them information about the country they wish to visit.

7. Emoji Quiz

In today’s world, most people can decipher emoji sentences. One of the most engaging quick team building activities is Emoji Quiz. The game is great for improving problem-solving and creative thinking skills. To play Emoji Quiz, you will need more than four employees and only about five minutes.

To prepare for the game, you will need to compile a list of book, song, or movie titles written in emoji form. Once this is complete, follow these easy steps to play:

  1. Divide the group into equal teams.
  2. Display an emoji title on the screen and instruct teams to write the answer on paper.
  3. After all, questions have been asked, start revealing the answers.
  4. The team with the highest number of correct answers wins the game.

Emoji Quiz does require a bit of creativity on the team leader’s behalf, but it is great fun for the entire team!

8. Helium Stick

Helium Stick is another quick team building activity that requires between five and ten people and up to 20 minutes. To play this game, you will need to find a lightweight stick, such as the handle of a broomstick.

How To Play:

  1. Line the team up in two rows facing each other.
  2. Have each person stick out their two index fingers.
  3. Lay the stick over their fingers and have them lower the stick to the floor.

The catch with Helium Stick is that every person’s hands must be touching the stick at every moment. If one person’s finger is removed from the stick at any time, the team must start over. Helium Stick is effective for improving problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills.

9. The Numbers Game

The Numbers Game is ideal for teams of five to fifteen participants and takes less than 30 minutes to play. The benefit of playing The Numbers Game is that it helps teams with communication and problem-solving skills.

All you need for each player is a piece of paper with one single-digit number displayed. Here is how to play:

  • Announce a large-digit number.
  • Allow your team the time to depict the same number with their papers.

In essence, the team must work together to compile the same digits from the large number that you called out. Given that the team members are on a time limit, the game is fast-moving and great fun for most.

10. Caption This

Perhaps you have seen companies incorporating “Caption This” challenges via their social media pages to drive engagement. Oddly enough, Caption This also works well as a quick team building activity because it is creative, fun, and collaborative.

How To Play:

  1. Compile thought-provoking or funny images.
  2. Divide your team into smaller groups.
  3. Show the team one image at a time.
  4. Provide the team with a few minutes to think of a funny or suitable caption.
  5. When the time is up, have the groups present their captions one at a time.

Caption This is great for collaboration and creative thinking. The game only requires a minimum of four team members and takes about five minutes to complete. To make the game more fun, you can have the groups vote for the best caption at the end.

11. Salt and Pepper

Salt and Pepper is a quick team building activity that takes less than 30 minutes but requires an even number of employees. The exercise is great for helping promote problem-solving and communication skills.

How To Play:

  1. Gather pens and index cards.
  2. Think of items that come in pairs, like peanut butter and jelly or salt and pepper.
  3. Write one item per index card and tape each card to a player’s back.
  4. Participants must go around the room and ask questions to find the other half of their pair.

Salt and Pepper is engaging and works well to encourage camaraderie. This game is a fun way to get team members interacting with each other and asking questions.

12. Show and Tell

Many people remember Show and Tell from their childhood. So, incorporating the game into work will provide a sense of nostalgia and familiarity. Show and Tell can accommodate as many players as you would like and only takes about ten minutes.

How To Play:

  1. Schedule time once weekly for regular show and tell sessions.
  2. Ask two or three team members to bring an item from home.
  3. Have them prepare a story about the item to share with the team.

The game idea may seem a little awkward at first. However, Show and Tell presents a quick team building activity that helps team members build confidence in themselves.

13. Say Name Backward

If you are looking for a quick team building activity that promotes bonding, then look no further than Say Name Backward. The activity works well for teams of four to fifteen participants and only takes about ten minutes. Some organizers find Say Name Backward to be great for teams that are newly introduced. Besides adding a bit of humor to standard introductions, some people find it easier to remember names when hearing them backward first.

How To Play:

  • Arrange all new hires in a circle
  • Instruct each person to introduce themselves by announcing their name backward.
  • Do not allow team members to ask for clues.
  • Team members then try to guess each other’s real names.

Say Name Backward works for teams of nearly every size and is fun and engaging.

Closing Thoughts

Quick team building activities are beneficial for many reasons and useful for companies of all sizes. These exercises can help new hires to adjust faster and polish the skills of experienced team members. From communication and problem-solving to camaraderie and critical thinking, team building activities may take your team to new levels.

Next, check out this list of the best icebreaker games for work and these improv games to play.

FAQ: Quick team building activities

Here you will find the most common questions and answers about quick team building activities.

What are quick team building activities?

Quick team building activities are exercises used by teams to promote teamwork to conceive creations or overcome obstacles. Team building activities are useful for building on skills such as collective problem-solving, negotiation, and communication.

Are quick team building activities effective?

It is important to note that there is no guarantee that a team building activity will have the same results for every team. However, if you spend time conceptualizing the goals and then choose an exercise reflective of the lesson, it should increase the effectiveness of the activity.

What are the best quick team building activities?

The most effective activities are those that inspire lasting connections through a sense of shared purpose. Some of the best quick team building activities are Emoji Quiz, Roses and Thorns, Paper Plane Parade, and Show and Tell.

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People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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