There is a team building problem solving activity for everyone. Whether you’re looking to have fun and make new friends or sharpen your team’s skills, team building activities are the perfect solution!
In this blog post, we will cover 13 team building activities that can help improve problem solving skills while increasing productivity and morale.
Benefits of problem solving activities team building
We all know the importance of team building. It’s how we build relationships, foster creativity and innovate in order to succeed. One way that team building is done today is through problem-solving activities.
Problem solving activities:
- Build stronger teams, improve morale and encourage employees to work together. Collaboration is improved because teams are better able to solve problems together when they’re more engaged with each other
- Foster better communication skills among team members, especially amongst remote teams.
- Provide an outlet for creative thinking and increase confidence in employees who may not otherwise speak up or participate in departmental meetings.
- Group problem solving activities help your team increase productivity and motivation within the workplace and can align employees with company goals and objectives.
- Improve mental health of team members by reducing stress and improving the moods of team members.
Problem solving team building activities are hands-on, creative and collaborative. They help team members trust each other more in order to grow their relationship as teammates.
Oftentimes problem solving team building activities can be done virtually which is important for virtual teams or remote companies who don’t have the opportunity to interact face to face.
What is problem solving in team building?
Rather than having so called frivolous fun with ice breaker questions and virtual happy hours (those types of team building activities do have their place) problem solving games are about identifying leadership and decision making skills by solving problems.
The more efficient a team is at problem solving activities, the more successful they can be at actually solving real world problems in the workplace.
Quick and easy team building problem solving activities
It’s time to have some problem solving fun! Here are some quick and easy team building games for your next event.
The blind drawing game challenge
In this creative problem solving challenge, team members have to rely on their team mates for input when drawing an object from a list.
Each team chooses one participant to wear a blind fold while another member describes the item they must draw without telling the “artist” exactly what that item is.
The team whose drawing is closest to the actual item at the end of the activity wins!
Ideal for small groups of up to six.
Stumped for ideas on what to draw? Ask teams to draw your company logo.
Pro tip: to make this simple team building exercise even more challenging, have each non-drawing team member provide just one clue as to what the item is.
Inspired by the Jodie Foster Panic Room movie, group members of this team building activity must take refuge in a boardroom, but before they do each participant must take with them just one item they feel will help their teams survival before locking the door.
Once inside each participant must present to the rest of the team why they choose their specific item and then work together to rank the items in order of importance to their overall survival.
Pro tip: Each team must decide in 30 minutes or less whether or not their goal is to either survive in the panic room for a long period of time, or to break free! In those same 30 minutes teams must also collect their 10 items so time is of the essence.
While using copious amounts of red plastic cups is not ideal, nor environmentally friendly, playing with glass cups or ceramic mugs may potentially be dangerous.
In ‘Reverse Pyramid’, teams must build the tallest pyramid from the ground up. Starting with just a single cup (recyclable paper cups are also another great alternative) teams must work together to lift the top of the tower to add to the base below.
Hard to imagine? Watch this YouTube video of a ‘Reverse Pyramid’ in action.
Classic team building problem solving activities
The famous high school egg drop experiment
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall … Humpty Dumpty had a great …(sorry we couldn’t help ourselves).
The egg drop team building exercise, also known as ‘Defend the Egg’ is a problem solving skills game that involves building a structure out of random ordinary items such as masking tape, rubber bands, sticky notes, etc that will protect a raw egg from breaking when dropped from a high elevation.
The goal is to have each team build a structure that they can agree upon that will not only protect the egg but also allow it to be retrieved afterwards.
The team with the highest percentage of successful drops wins!
Ideal for groups up to six people.
The Lego challenge
The Lego challenge is one of the best team building activities out there. In this activity, groups have an hour to complete a piece with their given number of LEGO bricks (which may vary depending on complexity).
After time runs out, everyone will get together and show off what they made!
The goal? Improve communication among team members by refining methods for problem solving through creative thinking.
Domino effect challenge
Though it may sound like a simple game, the Domino effect challenge is an initiative that has been used in schools and businesses all over the world.
The challenge? To create the largest chain reaction contraption possible using whatever materials you wish including dominos should you choose to.
In this collaborative and creative problem solving exercise, participants are split into teams and each work together on building their own individual section of the challenge.
Once group members agree on their final design, or time is up, all teams will then come together to either join their sections together to create one cohesive chain reaction, or to compete against each other.
Ideal for teams of up to five people.
Fun fact: The Guinness World Record of the most dominoes toppled by an individual is 321,197 by Liu Yang (China). And the Guinness World Record for the largest human mattress chain of dominoes was 2,019 people by Ortobom Globo of Sao Paulo Brazil #truestory!
Fun team building problem solving activities
Think of the board game Jenga, with a twist. Divide your group into small teams and give them equal numbers of blocks, either wooden blocks or an actual Jenga set!
After everyone has built their structure as per company hierarchies, divide resources evenly between each group so they are balanced in size and type.
Now comes the fun part: take turns removing one block at a time without destroying any other pieces on that level- if there is too much weight on top then it will collapse!
This exercise gets people thinking about what happens when we don’t have the right personnel for every position.
This team building activity is great for groups of up to six people.
Pro tip: Use coloured blocks instead of regular ones and get ready for laughter when someone knocks down another person’s block.
The marshmallow & spaghetti tower
The spaghetti tower is a classic team building game and a great way to use up leftover spaghetti in your kitchen cupboards.
Participating people gather uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows, to build the tallest tower possible.
Besides the structural integrity of the tower, teams are then evaluated on three major factors: amount of towers, tower height and uniformity.
Got a remote team? In the virtual team building version, participants create their own towers, rather than building one grand freestanding tower.
Escape rooms are excellent group problem solving exercises that usually take place in an hour or so.
Players have to solve puzzles and riddles based on a theme to escape the room.
Teams are usually split into groups of six and have an hour to solve the puzzles in order to escape from the room. If they fail, then they are locked inside until their time expires!
They’re quite difficult to create on their own, so you may need to team up with an escape room company for this. Ideal for groups of up to six people, with one or two facilitators present along the way and reasonably priced at approximately $25+ per person.
Best Virtual Problem Solving Games & Activities for Groups
This treasure hunt will require a GPS device, in the form of an app on your phone or built into it. The clues you hide are part of a bigger question that needs to be solved by finding and locating Geocaches within different locations.
One variation is using QR codes around the office or home where we can mix geographic coordinates with other hidden treasures which could be identified through any smartphone-enabled camera (i.e., scanning for riddles).
This activity promotes creative problem solving while working together as teams towards accomplishing specific aims at designated times!
Online escape rooms
Being “trapped” in an escape room is a satisfying challenge for any puzzle solver. With digital versions, you can now enjoy the experience from anywhere with just your computer!
Players are given a set of puzzles or clues and have to use their problem solving skills in order to escape.
This team building activity is great for groups of up to four people, with one team member as the team leader who can allocate tasks so everyone feels involved.
Virtual scavenger hunt
A virtual scavenger hunt is perfect for a team that is working remotely and wants to have a little bit of fun while problem solving. It also makes for a great team building event if you’re looking to change things up while increasing your sense of teamwork. Here are the basics:
Your group will be given a list with different items, locations or actions written on it.
Each item has been assigned a point value so teams (or individuals) can compete against each other by trying to collect as many points before time runs out.
As the world becomes increasingly more competitive, businesses are looking for new ways to keep their small teams happy and productive. One way of doing this is through problem solving activities that present novel tasks in a fun environment.
Working with others on challenges can help build better communication skills with remote teams as well as make teams more cognizant of team roles.
Businesses all over are starting to realize how important group interaction is for improving morale while also making work environments less stressful since it’s always nice having peers there who will support you.
Team building problem solving activities like these provide an excellent opportunity for teams from various departments to interact easily without feeling overwhelmed by unfamiliar circumstances—while also getting comfortable with taking risks and thinking outside the box.
In the professional world, one thing is for sure: problem solving is a vital skill if you want to survive and thrive. It is a universal skill sought by employers and managers alike.
Problem solving activities are perfect opportunities to explore different aspects of what it means to be an effective team while still being a collaborative team.