Sep 11, 2018

5 Great Team Building Activities for Your Volunteers

Volunteer TEAM.  Do your volunteers function as a team?   A successful team is formed when people rally around a vision they believe in, function in their unique role on the team and support one another. 

One way you can strengthen a volunteer team is by doing activities together.  

Here are 5 great team building activities you can take your team through.  Each is designed to bring your volunteers closer together and remind them of the important part they play on your team.  

#1 - THE BLINDFOLD GAME
In this game, team members must rely on each other to navigate an obstacle course. It helps build communication skills, listening skills and trust between team members. 

Instructions...
  1. Scatter furniture and objects around the room before the activity begins. Your course should be challenging, but still safe to navigate around.
  2. Put team members into pairs and ask them to stand at one end of the room.
  3. One person from each pair should put on the blindfold.
  4. The sighted people must guide their partners across the room and give instructions to help them avoid the obstacles.
  5. When each team reaches the other side of the room, Team members should switch roles and then repeat the exercise.
 Talk about it...
  • Why was it important to listen to each other in the game?  Why is it important to listen to each other in our volunteer roles?  
  • What are some communication obstacles we face at times?  How can we improve our communication with each other?
  • You had to trust one another to navigate through the course.  Why is it important for you to trust the people you are serving with?

#2 - HUMAN KNOT 
In this activity, team members must work together to untangle themselves.  It helps build communication skills and working together to solve a problem. 

Instructions...
  1. Have the team gather in a circle.
  2. Tell everyone to put their right hands in the air and grab onto someone’s hand across the circle.
  3. Then tell them to link left hands with someone else across the circle. 
  4. See if they can untangle themselves without letting go of anyone’s hand.
Talk about it...
  1. How is this like what happens to our team at times?
  2. When we get tangled up as a team, how can we work together to get back on track?
  3. Are there any specific areas of our team work that seem to currently be tangled up?  How can we untangle them?

#3 - MARSHMALLOW TOWER 
In this activity, groups will use the supplies to build a tower.  The marshmallow has to be at the top of the tower and the tower has to be able to support itself. 

Instructions... 

1. Divide your group into teams of 4-5 people.
2. Give each team 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, 1 roll of masking tape, 1 yard of string and 1 marshmallow.
3. Using the supplies, see which team can build the tallest tower.  The marshmallow has to be at the very top of the tower and the whole structure has to stand on its own. 

Talk about it...

1. How is building the marshmallow tower like building our children's ministry?
2. If the marshmallow represented children and families, what are some key things we must do to see their faith stand strong?
3. What elements do we need in our ministry to build children and families up?

#4 - DON'T FALL BETWEEN THE CRACKS
In this activity, teams will see how long they can keep a tennis ball from falling between the cracks.  

Instructions...

1. Divide your group into teams of 6 to 8. 
2. Give each group a tarp and a tennis ball.  Ahead of time, cut a hole randomly into the middle of the tarp.
3. Ask each team to hold the tarp stretched out between them
4. Drop a ball onto the tarp. The team has to hold the tarp as long as possible without the tennis falling through the hole.  The team that holds the tarp for the longest time wins.

Talk about it...
1. What are some cracks that kids and families can fall through? 
2. How can we help kids and families not fall through the cracks?
3. Why is each person on the team important to help kids and families not fall through the cracks?

#5 -PUZZLING
Teams work together to complete a puzzle.  But some of the puzzle pieces are with the other teams. To finish their puzzle, they will have to work together with other teams.

Instructions...
1. Create teams of 8 to 10 people. 
2. Give each team a puzzle (100 piece at the most). Swap 4-5 puzzle pieces with another puzzle ahead of time. 
3. Teams will have to work with other groups to find their missing pieces and finish the puzzle. 

Talk about it...
1. How is our team like a puzzle? 
2. How can we help team members find their unique part in the puzzle?
3. What is the big picture we want to see formed as we work together?

Your turn.  What are some other games or activities you've used to help build teamwork?  Share your ideas in the comment section below.

p.s. You can get more team building ideas in my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams."  It is available at this link

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