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14 Best Team Building Problem Solving Group Activities For 2024

The best teams see solutions where others see problems. A great company culture is built around a collaborative spirit and the type of unity it takes to find answers to the big business questions.

So how can you get team members working together?

How can you develop a mentality that will help them overcome obstacles they have yet to encounter?

One of the best ways to improve your teams’ problem solving skills is through team building problem solving activities .

“86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.” — Bit.AI

These activities can simulate true-to-life scenarios they’ll find themselves in, or the scenarios can call on your employees or coworkers to dig deep and get creative in a more general sense.

The truth is, on a day-to-day basis, you have to prepare for the unexpected. It just happens that team building activities help with that, but are so fun that they don’t have to feel like work ( consider how you don’t even feel like you’re working out when you’re playing your favorite sport or doing an exercise you actually enjoy! )

Team Building Problem Solving Group Activities

What are the benefits of group problem-solving activities?

The benefits of group problem-solving activities for team building include:

  • Better communication
  • Improved collaboration and teamwork
  • More flexible thinking
  • Faster problem-solving
  • Better proactivity and decision making

Without further ado, check out this list of the 14 best team-building problem-solving group activities for 2024!

Page Contents (Click To Jump)

Popular Problem Solving Activities

1. virtual team challenge.

Virtual Team Challenges are popular problem-solving activities that involve a group of people working together to solve an issue. The challenge generally involves members of the team brainstorming, discussing, and creating solutions for a given problem.

Participants work both individually and collaboratively to come up with ideas and strategies that will help them reach their goals.

Why this is a fun problem-solving activity: Participants can interact and communicate with each other in a virtual environment while simultaneously engaging with the problem-solving activities. This makes it an enjoyable experience that allows people to use their creative thinking skills, build team spirit, and gain valuable insights into the issue at hand.

Problem-solving activities such as Virtual Team Challenges offer a great way for teams to come together, collaborate, and develop creative solutions to complex problems.

2. Problem-Solving Templates

Problem-Solving Templates are popular problem-solving activities that involve a group of people working together to solve an issue. The challenge generally involves members of the team utilizing pre-made templates and creating solutions for a given problem with the help of visual aids.

This activity is great for teams that need assistance in getting started on their problem-solving journey.

Why this is a fun problem-solving activity: Problem-Solving Templates offer teams an easy and stress-free way to get the creative juices flowing. The visual aids that come with the templates help team members better understand the issue at hand and easily come up with solutions together.

This activity is great for teams that need assistance in getting started on their problem-solving journey, as it provides an easy and stress-free way to get the creative juices flowing.

Problem Solving Group Activities & Games For Team Building

3. coworker feud, “it’s all fun and games”.

Coworker Feud is a twist on the classic Family Feud game show! This multiple rapid round game keeps the action flowing and the questions going. You can choose from a variety of customizations, including picking the teams yourself, randomized teams, custom themes, and custom rounds.

Best for: Hybrid teams

Why this is an effective problem solving group activity: Coworker Feud comes with digital game materials, a digital buzzer, an expert host, and a zoom link to get the participants ready for action! Teams compete with each other to correctly answer the survey questions. At the end of the game, the team with the most competitive answers is declared the winner of the Feud.

How to get started:

  • Sign up for Coworker Feud
  • Break into teams of 4 to 10 people
  • Get the competitive juices flowing and let the games begin!

Learn more here: Coworker Feud

4. Crack The Case

“who’s a bad mamma jamma”.

Crack The Case is a classic WhoDoneIt game that forces employees to depend on their collective wit to stop a deadly murderer dead in his tracks! Remote employees and office commuters can join forces to end this crime spree.

Best for: Remote teams

Why this is an effective problem solving group activity: The Virtual Clue Murder Mystery is an online problem solving activity that uses a proprietary videoconferencing platform to offer the chance for employees and coworkers to study case files, analyze clues, and race to find the motive, the method, and the individual behind the murder of Neil Davidson.

  • Get a custom quote here
  • Download the app
  • Let the mystery-solving collaboration begin!

Learn more here: Crack The Case

5. Catch Meme If You Can

“can’t touch this”.

Purposefully created to enhance leadership skills and team bonding , Catch Meme If You Can is a hybrid between a scavenger hunt and an escape room . Teammates join together to search for clues, solve riddles, and get out — just in time!

Best for: Small teams

Why this is an effective problem solving group activity: Catch Meme If You Can is an adventure with a backstory. Each team has to submit their answer to the puzzle in order to continue to the next part of the sequence. May the best team escape!

  • The teams will be given instructions and the full storyline
  • Teams will be split into a handful of people each
  • The moderator will kick off the action!

Learn more here: Catch Meme If You Can

6. Puzzle Games

“just something to puzzle over”.

Puzzle Games is the fresh trivia game to test your employees and blow their minds with puzzles, jokes , and fun facts!

Best for: In-person teams

Why this is an effective problem solving group activity: Eight mini brain teaser and trivia style games include word puzzles, name that nonsense, name that tune, and much more. Plus, the points each team earns will go towards planting trees in the precious ecosystems and forests of Uganda

  • Get a free consultation for your team
  • Get a custom designed invitation for your members
  • Use the game link
  • Dedicated support will help your team enjoy Puzzle Games to the fullest!

Learn more here: Puzzle Games

7. Virtual Code Break

“for virtual teams”.

Virtual Code Break is a virtual team building activity designed for remote participants around the globe. Using a smart video conferencing solution, virtual teams compete against each other to complete challenges, answer trivia questions, and solve brain-busters!

Why this is an effective problem solving group activity: Virtual Code Break can be played by groups as small as 4 people all the way up to more than 1,000 people at once. However, every team will improve their communication and problem-solving skills as they race against the clock and depend on each other’s strengths to win!

  • Reach out for a free consultation to align the needs of your team
  • An event facilitator will be assigned to handle all of the set-up and logistics
  • They will also provide you with logins and a play-by-play of what to expect
  • Sign into the Outback video conferencing platform and join your pre-assigned team
  • Lastly, let the games begin!

Learn more here: Virtual Code Break

8. Stranded

“survivor: office edition”.

Stranded is the perfect scenario-based problem solving group activity. The doors of the office are locked and obviously your team can’t just knock them down or break the windows.

Why this is an effective problem solving group activity: Your team has less than half an hour to choose 10 items around the office that will help them survive. They then rank the items in order of importance. It’s a bit like the classic game of being lost at sea without a lifeboat.

  • Get everyone together in the office
  • Lock the doors
  • Let them start working together to plan their survival

Learn more here: Stranded

9. Letting Go Game

“for conscious healing”.

The Letting Go Game is a game of meditation and mindfulness training for helping teammates thrive under pressure and reduce stress in the process. The tasks of the Letting Go Game boost resiliency, attentiveness, and collaboration.

Why this is an effective problem solving group activity: Expert-guided activities and awareness exercises encourage team members to think altruistically and demonstrate acts of kindness. Between yoga, face painting, and fun photography, your employees or coworkers will have more than enough to keep them laughing and growing together with this mindfulness activity!

  • Reach out for a free consultation
  • A guide will then help lead the exercises
  • Let the funny videos, pictures, and playing begin!

Learn more here: Letting Go Game

10. Wild Goose Chase

“city time”.

Wild Goose Chase is the creative problem solving activity that will take teams all around your city and bring them together as a group! This scavenger hunt works for teams as small as 10 up to groups of over 5000 people.

Best for: Large teams

Why this is an effective group problem solving activity: As employees and group members are coming back to the office, there are going to be times that they’re itching to get outside. Wild Goose Chase is the perfect excuse to satisfy the desire to go out-of-office every now and then. Plus, having things to look at and see around the city will get employees talking in ways they never have before.

  • Download the Outback app to access the Wild Goose Chase
  • Take photos and videos from around the city
  • The most successful team at completing challenges on time is the champ!

Learn more here: Wild Goose Chase

11. Human Knot

“for a knotty good time”.

Human-knot

The Human Knot is one of the best icebreaker team building activities! In fact, there’s a decent chance you played it in grade school. It’s fun, silly, and best of all — free!

Why this is an effective group problem solving activity: Participants start in a circle and connect hands with two other people in the group to form a human knot. The team then has to work together and focus on clear communication to unravel the human knot by maneuvering their way out of this hands-on conundrum. But there’s a catch — they can’t let go of each other’s hands in this team building exercise.

  • Form a circle
  • Tell each person to grab a random hand until all hands are holding another
  • They can’t hold anyone’s hand who is directly next to them
  • Now they have to get to untangling
  • If the chain breaks before everyone is untangled, they have to start over again

Learn more here: Human Knot

12. What Would You Do?

“because it’s fun to imagine”.

Team-building-activity

What Would You Do? Is the hypothetical question game that gets your team talking and brainstorming about what they’d do in a variety of fun, intriguing, and sometimes, whacky scenarios.

Best for: Distributed teams

Why this is an effective group problem solving activity: After employees or coworkers start talking about their What Would You Do? responses, they won’t be able to stop. That’s what makes this such an incredible team building activity . For example, you could ask questions like “If you could live forever, what would you do with your time?” or “If you never had to sleep, what would you do?”

  • In addition to hypothetical questions, you could also give teammates some optional answers to get them started
  • After that, let them do the talking — then they’ll be laughing and thinking and dreaming, too!

13. Crossing The River

“quite the conundrum”.

Crossing-the-river

Crossing The River is a river-crossing challenge with one correct answer. Your team gets five essential elements — a chicken, a fox, a rowboat, a woman, and a bag of corn. You see, the woman has a bit of a problem, you tell them. She has to get the fox, the bag of corn, and the chicken to the other side of the river as efficiently as possible.

Why this is an effective group problem solving activity: She has a rowboat, but it can only carry her and one other item at a time. She cannot leave the chicken and the fox alone — for obvious reasons. And she can’t leave the chicken with the corn because it will gobble it right up. So the question for your team is how does the woman get all five elements to the other side of the river safely in this fun activity?

  • Form teams of 2 to 5 people
  • Each team has to solve the imaginary riddle
  • Just make sure that each group understands that the rowboat can only carry one animal and one item at a time; the fox and chicken can’t be alone; and the bag of corn and the chicken cannot be left alone
  • Give the verbal instructions for getting everything over to the other side

14. End-Hunger Games

“philanthropic fun”.

Does anything bond people quite like acts of kindness and compassion? The End-Hunger Games will get your team to rally around solving the serious problem of hunger.

Best for: Medium-sized teams

Why this is an effective problem solving group activity: Teams join forces to complete challenges based around non-perishable food items in the End-Hunger Games. Groups can range in size from 25 to more than 2000 people, who will all work together to collect food for the local food bank.

  • Split into teams and compete to earn boxes and cans of non-perishable food
  • Each team attempts to build the most impressive food item construction
  • Donate all of the non-perishable foods to a local food bank

Learn more here: End-Hunger Games

People Also Ask These Questions About Team Building Problem Solving Group Activities

Q: what are some problem solving group activities.

  • A: Some problem solving group activities can include riddles, egg drop, reverse pyramid, tallest tower, trivia, and other moderator-led activities.

Q: What kind of skills do group problem solving activities & games improve?

  • A: Group problem solving activities and games improve collaboration, leadership, and communication skills.

Q: What are problem solving based team building activities & games?

  • A: Problem solving based team building activities and games are activities that challenge teams to work together in order to complete them.

Q: What are some fun free problem solving games for groups?

  • A: Some fun free problem solving games for groups are kinesthetic puzzles like the human knot game, which you can read more about in this article. You can also use all sorts of random items like whiteboards, straws, building blocks, sticky notes, blindfolds, rubber bands, and legos to invent a game that will get the whole team involved.

Q: How do I choose the most effective problem solving exercise for my team?

  • A: The most effective problem solving exercise for your team is one that will challenge them to be their best selves and expand their creative thinking.

Q: How do I know if my group problem solving activity was successful?

  • A: In the short-term, you’ll know if your group problem solving activity was successful because your team will bond over it; however, that should also translate to more productivity in the mid to long-term.

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Outback Team Building & Training

17 Unbeatable Team Building Problem Solving Activities

17 Unbeatable Team Building Problem Solving Activities featured image

Problem-solving is a critical skill for professionals and with team building problem-solving activities, you can sharpen your skills while having fun at the same time.  

Updated on August 31, 2021

In the professional world, one thing is for sure: problem-solving is a vital skill if you want to survive and thrive. It’s a universal job skill that organizations seek in new potential employees and that managers look for when considering candidates for promotions.  

But there’s a problem.  According to Payscale , 60% of managers feel that new grads entering the workforce lack problem-solving abilities – making it the most commonly lacked soft skill.  

Problem-solving skill needs to be practiced and perfected on an ongoing basis in order to be applied effectively when the time comes. And while there are tons of traditional approaches to becoming a better problem-solver, there’s another (much more interesting) option: team building problem solving activities. 

The good news? This means learning and having fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And you can create a stronger team at the same time. 

11 In-Person Team Building Problem Solving Activities for Your Work Group  

1. cardboard boat building challenge, 2. egg drop , 3. clue murder mystery, 4. marshmallow spaghetti tower  , 5. corporate escape room, 6. wild goose chase, 7. lost at sea  , 8. domino effect challenge, 9. reverse pyramid  , 10. ci: the crime investigators, 11. team pursuit, 5 virtual team building problem solving activities for your work group  , 1. virtual escape room: mummy’s curse, 2. virtual clue murder mystery, 3. virtual escape room: jewel heist, 4. virtual code break  , 5. virtual trivia time machine.

  • 6. Virtual Jeoparty Social

There are a ton of incredible team building problem solving activities available. We’ve hand-picked 11 of our favorites that we think your corporate group will love too. 

a cardboard boat building challenge for problem solving team building

Split into teams and create a cardboard boat made out of just the materials provided: cardboard and tape. Team members will have to work together to engineer a functional boat that will float and sail across water without sinking. Once teams have finished making their boats, they will create a presentation to explain why their boat is the best, before putting their boats to the test. The final challenge will have teams racing their boats to test their durability! Nothing says problem-solving like having to make sure you don’t sink into the water!

egg drop is a great team building problem solving activity

Every day at work, you’re forced to make countless decisions – whether they’re massively important or so small you barely think about them.  

But your ability to effectively make decisions is critical in solving problems quickly and effectively.  

With a classic team building problem solving activity like the Egg Drop, that’s exactly what your team will learn to do. 

For this activity, you’ll need some eggs, construction materials, and a place you wouldn’t mind smashing getting dirty with eggshells and yolks.  

The goal of this activity is to create a contraption that will encase an egg and protect it from a fall – whether it’s from standing height or the top of a building. But the challenge is that you and your team will only have a short amount of time to build it before it’s time to test it out, so you’ll have to think quickly! 

To make it even more challenging, you’ll have to build the casing using only simple materials like: 

  • Newspapers 
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubber bands
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Cotton balls

Feel free to have some fun in picking the materials. Use whatever you think would be helpful without making things too easy! 

Give your group 15 minutes to construct their egg casing before each team drops their eggs. If multiple eggs survive, increase the height gradually to see whose created the sturdiest contraption.  

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of using eggs for this activity, consider using another breakable alternative, such as lightbulbs for a vegan Egg Drop experience. 

solving a crime is a great way to practice problem solving skills

With Clue Murder Mystery, your team will need to solve the murder of a man named Neil Davidson by figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime.

But it won’t be easy! You’ll need to exercise your best problem-solving skills and channel your inner detectives if you want to keep this case from going cold and to get justice for the victim.

do a spaghetti tower for team building problem solving activity

Collaboration is critical to problem solving. 

Why? Because, as the old saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This expression reflects the fact that people are capable of achieving greater things when they work together to do so. 

If you’re looking for a team building problem solving activity that helps boost collaboration, you’ll love Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower.  

This game involves working in teams to build the tallest possible freestanding tower using only marshmallows, uncooked spaghetti, tape, and string.  

The kicker? This all has to be done within an allotted timeframe. We recommend about thirty minutes.  

For an added dimension of challenge, try adding a marshmallow to the top of the tower to make it a little more top heavy.  

Whichever team has the highest tower when time runs out is the winner! 

corporate escape rooms are unique team building problem solving activities

If you’ve never participated in an escape room, your team is missing out! It’s one of the most effective team building problem solving activities out there because it puts you and your colleagues in a scenario where the only way out is collaboratively solving puzzles and deciphering clues.  

The principle is simple: lock your group in a room, hide the key somewhere in that room, and have them work through challenges within a set time frame. Each challenge will lead them one step closer to finding the key and, ultimately, their escape.    

At Outback, we offer “done-for-you” escape rooms where we’ll transform your office or meeting room so you don’t have to worry about:

  • Seeking transportation for your team 
  • Capacity of the escape rooms  
  • High costs 
  • Excessive planning  

That way, you and your team can simply step inside and get to work collaborating, using creative problem solving, and thinking outside the box.   

wild goose chase is a great scavenger hunt problem solving team building activity for work

In this smartphone-based scavenger hunt team building activity , your group will split into teams and complete fun challenges by taking photos and videos around the city. Some examples of challenges you can do in this activity are:

  • Parkour:  Take a picture of three team members jumping over an object that’s at least waist-high.
  • Beautiful Mind:  Snap a photo of a team member proving a well-known mathematical theorem on a chalkboard.
  • Puppy Love:  Take a photo of all of your team members petting a stranger’s dog at the same time.

It takes a ton of critical thinking and problem-solving to be crowned the Wild Goose Chase Champions!

your teammates will love lost at sea team building activity

Can you imagine a higher-pressure situation than being stranded at sea in a lifeboat with your colleagues? 

With this team building problem solving activity, that’s exactly the situation you and your group will put yourselves. But by the time the activity is over, you’ll have gained more experience with the idea of having to solve problems under pressure – a common but difficult thing to do. 

Here’s how it works. 

Each team member will get a six-columned chart where: 

  • The first column lists the survival items each team has on hand (see the list below) 
  • The second column is empty so that each team member can rank the items in order of importance for survival  
  • The third column is for group rankings  
  • The fourth column is for the “correct” rankings, which are revealed at the end of the activity 
  • The fifth and sixth columns are for the team to enter thee difference between their individual and correct scores and the team and correct rankings 

Within this activity, each team will be equipped with the following “survival items,” listed below in order of importance, as well as a pack of matches:  

  • A shaving mirror (this can be used to signal passing ships using the sun) 
  • A can of gas (could be used for signaling as it could be put in the water and lit with the pack of matches) 
  • A water container (for collecting water to re-hydrate) 
  • Emergency food rations (critical survival food) 
  • One plastic sheet (can be helpful for shelter or to collect rainwater) 
  • Chocolate bars (another food supply) 
  • Fishing rods (helpful, but no guarantee of catching food) 
  • Rope (can be handy, but not necessarily essential for survival) 
  • A floating seat cushion (usable as a life preserver)  
  • Shark repellant (could be important when in the water) 
  • A bottle of rum (could be useful for cleaning wounds) 
  • A radio (could be very helpful but there’s a good chance you’re out of range) 
  • A sea chart (this is worthless without navigation equipment) 
  • A mosquito net (unless you’ve been shipwrecked somewhere with a ton of mosquitos, this isn’t very useful) 

To get the activity underway, divide your group into teams of five and ask each team member to take ten minutes on their own to rank the items in order of importance in the respective column. Then, give the full team ten minutes as a group to discuss their individual rankings together and take group rankings, listed in that respective column. Ask each group to compare their individual rankings with those of the group as a whole. 

Finally, read out the correct order according to the US Coast Guard, listed above.  

The goal of this activity is for everyone to be heard and to come to a decision together about what they need most to survive.  

If your team works remotely, you can also do this activity online. Using a video conferencing tool like  Zoom , you can bring your group together and separate teams into “break-out rooms” where they’ll take their time individually and then regroup together. At the end, you can bring them back to the full video conference to go through the answers together. 

colleagues thinking outside the box with a domino effect challenge team building problem solving activity

Many problems are intricately complex and involve a ton of moving parts. And in order to solve this type of problem, you need to be able to examine it systematically, one piece at a time.  

Especially in the business world, many problems or challenges involve multiple different teams or departments working through their respective portions of a problem before coming together in the end to create a holistic solution. 

As you can imagine, this is often easier said than done. And that’s why it’s so important to practice this ability.  

With a collaborative team building problem solving activity like Domino Effect Challenge, that’s exactly what you’ll need to do as you and your group work to create a massive, fully functional chain reaction machine. 

Here’s how it goes. 

Your group will break up into teams, with each team working to complete their own section of a massive “Rube Goldberg” machine. Then, all teams will regroup and assemble the entire machine together. You’ll need to exercise communication, collaboration, and on-the-fly problem solving in order to make your chain reaction machine go off without a hitch from start to finish. 

reverse pyramid is a team building activity that makes colleagues think about problems in new ways

Being a great problem-solver means being adaptable and creative. And if you’re looking for a quick and easy team building problem solving activity, you’ll love the reverse pyramid. 

The idea here is simple: break your group out into small teams and then stand in the form of a pyramid.  

Your challenge is to flip the base and the peak of the pyramid – but you can only move three people in order to do so.  

Alternatively, rather than doing this activity with people as the pyramid, you can do another version –  the Pyramid Build  – using plastic cups instead.   

This version is a little bit different. Rather than flipping the base of a pyramid to the top, you’ll need to build the pyramid instead–but in reverse, starting from the top cup and working down. 

With this version, you’ll need 36 cups and one table per group. We recommend groups of five to seven people. Give your group 20 to 30 minutes to complete the activity. 

To get started, place one cup face down. Then, lift that cup and place the subsequent two cups underneath it. 

The real challenge here? You can only lift your pyramid by the bottom row in order to put a new row underneath – and only one person at a time can do the lifting. The remaining group members will need to act quickly and work together in order to add the next row so that it will balance the rest of the pyramid. 

If any part of your pyramid falls, you’ll need to start over. Whichever team has the most complete pyramid when time runs out will be the winner!  

solving a crime is a great way for team members to use problem solving skills

The value of being able to approach problems analytically can’t be overstated. Because when problems arise, the best way to solve them is by examining the facts and making a decision based on what you know. 

With CI: The Crime Investigators, this is exactly what your team will be called upon to do as you put your detective’s hats on and work to solve a deadly crime. 

You’ll be presented with evidence and need to uncover and decipher clues. And using only the information at your disposal, you’ll need to examine the facts in order to crack the case. 

Like many of our team building problem solving activities, CI: The Crime Investigators is available in a hosted format, which can take place at your office or an outside venue, as well as a virtually-hosted format that uses video conferencing tools, or a self-hosted version that you can run entirely on your own.  

team pursuit team building is great for problem solving skills

Each member of your team has their own unique strengths and skills. And by learning to combine those skills, you can overcome any challenge and solve any problem. With Team Pursuit, you and your team together to tackle challenges as you learn new things about one another, discover your hidden talents, and learn to rely on each other.

This team building problem solving activity is perfect for high-energy groups that love to put their heads together and work strategically to solve problems as a group.

colleagues doing a virtual team building problem solving activity

If you and your team are working remotely, don’t worry. You still have a ton of great virtual team building problem solving options at your disposal.

virtual escape room mummys curse

In this virtual escape room experience, your team will be transported into a pyramid cursed by a restless mummy. You’ll have to work together to uncover clues and solve complex challenges to lift the ancient curse.

team members doing a fun virtual clue murder mystery

You’ve probably never heard of a man named Neil Davidson. But your group will need to come together to solve the mystery of his murder by analyzing clues, resolving challenges, and figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit a deadly crime. 

This activity will challenge you and your group to approach problems analytically, read between the lines, and use critical thinking in order to identify a suspect and deliver justice.  

escape rooms are fun and unique team building problem solving activities

If you and your team like brainteasers, then Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist will be a big hit.  

Here’s the backstory.

There’s been a robbery. Someone has masterminded a heist to steal a priceless collection of precious jewels, and it’s up to you and your team to recover them before time runs out.

Together, you’ll need to uncover hidden clues and solve a series of brain-boggling challenges that require collaboration, creative problem-solving, and outside-the-box thinking. But be quick! The clock is ticking before the stolen score is gone forever.

try virtual code break as a way to use problem solving skills with teammates

With Virtual Code Break, you and your team can learn to be adaptive and dynamic in your thinking in order to tackle any new challenges that come your way. In this activity, your group will connect on a video conferencing platform where your event host will split you out into teams. Together, you’ll have to adapt your problem-solving skills as you race against the clock to tackle a variety of mixed brainteaser challenges ranging from Sudoku to puzzles, a game of Cranium, riddles, and even trivia. 

Curious to see how a virtual team building activity works? Check out this video on a Virtual Clue Murder Mystery in action. 

trivia is a great problem solving activity for colleagues

Step into the Outback Time Machine and take a trip through time, from pre-pandemic 21st century through the decades all the way to the 60’s. 

This exciting, fast-paced virtual trivia game, packed with nostalgia and good vibes, is guaranteed to produce big laughs, friendly competition, and maybe even some chair-dancing. 

Your virtual game show host will warm up guests with a couple of “table hopper rounds” (breakout room mixers) and split you out into teams. Within minutes, your home office will be transformed into a game show stage with your very own game show buzzers! 

And if your team loves trivia, check out our list of the most incredible virtual trivia games for work teams for even more ideas.

6.  Virtual Jeoparty Social

Virtual Jeoparty Social is a fun high energy virtual team building activity

If your remote team is eager to socialize, have some fun as a group, and channel their competitive spirit, we’ve got just the thing for you! With Virtual Jeoparty Social, you and your colleagues will step into your very own virtual Jeopardy-style game show—equipped with a buzzer button, a professional actor as your host, and an immersive game show platform! Best of all, this game has been infused with an ultra-social twist: players will take part in a unique social mixer challenge between each round. 

With the right team building problem solving activities, you can help your team sharpen their core skills to ensure they’re prepared when they inevitably face a challenge at work. And best of all, you can have fun in the process. 

Do you have any favorite team building activities for building problem-solving skills? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below! 

Learn More About Team Building Problem Solving Activities  

For more information about how your group can take part in a virtual team building, training, or coaching solution, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.     

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Team Building Exercises – Problem Solving and Decision Making

Fun ways to turn problems into opportunities.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

problem solving collaborative activities

Whether there's a complex project looming or your team members just want to get better at dealing with day-to-day issues, your people can achieve much more when they solve problems and make decisions together.

By developing their problem-solving skills, you can improve their ability to get to the bottom of complex situations. And by refining their decision-making skills, you can help them work together maturely, use different thinking styles, and commit collectively to decisions.

In this article, we'll look at three team-building exercises that you can use to improve problem solving and decision making in a new or established team.

Exercises to Build Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Skills

Use the following exercises to help your team members solve problems and make decisions together more effectively.

Exercise 1: Lost at Sea*

In this activity, participants must pretend that they've been shipwrecked and are stranded in a lifeboat. Each team has a box of matches, and a number of items that they've salvaged from the sinking ship. Members must agree which items are most important for their survival.

Download and print our team-building exercises worksheet to help you with this exercise.

This activity builds problem-solving skills as team members analyze information, negotiate and cooperate with one another. It also encourages them to listen and to think about the way they make decisions.

What You'll Need

  • Up to five people in each group.
  • A large, private room.
  • A "lost at sea" ranking chart for each team member. This should comprise six columns. The first simply lists each item (see below). The second is empty so that each team member can rank the items. The third is for group rankings. The fourth is for the "correct" rankings, which are revealed at the end of the exercise. And the fifth and sixth are for the team to enter the difference between their individual and correct score, and the team and correct rankings, respectively.
  • The items to be ranked are: a mosquito net, a can of petrol, a water container, a shaving mirror, a sextant, emergency rations, a sea chart, a floating seat or cushion, a rope, some chocolate bars, a waterproof sheet, a fishing rod, shark repellent, a bottle of rum, and a VHF radio. These can be listed in the ranking chart or displayed on a whiteboard, or both.
  • The experience can be made more fun by having some lost-at-sea props in the room.

Flexible, but normally between 25 and 40 minutes.

Instructions

  • Divide participants into their teams, and provide everyone with a ranking sheet.
  • Ask team members to take 10 minutes on their own to rank the items in order of importance. They should do this in the second column of their sheet.
  • Give the teams a further 10 minutes to confer and decide on their group rankings. Once agreed, they should list them in the third column of their sheets.
  • Ask each group to compare their individual rankings with their collective ones, and consider why any scores differ. Did anyone change their mind about their own rankings during the team discussions? How much were people influenced by the group conversation?
  • Now read out the "correct" order, collated by the experts at the US Coast Guard (from most to least important): - Shaving mirror. (One of your most powerful tools, because you can use it to signal your location by reflecting the sun.) - Can of petrol. (Again, potentially vital for signaling as petrol floats on water and can be lit by your matches.) - Water container. (Essential for collecting water to restore your lost fluids.) -Emergency rations. (Valuable for basic food intake.) - Plastic sheet. (Could be used for shelter, or to collect rainwater.) -Chocolate bars. (A handy food supply.) - Fishing rod. (Potentially useful, but there is no guarantee that you're able to catch fish. Could also feasibly double as a tent pole.) - Rope. (Handy for tying equipment together, but not necessarily vital for survival.) - Floating seat or cushion. (Useful as a life preserver.) - Shark repellent. (Potentially important when in the water.) - Bottle of rum. (Could be useful as an antiseptic for treating injuries, but will only dehydrate you if you drink it.) - Radio. (Chances are that you're out of range of any signal, anyway.) - Sea chart. (Worthless without navigational equipment.) - Mosquito net. (Assuming that you've been shipwrecked in the Atlantic, where there are no mosquitoes, this is pretty much useless.) - Sextant. (Impractical without relevant tables or a chronometer.)

Advice for the Facilitator

The ideal scenario is for teams to arrive at a consensus decision where everyone's opinion is heard. However, that doesn't always happen naturally: assertive people tend to get the most attention. Less forthright team members can often feel intimidated and don't always speak up, particularly when their ideas are different from the popular view. Where discussions are one-sided, draw quieter people in so that everyone is involved, but explain why you're doing this, so that people learn from it.

You can use the Stepladder Technique when team discussion is unbalanced. Here, ask each team member to think about the problem individually and, one at a time, introduce new ideas to an appointed group leader – without knowing what ideas have already been discussed. After the first two people present their ideas, they discuss them together. Then the leader adds a third person, who presents his or her ideas before hearing the previous input. This cycle of presentation and discussion continues until the whole team has had a chance to voice their opinions.

After everyone has finished the exercise, invite your teams to evaluate the process to draw out their experiences. For example, ask them what the main differences between individual, team and official rankings were, and why. This will provoke discussion about how teams arrive at decisions, which will make people think about the skills they must use in future team scenarios, such as listening , negotiating and decision-making skills, as well as creativity skills for thinking "outside the box."

A common issue that arises in team decision making is groupthink . This can happen when a group places a desire for mutual harmony above a desire to reach the right decision, which prevents people from fully exploring alternative solutions.

If there are frequent unanimous decisions in any of your exercises, groupthink may be an issue. Suggest that teams investigate new ways to encourage members to discuss their views, or to share them anonymously.

Exercise 2: The Great Egg Drop*

In this classic (though sometimes messy!) game, teams must work together to build a container to protect an egg, which is dropped from a height. Before the egg drop, groups must deliver presentations on their solutions, how they arrived at them, and why they believe they will succeed.

This fun game develops problem-solving and decision-making skills. Team members have to choose the best course of action through negotiation and creative thinking.

  • Ideally at least six people in each team.
  • Raw eggs – one for each group, plus some reserves in case of accidents!
  • Materials for creating the packaging, such as cardboard, tape, elastic bands, plastic bottles, plastic bags, straws, and scissors.
  • Aprons to protect clothes, paper towels for cleaning up, and paper table cloths, if necessary.
  • Somewhere – ideally outside – that you can drop the eggs from. (If there is nowhere appropriate, you could use a step ladder or equivalent.)
  • Around 15 to 30 minutes to create the packages.
  • Approximately 15 minutes to prepare a one-minute presentation.
  • Enough time for the presentations and feedback (this will depend on the number of teams).
  • Time to demonstrate the egg "flight."
  • Put people into teams, and ask each to build a package that can protect an egg dropped from a specified height (say, two-and-a-half meters) with the provided materials.
  • Each team must agree on a nominated speaker, or speakers, for their presentation.
  • Once all teams have presented, they must drop their eggs, assess whether the eggs have survived intact, and discuss what they have learned.

When teams are making their decisions, the more good options they consider, the more effective their final decision is likely to be. Encourage your groups to look at the situation from different angles, so that they make the best decision possible. If people are struggling, get them to brainstorm – this is probably the most popular method of generating ideas within a team.

Ask the teams to explore how they arrived at their decisions, to get them thinking about how to improve this process in the future. You can ask them questions such as:

  • Did the groups take a vote, or were members swayed by one dominant individual?
  • How did the teams decide to divide up responsibilities? Was it based on people's expertise or experience?
  • Did everyone do the job they volunteered for?
  • Was there a person who assumed the role of "leader"?
  • How did team members create and deliver the presentation, and was this an individual or group effort?

Exercise 3: Create Your Own*

In this exercise, teams must create their own, brand new, problem-solving activity.

This game encourages participants to think about the problem-solving process. It builds skills such as creativity, negotiation and decision making, as well as communication and time management. After the activity, teams should be better equipped to work together, and to think on their feet.

  • Ideally four or five people in each team.
  • Paper, pens and flip charts.

Around one hour.

  • As the participants arrive, you announce that, rather than spending an hour on a problem-solving team-building activity, they must design an original one of their own.
  • Divide participants into teams and tell them that they have to create a new problem-solving team-building activity that will work well in their organization. The activity must not be one that they have already participated in or heard of.
  • After an hour, each team must present their new activity to everyone else, and outline its key benefits.

There are four basic steps in problem solving : defining the problem, generating solutions, evaluating and selecting solutions, and implementing solutions. Help your team to think creatively at each stage by getting them to consider a wide range of options. If ideas run dry, introduce an alternative brainstorming technique, such as brainwriting . This allows your people to develop one others' ideas, while everyone has an equal chance to contribute.

After the presentations, encourage teams to discuss the different decision-making processes they followed. You might ask them how they communicated and managed their time . Another question could be about how they kept their discussion focused. And to round up, you might ask them whether they would have changed their approach after hearing the other teams' presentations.

Successful decision making and problem solving are at the heart of all effective teams. While teams are ultimately led by their managers, the most effective ones foster these skills at all levels.

The exercises in this article show how you can encourage teams to develop their creative thinking, leadership , and communication skills , while building group cooperation and consensus.

* Original source unknown. Please let us know if you know the original source.

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  • 45 team building games to improve commu ...

45 team building games to improve communication and camaraderie

Alicia Raeburn contributor headshot

Team building games bring everyone together without the added pressure of work. Here, we’ve listed 45 of the top team building activities broken down by icebreaker, problem solving, indoor, and outdoor games.

As Ashley Frabasilio, Employee Engagement Manager at Asana puts it, “Creating a shared experience for teams to build relationships is one of the best ways to increase trust and encourage collaboration."

Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor activities, quick icebreaker games, or activities to bond with your remote team members, we compiled a list of over 45 team building games that you’ll actually enjoy. 

How to make team building inclusive

Teams with an inclusive culture tend to be more transparent, supportive, and happy because everyone feels accepted. It’s essential to make any team activity feel productive and enjoyable for the entire group, regardless of personalities or skill sets. Whether you’re working on building an inclusive remote culture or want in-person teams to feel more comfortable together, consider the following for an inclusive team building experience:

Inclusive team building means including everyone. Depending on the type of team building activity, you may benefit from hiring an outside expert to facilitate a team building event that everyone can participate in. Plus, the activity may feel more authentic because a professional is guiding you.

If you have introverts on the team, they may not be as excited about an exercise that involves lots of social interaction and do better in small groups. 

Teammates with speech, sight, or hearing impairments may feel left out during a game that involves blindfolding players and communicating without looking at each other.

Physically active games could exclude physically impaired teammates. 

Before choosing one of the team building games from this list, take stock of everyone's abilities. Find an activity that everyone on your team can participate in. Maybe even send out an anonymous poll to see what kinds of activities your team would be willing to partake in. Ultimately, the best team building activity will be the one that everyone can enjoy.

Team icebreaker games

Icebreaker questions and activities are the perfect “getting to know you” games but they’re also fun to play with teammates you’ve known for a long time. You can play them to get everyone up to speed for a meeting (especially on those 8am calls) or use them to introduce new team members.

Team icebreaker games

1. Two truths, one lie

Team size : 3+ people

Time : 2–3 minutes per person

How to play : Ask everyone in the group to come up with two facts about themselves and one lie. The more memorable the facts (e.g., I went skydiving in Costa Rica) and the more believable the lies (e.g., I have two dogs), the more fun the game will be! Then, ask each team member to present their three statements and have the group vote on which one they think is the lie.

Why this exercise is great : This game is perfect for groups who don’t know each other well yet. The details you share can be used as building blocks for late conversations (“What else did you do in Costa Rica?”) to give you a better idea of who you’re working with.

2. Penny for your thoughts

Team size : 5+ people

How to play : You’ll need a box full of pennies (or other coins) with years only as old as your youngest team member (not the time to brag about your 1937 collector’s penny). Ask every team member to draw a coin from the box and share a story, memory, or otherwise significant thing that happened to them that year. This can be anything from learning how to ride a bike to landing your first job.    

Why this exercise is great : This is a fun twist on a stress-free and simple icebreaker that gives everyone the chance to share a personal story with their team. You can play multiple rounds if the stories are on the shorter side or let team members elaborate on their stories to gain deeper insight into their lives.

3. Mood pictures

How to play : Prepare a variety of images before you play. You can collect newspaper clippings, magazine cutouts, postcards, and posters or print out different images from the internet (Pinterest is a great spot). The images should show landscapes, cities, people, shapes, or animals in a variety of colors and perspectives.

Lay all the images out and ask team members to each pick one that resonates with their current mood. Once everyone has picked an image, ask them to share what they resonated with, how it makes them feel, and why they picked it.

Why this exercise is great : This exercise is a great way to get a meeting or a workshop started because it allows you to get a feel of the room in a creative and unexpected way. You don’t always have to ask your team to pick an image that reflects their mood—it can also be their expectations for a workshop, their feelings about a current project, or how they hope to feel at the end of the day. As they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words, so this exercise makes talking about feelings easier for a lot of people.

4. One word exercise

Time : 5–10 minutes 

How to play : Pick a phrase related to the meeting topic and ask everyone to write down one word that comes to mind on a post-it. Then, gather these words on a whiteboard or put them in a presentation. For example, if you’re hosting a meeting about your annual holiday event. Everyone would take a moment to respond with the first word that comes in their head. If the team is responding with words like stress or exhaustion, you might want to rethink your process.

Why this exercise is great : This is a way to collect opinions, thoughts, or feelings about a meeting that’s well within most people’s comfort zone. You’ll have the chance to read the room before diving into the topic and may uncover some concerns or questions to focus on, which will make the meeting more beneficial to everyone.

5. Back-to-back drawing

Team siz e: 4+ people 

Time : 5–10 minutes

How to play : Split your team into groups of two and make them sit back to back. Hand one person a pen and piece of paper and show the other person a picture of something that’s fairly simple to draw (e.g., a car, a flower, a house). This person now has to describe the picture to their teammate without actually saying what the item is so they can draw it. They’re allowed to describe shapes, sizes, and textures but can’t say, “Draw a lily.” Once the blind drawing is finished, compare it with the original to see how well you communicated.

Why this exercise is great : This activity is a fun way to polish your communication skills, especially your listening skills. It also gives your team a chance to get creative and innovative by thinking outside the box to describe the image to their teammate.

6. Birthday line up

Team size : 8+ people

Time : 10–15 minutes

How to play : Ask your entire team to form a line in order of their birthdays without talking to each other. You can encourage other forms of communication like sign language, gestures, or nudges. If you want to add a little bit of pressure and excitement to the exercise, add a time limit! 

Why this exercise is great : Besides learning everyone’s birthday (which can always come in handy as a conversation starter later on), this exercise encourages your team to learn to communicate towards a common goal without using words. Although this can be a challenge and get frustrating, this exercise promotes problem framing skills, cooperation, and non-verbal communication skills.

7. Charades

Team size : 8–10 people

Time : 10–25 minutes

How to play : Divide your team into groups of four or five people. The person who goes first is given or shown a random object (e.g., printer, stapler, keyboard) in private. They then have to demonstrate how to use the object without actually showing it in front of their team. Their team gets 30 seconds on the clock to shout out the correct word (you can adjust the time depending on the difficulty of the objects).

Then it’s the other team’s turn. You’ll keep playing until every team member has had the chance to demonstrate an object to their team. 

Why this exercise is great : This classic game is a nice way to break up a mentally taxing day and get your team to do a creative exercise that isn’t work-related.

8. Swift swap

Team size : 10–20 people

How to play :  Split your team into two groups and line them up facing each other. Team A gets a quick observation period (15–30 seconds) in which group members have to memorize as many things about the people in front of them as possible. Then team A turns around while team B changes as many things about their appearance as possible. 

Anything from changing the line up order to swapping shoes with someone or changing your hairdo is fair game. After about 45 seconds, team A turns back around and gets 5–10 minutes to find out what’s changed. You can adjust the time depending on the size of your group.

Why this exercise is great : This game is a great way to break up a long day and take everyone’s minds off work for a little while. Your team also gets to practice time-sensitive non-verbal communication during the swapping phase.

9. Code of conduct

Time : 20–30 minutes

How to play : This game is a great way to tune into a new project or workshop. Write the two categories “meaningful” and “enjoyable” on a whiteboard and ask the group to share what they believe is needed to accomplish these two things for your project or workshop. This can be anything from “regular breaks'' to “transparency and honesty,” which could fall under either category.

Everyone will choose ideas that they agree are both meaningful and enjoyable . Record these values in a shared tool to establish the code of conduct for your upcoming project or workshop. This list will function as a reminder for the team to uphold these values.

Why this exercise is great : Whether it’s the first day of a workshop, the beginning of a new project, or simply a Monday morning, this exercise is great to get everyone on your team on the same page. By establishing group norms and values early on and holding everyone accountable with a written code of conduct, you can create a sense of cohesiveness. If you’d like to do this exercise virtually, use our team brainstorming template to collect everyone’s thoughts.

10. Common thread

Team size : 10+ people

Time : 30 minutes

How to play : Divide your team into groups of three to five people. Then ask your team to find things everyone in their group has in common. This can be a favorite TV show, an ice cream flavor nobody likes, or a common hobby. Encourage your teammates to find common threads that aren’t too superficial or obvious. The more things they can find that everyone in the group has in common, the better! If you have the time, bring everyone together afterward and ask the teams to share their experiences.

Why this exercise is great : This fun game allows your team to find commonalities that they may not get a chance to discover otherwise. It’s also a great way to reunite teams that feel a bit divided. Talking about shared likes and dislikes can be helpful to reconnect you with teammates.

Remote or virtual team building games

Bonding with your teammates can be more difficult when you’re working remotely. Remote or virtual team building games can improve remote collaboration , motivate teams , and create a sense of community even though you’re physically apart. You can use Zoom to connect with your teammates or do quick team building exercises via your remote work software during the day.

Virtual team building games

If your team is located across multiple time zones, you may have to get creative with scheduling. Ashley Frabasilio, Employee Engagement Manager at Asana encourages leaders to schedule these activities during normal work hours. Ensure that the activity is appropriate for all participants in all time zones so no one feels excluded. Using work hours for these exercises can also increase the participation rate because you’re not interfering with personal time.

11. Show and tell  

How to play : Ask everyone in your team to bring something they’re proud of or that brings them joy to your next meeting. This can be anything from a pet to a plant, a painting they did, or a certificate they received. Everyone gets two to three minutes to show off their item and answer questions from the team if they have any.

Why this exercise is great : Show and tell isn’t just fun for kids, it’s also a great way to connect with your team. You’re probably going to learn something new about your teammates and may get a couple of conversation starters for your next meeting from this game.

12. Photo caption contest 

How to play : Collect a few funny photos—for example a few memes that have recently been circling the internet. Send these to your team before the meeting and ask everyone to submit their best photo caption for each image. You can put these together in a quick presentation and present them to your team during the call. You can have a good laugh together and even vote for the best captions.

Why this exercise is great : This exercise is a fun way to get creative as a team and have a good laugh together.

13. Morning coffee 

Time : 15–30 minutes

How to play : Schedule regular coffee calls for your remote team to give everyone a chance to get to know each other like they would in an office setting. You can schedule team calls with four to five people or randomly assign two people to each other that switch every time. You can offer these casual calls once a week, bi-weekly, or once a month, depending on your team size and the interest in this opportunity. 

Why this exercise is great : Remote teams don’t often get a chance to just chit-chat and get to know each other without talking about work or feeling like they’re wasting meeting time. By designating 15–30 minutes on a regular basis to a casual call, your team members will have a chance to bond with people they might not typically interact with.

14. Lunch and learn

How to play : Hold a weekly or monthly “lunch and learn” where one team member presents a topic to the whole team during their lunch break. This presentation can be on a tool everyone uses at work, on a lesson learned from a recent project, or even on a book they read that everyone can learn from. 

Why this exercise is great : These events are a great opportunity for your team to connect in a more casual yet educational setting. If your team budget allows, send restaurant gift cards to your team members so they can order lunch for the call.

15. Online group game  

Time : 30–60 minutes

How to play : Invite your team to play a game online together. This can be an actual video game if everyone happens to use the same console at home or you can download an interactive game (like Jackbox ) which you can screen share with the rest of the group. 

Why this exercise is great : Playing a video game or an interactive game that has nothing to do with work can be a fun way to switch things up, create a more casual work environment, and get to know each other better. It will also give people with great sportsmanship a chance to shine!

16. Trivia games 

Team size : 6–20 people

Time : 30–90 minutes

How to play : Start a meeting with a quick game of trivia or host a regular virtual trivia night at the end of the work day. You can play a game of office trivia (e.g., facts about the company) or pick random other themes like TV shows, music, or national parks. To mix things up, ask other team members to host trivia night.

Why this exercise is great : Whether you’re making the trivia game office-themed or creating a regular team activity that takes everyone’s minds off of work, you’ll get to spend time with your team playing a competitive, educational, and entertaining game that gives everyone a chance to bond.

17. Quarterly challenge  

Time : One month

How to play : Create an optional challenge for your team to participate in. The challenge can be centered around healthy eating, meditation, journaling, or reading. Create a chat or thread where your teammates can exchange their experiences, wins, and questions to keep each other motivated and accountable throughout the month. 

Make sure your team knows that participation is optional. It never hurts to ask for feedback to spark future team challenge ideas.

Why this exercise is great : Creating a challenge like this for your team shows them that you care about their work-life balance. By offering a quarterly challenge, you provide your team with the opportunity to share an experience together. Plus, it’s always easier to complete a challenge when you have a team who supports you and an incentive to work toward.  

18. Personality test  

How to play : Send a personality test to your team and ask everyone to share their results in a chat or during your next team meeting. This can be a formal test like the Enneagram or StrengthsFinder . For something more lighthearted, you can send a fun quiz like the Sorting Hat to find out which Hogwarts house you belong in or a Buzzfeed quiz (e.g., “ What Kitchen Appliance Are You? ”).

Why this exercise is great : Depending on the type of quiz your team takes, this can become a funny icebreaker before you start a meeting or turn into a discussion on your team’s combined strengths and challenges. 

Problem solving games

Playing problem solving games with your team helps them level up their teamwork skills, resolve issues, achieve goals, and excel together. Whether you’re using new brainstorming techniques or going out for a team adventure, these fun team building activities are the perfect way to improve your team's problem solving skills.

Problem solving games

19. Your first idea

Team size : 5–12 people

Time : 10–20 minutes

How to play : Ask everyone in your team to write down the first idea that pops into their head when they’re presented with the problem. Compile the list and review it as a team.

A fun twist on this game is to ask everyone to write down their worst idea. After reviewing with the team, you may realize that some ideas aren’t that bad after all. You can play this game with a real-life problem, a fictional one, or when you’re brainstorming new ideas to pitch.

Why this exercise is great : We often get too much into our heads about problems and solutions. By writing down the first solution that comes to mind, we can uncover new perspectives and fixes.

20. Back of the napkin

Team size : 6–24 people

Time : 15–20 minutes

How to play : Divide your team into groups of two to four and present them with a variety of open-ended problems. These can be work-related, imaginary, or even environmental problems. Every team gets a napkin and pen that they have to sketch or write their solution on after they’ve discussed the issue as a group. These will then be presented to the rest of the team.

Why this exercise is great : Some of the best ideas have allegedly been recorded on napkins (hey, when creativity strikes you’ll write on anything). This game imitates this scenario while challenging your team to collaborate on solving a creative problem.

21. Create your own

How to play : Each team member will create an original problem-solving activity on their own and present it to the group. Whether this entails a physical, mental, or creative challenge is up to your team. If you have the time, play some of the games afterward!

Why this exercise is great : Coming up with your own games is fun and a real creative challenge. It also allows your team members to showcase their strengths by creating challenges they’ll be prepared to tackle.

22. Spectrum mapping

Team size : 5–15 people

How to play : Present your team with a few topics that you’d like their opinions and insight on. Write them down on a whiteboard and give everyone sticky notes and pens. Ask them to write down their thoughts and pin them on the whiteboard underneath the respective topic.

Now arrange the sticky notes as a team. Try to group similar ideas together to the left of the topic and post outliers toward the right side. This will create a spectrum of popular thoughts and opinions on the left and more extreme ideas on the right.

Why this exercise is great : This game will help you map out the diversity of perspectives your team has on different topics. Remember that unpopular opinions don’t have to be wrong. Embracing this diversity can help you uncover new perspectives and innovative ideas to solve problems you’re facing as a team. 

23. What would “X” do? 

Team size : 5–10 people

Time : 45–60 minutes

How to play : Present your team with a problem and ask everyone to come up with a famous person or leader they admire. This can be a celebrity, a business person, or a relative. Challenge your teammates to approach the problem as if they were that person and present their solution (extra points for playing in character).

Why this exercise is great : Getting stuck in your own head can often keep you from solving a problem efficiently and effectively. By stepping into the shoes of someone else, you may uncover new solutions. Plus, it’s fun pretending to be someone else for a little while!

24. Team pursuit

Time : 1–3 hours

How to play : Form groups of two to six people that will compete against one another in a series of challenges. You can buy a team pursuit package online or create your own game, which will take a good amount of prep time. 

You’ll want to create a set of challenges for your team: cerebral challenges that test logic and intelligence, skill challenges like aptitude tests, and mystery challenges which usually ask for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking (e.g., come up with a unique handshake, take a fun picture, etc.).  

Why this exercise is great : A solid game of team pursuit will create a fun challenge that gives everyone a chance to shine and show off their talents. Whether you’re a good runner, a quick thinker, or a creative mind, everyone will be able to contribute to the success of the team. This game will bring your team closer together and show them new sides of their teammates that they may not have been aware of.

25. Code break

Team size : 8–24 people

How to play : This brain teaser is a fun activity that you can play indoors or outdoors to challenge your team. Outback Team Building offers self-hosted, remote-hosted, and on-site hosted events that include several codes your teammates have to find and break to make it through the course.

Why this exercise is great : This challenge requires creative thinking, creates a competitive environment, and works with large groups because you can break off into smaller groups.

26. Escape room

Time : 2–3 hours

How to play : Visiting an escape room is always a unique experience and a great way to spend an afternoon with your team. If you have multiple escape rooms nearby, ask your team if they have a general idea of what theme they’d like to explore (e.g., history, horror, sci-fi) and try to pick something you’ll think everyone will enjoy.

If you’re super creative and have the time and resources, you can put together an escape room on your own!

Why this exercise is great : Solving the mysteries of an escape room with your team will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your teammates, foster communication and collaboration, build trust, and become a shared memory that connects you together.

Indoor team building games

Most of these indoor games can be played in an office, conference room, or a hallway with a small team, but you may need a bit more space if you’re inviting a larger group to join in.

Indoor team building games

27. Perfect square

Team size : 4–12 people

How to play : Divide your team into groups of four to six and ask them to stand in a tight circle with their group. Ask everyone to blindfold themselves or close their eyes and give one person a rope. Without looking at what they're doing, the teams now have to pass the rope around so everyone holds a piece of it and then form a perfect square. Once the team is sure their square is perfect, they can lay the rope down on the floor, take off their blindfolds (or open their eyes) and see how well they did. 

Why this exercise is great : This game is about more than perfect geometric shapes, it’s an amazing listening and communication exercise. Because no one can see what they're doing, your team members have to communicate clearly while figuring out how to create a square out of a rope. Besides, it’s often really funny to see how imperfect the squares come out.

28. Memory wall

How to play : You’ll need a whiteboard and sticky notes for this game. Write different work-related themes on the whiteboard such as “first day at work,” “team celebration,” and “work travel.” Hand each teammate a few sticky notes and ask them to write down their favorite memories or accomplishments associated with one or more of these themes. Invite everyone to share these with the team to take a walk down memory lane and post the notes on the whiteboard as you go.

Why this exercise is great : This is a nice way to end a week, long day, or workshop because you’ll share positive experiences with one another that will leave your teammates smiling. If you’re finishing up a work trip or multi-day workshop, you can also do a slimmed-down version of this by asking everyone to share their favorite memory or biggest accomplishment of the last few days.

29. Turn back time  

How to play : This team building exercise works best in a quiet atmosphere with everyone sitting in a circle. Ask your team to silently think of a unique memory in their lives. You can give them a few minutes to collect their thoughts. Then, ask everyone to share the one memory they’d like to relive if they could turn back time.

Not everyone may be comfortable opening up at first, so be sure to lead with vulnerability and make everyone in the room feel safe about sharing their moment.

Why this exercise is great : This exercise is a great way to help your team members remember their priorities and bond on a deeper level. In a team that’s facing disconnection or stress, sharing personal highlights that aren’t work-related can help create a sense of togetherness. Although the exercise doesn’t take too long, it’s best to do it toward the end of the day so your team has a chance to reflect on what’s been said.

30. Paper plane  

Team size : 6–12 people

How to play : Split your team into groups of two to four and hand out card stock. Give each team 10–15 minutes to come up with the best long-distance paper plane design (they’re allowed to do research on their phones or computers) and a name for their airline.

When the paper planes are done, have a competition in a long hallway or outside to see which plane flies the farthest. 

Why this exercise is great : This exercise requires team members to collaborate on a project with a tight timeline. It is a great activity to practice communication skills, delegation, and time management.

31. Build a tower

Team size : 8–16 people

How to play : Divide your team into groups of four or five and provide them with 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. Challenge each team to build the tallest tower possible using only the supplies you gave them. When finished, the tower has to support the marshmallow sitting on top. Set the timer for 20 minutes and ask everyone to step away from their masterpiece when it runs out so you can crown a winner.

Why this exercise is great : This challenge is a great way to improve problem solving skills and communication within your team. Your team members will have to prototype, build, and present the tower in a short amount of time, which can be stressful. The better they work together, the more likely they are to succeed.

32. Flip it over

Team size : 6–8 people

How to play : Lay a towel, blanket, or sheet on the floor and ask your teammates to stand on it. The goal is to flip the piece over without ever stepping off of it or touching the ground outside of the fabric. You can make the challenge more difficult by adding more people to the team or using a smaller sheet.

Why this exercise is great : This exercise requires clear communication, cooperation, and a good sense of humor. It’s a great way to find out how well your teammates cooperate when presented with an oddly difficult task.

33. Sneak a peek 

Team size : 4–20 people

How to play : Create a structure out of Lego pieces and hide it in a separate room. Divide your team into groups of two to four people and give them enough Legos to replicate the structure in 30 minutes or less.

One player per team is allowed to sneak a peek at the original structure for 15 seconds, then run back and describe it to their team. The person who gets to sneak a peek rotates so everyone gets to see the original at some point during the game. The team that first completes the structure as close to the original wins! 

Why this exercise is great : During this game your team gets to focus on teamwork and communication. Since only one person at a time is allowed to look at the original, team members may see and describe different things. The more complex the structure is, the harder this game will be.

34. Pyramids

How to play : Pick a large open area for this game like a hallway, a meeting room, or the cafeteria. Divide your team into groups of four to six and give each team 10 paper cups. Ask the teams to stand in a line with about 8–10 feet between the team members. Now it’s a race against time!

The first person in each line has to build a pyramid with four cups at the base. Once they’re done, the second player has to help them carry the pyramid to their station (this can be on the floor or at a table). They can slide it on the floor or carry it together but if the pyramid falls apart, the players have to reassemble it on the spot before continuing their journey. At the next station, the second player has to topple the pyramid and rebuild it before the third player gets to help them carry it to the next station. This continues until the pyramid reaches the last station. The team that finishes first wins the game

Why this exercise is great : This game is fun to play during a mid-day break, fosters communication skills, and promotes teamwork.

35. Shipwrecked

Team size : 8–25 people

How to play : The premise of the game is that you’re stranded on a deserted island and only have 25 minutes to secure survival items off the sinking ship. Place items like water bottles, matches, food, etc., in the “shipwreck area.” You can also print pictures on index cards to make things a bit easier. The quantity of each item should be limited, with some items having more than others (e.g., more water than food, fewer tarps than teams, more knives than ropes, etc.).

Divide your team into groups of two (or more if it’s a large team). Once the clock starts, they have to gather as many items as they deem worthy from the shipwreck and rank them in order of importance. Since the items are limited (some more than others), the teams will not only have to prioritize the items within their own group of people but also negotiate, trade, and exchange items with other teams. 

Why this exercise is great : This game will challenge problem-solving abilities, encourage collaboration, and enable your team to flex their leadership skills. Typically, teams with strong leadership qualities will have the most success in making these quick decisions.

36. Team flag

Time : 30–45 minutes

How to play : Divide your team into groups of two to four people and provide them with paper and pens. Each group now has to come up with an emblem or flag that represents their team. Once everyone has completed their masterpiece, they have to present it to the rest of the teams, explaining how they came up with the design. This exercise is also a great opportunity to discuss how each group identified their common values and created alignment during the design process.

Why this exercise is great : This is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Your team will not only have to come up with a unique design that represents their collective identity but they’ll also have to collaborate on putting pen to paper and presenting their flag or emblem at the end of the game.

37. Salt and pepper  

How to play : You’ll need a list of things that go well together like salt and pepper, left sock and right sock, day and night, peanut butter and jelly, or yin and yang. Write these words on individual pieces of paper and tape one sheet of paper on every team member's back. 

Ask your team to mingle and find out what’s written on their back by asking questions that can only be answered with yes or no (e.g., “Am I sweet? Do you wear me? Am I cold?”). Once the participants find out who they are, they have to find their match!

Why this exercise is great : Your team can use this game to bond with one another and improve their communication skills. If you have a large team, this exercise also gives them a chance to interact with people they may not usually get to talk to.

38. Sell it

Time : 45–90 minutes

How to play : Ask your teammates to each bring a random object to the meeting. Everyone then has to come up with a logo, slogan, and marketing plan to sell this object. After 30 minutes, each team member has to present their new product to the rest of the team. If you have a larger team, divide them into groups of 2–4 people and ask them to collaborate on their product pitch.

Why this exercise is great : This game is great to switch things up if you don’t already work in marketing or sales. It’s also fun to play with others as it allows your team to get creative and have fun with everyday objects.

39. The barter puzzle

Time : 1–2 hours

How to play : Divide your team into groups of three or four people and give each a different jigsaw puzzle of the same difficulty level. Ask them to complete the puzzle as a team. The twist: each puzzle is missing a few pieces that are mixed in with an opposing team’s puzzle. The teams have to figure out ways to get the pieces they need from the other teams by negotiating, trading pieces, or even exchanging teammates. Every decision has to be made as a team. The first team to complete their puzzle wins.

Why this exercise is great : Every decision made will have to be a group decision which challenges your team to improve their problem solving skills.  

Outdoor team building exercises

If you want to get a larger group together for a team building exercise, why not take things outside? Outdoor team building is also a great way to get your teammates to interact without the distractions of screens or smartphones. Whether you want to catch a breath of fresh air or get some sunshine together, these exercises will help you bond with your teammates outside of the office.

Outdoor team building games

40. The minefield

Team size : 4–10 people

How to play : Create a minefield in a parking lot or another large, open space by sporadically placing objects like papers, balls, cones, and bottles. Split your team into groups of two and ask one person to put on a blindfold. The other person now has to guide the blindfolded teammate through the minefield only using their words. The blindfolded person is not allowed to talk and will be eliminated if they stop walking or step on anything in the minefield. 

The objective of the game is to make it to the other side of the minefield. The teams can then switch so another person will be blindfolded and guided through the field on their way back. You can also distribute pieces the blindfolded person has to pick up on their way through the field to add another difficulty level.

Why this exercise is great : This game is not just a trust exercise for your teammates but also a fun way to practice active listening skills and clear communication.

41. Earth-ball  

Team size : 5–20 people

Time : 15–45 minutes

How to play : You’ll need a balloon, beach ball, or volleyball for this activity. Ask your team to stand in a circle and keep the balloon or ball in the air for as long as possible. To make it a real challenge, no one can touch the ball twice in a row. The bigger your team, the more fun this game will be!

Why this exercise is great : This fun challenge is a great way to get your team moving. If you’re struggling to keep the ball up for longer, try to come up with a strategy to improve your time.

42. Scavenger hunt

How to play : Put together a scavenger hunt for your team. This can be in the form of a list of photographs they have to take (e.g., something red, all teammates in front of the company logo, the CEO’s car, etc.), items they have to collect (e.g., company brochure, yellow sticky note with manager’s signature on it, ketchup packet from the cafeteria, etc.), or other activities they have to complete on a designated route. 

Why this exercise is great : The more people that tag along, the more fun this game will be. You can group people together who don’t know each other very well to allow them time to bond during this exercise. Try to come up with company-specific quests for your team so they learn a few fun facts along the way. You can offer prizes for the most creative team or the first to finish the challenge to boost motivation.

43. Egg drop 

Time : 60–90 minutes

How to play : Divide your team into groups of two or three people and give each team a raw egg (keep some extras in case they break before the grand finale). Then put out supplies like tape, straws, rubber bands, newspapers, and balloons so the teams can build a structure for the raw egg that will protect it from a fall out of a second or third story window. 

Each team has 60 minutes to complete their structure. When the time is up, ask your teams to gather their eggs and egg cages to drop them out of the window. This grand finale will reveal which team engineered and built the best cage.

Why this exercise is great : Collaborating on a design and building a cage will challenge your team’s problem solving and collaboration skills.

44. Team outing

Team size : Any

How to play : Plan an outing for your team. You could attend a cooking class or go to a museum together. If you want to have something your teammates can work toward, plan to run a 5K together or host a ping pong tournament. You can also do something more casual like inviting your team to hangout at a bowling alley after work where you can play a few games in a casual and fun setting.

Why this exercise is great : Taking your team somewhere new will help break down some of the walls we often build in a professional setting. While you’re still at a company function, you’re more inclined to connect through casual conversation at a restaurant or park than you would at the office.

45. Volunteer as a team

How to play : Organize a team event during your regularly scheduled workday. This can be a charity event, yard sale, or fundraiser for a cause your team cares about. Even though these are enjoyable, scheduling them during work hours makes this feel like more of a perk than an obligation.

If your team members have a few causes they’re truly passionate about, consider making this a monthly or quarterly event. You can also rotate the charities that you’re helping out to accommodate your team’s different interests.

Why this exercise is great : Experiencing helper’s high can improve your personal health and mental state. Sharing this rush that doing good can give you will help your team bond on a deeper level. 

Benefits of team building

Team building is more than a fun break from your everyday routine at work. It also:

Improves communication, trust, and collaboration skills

Promotes a collaborative culture by bringing teammates together

Fosters agile decision making and problem solving skills

Boosts team productivity and morale

Uses creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking

Ashley Frabasilio believes that:

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A common goal is to create a memorable and meaningful experience for folks to connect. Some questions to consider when planning an impactful team-building activity include: What do I hope folks walk away with? I.e., a new skill, a deeper connection to one another, personal development, a moment of delight, etc.”

Ask yourself these questions before proposing a team building activity so you can reap the full benefits of the exercise.

Bring your team together, creatively

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to build your team’s confidence, connection, and teamwork skills. While team building is fun, it’s also important to connect with your team on an everyday basis. To build one of those connections in your day-to-day work, the right collaboration software is key. 

Looking for the right collaboration tool? See how Asana keeps your team connected, no matter where you’re working. 

  • Book a Demo

></center></p><h2>13 Problem-Solving Activities & Exercises for Your Team</h2><ul><li>December 4, 2023</li><li>Project Management</li><li>21 min read</li></ul><p><center><img style=

Are you looking to enhance your or your team’s problem-solving abilities? Engaging in activities specifically designed to stimulate your and your team’s critical thinking skills can be an excellent way to sharpen your problem-solving prowess. Whether you enjoy puzzles, brain teasers, or interactive challenges, these activities provide an opportunity to overcome obstacles and think creatively.

By immersing yourself in problem-solving activities, you can develop valuable strategies, improve your decision-making abilities, and boost your overall problem-solving IQ. Get ready to unlock your full potential and tackle any challenge that comes your way with these exciting activities for problem-solving.

In this article, we will explore activities for problem-solving that can help enhance your team’s problem-solving skills, allowing you to approach challenges with confidence and creativity.

What Are Problem Solving Activities?

Problem-solving activities or problem-solving exercises are interactive games requiring critical thinking to solve puzzles. They enhance teamwork & critical thinking. Examples include building towers, navigating simulated challenges, and fostering creativity and communication.

For instance, imagine a team working together to construct the tallest tower using limited materials. They strategize, communicate ideas, and problem-solve to create the best structure, promoting collaboration and inventive thinking among team members.

Some widely practiced problem-solving activities include:

  • A Shrinking Vessel: Teams must fit into a shrinking space, testing their cooperation and adaptability.
  • Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower: Participants build a tower using marshmallows and spaghetti, promoting creative engineering.
  • Egg Drop: Protecting an egg from a fall challenges problem-solving skills.
  • Desert Island Survival: Teams simulate survival scenarios, encouraging creative solutions.
  • Rolling Dice: A simple yet effective game involving chance and decision-making.
  • Build a Tower: Constructing a stable tower with limited resources fosters teamwork and innovation, etc.

13 Easy Activities For Problem-Solving Ideas to Enhance Team Collaboration

Team building activities offer a great opportunity to test problem-solving abilities and promote effective collaboration within a group to problem solving group activities. By engaging in these activities, teams can break the monotony of the workplace and create a more inclusive and welcoming environment.

Here are nine easy-to-implement activities that can bring substantial change to your team culture and overall workplace dynamics.

#1. Crossword Puzzles

Crossword Puzzles

Objective: To enhance problem-solving skills, vocabulary, and cognitive abilities through engaging crossword puzzles. 

Estimated Time: 15-20 Minutes 

Materials Needed:

  • Crossword puzzle sheets
  • Pens or pencils
  • Distribute crossword puzzle sheets and pens/pencils to each participant.
  • Explain the rules of crossword puzzles and the goal of completing as many clues as possible within the given time.
  • Participants individually or in pairs work on solving the crossword puzzle by filling in the correct words.
  • Encourage critical thinking, word association, and collaborative discussions for solving challenging clues.
  • At the end of the time limit, review the answers and discuss any interesting or challenging clues as a group.
  • Enhanced Problem-Solving: Participants engage in critical thinking while deciphering clues, promoting effective problem-solving skills.
  • Vocabulary Expansion: Exposure to new words and phrases within the crossword improves vocabulary and comprehension.
  • Cognitive Stimulation: The mental exercise of solving the puzzle stimulates the brain, enhancing cognitive abilities.
  • Team Collaboration: If done in pairs, participants practice collaboration and communication to solve clues together.
  • Achievement and Motivation: Successfully completing the crossword brings a sense of accomplishment and motivates individuals to explore more puzzles.

Tips for Facilitators:

  • Provide varying levels of crossword puzzles to accommodate different skill levels.
  • Encourage participants to share strategies for solving challenging clues.
  • Emphasize the fun and educational aspects of the activity to keep participants engaged.

#2. A Shrinking Vessel

A Shrinking Vessel

Estimated Time: 10-15 Minutes

  • Materials Needed: A rope and a ball of yarn
  • Prepare the Setting: Lay a rope on the floor in a shape that allows all team members to stand comfortably inside it. For larger teams, multiple ropes can be used, dividing them into smaller groups.
  • Enter the Circle: Have all team members stand inside the rope, ensuring that nobody steps outside its boundaries.
  • Shrinking the Circle: Begin gradually shrinking the rope’s size, reducing the available space inside the circle.
  • Adapt and Maintain Balance: As the circle shrinks, team members must make subtle adjustments to maintain their positions and balance within the shrinking area.
  • The Challenge: The objective for the team is to collectively brainstorm and find innovative ways to keep every team member inside the circle without anyone stepping outside.
  • Collaboration and Communication: The activity promotes teamwork and open communication as participants strategize to stay within the shrinking circle.
  • Adaptability: Team members learn to adapt swiftly to changing circumstances, fostering agility and flexibility.
  • Creative Problem-Solving: The challenge encourages inventive thinking and brainstorming to find unique solutions.
  • Trust Building: By relying on each other’s actions, participants build trust and cohesion among team members.
  • Time-Efficient: The short duration makes it an ideal icebreaker or energizer during meetings or workshops.
  • Observe and Facilitate: Monitor the team’s dynamics and offer guidance to encourage equal participation and effective problem-solving.
  • Encourage Verbalization: Prompt participants to voice their ideas and collaborate vocally, aiding in real-time adjustments.
  • Debrief Thoughtfully: Engage the team in a discussion afterward, reflecting on strategies employed and lessons learned.
  • Emphasize Adaptability: Highlight the transferable skill of adaptability and its significance in both professional and personal contexts.

#3. Human Knots

Human Knots

  • Objective: Improving Collaboration & enhancing Communication Skills

Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes

  • Materials: None required

Procedure: 

  • Organize your team into a compact circle. For more sizable teams, subdivide them into smaller clusters, with each cluster forming its own circle. 
  • Direct each individual to grasp the hands of two other people in the circle, with the exception of those positioned directly adjacent to them. This action will result in the formation of a complex “human knot” within the circle. 
  • Present the challenge to the group: to unravel themselves from this entanglement while maintaining their hold on each other’s hands. If preferred, you can establish a specific time limit. 
  • Observe the team members collaborating to unravel the knot, witnessing their collective effort to devise solutions and free themselves from the intricate puzzle.
  • Team Cohesion: The activity encourages team members to interact closely, promoting bonding and understanding among participants.
  • Effective Communication: Participants practice clear and concise communication as they coordinate movements to untangle the knot.
  • Problem-Solving: The challenge stimulates creative thinking and problem-solving skills as individuals work collectively to find the optimal path for untangling.
  • Adaptability: Participants learn to adapt their actions based on the evolving dynamics of the human knot, fostering adaptability.
  • Trust Building: As individuals rely on each other to navigate the intricate knot, trust and cooperation naturally develop.
  • Set a Positive Tone: Create an inclusive and supportive atmosphere, emphasizing that the focus is on collaboration rather than competition.
  • Encourage Verbalization: Urge participants to articulate their intentions and listen to others’ suggestions, promoting effective teamwork.
  • Observe Group Dynamics: Monitor interactions and step in if needed to ensure everyone is actively engaged and included.
  • Reflect and Share: Conclude the activity with a debriefing session, allowing participants to share their experiences, strategies, and key takeaways.
  • Vary Grouping: Change group compositions for subsequent rounds to enhance interactions among different team members.

#4. Egg Drop

Egg Drop

Helps With: Decision Making, Collaboration

  • A carton of eggs
  • Construction materials (balloons, rubber bands, straws, tape, plastic wrap, etc.)
  • A suitable location for the activity
  • Assign each team a single egg and random construction materials.
  • Teams must create a carrier to protect the egg from breaking.
  • Drop the carriers one by one and increase the height if necessary to determine the most durable carrier.
  • The winning team is the one with the carrier that survives the highest drop.
  • Decision Making: Participants engage in critical decision-making processes as they select construction materials and determine carrier designs.
  • Collaboration: The activity necessitates collaboration and coordination among team members to construct an effective carrier.
  • Problem-Solving: Teams apply creative problem-solving skills to devise innovative methods for safeguarding the egg.
  • Risk Management: Participants learn to assess potential risks and consequences while making design choices to prevent egg breakage.
  • Celebrating Success: The victorious team experiences a sense of accomplishment, boosting morale and promoting a positive team spirit.
  • Provide Diverse Materials: Offer a wide range of construction materials to stimulate creativity and allow teams to explore various design options.
  • Set Safety Guidelines: Prioritize safety by specifying a safe drop height and ensuring participants follow safety protocols during construction.
  • Encourage Brainstorming: Prompt teams to brainstorm multiple carrier ideas before finalizing their designs, fostering diverse perspectives.
  • Facilitate Reflection: After the activity, lead a discussion where teams share their design strategies, challenges faced, and lessons learned.
  • Highlight Collaboration: Emphasize the significance of teamwork in achieving success, acknowledging effective communication and cooperation.

#5. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower

Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower

Helps With: Collaboration

Estimated Time: 20-30 Minutes

Materials Needed (per team):

  • Raw spaghetti: 20 sticks
  • Marshmallow: 1
  • String: 1 yard
  • Masking tape: 1 roll
  • Tower Construction: Instruct teams to collaborate and utilize the provided materials to construct the tallest tower possible within a designated time frame.
  • Marshmallow Support: Emphasize that the tower must be capable of standing independently and supporting a marshmallow at its highest point.
  • Prototype and Iterate: Encourage teams to engage in prototyping and iteration, testing different design approaches and refining their tower structures.
  • T eamwork and Communication: Promote effective teamwork and communication as team members coordinate their efforts to build a stable and tall tower.
  • Evaluation Criteria: Evaluate each tower based on its height, stability, and the successful placement of the marshmallow at the top.
  • Collaboration: Participants collaborate closely, sharing ideas and working together to design and construct the tower.
  • Innovative Thinking: The activity encourages innovative thinking as teams experiment with different strategies to build a stable tower.
  • Time Management: Teams practice time management skills as they work within a specified time limit to complete the task.
  • Problem-Solving: Participants engage in creative problem-solving to address challenges such as balancing the marshmallow and constructing a sturdy tower.
  • Adaptability: Teams adapt their approaches based on trial and error, learning from each iteration to improve their tower designs.
  • Set Clear Guidelines: Clearly explain the materials, objectives, and evaluation criteria to ensure teams understand the task.
  • Foster Creativity: Encourage teams to think outside the box and explore unconventional methods for constructing their towers.
  • Emphasize Collaboration: Highlight the importance of effective communication and teamwork to accomplish the task successfully.
  • Time Management: Remind teams of the time limit and encourage them to allocate their time wisely between planning and construction.
  • Reflect and Share: Facilitate a discussion after the activity, allowing teams to share their design choices, challenges faced, and lessons learned.

Sudoku

Objective: To engage participants in the strategic and analytical world of Sudoku, enhancing logical thinking and problem-solving abilities. 

Estimated Time: 20-25 Minutes 

  • Sudoku puzzle sheets
  • Pencils with erasers
  • Distribute Sudoku puzzle sheets and pencils to each participant.
  • Familiarize participants with the rules and mechanics of Sudoku puzzles.
  • Explain the goal: to fill in the empty cells with numbers from 1 to 9 while adhering to the rules of no repetition in rows, columns, or subgrids.
  • Encourage participants to analyze the puzzle’s layout, identify potential numbers, and strategically fill in cells.
  • Emphasize the importance of logical deduction and step-by-step approach in solving the puzzle.
  • Provide hints or guidance if needed, ensuring participants remain engaged and challenged.
  • Logical Thinking: Sudoku challenges participants’ logical and deductive reasoning, fostering analytical skills.
  • Problem-Solving: The intricate interplay of numbers and constraints hones problem-solving abilities.
  • Focus and Patience: Participants practice patience and attention to detail while gradually unveiling the solution.
  • Pattern Recognition: Identifying number patterns and possibilities contributes to enhanced pattern recognition skills.
  • Personal Achievement: Successfully completing a Sudoku puzzle provides a sense of accomplishment and boosts confidence.
  • Offer varying levels of Sudoku puzzles to cater to different skill levels.
  • Encourage participants to share strategies and techniques for solving specific challenges.
  • Highlight the mental workout Sudoku provides and its transferable skills to real-life problem-solving.

Escape

Helps With: Communication, Problem-solving, & Management

  • A lockable room
  • 5-10 puzzles or clues
  • Hide the key and a set of clues around the room.
  • Lock the room and provide team members with a specific time limit to find the key and escape.
  • Instruct the team to work together, solving the puzzles and deciphering the clues to locate the key.
  • Encourage efficient communication and effective problem-solving under time pressure.
  • Communication Skills: Participants enhance their communication abilities by sharing observations, ideas, and findings to collectively solve puzzles.
  • Problem-solving Proficiency: The activity challenges teams to think critically, apply logical reasoning, and collaboratively tackle intricate challenges.
  • Team Management: The experience promotes effective team management as members assign tasks, prioritize efforts, and coordinate actions.
  • Time Management: The imposed time limit sharpens time management skills as teams strategize and allocate time wisely.
  • Adaptability: Teams learn to adapt and adjust strategies based on progress, evolving clues, and time constraints.
  • Clear Introduction: Provide a concise overview of the activity, emphasizing the importance of communication, problem-solving, and time management.
  • Diverse Challenges: Offer a mix of puzzles and clues to engage various problem-solving skills, catering to different team strengths.
  • Supportive Role: Act as a facilitator, offering subtle guidance if needed while allowing teams to independently explore and solve challenges.
  • Debriefing Session: Organize a debriefing session afterward to discuss the experience, highlight successful strategies, and identify areas for improvement.
  • Encourage Reflection: Encourage participants to reflect on their teamwork, communication effectiveness, and problem-solving approach.

#8. Frostbite for Group Problem Solving Activities

Frostbite for Group Problem Solving Activities

Helps With: Decision Making, Trust, Leadership

  • An electric fan
  • Construction materials (toothpicks, cardstock, rubber bands, sticky notes, etc.)
  • Divide the team into groups of 4-5 people, each with a designated leader.
  • Blindfold team members and prohibit leaders from using their hands.
  • Provide teams with construction materials and challenge them to build a tent within 30 minutes.
  • Test the tents using the fan to see which can withstand high winds.
  • Decision-Making Proficiency: Participants are exposed to critical decision-making situations under constraints, allowing them to practice effective and efficient decision-making.
  • Trust Development: Blindfolding team members and relying on the designated leaders fosters trust and collaboration among team members.
  • Leadership Skills: Designated leaders navigate the challenge without hands-on involvement, enhancing their leadership and communication skills.
  • Creative Problem Solving: Teams employ creative thinking and resourcefulness to construct stable tents with limited sensory input.
  • Team Cohesion: The shared task and unique constraints promote team cohesion and mutual understanding.
  • Role of the Facilitator: Act as an observer, allowing teams to navigate the challenge with minimal intervention. Offer assistance only when necessary.
  • Clarity in Instructions: Provide clear instructions regarding blindfolding, leader restrictions, and time limits to ensure a consistent experience.
  • Debriefing Session: After the activity, conduct a debriefing session to discuss team dynamics, leadership approaches, and decision-making strategies.
  • Encourage Communication: Emphasize the importance of effective communication within teams to ensure smooth coordination and successful tent construction.
  • Acknowledge Creativity: Celebrate creative solutions and innovative approaches exhibited by teams during the tent-building process.

#9. Dumbest Idea First

Dumbest Idea First

Helps With: Critical Thinking & Creative Problem Solving Activity

Estimated Time: 15-20 Minutes

Materials Needed: A piece of paper, pen, and pencil

  • Problem Presentation: Introduce a specific problem to the team, either a real-world challenge or a hypothetical scenario that requires a solution.
  • Brainstorming Dumb Ideas: Instruct team members to quickly generate and jot down the most unconventional and seemingly “dumb” ideas they can think of to address the problem.
  • Idea Sharing: Encourage each participant to share their generated ideas with the group, fostering a relaxed and open atmosphere for creative expression.
  • Viability Assessment: As a team, review and evaluate each idea, considering potential benefits and drawbacks. Emphasize the goal of identifying unconventional approaches.
  • Selecting Promising Solutions: Identify which seemingly “dumb” ideas could hold hidden potential or innovative insights. Discuss how these ideas could be adapted into workable solutions.
  • Divergent Thinking: Participants engage in divergent thinking, pushing beyond conventional boundaries to explore unconventional solutions.
  • Creative Exploration: The activity sparks creative exploration by encouraging participants to let go of inhibitions and embrace imaginative thinking.
  • Critical Analysis: Through evaluating each idea, participants practice critical analysis and learn to identify unique angles and aspects of potential solutions.
  • Open Communication: The lighthearted approach of sharing “dumb” ideas fosters open communication, reducing fear of judgment and promoting active participation.
  • Solution Adaptation: Identifying elements of seemingly “dumb” ideas that have merit encourages participants to adapt and refine their approaches creatively.
  • Safe Environment: Foster a safe and non-judgmental environment where participants feel comfortable sharing unconventional ideas.
  • Time Management: Set clear time limits for idea generation and sharing to maintain the activity’s energetic pace.
  • Encourage Wild Ideas: Emphasize that the goal is to explore the unconventional, urging participants to push the boundaries of creativity.
  • Facilitator Participation: Participate in idea generation to demonstrate an open-minded approach and encourage involvement.
  • Debriefing Discussion: After the activity, facilitate a discussion on how seemingly “dumb” ideas can inspire innovative solutions and stimulate fresh thinking.

This activity encourages out-of-the-box thinking and creative problem-solving. It allows teams to explore unconventional ideas that may lead to unexpected, yet effective, solutions.

#10: Legoman

Legoman.

Helps With: Foster teamwork, communication, and creativity through a collaborative Lego-building activity.

Estimated Time: 20-30 minutes

  • Lego bricks
  • Lego instruction manuals

Procedure :

  • Divide participants into small teams of 3-5 members.
  • Provide each team with an equal set of Lego bricks and a Lego instruction manual.
  • Explain that the goal is for teams to work together to construct the Lego model shown in the manual.
  • Set a time limit for the building activity based on model complexity.
  • Allow teams to self-organize, build, and collaborate to complete the model within the time limit.
  • Evaluate each team’s final model compared to the manual’s original design.
  • Enhanced Communication: Participants must communicate clearly and listen actively to collaborate effectively.
  • Strengthened Teamwork: Combining efforts toward a shared goal promotes camaraderie and team cohesion.
  • Creative Problem-Solving: Teams must creatively problem-solve if pieces are missing or instructions unclear.
  • Planning and Resource Allocation: Following instructions fosters planning skills and efficient use of resources.
  • Sense of Achievement: Completing a challenging build provides a sense of collective accomplishment.
  • Encourage Participation: Urge quieter members to contribute ideas and take an active role.
  • Highlight Teamwork: Emphasize how cooperation and task coordination are key to success.
  • Ensure Equal Engagement: Monitor group dynamics to ensure all members are engaged.
  • Allow Creativity: Permit modifications if teams lack exact pieces or wish to get creative.
  • Focus on Enjoyment: Create a lively atmosphere so the activity remains energizing and fun.

#11: Minefield

Minefield.

Helps With: Trust, Communication, Patience

Materials Needed: Open space, blindfolds

  • Mark a “minefield” on the ground using ropes, cones, or tape. Add toy mines or paper cups.
  • Pair up participants and blindfold one partner.
  • Position blindfolded partners at the start of the minefield. Direct seeing partners to verbally guide them through to the other side without hitting “mines.”
  • Partners switch roles once finished and repeat.
  • Time partnerships and provide prizes for the fastest safe crossing.
  • Trust Building: Blindfolded partners must trust their partner’s instructions.
  • Effective Communication: Giving clear, specific directions is essential for navigating the minefield.
  • Active Listening: Partners must listen closely and follow directions precisely.
  • Patience & Support: The exercise requires patience and encouraging guidance between partners.
  • Team Coordination: Partners must work in sync, coordinating movements and communication.
  • Test Boundaries: Ensure the minefield’s size accommodates safe movement and communication.
  • Monitor Interactions: Watch for dominant guidance and ensure both partners participate fully.
  • Time Strategically: Adjust time limits based on the minefield size and difficulty.
  • Add Obstacles: Introduce additional non-mine objects to increase challenge and communication needs.
  • Foster Discussion: Debrief afterward to discuss communication approaches and trust-building takeaways.

#12: Reverse Pyramid

Reverse Pyramid.

Helps With: Teamwork, Communication, Creativity

Materials Needed: 36 cups per group, tables

  • Form small groups of 5-7 participants.
  • Provide each group with a stack of 36 cups and a designated building area.
  • Explain the objective: Build the tallest pyramid starting with just one cup on top.
  • Place the first cup on the table, and anyone in the group can add two cups beneath it to form the second row.
  • From this point, only the bottom row can be lifted to add the next row underneath.
  • Cups in the pyramid can only be touched or supported by index fingers.
  • If the structure falls, start over from one cup.
  • Offer more cups if a group uses all provided.
  • Allow 15 minutes for building.

Teamwork: Collaborate to construct the pyramid.

Communication: Discuss and execute the building strategy.

Creativity: Find innovative ways to build a tall, stable pyramid.

Clarify Expectations: Emphasize the definition of a pyramid with each row having one less cup.

Encourage Perseverance: Motivate groups to continue despite challenges.

Promote Consensus: Encourage groups to work together and help each other.

Reflect on Failure: Use collapses as a metaphor for overcoming obstacles and improving.

Consider Competitions: Modify the activity for competitive teams and scoring.

#13: Stranded

Stranded.

Helps With: Decision-making, Prioritization, Teamwork

Materials Needed: List of salvaged items, paper, pens

  • Present a scenario where teams are stranded and must prioritize items salvaged from a plane crash.
  • Provide teams with the same list of ~15 salvaged items.
  • Instruct teams to agree on an item ranking with #1 being the most important for survival.
  • Teams share and compare their prioritized lists. Identify differences in approach.
  • Discuss what factors influenced decisions and how teams worked together to agree on priorities.
  • Critical Thinking: Weighing item importance requires analytical thinking and discussion.
  • Team Decision-Making: Coming to a consensus fosters team decision-making capabilities.
  • Prioritization Skills: Ranking items strengthen prioritization and justification abilities.
  • Perspective-Taking: Understanding different prioritizations builds perspective-taking skills.
  • Team Cohesion: Collaborating toward a shared goal brings teams closer together.
  • Encourage Discussion: Urge teams to discuss all ideas rather than allow single members to dominate.
  • Be Engaged: Circulate to listen in on team discussions and pose thought-provoking questions.
  • Add Complexity: Introduce scenarios with additional constraints to expand critical thinking.
  • Highlight Disagreements: When priorities differ, facilitate constructive discussions on influencing factors.
  • Recognize Collaboration: Acknowledge teams that demonstrate exceptional teamwork and communication.

Now let’s look at some common types of problem-solving activities.

Types of Problem-Solving Activities

The most common types of problem-solving activities/exercises are:

  • Creative problem-solving activities
  • Group problem-solving activities
  • Individual problem-solving activities
  • Fun problem-solving activities, etc.

In the next segments, we’ll be discussing these types of problem-solving activities in detail. So, keep reading!

Creative Problem-Solving Activities

Creative problem solving (CPS) means using creativity to find new solutions. It involves thinking creatively at first and then evaluating ideas later. For example, think of it like brainstorming fun game ideas, discussing them, and then picking the best one to play.

Some of the most common creative problem-solving activities include:

  • Legoman: Building creative structures with LEGO.
  • Escape: Solving puzzles to escape a room.
  • Frostbite: Finding solutions in challenging situations.
  • Minefield: Navigating a field of obstacles.

Group Problem-Solving Activities

Group problem-solving activities are challenges that make teams work together to solve puzzles or overcome obstacles. They enhance teamwork and critical thinking.

For instance, think of a puzzle-solving game where a group must find hidden clues to escape a locked room.

Here are the most common group problem-solving activities you can try in groups:

  • A Shrinking Vessel
  • Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower
  • Cardboard Boat Building Challenge
  • Clue Murder Mystery
  • Escape Room: Jewel Heist
  • Escape Room: Virtual Team Building
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Dumbest Idea First

Individual Problem-Solving Activities

As the name suggests, individual problem-solving activities are the tasks that you need to play alone to boost your critical thinking ability. They help you solve problems and stay calm while facing challenges in real life. Like puzzles, they make your brain sharper. Imagine it’s like training your brain muscles to handle tricky situations.

Here are some of the most common individual problem-solving activities:

  • Puzzles (jigsaw, crossword, sudoku, etc.)
  • Brain teasers
  • Logic problems
  • Optical illusions
  • “Escape room” style games

Fun Problem-Solving Activities

Fun problem-solving activities are enjoyable games that sharpen your critical thinking skills while having a blast. Think of activities like the Legoman challenge, escape rooms, or rolling dice games – they make problem-solving exciting and engaging!

And to be frank, all of the mentioned problem-solving activities are fun if you know how to play and enjoy them as all of them are game-like activities.

Team Problems You Can Address Through Problem Solving Activities

Fun problem-solving activities serve as dynamic tools to address a range of challenges that teams often encounter. These engaging activities foster an environment of collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, enabling teams to tackle various problems head-on. Here are some common team problems that can be effectively addressed through these activities:

  • Communication Breakdowns:  

Activities like “Escape,” “A Shrinking Vessel,” and “Human Knots” emphasize the importance of clear and effective communication. They require teams to work together, exchange ideas, and devise strategies to accomplish a shared goal. By engaging in these activities, team members learn to communicate more efficiently, enhancing overall team communication in real-world situations.

  • Lack of Trust and Cohesion:  

Problem-solving activities promote trust and cohesiveness within teams. For instance, “Frostbite” and “Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower” require teams to collaborate closely, trust each other’s ideas, and rely on each member’s strengths. These activities build a sense of unity and trust, which can translate into improved teamwork and collaboration.

  • Innovative Thinking:  

“Dumbest Idea First” and “Egg Drop” encourage teams to think outside the box and explore unconventional solutions. These activities challenge teams to be creative and innovative in their problem-solving approaches, fostering a culture of thinking beyond traditional boundaries when faced with complex issues.

  • Decision-Making Challenges:  

Activities like “Onethread” facilitate group decision-making by providing a platform for open discussions and collaborative choices. Problem-solving activities require teams to make decisions collectively, teaching them to weigh options, consider different viewpoints, and arrive at informed conclusions—a skill that is transferable to real-world decision-making scenarios.

  • Leadership and Role Clarification:  

Activities such as “Frostbite” and “Egg Drop” designate team leaders and roles within groups. This provides an opportunity for team members to practice leadership, delegation, and role-specific tasks. By experiencing leadership dynamics in a controlled setting, teams can improve their leadership skills and better understand their roles in actual projects.

  • Problem-Solving Strategies:  

All of the problem-solving activities involve the application of different strategies. Teams learn to analyze problems, break them down into manageable components, and develop systematic approaches for resolution. These strategies can be adapted to real-world challenges, enabling teams to approach complex issues with confidence.

  • Team Morale and Engagement:  

Participating in engaging and enjoyable activities boosts team morale and engagement. These activities provide a break from routine tasks, energize team members, and create a positive and fun atmosphere. Elevated team morale can lead to increased motivation and productivity.

By incorporating these fun problem-solving activities, teams can address a variety of challenges, foster skill development, and build a more cohesive and effective working environment. As teams learn to collaborate, communicate, innovate, and make decisions collectively, they are better equipped to overcome obstacles and achieve shared goals.

The Benefits of Problem Solving Activities for Your Team

The Benefits of Problem Solving Activities for Your Team

#1 Better Thinking

Problem-solving activities bring out the best in team members by encouraging them to contribute their unique ideas. This stimulates better thinking as team managers evaluate different solutions and choose the most suitable ones.

For example, a remote team struggling with communication benefited from quick thinking and the sharing of ideas, leading to the adoption of various communication modes for improved collaboration.

#2 Better Risk Handling

Team building problem solving activities condition individuals to handle risks more effectively. By engaging in challenging situations and finding solutions, team members develop the ability to respond better to stressful circumstances.

#3 Better Communication

Regular communication among team members is crucial for efficient problem-solving. Engaging in problem-solving activities fosters cooperation and communication within the team, resulting in better understanding and collaboration. Using tools like OneThread can further enhance team communication and accountability.

#4 Improved Productivity Output

When teams work cohesively, overall productivity improves, leading to enhanced profit margins for the company or organization. Involving managers and team members in problem-solving activities can positively impact the company’s growth and profitability.

How Onethread Enhances the Effect of Problem Solving Activities

Problem-solving activities within teams thrive on collaborative efforts and shared perspectives. Onethread emerges as a potent facilitator, enabling teams to collectively tackle challenges and harness diverse viewpoints with precision. Here’s a comprehensive view of how Onethread amplifies team collaboration in problem-solving initiatives:

Open Channels for Discussion:

Open Channels for Discussion

Onethread’s real-time messaging feature serves as a dedicated hub for open and seamless discussions. Teams can engage in brainstorming sessions, share insightful observations, and propose innovative solutions within a flexible environment. Asynchronous communication empowers members to contribute their insights at their convenience, fostering comprehensive problem analysis with ample deliberation.

Centralized Sharing of Resources:

Centralized Sharing of Resources

Effective problem-solving often hinges on access to pertinent resources. Onethread’s document sharing functionality ensures that critical information, references, and research findings are centralized and readily accessible. This eradicates the need for cumbersome email attachments and enables team members to collaborate with precise and up-to-date data.

Efficient Task Allocation and Monitoring:

Efficient Task Allocation and Monitoring

Problem-solving journeys comprise a series of tasks and actions. Onethread’s task management capability streamlines the delegation of specific responsibilities to team members. Assign tasks related to research, data analysis, or solution implementation and monitor progress in real time. This cultivates a sense of accountability and guarantees comprehensive coverage of every facet of the problem-solving process.

Facilitated Collaborative Decision-Making: Navigating intricate problems often demands collective decision-making. Onethread’s collaborative ecosystem empowers teams to deliberate over potential solutions, assess pros and cons, and make well-informed choices. Transparent discussions ensure that decisions are comprehensively comprehended and supported by the entire team.

Seamless Documentation and Insights Sharing:

Seamless Documentation and Insights Sharing

As the problem-solving journey unfolds, the accumulation of insights and conclusions becomes pivotal. Onethread’s collaborative document editing feature empowers teams to document their discoveries, chronicle the steps undertaken, and showcase successful solutions. This shared repository of documentation serves as a valuable resource for future reference and continuous learning.

With Onethread orchestrating the backdrop, team collaboration during problem-solving activities transforms into a harmonious fusion of insights, ideas, and actionable steps.

What are the 5 problem-solving skills?

The top 5 problem-solving skills in 2023 are critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, adaptability, and data literacy. Most employers seek these skills in their workforce.

What are the steps of problem-solving?

Problem-solving steps are as follows: 1. Define the problem clearly. 2. Analyze the issue in detail. 3. Generate potential solutions. 4. Evaluate these options. 5. Choose the best solution. 6. Put the chosen solution into action. 7. Measure the outcomes to assess effectiveness and improvements made. These sequential steps assist in efficient and effective problem resolution.

How do you teach problem-solving skills?

Teaching problem-solving involves modelling effective methods within a context, helping students grasp the problem, dedicating ample time, asking guiding questions, and giving suggestions. Connect errors to misconceptions to enhance understanding, fostering a straightforward approach to building problem-solving skills.

So here is all about “activities for problem solving”.No matter which activity you choose, engaging in problem-solving activities not only provides entertainment but also helps enhance cognitive abilities such as critical thinking, decision making, and creativity. So why not make problem solving a regular part of your routine?

Take some time each day or week to engage in these activities and watch as your problem-solving skills grow stronger. Plus, it’s an enjoyable way to pass the time and challenge yourself mentally.

So go ahead, grab a puzzle or gather some friends for a game night – get ready to have fun while sharpening your problem-solving skills!

problem solving collaborative activities

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problem solving collaborative activities

Collaborative Problem Solving: What It Is and How to Do It

What is collaborative problem solving, how to solve problems as a team, celebrating success as a team.

Problems arise. That's a well-known fact of life and business. When they do, it may seem more straightforward to take individual ownership of the problem and immediately run with trying to solve it. However, the most effective problem-solving solutions often come through collaborative problem solving.

As defined by Webster's Dictionary , the word collaborate is to work jointly with others or together, especially in an intellectual endeavor. Therefore, collaborative problem solving (CPS) is essentially solving problems by working together as a team. While problems can and are solved individually, CPS often brings about the best resolution to a problem while also developing a team atmosphere and encouraging creative thinking.

Because collaborative problem solving involves multiple people and ideas, there are some techniques that can help you stay on track, engage efficiently, and communicate effectively during collaboration.

  • Set Expectations. From the very beginning, expectations for openness and respect must be established for CPS to be effective. Everyone participating should feel that their ideas will be heard and valued.
  • Provide Variety. Another way of providing variety can be by eliciting individuals outside the organization but affected by the problem. This may mean involving various levels of leadership from the ground floor to the top of the organization. It may be that you involve someone from bookkeeping in a marketing problem-solving session. A perspective from someone not involved in the day-to-day of the problem can often provide valuable insight.
  • Communicate Clearly.  If the problem is not well-defined, the solution can't be. By clearly defining the problem, the framework for collaborative problem solving is narrowed and more effective.
  • Expand the Possibilities.  Think beyond what is offered. Take a discarded idea and expand upon it. Turn it upside down and inside out. What is good about it? What needs improvement? Sometimes the best ideas are those that have been discarded rather than reworked.
  • Encourage Creativity.  Out-of-the-box thinking is one of the great benefits of collaborative problem-solving. This may mean that solutions are proposed that have no way of working, but a small nugget makes its way from that creative thought to evolution into the perfect solution.
  • Provide Positive Feedback. There are many reasons participants may hold back in a collaborative problem-solving meeting. Fear of performance evaluation, lack of confidence, lack of clarity, and hierarchy concerns are just a few of the reasons people may not initially participate in a meeting. Positive public feedback early on in the meeting will eliminate some of these concerns and create more participation and more possible solutions.
  • Consider Solutions. Once several possible ideas have been identified, discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each one until a consensus is made.
  • Assign Tasks.  A problem identified and a solution selected is not a problem solved. Once a solution is determined, assign tasks to work towards a resolution. A team that has been invested in the creation of the solution will be invested in its resolution. The best time to act is now.
  • Evaluate the Solution. Reconnect as a team once the solution is implemented and the problem is solved. What went well? What didn't? Why? Collaboration doesn't necessarily end when the problem is solved. The solution to the problem is often the next step towards a new collaboration.

The burden that is lifted when a problem is solved is enough victory for some. However, a team that plays together should celebrate together. It's not only collaboration that brings unity to a team. It's also the combined celebration of a unified victory—the moment you look around and realize the collectiveness of your success.

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problem solving collaborative activities

  • August 24, 2021
  • Featured , Management Tips , Mental health , Team Building , Virtual Experiences

Post: The 13 Best Team Building Problem Solving Activities

Employees playing reverse pyramid a team building problem solving activity

This post was last updated on, August 13th, 2022

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 teammates for input when drawing an object from a list.

Each team chooses one participant to wear a blindfold 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 team’s 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.

Reverse Pyramid

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 afterward.

The team with the highest percentage of successful drops wins!

Ideal for groups of 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

Organizational jenga.

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 colored 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: the 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 room 

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

Geocache adventure.

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.

Table of Contents

Latest articles, the best wfh productivity tips for remote workers in 2024 .

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An Informative Guide to DEI Training

It’s party time.

Are you ready for virtual team-building that’s more exciting than a unicorn riding a rainbow? WOYAGO is here to make your team-building experience one to remember by taking your team to travel virtually.

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Staying productive while working remotely can be challenging, especially when deadlines draw closer and tasks pile up. Some individuals turn

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  • Review Article
  • Open access
  • Published: 11 January 2023

The effectiveness of collaborative problem solving in promoting students’ critical thinking: A meta-analysis based on empirical literature

  • Enwei Xu   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6424-8169 1 ,
  • Wei Wang 1 &
  • Qingxia Wang 1  

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications volume  10 , Article number:  16 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

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  • Science, technology and society

Collaborative problem-solving has been widely embraced in the classroom instruction of critical thinking, which is regarded as the core of curriculum reform based on key competencies in the field of education as well as a key competence for learners in the 21st century. However, the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking remains uncertain. This current research presents the major findings of a meta-analysis of 36 pieces of the literature revealed in worldwide educational periodicals during the 21st century to identify the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking and to determine, based on evidence, whether and to what extent collaborative problem solving can result in a rise or decrease in critical thinking. The findings show that (1) collaborative problem solving is an effective teaching approach to foster students’ critical thinking, with a significant overall effect size (ES = 0.82, z  = 12.78, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.69, 0.95]); (2) in respect to the dimensions of critical thinking, collaborative problem solving can significantly and successfully enhance students’ attitudinal tendencies (ES = 1.17, z  = 7.62, P  < 0.01, 95% CI[0.87, 1.47]); nevertheless, it falls short in terms of improving students’ cognitive skills, having only an upper-middle impact (ES = 0.70, z  = 11.55, P  < 0.01, 95% CI[0.58, 0.82]); and (3) the teaching type (chi 2  = 7.20, P  < 0.05), intervention duration (chi 2  = 12.18, P  < 0.01), subject area (chi 2  = 13.36, P  < 0.05), group size (chi 2  = 8.77, P  < 0.05), and learning scaffold (chi 2  = 9.03, P  < 0.01) all have an impact on critical thinking, and they can be viewed as important moderating factors that affect how critical thinking develops. On the basis of these results, recommendations are made for further study and instruction to better support students’ critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving.

Introduction

Although critical thinking has a long history in research, the concept of critical thinking, which is regarded as an essential competence for learners in the 21st century, has recently attracted more attention from researchers and teaching practitioners (National Research Council, 2012 ). Critical thinking should be the core of curriculum reform based on key competencies in the field of education (Peng and Deng, 2017 ) because students with critical thinking can not only understand the meaning of knowledge but also effectively solve practical problems in real life even after knowledge is forgotten (Kek and Huijser, 2011 ). The definition of critical thinking is not universal (Ennis, 1989 ; Castle, 2009 ; Niu et al., 2013 ). In general, the definition of critical thinking is a self-aware and self-regulated thought process (Facione, 1990 ; Niu et al., 2013 ). It refers to the cognitive skills needed to interpret, analyze, synthesize, reason, and evaluate information as well as the attitudinal tendency to apply these abilities (Halpern, 2001 ). The view that critical thinking can be taught and learned through curriculum teaching has been widely supported by many researchers (e.g., Kuncel, 2011 ; Leng and Lu, 2020 ), leading to educators’ efforts to foster it among students. In the field of teaching practice, there are three types of courses for teaching critical thinking (Ennis, 1989 ). The first is an independent curriculum in which critical thinking is taught and cultivated without involving the knowledge of specific disciplines; the second is an integrated curriculum in which critical thinking is integrated into the teaching of other disciplines as a clear teaching goal; and the third is a mixed curriculum in which critical thinking is taught in parallel to the teaching of other disciplines for mixed teaching training. Furthermore, numerous measuring tools have been developed by researchers and educators to measure critical thinking in the context of teaching practice. These include standardized measurement tools, such as WGCTA, CCTST, CCTT, and CCTDI, which have been verified by repeated experiments and are considered effective and reliable by international scholars (Facione and Facione, 1992 ). In short, descriptions of critical thinking, including its two dimensions of attitudinal tendency and cognitive skills, different types of teaching courses, and standardized measurement tools provide a complex normative framework for understanding, teaching, and evaluating critical thinking.

Cultivating critical thinking in curriculum teaching can start with a problem, and one of the most popular critical thinking instructional approaches is problem-based learning (Liu et al., 2020 ). Duch et al. ( 2001 ) noted that problem-based learning in group collaboration is progressive active learning, which can improve students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Collaborative problem-solving is the organic integration of collaborative learning and problem-based learning, which takes learners as the center of the learning process and uses problems with poor structure in real-world situations as the starting point for the learning process (Liang et al., 2017 ). Students learn the knowledge needed to solve problems in a collaborative group, reach a consensus on problems in the field, and form solutions through social cooperation methods, such as dialogue, interpretation, questioning, debate, negotiation, and reflection, thus promoting the development of learners’ domain knowledge and critical thinking (Cindy, 2004 ; Liang et al., 2017 ).

Collaborative problem-solving has been widely used in the teaching practice of critical thinking, and several studies have attempted to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the empirical literature on critical thinking from various perspectives. However, little attention has been paid to the impact of collaborative problem-solving on critical thinking. Therefore, the best approach for developing and enhancing critical thinking throughout collaborative problem-solving is to examine how to implement critical thinking instruction; however, this issue is still unexplored, which means that many teachers are incapable of better instructing critical thinking (Leng and Lu, 2020 ; Niu et al., 2013 ). For example, Huber ( 2016 ) provided the meta-analysis findings of 71 publications on gaining critical thinking over various time frames in college with the aim of determining whether critical thinking was truly teachable. These authors found that learners significantly improve their critical thinking while in college and that critical thinking differs with factors such as teaching strategies, intervention duration, subject area, and teaching type. The usefulness of collaborative problem-solving in fostering students’ critical thinking, however, was not determined by this study, nor did it reveal whether there existed significant variations among the different elements. A meta-analysis of 31 pieces of educational literature was conducted by Liu et al. ( 2020 ) to assess the impact of problem-solving on college students’ critical thinking. These authors found that problem-solving could promote the development of critical thinking among college students and proposed establishing a reasonable group structure for problem-solving in a follow-up study to improve students’ critical thinking. Additionally, previous empirical studies have reached inconclusive and even contradictory conclusions about whether and to what extent collaborative problem-solving increases or decreases critical thinking levels. As an illustration, Yang et al. ( 2008 ) carried out an experiment on the integrated curriculum teaching of college students based on a web bulletin board with the goal of fostering participants’ critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving. These authors’ research revealed that through sharing, debating, examining, and reflecting on various experiences and ideas, collaborative problem-solving can considerably enhance students’ critical thinking in real-life problem situations. In contrast, collaborative problem-solving had a positive impact on learners’ interaction and could improve learning interest and motivation but could not significantly improve students’ critical thinking when compared to traditional classroom teaching, according to research by Naber and Wyatt ( 2014 ) and Sendag and Odabasi ( 2009 ) on undergraduate and high school students, respectively.

The above studies show that there is inconsistency regarding the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking. Therefore, it is essential to conduct a thorough and trustworthy review to detect and decide whether and to what degree collaborative problem-solving can result in a rise or decrease in critical thinking. Meta-analysis is a quantitative analysis approach that is utilized to examine quantitative data from various separate studies that are all focused on the same research topic. This approach characterizes the effectiveness of its impact by averaging the effect sizes of numerous qualitative studies in an effort to reduce the uncertainty brought on by independent research and produce more conclusive findings (Lipsey and Wilson, 2001 ).

This paper used a meta-analytic approach and carried out a meta-analysis to examine the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking in order to make a contribution to both research and practice. The following research questions were addressed by this meta-analysis:

What is the overall effect size of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking and its impact on the two dimensions of critical thinking (i.e., attitudinal tendency and cognitive skills)?

How are the disparities between the study conclusions impacted by various moderating variables if the impacts of various experimental designs in the included studies are heterogeneous?

This research followed the strict procedures (e.g., database searching, identification, screening, eligibility, merging, duplicate removal, and analysis of included studies) of Cooper’s ( 2010 ) proposed meta-analysis approach for examining quantitative data from various separate studies that are all focused on the same research topic. The relevant empirical research that appeared in worldwide educational periodicals within the 21st century was subjected to this meta-analysis using Rev-Man 5.4. The consistency of the data extracted separately by two researchers was tested using Cohen’s kappa coefficient, and a publication bias test and a heterogeneity test were run on the sample data to ascertain the quality of this meta-analysis.

Data sources and search strategies

There were three stages to the data collection process for this meta-analysis, as shown in Fig. 1 , which shows the number of articles included and eliminated during the selection process based on the statement and study eligibility criteria.

figure 1

This flowchart shows the number of records identified, included and excluded in the article.

First, the databases used to systematically search for relevant articles were the journal papers of the Web of Science Core Collection and the Chinese Core source journal, as well as the Chinese Social Science Citation Index (CSSCI) source journal papers included in CNKI. These databases were selected because they are credible platforms that are sources of scholarly and peer-reviewed information with advanced search tools and contain literature relevant to the subject of our topic from reliable researchers and experts. The search string with the Boolean operator used in the Web of Science was “TS = (((“critical thinking” or “ct” and “pretest” or “posttest”) or (“critical thinking” or “ct” and “control group” or “quasi experiment” or “experiment”)) and (“collaboration” or “collaborative learning” or “CSCL”) and (“problem solving” or “problem-based learning” or “PBL”))”. The research area was “Education Educational Research”, and the search period was “January 1, 2000, to December 30, 2021”. A total of 412 papers were obtained. The search string with the Boolean operator used in the CNKI was “SU = (‘critical thinking’*‘collaboration’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘collaborative learning’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘CSCL’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘problem solving’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘problem-based learning’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘PBL’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘problem oriented’) AND FT = (‘experiment’ + ‘quasi experiment’ + ‘pretest’ + ‘posttest’ + ‘empirical study’)” (translated into Chinese when searching). A total of 56 studies were found throughout the search period of “January 2000 to December 2021”. From the databases, all duplicates and retractions were eliminated before exporting the references into Endnote, a program for managing bibliographic references. In all, 466 studies were found.

Second, the studies that matched the inclusion and exclusion criteria for the meta-analysis were chosen by two researchers after they had reviewed the abstracts and titles of the gathered articles, yielding a total of 126 studies.

Third, two researchers thoroughly reviewed each included article’s whole text in accordance with the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Meanwhile, a snowball search was performed using the references and citations of the included articles to ensure complete coverage of the articles. Ultimately, 36 articles were kept.

Two researchers worked together to carry out this entire process, and a consensus rate of almost 94.7% was reached after discussion and negotiation to clarify any emerging differences.

Eligibility criteria

Since not all the retrieved studies matched the criteria for this meta-analysis, eligibility criteria for both inclusion and exclusion were developed as follows:

The publication language of the included studies was limited to English and Chinese, and the full text could be obtained. Articles that did not meet the publication language and articles not published between 2000 and 2021 were excluded.

The research design of the included studies must be empirical and quantitative studies that can assess the effect of collaborative problem-solving on the development of critical thinking. Articles that could not identify the causal mechanisms by which collaborative problem-solving affects critical thinking, such as review articles and theoretical articles, were excluded.

The research method of the included studies must feature a randomized control experiment or a quasi-experiment, or a natural experiment, which have a higher degree of internal validity with strong experimental designs and can all plausibly provide evidence that critical thinking and collaborative problem-solving are causally related. Articles with non-experimental research methods, such as purely correlational or observational studies, were excluded.

The participants of the included studies were only students in school, including K-12 students and college students. Articles in which the participants were non-school students, such as social workers or adult learners, were excluded.

The research results of the included studies must mention definite signs that may be utilized to gauge critical thinking’s impact (e.g., sample size, mean value, or standard deviation). Articles that lacked specific measurement indicators for critical thinking and could not calculate the effect size were excluded.

Data coding design

In order to perform a meta-analysis, it is necessary to collect the most important information from the articles, codify that information’s properties, and convert descriptive data into quantitative data. Therefore, this study designed a data coding template (see Table 1 ). Ultimately, 16 coding fields were retained.

The designed data-coding template consisted of three pieces of information. Basic information about the papers was included in the descriptive information: the publishing year, author, serial number, and title of the paper.

The variable information for the experimental design had three variables: the independent variable (instruction method), the dependent variable (critical thinking), and the moderating variable (learning stage, teaching type, intervention duration, learning scaffold, group size, measuring tool, and subject area). Depending on the topic of this study, the intervention strategy, as the independent variable, was coded into collaborative and non-collaborative problem-solving. The dependent variable, critical thinking, was coded as a cognitive skill and an attitudinal tendency. And seven moderating variables were created by grouping and combining the experimental design variables discovered within the 36 studies (see Table 1 ), where learning stages were encoded as higher education, high school, middle school, and primary school or lower; teaching types were encoded as mixed courses, integrated courses, and independent courses; intervention durations were encoded as 0–1 weeks, 1–4 weeks, 4–12 weeks, and more than 12 weeks; group sizes were encoded as 2–3 persons, 4–6 persons, 7–10 persons, and more than 10 persons; learning scaffolds were encoded as teacher-supported learning scaffold, technique-supported learning scaffold, and resource-supported learning scaffold; measuring tools were encoded as standardized measurement tools (e.g., WGCTA, CCTT, CCTST, and CCTDI) and self-adapting measurement tools (e.g., modified or made by researchers); and subject areas were encoded according to the specific subjects used in the 36 included studies.

The data information contained three metrics for measuring critical thinking: sample size, average value, and standard deviation. It is vital to remember that studies with various experimental designs frequently adopt various formulas to determine the effect size. And this paper used Morris’ proposed standardized mean difference (SMD) calculation formula ( 2008 , p. 369; see Supplementary Table S3 ).

Procedure for extracting and coding data

According to the data coding template (see Table 1 ), the 36 papers’ information was retrieved by two researchers, who then entered them into Excel (see Supplementary Table S1 ). The results of each study were extracted separately in the data extraction procedure if an article contained numerous studies on critical thinking, or if a study assessed different critical thinking dimensions. For instance, Tiwari et al. ( 2010 ) used four time points, which were viewed as numerous different studies, to examine the outcomes of critical thinking, and Chen ( 2013 ) included the two outcome variables of attitudinal tendency and cognitive skills, which were regarded as two studies. After discussion and negotiation during data extraction, the two researchers’ consistency test coefficients were roughly 93.27%. Supplementary Table S2 details the key characteristics of the 36 included articles with 79 effect quantities, including descriptive information (e.g., the publishing year, author, serial number, and title of the paper), variable information (e.g., independent variables, dependent variables, and moderating variables), and data information (e.g., mean values, standard deviations, and sample size). Following that, testing for publication bias and heterogeneity was done on the sample data using the Rev-Man 5.4 software, and then the test results were used to conduct a meta-analysis.

Publication bias test

When the sample of studies included in a meta-analysis does not accurately reflect the general status of research on the relevant subject, publication bias is said to be exhibited in this research. The reliability and accuracy of the meta-analysis may be impacted by publication bias. Due to this, the meta-analysis needs to check the sample data for publication bias (Stewart et al., 2006 ). A popular method to check for publication bias is the funnel plot; and it is unlikely that there will be publishing bias when the data are equally dispersed on either side of the average effect size and targeted within the higher region. The data are equally dispersed within the higher portion of the efficient zone, consistent with the funnel plot connected with this analysis (see Fig. 2 ), indicating that publication bias is unlikely in this situation.

figure 2

This funnel plot shows the result of publication bias of 79 effect quantities across 36 studies.

Heterogeneity test

To select the appropriate effect models for the meta-analysis, one might use the results of a heterogeneity test on the data effect sizes. In a meta-analysis, it is common practice to gauge the degree of data heterogeneity using the I 2 value, and I 2  ≥ 50% is typically understood to denote medium-high heterogeneity, which calls for the adoption of a random effect model; if not, a fixed effect model ought to be applied (Lipsey and Wilson, 2001 ). The findings of the heterogeneity test in this paper (see Table 2 ) revealed that I 2 was 86% and displayed significant heterogeneity ( P  < 0.01). To ensure accuracy and reliability, the overall effect size ought to be calculated utilizing the random effect model.

The analysis of the overall effect size

This meta-analysis utilized a random effect model to examine 79 effect quantities from 36 studies after eliminating heterogeneity. In accordance with Cohen’s criterion (Cohen, 1992 ), it is abundantly clear from the analysis results, which are shown in the forest plot of the overall effect (see Fig. 3 ), that the cumulative impact size of cooperative problem-solving is 0.82, which is statistically significant ( z  = 12.78, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.69, 0.95]), and can encourage learners to practice critical thinking.

figure 3

This forest plot shows the analysis result of the overall effect size across 36 studies.

In addition, this study examined two distinct dimensions of critical thinking to better understand the precise contributions that collaborative problem-solving makes to the growth of critical thinking. The findings (see Table 3 ) indicate that collaborative problem-solving improves cognitive skills (ES = 0.70) and attitudinal tendency (ES = 1.17), with significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 7.95, P  < 0.01). Although collaborative problem-solving improves both dimensions of critical thinking, it is essential to point out that the improvements in students’ attitudinal tendency are much more pronounced and have a significant comprehensive effect (ES = 1.17, z  = 7.62, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.87, 1.47]), whereas gains in learners’ cognitive skill are slightly improved and are just above average. (ES = 0.70, z  = 11.55, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.58, 0.82]).

The analysis of moderator effect size

The whole forest plot’s 79 effect quantities underwent a two-tailed test, which revealed significant heterogeneity ( I 2  = 86%, z  = 12.78, P  < 0.01), indicating differences between various effect sizes that may have been influenced by moderating factors other than sampling error. Therefore, exploring possible moderating factors that might produce considerable heterogeneity was done using subgroup analysis, such as the learning stage, learning scaffold, teaching type, group size, duration of the intervention, measuring tool, and the subject area included in the 36 experimental designs, in order to further explore the key factors that influence critical thinking. The findings (see Table 4 ) indicate that various moderating factors have advantageous effects on critical thinking. In this situation, the subject area (chi 2  = 13.36, P  < 0.05), group size (chi 2  = 8.77, P  < 0.05), intervention duration (chi 2  = 12.18, P  < 0.01), learning scaffold (chi 2  = 9.03, P  < 0.01), and teaching type (chi 2  = 7.20, P  < 0.05) are all significant moderators that can be applied to support the cultivation of critical thinking. However, since the learning stage and the measuring tools did not significantly differ among intergroup (chi 2  = 3.15, P  = 0.21 > 0.05, and chi 2  = 0.08, P  = 0.78 > 0.05), we are unable to explain why these two factors are crucial in supporting the cultivation of critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving. These are the precise outcomes, as follows:

Various learning stages influenced critical thinking positively, without significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 3.15, P  = 0.21 > 0.05). High school was first on the list of effect sizes (ES = 1.36, P  < 0.01), then higher education (ES = 0.78, P  < 0.01), and middle school (ES = 0.73, P  < 0.01). These results show that, despite the learning stage’s beneficial influence on cultivating learners’ critical thinking, we are unable to explain why it is essential for cultivating critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving.

Different teaching types had varying degrees of positive impact on critical thinking, with significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 7.20, P  < 0.05). The effect size was ranked as follows: mixed courses (ES = 1.34, P  < 0.01), integrated courses (ES = 0.81, P  < 0.01), and independent courses (ES = 0.27, P  < 0.01). These results indicate that the most effective approach to cultivate critical thinking utilizing collaborative problem solving is through the teaching type of mixed courses.

Various intervention durations significantly improved critical thinking, and there were significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 12.18, P  < 0.01). The effect sizes related to this variable showed a tendency to increase with longer intervention durations. The improvement in critical thinking reached a significant level (ES = 0.85, P  < 0.01) after more than 12 weeks of training. These findings indicate that the intervention duration and critical thinking’s impact are positively correlated, with a longer intervention duration having a greater effect.

Different learning scaffolds influenced critical thinking positively, with significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 9.03, P  < 0.01). The resource-supported learning scaffold (ES = 0.69, P  < 0.01) acquired a medium-to-higher level of impact, the technique-supported learning scaffold (ES = 0.63, P  < 0.01) also attained a medium-to-higher level of impact, and the teacher-supported learning scaffold (ES = 0.92, P  < 0.01) displayed a high level of significant impact. These results show that the learning scaffold with teacher support has the greatest impact on cultivating critical thinking.

Various group sizes influenced critical thinking positively, and the intergroup differences were statistically significant (chi 2  = 8.77, P  < 0.05). Critical thinking showed a general declining trend with increasing group size. The overall effect size of 2–3 people in this situation was the biggest (ES = 0.99, P  < 0.01), and when the group size was greater than 7 people, the improvement in critical thinking was at the lower-middle level (ES < 0.5, P  < 0.01). These results show that the impact on critical thinking is positively connected with group size, and as group size grows, so does the overall impact.

Various measuring tools influenced critical thinking positively, with significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 0.08, P  = 0.78 > 0.05). In this situation, the self-adapting measurement tools obtained an upper-medium level of effect (ES = 0.78), whereas the complete effect size of the standardized measurement tools was the largest, achieving a significant level of effect (ES = 0.84, P  < 0.01). These results show that, despite the beneficial influence of the measuring tool on cultivating critical thinking, we are unable to explain why it is crucial in fostering the growth of critical thinking by utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

Different subject areas had a greater impact on critical thinking, and the intergroup differences were statistically significant (chi 2  = 13.36, P  < 0.05). Mathematics had the greatest overall impact, achieving a significant level of effect (ES = 1.68, P  < 0.01), followed by science (ES = 1.25, P  < 0.01) and medical science (ES = 0.87, P  < 0.01), both of which also achieved a significant level of effect. Programming technology was the least effective (ES = 0.39, P  < 0.01), only having a medium-low degree of effect compared to education (ES = 0.72, P  < 0.01) and other fields (such as language, art, and social sciences) (ES = 0.58, P  < 0.01). These results suggest that scientific fields (e.g., mathematics, science) may be the most effective subject areas for cultivating critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

The effectiveness of collaborative problem solving with regard to teaching critical thinking

According to this meta-analysis, using collaborative problem-solving as an intervention strategy in critical thinking teaching has a considerable amount of impact on cultivating learners’ critical thinking as a whole and has a favorable promotional effect on the two dimensions of critical thinking. According to certain studies, collaborative problem solving, the most frequently used critical thinking teaching strategy in curriculum instruction can considerably enhance students’ critical thinking (e.g., Liang et al., 2017 ; Liu et al., 2020 ; Cindy, 2004 ). This meta-analysis provides convergent data support for the above research views. Thus, the findings of this meta-analysis not only effectively address the first research query regarding the overall effect of cultivating critical thinking and its impact on the two dimensions of critical thinking (i.e., attitudinal tendency and cognitive skills) utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving, but also enhance our confidence in cultivating critical thinking by using collaborative problem-solving intervention approach in the context of classroom teaching.

Furthermore, the associated improvements in attitudinal tendency are much stronger, but the corresponding improvements in cognitive skill are only marginally better. According to certain studies, cognitive skill differs from the attitudinal tendency in classroom instruction; the cultivation and development of the former as a key ability is a process of gradual accumulation, while the latter as an attitude is affected by the context of the teaching situation (e.g., a novel and exciting teaching approach, challenging and rewarding tasks) (Halpern, 2001 ; Wei and Hong, 2022 ). Collaborative problem-solving as a teaching approach is exciting and interesting, as well as rewarding and challenging; because it takes the learners as the focus and examines problems with poor structure in real situations, and it can inspire students to fully realize their potential for problem-solving, which will significantly improve their attitudinal tendency toward solving problems (Liu et al., 2020 ). Similar to how collaborative problem-solving influences attitudinal tendency, attitudinal tendency impacts cognitive skill when attempting to solve a problem (Liu et al., 2020 ; Zhang et al., 2022 ), and stronger attitudinal tendencies are associated with improved learning achievement and cognitive ability in students (Sison, 2008 ; Zhang et al., 2022 ). It can be seen that the two specific dimensions of critical thinking as well as critical thinking as a whole are affected by collaborative problem-solving, and this study illuminates the nuanced links between cognitive skills and attitudinal tendencies with regard to these two dimensions of critical thinking. To fully develop students’ capacity for critical thinking, future empirical research should pay closer attention to cognitive skills.

The moderating effects of collaborative problem solving with regard to teaching critical thinking

In order to further explore the key factors that influence critical thinking, exploring possible moderating effects that might produce considerable heterogeneity was done using subgroup analysis. The findings show that the moderating factors, such as the teaching type, learning stage, group size, learning scaffold, duration of the intervention, measuring tool, and the subject area included in the 36 experimental designs, could all support the cultivation of collaborative problem-solving in critical thinking. Among them, the effect size differences between the learning stage and measuring tool are not significant, which does not explain why these two factors are crucial in supporting the cultivation of critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

In terms of the learning stage, various learning stages influenced critical thinking positively without significant intergroup differences, indicating that we are unable to explain why it is crucial in fostering the growth of critical thinking.

Although high education accounts for 70.89% of all empirical studies performed by researchers, high school may be the appropriate learning stage to foster students’ critical thinking by utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving since it has the largest overall effect size. This phenomenon may be related to student’s cognitive development, which needs to be further studied in follow-up research.

With regard to teaching type, mixed course teaching may be the best teaching method to cultivate students’ critical thinking. Relevant studies have shown that in the actual teaching process if students are trained in thinking methods alone, the methods they learn are isolated and divorced from subject knowledge, which is not conducive to their transfer of thinking methods; therefore, if students’ thinking is trained only in subject teaching without systematic method training, it is challenging to apply to real-world circumstances (Ruggiero, 2012 ; Hu and Liu, 2015 ). Teaching critical thinking as mixed course teaching in parallel to other subject teachings can achieve the best effect on learners’ critical thinking, and explicit critical thinking instruction is more effective than less explicit critical thinking instruction (Bensley and Spero, 2014 ).

In terms of the intervention duration, with longer intervention times, the overall effect size shows an upward tendency. Thus, the intervention duration and critical thinking’s impact are positively correlated. Critical thinking, as a key competency for students in the 21st century, is difficult to get a meaningful improvement in a brief intervention duration. Instead, it could be developed over a lengthy period of time through consistent teaching and the progressive accumulation of knowledge (Halpern, 2001 ; Hu and Liu, 2015 ). Therefore, future empirical studies ought to take these restrictions into account throughout a longer period of critical thinking instruction.

With regard to group size, a group size of 2–3 persons has the highest effect size, and the comprehensive effect size decreases with increasing group size in general. This outcome is in line with some research findings; as an example, a group composed of two to four members is most appropriate for collaborative learning (Schellens and Valcke, 2006 ). However, the meta-analysis results also indicate that once the group size exceeds 7 people, small groups cannot produce better interaction and performance than large groups. This may be because the learning scaffolds of technique support, resource support, and teacher support improve the frequency and effectiveness of interaction among group members, and a collaborative group with more members may increase the diversity of views, which is helpful to cultivate critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

With regard to the learning scaffold, the three different kinds of learning scaffolds can all enhance critical thinking. Among them, the teacher-supported learning scaffold has the largest overall effect size, demonstrating the interdependence of effective learning scaffolds and collaborative problem-solving. This outcome is in line with some research findings; as an example, a successful strategy is to encourage learners to collaborate, come up with solutions, and develop critical thinking skills by using learning scaffolds (Reiser, 2004 ; Xu et al., 2022 ); learning scaffolds can lower task complexity and unpleasant feelings while also enticing students to engage in learning activities (Wood et al., 2006 ); learning scaffolds are designed to assist students in using learning approaches more successfully to adapt the collaborative problem-solving process, and the teacher-supported learning scaffolds have the greatest influence on critical thinking in this process because they are more targeted, informative, and timely (Xu et al., 2022 ).

With respect to the measuring tool, despite the fact that standardized measurement tools (such as the WGCTA, CCTT, and CCTST) have been acknowledged as trustworthy and effective by worldwide experts, only 54.43% of the research included in this meta-analysis adopted them for assessment, and the results indicated no intergroup differences. These results suggest that not all teaching circumstances are appropriate for measuring critical thinking using standardized measurement tools. “The measuring tools for measuring thinking ability have limits in assessing learners in educational situations and should be adapted appropriately to accurately assess the changes in learners’ critical thinking.”, according to Simpson and Courtney ( 2002 , p. 91). As a result, in order to more fully and precisely gauge how learners’ critical thinking has evolved, we must properly modify standardized measuring tools based on collaborative problem-solving learning contexts.

With regard to the subject area, the comprehensive effect size of science departments (e.g., mathematics, science, medical science) is larger than that of language arts and social sciences. Some recent international education reforms have noted that critical thinking is a basic part of scientific literacy. Students with scientific literacy can prove the rationality of their judgment according to accurate evidence and reasonable standards when they face challenges or poorly structured problems (Kyndt et al., 2013 ), which makes critical thinking crucial for developing scientific understanding and applying this understanding to practical problem solving for problems related to science, technology, and society (Yore et al., 2007 ).

Suggestions for critical thinking teaching

Other than those stated in the discussion above, the following suggestions are offered for critical thinking instruction utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

First, teachers should put a special emphasis on the two core elements, which are collaboration and problem-solving, to design real problems based on collaborative situations. This meta-analysis provides evidence to support the view that collaborative problem-solving has a strong synergistic effect on promoting students’ critical thinking. Asking questions about real situations and allowing learners to take part in critical discussions on real problems during class instruction are key ways to teach critical thinking rather than simply reading speculative articles without practice (Mulnix, 2012 ). Furthermore, the improvement of students’ critical thinking is realized through cognitive conflict with other learners in the problem situation (Yang et al., 2008 ). Consequently, it is essential for teachers to put a special emphasis on the two core elements, which are collaboration and problem-solving, and design real problems and encourage students to discuss, negotiate, and argue based on collaborative problem-solving situations.

Second, teachers should design and implement mixed courses to cultivate learners’ critical thinking, utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving. Critical thinking can be taught through curriculum instruction (Kuncel, 2011 ; Leng and Lu, 2020 ), with the goal of cultivating learners’ critical thinking for flexible transfer and application in real problem-solving situations. This meta-analysis shows that mixed course teaching has a highly substantial impact on the cultivation and promotion of learners’ critical thinking. Therefore, teachers should design and implement mixed course teaching with real collaborative problem-solving situations in combination with the knowledge content of specific disciplines in conventional teaching, teach methods and strategies of critical thinking based on poorly structured problems to help students master critical thinking, and provide practical activities in which students can interact with each other to develop knowledge construction and critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

Third, teachers should be more trained in critical thinking, particularly preservice teachers, and they also should be conscious of the ways in which teachers’ support for learning scaffolds can promote critical thinking. The learning scaffold supported by teachers had the greatest impact on learners’ critical thinking, in addition to being more directive, targeted, and timely (Wood et al., 2006 ). Critical thinking can only be effectively taught when teachers recognize the significance of critical thinking for students’ growth and use the proper approaches while designing instructional activities (Forawi, 2016 ). Therefore, with the intention of enabling teachers to create learning scaffolds to cultivate learners’ critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem solving, it is essential to concentrate on the teacher-supported learning scaffolds and enhance the instruction for teaching critical thinking to teachers, especially preservice teachers.

Implications and limitations

There are certain limitations in this meta-analysis, but future research can correct them. First, the search languages were restricted to English and Chinese, so it is possible that pertinent studies that were written in other languages were overlooked, resulting in an inadequate number of articles for review. Second, these data provided by the included studies are partially missing, such as whether teachers were trained in the theory and practice of critical thinking, the average age and gender of learners, and the differences in critical thinking among learners of various ages and genders. Third, as is typical for review articles, more studies were released while this meta-analysis was being done; therefore, it had a time limit. With the development of relevant research, future studies focusing on these issues are highly relevant and needed.

Conclusions

The subject of the magnitude of collaborative problem-solving’s impact on fostering students’ critical thinking, which received scant attention from other studies, was successfully addressed by this study. The question of the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking was addressed in this study, which addressed a topic that had gotten little attention in earlier research. The following conclusions can be made:

Regarding the results obtained, collaborative problem solving is an effective teaching approach to foster learners’ critical thinking, with a significant overall effect size (ES = 0.82, z  = 12.78, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.69, 0.95]). With respect to the dimensions of critical thinking, collaborative problem-solving can significantly and effectively improve students’ attitudinal tendency, and the comprehensive effect is significant (ES = 1.17, z  = 7.62, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.87, 1.47]); nevertheless, it falls short in terms of improving students’ cognitive skills, having only an upper-middle impact (ES = 0.70, z  = 11.55, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.58, 0.82]).

As demonstrated by both the results and the discussion, there are varying degrees of beneficial effects on students’ critical thinking from all seven moderating factors, which were found across 36 studies. In this context, the teaching type (chi 2  = 7.20, P  < 0.05), intervention duration (chi 2  = 12.18, P  < 0.01), subject area (chi 2  = 13.36, P  < 0.05), group size (chi 2  = 8.77, P  < 0.05), and learning scaffold (chi 2  = 9.03, P  < 0.01) all have a positive impact on critical thinking, and they can be viewed as important moderating factors that affect how critical thinking develops. Since the learning stage (chi 2  = 3.15, P  = 0.21 > 0.05) and measuring tools (chi 2  = 0.08, P  = 0.78 > 0.05) did not demonstrate any significant intergroup differences, we are unable to explain why these two factors are crucial in supporting the cultivation of critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving.

Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included within the article and its supplementary information files, and the supplementary information files are available in the Dataverse repository: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/IPFJO6 .

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the graduate scientific research and innovation project of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region named “Research on in-depth learning of high school information technology courses for the cultivation of computing thinking” (No. XJ2022G190) and the independent innovation fund project for doctoral students of the College of Educational Science of Xinjiang Normal University named “Research on project-based teaching of high school information technology courses from the perspective of discipline core literacy” (No. XJNUJKYA2003).

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Xu, E., Wang, W. & Wang, Q. The effectiveness of collaborative problem solving in promoting students’ critical thinking: A meta-analysis based on empirical literature. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 10 , 16 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-023-01508-1

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problem solving collaborative activities

11 Innovative team-building games for improved collaboration and efficiency

11 Innovative team-building games for improved collaboration and efficiency

Discover creative team-building ideas that engage your employees, boost collaboration and improve efficiency. Then learn how best to implement them.

Table of Contents

Sometimes you need to do things differently to really make a change. Take Steve Jobs: His unconventional approach totally revolutionized the tech industry. Before Apple was founded in 1976, the industry focused almost entirely on technical specifications when designing computers.

But Steve Jobs and Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, prioritized aesthetics, user experience, and simplicity. Their approach led to groundbreaking products that would completely change the way people communicate. 

If it hadn’t been for the two Steves shaking things up, the general public might not have adopted at-home computers until decades later. Similarly, when you’re trying to improve efficiency and collaboration in your team, relying solely on conventional training methods may not be enough. 

That’s because it’s human nature to stick to our most familiar routines and workflows—which makes it challenging for people to adapt to new ways of working and communicating. Luckily, you can take a less conventional approach to your team’s development using games.

By infusing an element of fun, team-building games help you cultivate a collaborative and dynamic work culture and a pathway to essential skills like trust, communication, and problem-solving.

In this article, we look at a list of team-building games, exploring how they work and which skills they build. We also look at how you can integrate these into your company culture for the best results. 

Want to have fun while building team efficiency?   Switchboard's persistent rooms make everything from project meetings to team huddles multiplayer. Learn more .

Comparison table 

Team building games comparison chart

How team-building games boost efficiency 

Traditional training methods like webinars have their place, but they risk becoming one-sided and monotonous. Team-building games bring an element of fun to the learning process and encourage active participation—which is one of the most effective ways to improve learning retention, according to research .

Maximizing people’s chances of retaining information means they can put their new skills into practice in their daily work. So, gamifying learning and taking short breaks will improve your team’s ability to learn and become more skilled.

Team-building games also increase camaraderie, trust, and communication, because everyone has to collaborate to solve challenges and achieve their common goals. Communication is key to reducing duplicated work and eliminating unnecessary “work about work,” making your team more efficient in the long run.

11 fresh virtual team-building activities that help improve efficiency

Not only do games generally improve your team’s ability to learn new skills and collaborate with each other, but there are even specific team-building activities you can use to increase efficiency .

Here are 11 activities to try in virtual meetings and workshops—as well as in-person training sessions.

Quick team-building games for meetings 

The team-building games you hold in meetings should enhance collaboration and problem-solving skills without derailing the main agenda. Here are four quick activities to try in your next team meeting.

Virtual bingo is a great way to promote friendly competition and create a fun atmosphere at the start of your team meeting. Since it’s a game most people know already, you won’t lose any time explaining how to play. But, to make sure you’re using the time efficiently, you could even tailor your bingo card to include tasks relating to your current project.

For example, sales teams could allocate 10 minutes at the start of their weekly meeting for bingo. Each week, team members complete different tasks on their bingo card, like “summarize a recent successful customer outcome for a case study” or “note down one strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) related to your current project.” The first person to complete every task gets a reward.

Number of players:

At least two people are needed to play Bingo. 

How to play:

Bingo is easy to set up because all you really need is a virtual bingo card—you could use a digital whiteboard or even just a spreadsheet!—and a timer.

Your game can be as work-focused or silly as you like. For a more lighthearted game, personalize it to your team by including specific actions or scenarios like “Suni is wearing a bright color” or “Alex’s cat makes a cameo appearance during the call.” To make the game fun and encourage camaraderie, always be respectful and avoid poking fun at your colleagues.

You can also create your bingo card with your team’s fun facts and call out employees’ names instead of numbers. Players will need to match the name with the right option on their cards. For example, if the bingo card says “plays the guitar” players will need to check that row when you say “Andres”. 

If you need inspiration, download a template like our video conferencing bingo card below.

Switchboard Bingo

Skills it develops: 

  • Observation: Successful bingo players quickly recognize and identify patterns on their cards, such as horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines, which enhances their pattern recognition skills. 
  • Focus: Bingo demands continuous attention and concentration as players must stay engaged throughout the game to avoid missing any action.
  • Communication: Players must actively pay attention to the meeting and look out for the situations in their cards and process them accurately. This improves their auditory processing and listening skills.
  • Camaraderie:  Engaging in friendly competition or collaborating to help each other complete their bingo cards can promote a positive team spirit and strengthen relationships.

Role-playing and adventure games

Role-play adventure games like Dungeons & Dragons are having a comeback—and can be a fun way to encourage team building and collaboration. These games require players to think on their feet and work together to find solutions to all kinds of problems and puzzles. 

Traditionally, an adventure campaign takes hours to play. But shorter “one-shot” versions are ideal for team building because you can play in bursts of 20 minutes and finish a game in 6 weeks. 

Number of players: 

Ideally, a group of 3 to 6 players is recommended.

How to play: 

Before you play, each player creates a unique character with distinct abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. The Dungeon Master sets the scene and narrative, describing the world, quests, and challenges that the characters will face. Players then use their creativity and decision-making skills to navigate through the adventure.

You can look at online resources to create scenarios and incorporate puzzles. And all you need for the game itself is a dice.

  • Collaboration: These games often require players to work together as a team to overcome challenges and achieve objectives. Players learn to leverage each other's strengths, delegate tasks, and support one another.
  • Communication: Players communicate within the game to share information, discuss strategies, and coordinate actions. Clear and concise communication is crucial for understanding goals and making strategic decisions.
  • Problem-solving: Role-playing and adventure games present players with intricate puzzles, mysteries, and obstacles that require creative problem-solving. Players learn to analyze situations, break down problems, and devise innovative solutions.
  • Decision-making: Players learn to weigh options, consider potential consequences, and make informed choices under pressure.
  • Creative thinking: In role-playing games, players often create unique characters with distinct personalities, backgrounds, and abilities. This encourages creative thinking and imagination.

Virtual office board games

Games like Code Names and Jeopardy promote team bonding by providing a space for your team to switch off from work and enjoy some friendly competition. And with a virtual environment like Switchboard , where you can collaborate on the same screen, it’s easy to bring everyone together for quick impromptu sessions at the start of a meeting.  

For example, you can open the Code Names browser-based app on your Switchboard room and get everyone to interact and play the game without switching tabs. This makes the game more enjoyable because teammates get to see each other’s faces as they play. 

Most games require between 4 and 10 players.

Send instructions to your employees to access the relevant online platform on their devices, or add them to your Switchboard room. In games like Code Names, players cooperate to decipher clues and guess the right words while in Jeopardy, teams compete in a trivia-style format, answering questions across different categories.

Skills it develops:

  • Collaboration: These games often require players to work together to achieve a common objective. Players learn to communicate, coordinate, and pool their efforts to succeed as a team.
  • Strategy: Players develop skills in analyzing the current situation, predicting future developments, and planning accordingly.
  • Problem-solving: Players think on their feet, adjust their strategies, and solve problems in real time.
  • Time management: Players learn to make decisions within a limited timeframe and prioritize actions based on their importance.
  • Trust: Trust is built through open and honest communication. Players learn to share information, express concerns, and provide feedback to create a trusting environment.

Office trivia 

Running an office trivia session is a quick way to engage your team and get them thinking. You don’t need bags of creativity here either—because you can limit yourself to three questions per week and do a roundup of scores at the end of the quarter.

You can also play trivia asynchronously by launching polls or surveys in your team chat. For example, create a form using an online free tool and ask people to add their names and submit their answers. Shout out the winner in the next meeting.  

Ideal for teams of all sizes.

Office trivia games are typically run virtually over video conferencing platforms or a digital workspace like Switchboard. You’ll ask a series of questions and team members will respond from their devices—use the chat or an external tool like Kahoot! to collect responses. Be sure to reveal the answers and keep track of scores as you go along!

To keep your trivia game relevant, you could include questions about the team’s KPIs or company history. Alternatively, ask about industry trends and recent training to help encourage continuous learning.

  • Knowledge sharing: Players contribute facts, insights, and answers, creating opportunities for cross-functional learning.
  • Collaboration: Office trivia is often played in teams, requiring participants to collaborate and combine their knowledge to answer questions collectively. Players learn to leverage each other's strengths and work together toward a common goal.
  • Attention to detail: Players learn to analyze information critically and distinguish between similar-sounding options, honing their ability to spot subtle differences.
  • Knowledge retention: Players engage in active recall as they retrieve information from memory to answer trivia questions. This cognitive process enhances long-term retention.

Team-building games for workshops and ideation sessions

The games you play in workshops can afford to be a little longer and therefore, more immersive and interactive. By incorporating these three activities, your workshops will become more dynamic and enjoyable. 

Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats technique, introduced by Edward de Bono, involves using six metaphorical "thinking hats" of different colors to guide group discussions and decision-making. Each hat represents a specific perspective and participants metaphorically "wear" each hat, taking turns to think from that specific perspective. 

Using Six Thinking Hats in workshops facilitates a comprehensive and structured approach to discussions, enabling teams to explore diverse perspectives, make informed decisions, and solve problems more creatively. You can be intentional about assigning hats, for example, you could give the creativity hat to the more process-driven leader to invite them to think from a different point of view.

Ideal for 3 or more players

The six thinking hats include: 

  • White hat: Stay objective and neutral. Focus on facts and data to analyze known facts and identify knowledge gaps.
  • Blue hat: Guide the thinking process. Set the agenda, facilitate each hat to fulfill its role, and summarize the outcomes of the discussion.
  • Red hat: Be guided by intuition and emotions. Note any hunches or gut feelings and don’t worry about justification.
  • Green hat: Consider the alternatives and be creative. Try thinking outside the box to consider new ideas and opportunities.
  • Black hat: Be cautious. Use critical thinking to analyze potential risks and challenges.
  • Yellow hat: Embrace optimism. Consider the best possible outcomes of an idea while noting its strengths and potential value.

You can either give everyone an opportunity to wear each hat by dividing the workshop itself into corresponding segments, e.g. for the first 10 minutes everyone wears the red hat, followed by 10 minutes for the white hat, and so on.

Alternatively, you can give each team member one or more hats to “wear” throughout the session to get everyone thinking at the same time. Use a digital whiteboard to record ideas and observations as you go.

Skills it develops : 

  • Critical thinking: Each thinking hat represents a specific aspect of thinking (i.e. logical, emotional, creative), guiding participants to systematically analyze a situation.
  • Empathy: The yellow hat (positive) encourages participants to consider the positive aspects and benefits. This hat promotes empathy by helping individuals understand the potential positive impacts of a decision on various stakeholders.
  • Problem-solving: The green hat (creative) focuses on generating creative solutions and alternative ideas. Participants engage in brainstorming and lateral thinking, fostering innovative problem-solving approaches.
  • Collaboration: The white hat (factual) involves objective and factual thinking. By sharing information and data, participants contribute to informed discussions, promoting collaborative decision-making based on shared understanding.
  • Creativity: The red hat (emotional) encourages participants to express their feelings, intuitions, and gut reactions. This emotional perspective can lead to unconventional ideas and creative insights.

Skills workshops and team quizzes

Encourage team members to run their own mini-workshops to develop their presentation skills and facilitate knowledge sharing. Ask them to include mini-quizzes and games to keep each other engaged and connected. You can also bring in external professionals once a month to run team-building events. 

This gives you the opportunity to discover someone’s skills or reward them for what they know. For example, Zara from the marketing team is great at automating spreadsheets. You’ve seen people manually doing simple, automatable tasks like color coding cells. Ask Zara to give a 15-minute workshop on how to do it. These presentations can also happen async as the host can record themselves explaining the topic.

Suitable for any group size. 

Team members take turns hosting skills workshops. These can be based on professional skills, such as verbal communication, or hobbies – for example, a craft class. Create a template structure to make it easier for individuals to run the sessions and for the rest of the group to participate. 

Provide them with a quizzing app like Kahoot! to rate people’s understanding at the end of the presentation. Depending on the meeting time, you can host 1-3 presentations in a day.

  • Communication: In team quizzes, participants discuss and share answers, leading to improved communication within the team. They learn to articulate their thoughts and ideas concisely.
  • Leadership: Workshops can provide opportunities for participants to take on leadership roles, such as facilitating group activities or guiding discussions.
  • Knowledge sharing: Skills workshops involve sharing expertise, best practices, and insights. Participants contribute their knowledge, and the interactive nature of workshops facilitates peer-to-peer learning.
  • Creativity: Team quizzes can incorporate creative questions that require out-of-the-box thinking. This challenges participants to think creatively and consider unique perspectives.
  • Active listening: Active listening is essential during team quizzes to hear teammates' answers, discuss potential responses, and ensure accurate answers are provided.

Virtual volunteering

Volunteering to participate in virtual beach cleans or bake sales builds community and motivates team members to collaborate—and even compete!—with one another. And you don’t always have to gather your team physically in the same place to give back to the community. 

For example, you can send everyone branded T-shirts and ask them to take pictures doing volunteer work for one of the approved causes. You can also meet once a month or quarter to share highlights and even give bonuses or prizes to team members who achieve certain goals. 

Suitable for any group size.

Encourage employees to participate in virtual volunteering activities of their choice. Even if the activity itself requires physical participation, like a sponsored run, employees can log their volunteer hours, milestones, and experiences using a shared online space like a Slack channel. Or if you use an online collaborative workspace like Switchboard, you could set up a persistent room where everyone can check each other’s progress and meet to share highlights once a quarter.

Remember to recognize and celebrate each other’s efforts through regular updates, leaderboards, or virtual awards ceremonies to promote feelings of accomplishment and team camaraderie.

You can also start meetings by reviewing the volunteering scorecard or by sharing a slideshow of pictures of employees doing community work. This shouldn’t be mandatory and people can choose to sit out of the activity without any implications. 

Skills it develops:  

  • Collaboration: Participants learn to work together effectively despite geographical boundaries and time zones.
  • Problem-solving: Volunteers learn to identify and address issues that arise during remote collaboration, such as communication gaps or technical difficulties. 
  • Empathy: Virtual volunteering often involves supporting causes that benefit underserved communities or addressing specific needs. Volunteers practice empathetic listening and understanding to effectively address those needs.

In-person team-building games

You can also build trust in the workplace by running in-person team building games. Here are three great examples that won’t take long to run.  

This game is a great team-building activity that challenges participants to protect a raw egg from cracking when dropped from a height. It’s a fun way to encourage healthy competition with guaranteed laughs. 

This game also allows people to think of a problem (dropping an egg without cracking it) from different perspectives. Encourage cross-functional teams to work together on the solution.

Well-suited for small groups. Try limiting the number of egg drops from five to seven.

Divide the participants into teams and provide each team with materials such as straws, tape, rubber bands, and newspapers. Within a time limit, teams must use these materials to design and construct a protective device or container for the raw egg. 

After constructing their devices, each team should take turns dropping their egg containers, and the first team with the egg that remains intact wins. You can also offer an incentive for the best team to increase competition. 

  • Collaboration: Participants discuss and share their thoughts, strategies, and concerns to create a successful design. Clear and open communication is crucial for coordinating efforts.
  • Problem-solving: The game presents a real-world engineering problem—designing a device to protect an egg from impact. Teams analyze the challenge, identify potential risks, and devise solutions to address them.
  • Creativity: Teams think creatively to come up with unique and innovative designs for their protective structures. 

Human knot 

Being energizing and active, the human knot works well to break up long meetings or as an icebreaker activity (we explore how this could look in the next section). 

Be mindful of your team’s abilities and avoid playing this sort of physical game if there are people with any kind of mobility limitations or disabilities. You might want to try other activities rather than asking them to “sit this one out”. 

Ideal for medium to large groups.

In the Human Knot, a group of people form a circle and reach across to hold the hands of those standing opposite them. The task is to untangle the human knot without releasing anyone's hand, aiming to create a complete circle with linked hands intact.

You can break the team into smaller groups and reward the team who untangles the knot faster. Play this for around 30 minutes.

  • Collaboration: Participants work closely together and rely on each other's movements to untangle the human knot. 
  • Active listening: To untangle the knot, participants actively listen to each other's instructions and respond accordingly.
  • Problem-solving: Participants analyze the arrangement of hands and bodies to determine the most effective sequence of movements for untangling the knot. Problem-solving skills come into play as they figure out how to maneuver without letting go.
  • Trust-building: The game often develops physical trust as participants hold hands and allow others to guide their movements as they maneuver through the knot

Perfect square

The Perfect Square is a challenging and memorable activity that’s great for building interdependence within a team. It also encourages teamwork and communication as people will need to complete a task together while being blindfolded. 

This game invites your team to create a perfect square using a rope but you could potentially use the idea to ask your team to form any other shape while being blindfolded. 

Suitable for medium to large groups.  ‍

Blindfold all participants and provide each team with a length of rope. Without the ability to see, team members must communicate and collaborate to arrange the rope on the ground to create a perfect square. 

Make sure you have all the materials needed to perform the game. If you’re short on budget, you can ask each team member to bring a scarf or a sweater that you can use for the blindfold.

  • Team building: Success relies on the contributions of each team member. Participants learn to value each other's strengths and recognize the importance of cooperation.
  • Problem-solving: Participants analyze the shapes, spatial relationships, and angles to find the best configuration. This encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Trust building: Participants rely on each other's contributions to complete the task successfully. This builds trust as individuals support and encourage each other throughout the process.

How to make team-building exercises part of your company culture 

To maintain employee engagement and ensure that the skills learned in team-building games become habits, you need to integrate them into part of your regular workflows. Here are three easy ways to do so. 

1. Use meeting icebreaker games 

You don't have to play a full game every time—spend 10 minutes on an icebreaker in your team meetings to encourage team collaboration and create a positive atmosphere. These short and fun sessions can set a positive tone for the meeting and boost team collaboration. 

2. Hold regular team-building activities  

Incorporate team-building activities regularly, whether during team off-sites, workshops, or as part of quarterly events. Making these activities a part of the routine reinforces their importance and allows team members to continuously develop their skills and working relationships and make at least a few of them mandatory to ensure involvement. 

3. Create opportunities for spontaneous interactions 

To make team-building exercises an integral part of your company culture, create opportunities for spontaneous game interactions among team members. You can do this by setting up persistent virtual game rooms inside Switchboard. These stay open at all times to allow your team to jump in and connect.  

Create stronger processes with team-building games

Steve Jobs often advocated for breaking routines and exploring new avenues. As a result, he built one of the most revered tech companies in the world. But you don’t need to be a visionary to positively impact your organization’s performance.

Even simple team-building games break up the monotony of day-to-day work and encourage employees to collaborate in new ways. 

By incorporating them into your weekly meetings and monthly workshops, you’ll disrupt any stale team dynamics and break participants out of their habitual ways of interacting. It’s a fun way to discover breakthrough insights, improve problem-solving, and strengthen team dynamics.

‍ To implement your team-building games effectively, however, you need a platform that can bring everyone together – no matter where and when they are working. 

Switchboard has an interactive collaborative environment and persistent rooms where your team can have multiplayer experiences. This allows you to create a constantly connected, engaged team that learns to work increasingly efficiently together.   

Want to have fun while building team efficiency?  Switchboard's persistent rooms make everything from project meetings to team huddles multiplayer. Learn more .

Frequently asked questions about efficiency team-building games

What are some of the benefits of team building.

Team building benefits the whole team by improving communication skills, collaboration, trust, and working relationships. It enhances problem-solving skills, boosts morale, and increases productivity, leading to a cohesive and high-performing team. Team games also help get members of the group out of their comfort zone, and build a positive culture and work environment. 

What are team-building games?

Team-building games are interactive activities designed to encourage communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and team cohesion among participants. Fun team-building activities are often used in workshops, training sessions, or corporate events to enhance teamwork and build a positive and productive team culture.

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Top 50 problem solving activities, games & puzzles for remote teams

Blockchain and Crypto / March 6, 2022 by admin

Here is a list of the top 50 problem solving activities, games & puzzles best suited for remote teams. Read on!

What are problem solving activities?

The success of a company or organization depends heavily on the managers’ ability to help workers develop their problem solving skills. Problem solving activities that address areas such as teamwork and cooperation, adaptability or reinforcement of decision-making strategies help.

All processes of problem solving begin with the identification of the problem. The team will then evaluate the possible course of action and select the best way to tackle it. This needs a profound understanding of your team and its core strengths.

Not only among corporates, but problem solving activities find their use in educational settings as well. Students who are good at solving problems will become much more successful than those who are not. Remote work and education are on the rise.

Enabling smooth interpersonal communication to solve problems can become a task in these situations. However, engaging all the people concerned in problem solving activities before shifting to the remote space can ease the process.

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Key skills evaluated in problem solving activities

Problem solving skills refer to the necessary thinking skills that an individual or group uses when met with a challenge. Many issues require the use of several skills; others are easy and may require only one or two skills. These are some skills that help to solve problems,

  • Communication skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Negotiation skills
  • Logical reasoning
  • Persistence
  • Lateral thinking

Problem solving skill examples

Several problems occur at the workplace. Problem solving skills can be technical problems that occur on websites or apps or addressing client concerns. Problems could be simple or complex. Business managers spend time and resources to solve problems.

They encourage their team to improve their analytical and logical abilities. Common issues in companies can be exploding data or changing technology, or financial management.

Did you know? Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in problem solving!

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Problem solving scenarios

Many problem solving scenarios occur at work. The basis to solve any problem is to evaluate and arrive at a solution. Analytical skill or problem solving ability is a skill many employers evaluate while hiring candidates.

Strong problem solving skills can be an asset to any organization. Organizations organize problem and solution activities to improve the problem solving abilities in the workplace.

1. Decision making games

Businesses are looking for new and innovative ways to stimulate their staff. Decision making games help employees to learn new skills and work effectively as a team. Decision making activities help to improve the creative problem solving and decision-making skills of the team. Here are some best Decision-making games,

1. Dumb Idea first – This game gives a hypothetical problem that could occur in your company. Ask each manager to think of the dumbest solution to the problem. After compiling the list of the ideas, the team reviews them.

You have a brainstorming session to make the “dumb ideas” feasible. This problem solving exercise underlines the importance of out-of-box thinking.

Benefits: Decision-making skill

Time duration: 10 to 15 minutes

Team size: 2 to more team managers

Material: Paper and pencil

2. Egg Drop Idea – The objective of the game is to build a container to protect the egg when dropped from a specified height using the material provided. Each team nominates a presenter who explains why the egg will survive the fall.

Once they have presented the idea, the team drops the egg to check if the idea has worked. Egg drop pyramid activities like the marshmallow challenge help teams to think on their feet.

Benefit: Decision-making skill and is a top problem solving skill example

Time duration: 15 – 30 minutes

Team size: 6 or more

Material: A cartoon of eggs, aprons to protect clothes, material for packing (cardboard, tape, elastics, plastic straws, etc.), material to clean up.

Instructions:

  • Every team gets an egg and should choose from the building materials. 
  • Grant everyone 20-30 minutes to build an egg carrier and guard against breaking. 
  • Remove each egg carrier from a ledge (that is, over a balcony) to see which carrier prevents it from cracking. 
  • If several eggs survive, continue to heighten until only one egg remains.

3. Dog, Rice, and Chicken – The dog, rice, and chicken game can be fun decision-making activities for adults. In this game, one team member plays the farmer, and the other team members are villagers who advise him. The farmer has to take three items chicken, dog, and rice across the river by boat.

There are the following constraints:- only one item can be carried on the boat. He cannot leave the chicken and dog alone because the dog will eat the chicken. He cannot leave the chicken alone with the rice because the chicken will eat the rice grains.

Benefit: creative problem solving examples that are applicable at work.

Time duration: 10-15 minutes.

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2. Teambuilding puzzle

Team building exercises are fun and creative ways to get your team to work together and improve problem solving skills.

1. Lost at Sea – In this game, you and your friends have chattered a yacht to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. Since you do not have any navigation experience, you hire a captain and a two-person crew. Unfortunately, the crew and captain die when a fire breaks out on the yacht.

The yacht is severally damaged and is sinking. You and your friends have managed to save 15 items and a lifeboat. Your task is to rank the 15 items while you are waiting to be rescued. The activity lost at sea team building underlines the importance of problem solving skills in the workplace.

Benefits: Team building exercise and interaction

Time duration: 30 to 40 minutes

Team size: 4 to 6

Material: Lost in sea ranking for interaction chart for each member

2. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower – The marshmallow team-building activities have the goal of building the tallest tower as quickly as possible. To make the task more challenging the marshmallow is placed at the top of the tower. This is a fun puzzle activity for team building.

Benefit: Teambuilding puzzle

Time duration: 30 minutes

Material required: 20 sticks on raw uncooked spaghetti, a marshmallow, masking thread, and yarn of thread.

3. Go for Gold – This is an example of a marshmallow challenge similar to activities. The objective of this exercise is to create a structure using pipes, rubber tubing, and cardboard to carry a marble from point A to point B using gravity.

Benefit: team building problem solving scenario examples

Team size: Minimum 6 persons

Material required: Each member has different material

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3. Work Problem Solving

Work problem solving activities help to use the skills you used in problem solving activities in your workplace.

1. Create your own – this game aims to create a brand new problem solving activity for the organization. The team can brainstorm for 1 hour. After one hour each team has to give a presentation about their activity outlining the key benefits.

Benefit: Understanding the problem solving process. Build creativity, improve negotiation, and Decision-making skills

  • When the participants arrive, you declare that they will create an original problem solving activity on their own, rather than spending an hour on an existing problem solving team-building exercise. 
  • Divide members into teams and encourage them to develop a new problem solving team-building exercise that will fit well with the organization. The activity should not be one they have engaged in or heard of before.
  • Every team has to show their new activity to everyone else after an hour and outline the main benefits.

2. Shrinking Vessel – make a shape on the floor using a rope where all the team members can fit. Reduce the size every 10 -15 minutes. The real challenge for the team is figuring out how to work together and keep everyone together.

Benefits: Adaptability and cognitive diversity

Material: Rope and large room

  • Place on the floor a big circle of rope. Position your whole team inside the circle. 
  • Lessen the circle size steadily. When it gets smaller, advise the team to keep the entire team inside the circle. Nobody must move out of the loop. See how small you can make the area until it cannot remain inside.

3. Legoman – the team is divided into groups of two or more people. Select an impartial individual who will make a structure in 10 minutes. Each team will compete to recreate it in fifteen minutes. Only one person is allowed to see the structure. They need to communicate vital parameters like color, shape, and size.

Benefits: Communication

Tools: Lego

4. What Would X Do – This problem solving activity stimulates teams to think of new ideas.

  • Benefits: Instant problem solving
  • Time Duration: 10-15 minutes
  • Materials Required: N/A
  • Let every team pretend to be someone famous. 
  • Every team needs to address the issue as if they were a famous person. Which are the choices they would consider? How will they do this? 
  • It helps all to consider options they may not have initially thought of.

Tip: Before you decide, a problem is worth solving, weigh the risks of solving it versus not solving it. 

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4. Team building riddles

Team building riddles are a great way to show the team group problem solving is usually more effective.

1. Barter puzzle – the team is broken into groups. Give each team a different jigsaw puzzle to solve. The groups have to complete the puzzle at the same time. The twist in the game is that some pieces of their puzzle belong to other puzzles.

The goal is to complete the puzzle before the other teams. Each group has to come with their method to convince other teams to handover the pieces they need, either by bartering pieces or donating time to the other teams. This puzzle piece team-building activity helps teams to collaborate.

Benefit: Team building and negotiating.

Material: Jigsaw puzzle for each team

Time: 30 minutes

2. Scavenger Hunt – in this game, each team has a list of the article to locate and bring back. The goal of the game is to finish the assigned list first. In the scavenger hunt, the team has a time limit to make the game more challenging. You have the flexibility of having the hunt outside or within the premises. The team-building puzzle game helps the team to look for creative solutions.

3. Escape – the goal is to solve clues and find the key to unlock the door in a limited time. Hide the key and a list of clues around the room. The team has 30 to 60 minutes to figure out the clues and unlock the door.

Benefit: Team building exercise

Material: Rope, key, lockable room, 5 to 10 puzzles

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5. Work together problems

Work together on problems helps to underline the need to collaborate while solving issues at work. Group challenge activities help the team work well together.

1. Bonding belt – each group is divided into 5 to 6 participants, who are bound together with rope or tape so that their movements are limited. The team has to reach from point A to point B, and the time is recorded. The teams collaborate to beat their previous score.

Benefits: Helps the team to collaborate and skills for problem solving scenario/

Time: 20 to 30 minutes

Material: Cling film, belt, or rope

2. Scramble puzzle – the team members with blindfolds sit in a circle with the puzzle. The teammate without the blindfold sits outside the circle, with their back to the group. The blindfolded group tries to assemble the pieces of the puzzle. The outsider who has the same puzzle gives the team instructions to solve it.

Benefits: trust, leadership, and communication

Material: Preschool-level puzzles and blindfolds.

3. Flip it over – this is a classic work-together problem. In this game, 6 to 8 participants stand together on a blanket/towel/tarp. The challenge is to flip over the blanket or reverse it. The rule is that none of the participants can leave the blanket.

Benefit: Work together exercise

Duration: 30 minutes

Material: Blanket

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6. Team building survival games

Team building survival games helps to fine-tune problem solving scenarios that may occur at work. The activities encourage creative problem solving and decision making.

1. Stranded – Stranded helps in building effective communication. In this setting, the team is stranded in an office. The rooms will be locked, and doors and windows cannot be broken down. The team is asked to make a list of 10 items that they need to survive.

They need to rank items in the order of their importance. The team has to agree on the items and the order. Stranded is one of several popular survival team-building exercises.

Benefit: Team building and Decision-making exercises

  • Your team is stuck inside the building. Doors are closed, so there is no option to kick down the doors or smash the windows.
  • Grant the team 30 minutes to determine what ten things they need to thrive in the office and list them in order of importance.
  • The goal of the game is to get everyone to agree in 30 minutes about the ten things and their ranking.

2. Minefield – you randomly place items around the room or hallway and there is no clear path from one end of the room to another. The team is divided into pairs. One team member is blindfolded, and the other team member is the guide.

The guide navigates the blindfolded person across the minefield. The two partners cannot touch. This survival team-building activity underlines the need for clear communication.

Benefits: Communication and collaborative problem solving

Duration: 10-15 minutes

Material: Blindfold, empty room or hallway, and collection of random items.

3. Frostbite – in this survival scenario team-building exercise the team is trapped in Siberia. Each team has to elect a team captain. The team has to build a storm shelter with the material provided.

The twist in the game is the team captains cannot help physically since they have frostbite. Other team members are suffering snow blindness and are blindfolded. The electric fan will be turned on in 30 minutes to see if the shelter built will survive the storm.

Benefit: Leadership, skills action plan, and team building survival games

Team size: 4 to 5 members

Material: An electric fan, blindfold, simple building materials like cardboard paper, rubber bands, toothpicks, masking tape, straws, sticky notes, etc.

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7. Group decision making games

Group decision making games help encourage creative problem solving and decision making at work. Here is a bunch of group decision making games

1. Reverse Pyramid – the team members stand in a pyramid shape. The next step is to flip the base and apex of the pyramid. The limiting factor in only three persons can move.

Benefits: Group Decision-making and collaboration

2. Tower of Hanoi – in this game, there are three towers/posts/rods with 5 or more discs arranged conical shape with the smallest shape at the top. The objective of the game is to move the entire stack to another location retaining the shape. Some conditions of the games are only one disc can be moved at a time. Only the top disc can be moved. Another rule of the game is larger disc cannot be put on a smaller disc.

Benefits: This team-building exercise helps problem solving within the participants.

3. Human Knot – the team stands in a circle every person holds hands with a person not standing next to them. When everyone is cross-connected, the aim is to untangle the structure without letting go of anybody’s hand.

Benefit: group problem solving

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8. Funny problem solving games

We need to solve problems for personal and professional lives. Funny problem solving exercises are a light way. Funny problem solving can help reduce stress levels.

1. Pencil drop – in the pencil drop challenge, one end of the pencil is tied to a pencil and the other is tied around the waist of a team member. The other team member puts the pencil into the bottle placed below. The participants are not allowed to use their hands.

Benefit: Team bonding

Team size: 2 members each

Material: Some pencil and bottle

2. Blind drawing – this game requires two players to sit back to back. One participant describes an image in front of them without giving stating anything obvious. The other participant needs to draw it using the description. The outcome can be fun.

3. Be the character – in this activity, you pretend to be an imaginary character while trying to solve a problem. This game gives a unique perspective on your solution and whether the solution is feasible for other members.

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9. Group problem solving activities for adults

Group problem solving activities are very efficient, especially for adults. These can be used in any setting to enhance problem solving skills. 

1. Human Knots

  • Benefits: Communication skills, collaboration
  • Time Duration: 10 – 15 minutes.

This is one of the most straightforward group problem solving activities that can be done with any group. It facilitates communication and critical thinking in the face of a challenging and complex question. Various group members will possibly suggest a variety of solutions, and each will need to be reviewed and adopted by the organization as a whole.

  • Have the group stand in a small circle (make several circles when you are a larger group). Every person in the loop will hold the hands of 2 other people who are not directly next to them. That would make a messy crossed arms knot.
  • Ask the group to disentangle themselves without moving their hands at any point in time. They may be unable to disentangle completely to form a circle again. Still, they would have begun to work together to solve the problem by the end of the activity.

2. Frostbite 

  • Benefits: Leadership, decision-making, trust, adaptability
  • Time Duration: 30 minutes.
  • Materials Required: An electric fan, blindfold, simple building materials like cardboard paper, rubber bands, toothpicks, masking tape, straws, sticky notes, etc.

Your group is trapped in the barren deserts of Siberia, and a sudden winter storm is approaching. You have to create a shelter with only the materials in hand that can survive the storm’s harsh winds. The leader of your expedition was afflicted with frostbite in both hands, sadly, and all the others experience severe snow blindness.

  • Divide the group into clusters of 4-5. Every group will have to elect a chief. 
  • Group leaders are not allowed to use their hands to support the group in any way, and group members should be blindfolded during the exercise. 
  • The groups have 30 minutes to build a small tent structure that can withstand the wind from the fan’s highest location. 

3. Dumbest Idea First

  • Benefits: Critical thinking, creative problem solving, quick problem solving
  • Time Duration: 15 – 20 minutes
  • Materials Required: Pen or pencil, a piece of paper.

Dumbest Idea First is one of the most creative problem solving activities for groups. This can encourage your creativity by thinking out of the box and lead you to ideas that would typically sound too insane to work. You can broaden the possibilities by looking at these crazy solutions first, and find potential alternatives that might not be as obvious.

  • Present your team with a question. It could be a real-world dilemma facing the group, or it could be a created scenario. For example, your company attempts to beat a rival to win a high-paying customer contract, but the customer bends to your competitors. You have a short period before they make the final decision to change their mind.
  • With the given question, advise your group to come up with the dumbest ideas to tackle the issue. Anything can be written down. 
  • After each person has put forward a few ideas, go through the list, and analyze each plan to see which are the most feasible. List them from the highest level of feasibility to the lowest level.  

4. Wool Web 

  • Benefits: Leadership, communication
  • Time Duration: 30 minutes
  • Materials Required: Some balls of yarn.

As hard as replicating the magnitude of the real-world problems is, that is no excuse not to try! Wool web creates a dilemma that appears complicated at first, but groups will learn to break down complicated challenges into solvable problems one move at a time.

This happens by using the right strategy and working together. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most stimulating problem solving activities for adults.

  • Split the group into similarly large teams. Every time, it receives a yarn ball. 
  • Tell each team to turn the yarn ball into a vast web. Give them around 5-10 minutes to do this. When done, rotate all the teams so that every team is on a yarn web they have not set up. 
  • Every group must choose one person to untangle the web. That individual would be blindfolded and be guided by the rest of the team on how to unwind the web using only verbal instructions. The first team to achieve it wins the game.

5. Tallest Tower 

  • Benefits: Creative thinking, collaboration
  • Materials Required: 1 bag of marshmallows, one packet of uncooked spaghetti.

Simple building projects can help group members create strategies to overcome box issues. Tallest Tower is another one of the most creative problem solving activities. Groups will compete with only two materials to make the tallest tower in a fixed period.

  • Divide the group into two, which have an equal number of players. Provide 20 – 30 uncooked spaghetti noodles and 3-4 marshmallows to every team. 
  • Groups must compete in the provided period to build the tallest tower using only the materials supplied. A marshmallow has to be set at the top of the tower.

Also Read: Struggling with blockchain – find an expert blockchain analyst now!

10. Problem solving activities for students

Below is a bunch of problem solving activities for students and kids,

1. Brainstorm Bonanza – Brainstorm Bonanza is one of the best problem solving activities for students. As a teacher, making your students create lists relevant to something you are teaching at the moment can be a fantastic way to help them expand their knowledge of a subject when learning to solve problems.

  • Benefits: Problem solving
  • Materials Required: Pen and paper

1. If you are discussing a real, current, or fictional occurrence that did not work out well, let your students imagine ways that the protagonist or participants might have produced a better, more favorable result.

2. They can brainstorm independently or in groups. 

2. Clue Me In – this is one of the most enjoyable problem solving games. It facilitates logical thinking and cognitive development.

  • Benefits: Cognitive development, logical thinking
  • Time Duration: 20 minutes
  • Materials Required: A bag, clues, items as necessary
  • Select a collection of things relating to a specific occupation, social phenomenon, historical incident, object, etc.
  • Assemble individual objects (or pictures of things) commonly linked to the target response.
  • Place all of them in a bag (five-10 clues ought to be enough).
  • Then, have a student reach into the bag and take out clues one by one.
  • Select a minimum number of clues to draw before they make their first guess (two-three).
  • After that, the student should guess, pulling each clue until they think it is right.
  • See how quickly the student can solve the riddle.

3. Survivor Scenario – Create a hypothetical situation that allows students to think creatively to make it through. One example may be being stuck on an island, realizing that three days of help would not come.

The community has a small amount of food and water and has to establish shelter from the island’s objects. This would undoubtedly be one of the fascinating problem solving activities for students.

  • Benefits: Logical thinking, collaboration
  • Encourage working together as a group.
  • Listen to each student who has an idea about making it safe and secure across the three days.

4. Moral Dilemmas – Create several potential moral dilemmas that your students can face in life, write down, and place each object in a bowl or container. These things may include items like, “I’ve seen a good friend of mine shoplifting. What is it that I would do?” or “The cashier gave me an additional $1.50 in change after I purchased candy from the shop. What is it that I would do?”

  • Benefits: Logical thinking
  • Time Duration: 5 minutes per student
  • Materials Required: Container, bits of paper with moral dilemmas written
  • Ask every student to draw an item from the bag one after the other and read it aloud. 
  • They must then tell the class the response on the spot as to how they would handle the situation.

5. Problem solving box – this is an activity that will help on both cognitive and emotional levels for students. 

  • Benefits: Logical thinking, decision making
  • Materials Required: Box, paper, pen
  • Have your students design and decorate a medium-sized box with a top slot. Name it as the “Problem Solving Box.”
  • Invite students to write down anonymously and apply any concerns or problems they may have at school or at home, which they do not appear to be able to work out on their own.
  • Let a student draw one of the things from the box once or twice a week, and read it aloud.
  • Finally, as a group, let the class work out the best way students can approach the problem and eventually solve it.

Also Read: Invest large in bitcoins – get a profitable deal from a bitcoin OTC broker now!

11. Problem solving activities for kids

Below is a bunch of problem solving activities for kids,

1. Puzzle-solving – Solving puzzles is one of the best problem solving activities for kids out there. Essentially, every puzzle is a big collection of muddled-up items to figure out and bring back together again.

Kids must be introduced to puzzles with regularity. These are useful for improving skills in reasoning. The best kinds to choose from are wooden puzzles with a wooden frame. They last long, and the structure serves as the foundation to direct children during construction. 

  • Benefits: Reasoning skills
  • Time Duration: Varies
  • Materials Required: Puzzles according to the age level

Instructions: 

  • Show the kids a demo of how a particular puzzle can be solved. 
  • Then, let them choose a puzzle of their liking from the available choices. 
  • Ask them to solve their chosen puzzles. 

2. Memory Games – Memory games will improve memory and attention to detail for your child. 

  • Benefits: Attention to detail
  • Materials Required: Matching pairs of images
  • Using matching pairs of images and turn them all face down, shuffled, on a table.
  • Take turns to pick any two cards, and face them on the table.
  • You hold the cards if you turn over a similar pair, and if the pair does not match, turn the cards over before it is your turn to try again. 
  • A teacher/parent must encourage the kids to concentrate on where the pictures are, and seek to find a matching pair on each turn.

3. Building games – Construction toys like building blocks, wooden blocks, or legos should be a staple in a kid’s home every day. Playing with them is one of the most fun problem solving activities for kids. Anything that your child builds is a challenge as it involves thinking about what to create and how to put together the parts to get a workable and usable design. 

  • Benefits: Decision making
  • Materials Required: Construction toys.

1. Let your child build a challenge openly and often, and ask him/her to build a particular structure, with conditions. For instance:

  • Create two towers with a bridge that connects them.  
  • Create a creature that stands alone and has three arms.

2. Observe how your child uses trial-and-error before finding a way to bring the idea into motion.

4. Tic-Tac-Toe – this is an excellent game for teaching decision-making skills. It encourages kids to think before they act and weigh the potential consequences. 

  • Materials Required: Pencil, paper
  • Draw a simple tic-tac-toe table on paper or chalkboard.
  • Take turns to add a nought or a cross to the table to see who is the first to make a line of three.
  • Your kid will likely catch on in no time before placing their symbol and start thinking carefully.
  • Coloured counters or different items can be used to play this game as well.

5. Building a Maze – This activity is fun and fits for any age. It will also be a lot more enjoyable than doing a maze in an activity book, particularly for younger kids. 

  • Materials Required: Chalk
  • Draw a big maze with jumbo chalk on the paving. Make passages, including one or two, which end in an impasse. Teach your kid how to get out of it.  
  • Make the maze more complicated and add more dead-end passages as your child gets better at figuring out a path and finding the way out.

Also Read: Developing a blockchain – hire an expert blockchain developer now!

What is a problem solving process?

When a team or person faces an issue or obstacle, it can be tempting to quickly track a potential solution and set up a fast fix. This could happen without understanding the complexity of the problem and pursuing a systematic approach to seeking a solution.

The attempts to address issues or obstacles may become unstructured and frustrating without a consistent method. End-to-end processes for problem solving offer a mechanism for a community to tackle any size or nature, and see results. Problem solving activities for adults, kids, and students can help make the problem solving process very useful.

Army problem solving process

There are 7 steps to problem solving army model,

  • Recognize and define the problem – The first step army problem solving process is defining the problem precisely and determining the root cause.
  • Gather facts and make assumptions – You need to gather all information you have at your disposal. Common resources for information may be documentation and policies. Assumptions are unsubstantiated facts. Use facts rather than assumptions when you need to analyze the scope of the problem.
  • Generate alternatives – One of the key steps in military problem solving is finding ways to solve the problem. Ideally, it best to have multiple approaches to solve the problem. Take input from peers and subordinates if possible.
  • Analyze possible solutions – Analyze each possible solution with advantages and disadvantages. You evaluate each solution according to screening and feasibility criteria. Reject the solution when it fails in the screening process.
  • Compare Alternatives – Another crucial step in the army problem solving model is to evaluate alternatives for cost and benefits. You need to consider your experience and immediate future. Tabulating each solution with the pros and cons will help clear the picture.
  • Make an executive your decision – Make a decision and prepare an action plan, and put it in motion.
  • Assess the result – You need to monitor the implementation of the plan and modify it if required. Establishing critical steps and milestones will help to ensure success.

Army problem solving games

  • Capture the flag – the game helps in team building and army problem solving. Two teams compete against one another to retrieve a flag or object from the opposing team camp base and get into their camp base. This game is flexible, and ground rules need to be set before the game starts.
  • Paintball – Paintball is a fun military problem solving activity. You can have many modifications and variations of the paintball game. The aim is to fire paint pellets at the opposing team. Laser tag is another variation of the game.
  • Firing blind – Firing blind is a game where each team has a large number of water balloons. At the other end of the field has to hit the target is protected by a tarp from direct firing. The team has to hit the target that is covered. One team member acts as the observer and directs the team to hit the target with the water balloons.

Also Read: Interested in NFT – find an expert NFT consultant now!

Obstacles to problem solving

Problem solving can take time and patience, one of the best ways to solve any problem is pausing and evaluating the problem. Obstacles to problem solving are,

  • Misdiagnosis – Misdiagnosis is a common problem can occur due to preconceived idea, biases or judgments. Defining and having a concrete understanding of the problem is the first step in the problem solving activity. This can be difficult. If you are not careful, you may spend your time and resources solving the wrong problem and finding the wrong solution.
  • Communication bias – Communication barriers are caused when we are unable to explain the problem to the team, or presuming we know more than everyone else. Everyone on the team must be on the same page. You may need to acknowledge you have a limited understanding of the problem.
  • Solution bias – A common obstacle in problem solving is thinking there may be a universal solution or thinking the same solution can solve multiple problems. You need to evaluate a problem independently than try to force-fit a solution that worked previously.
  • Cognitive bias – One of the barriers to finding an effective solution is cognitive bias, or the tendency to jump to conclusions. To find solutions fast firms often end up with an irrelevant solution. This may cause more problems down the line.
  • Lack of empathy – Every problem is associated with human emotions or abilities. It is important to identify and recognize people affected by the problem or it will be difficult to find a solution that will solve help.

Also Read: Developing an NFT – hire an expert NFT developer now!

Famous virtual problem solving software

Traditionally watercoolers chat is a great way to bring people together and help team members interact with one another. A virtual water cooler has a similar concept where people interact in a similar virtual setting or a dedicated virtual room. It allows remote teams to bond. Software that offers virtual water coolers services,

  • unremot.com – provides users with a unique water cooler experience. The app provides unique solutions to remote teams.
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Informal Whatsapp group
  • Donut over slack channels

problem solving collaborative activities

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Resource library, examples of collaborative learning or group work activities.

  • Getting Started with Designing Group Work Assignments
  • Getting Started with Evaluating Group Work
  • Team-Based Learning Collaborative

Stump Your Partner

  • Students take a minute to create a challenging question based on the lecture content up to that point.
  • Students pose the question to the person sitting next to them.
  • To take this activity a step further, ask students to write down their questions and hand them in. These questions can be used to create tests or exams. They can also be reviewed to gauge student understanding.

Think-Pair-Share/Write-Pair-Share

  • The instructor poses a question that demands analysis, evaluation, or synthesis.
  • Students take a few minutes to think through an appropriate response.
  • Students turn to a partner (or small groups) and share their responses. Take this a step further by asking students to find someone who arrived at an answer different from their own and convince their partner to change their mind.
  • Student responses are shared within larger teams or with the entire class during a follow-up discussion.
  • Stop at a transition point in your lecture.
  • Have students turn to a partner or work in small groups to compare notes and ask clarifying questions.
  • After a few minutes, open the floor to a few questions.

Fishbowl Debate

  • Ask students to sit in groups of three.
  • Assign roles. For example, the person on left takes one position on a topic for debate, the person on right takes the opposite position, and the person in the middle takes notes and decides which side is the most convincing and provides an argument for his or her choice.
  • Debrief by calling on a few groups to summarize their discussions.
  • Create four to five case studies of similar difficulty.
  • Have students work in groups of four or five to work through and analyze their case study.
  • Provide 10-15 minutes (or adequate time) to work through the cases.
  • Walk around and address any questions.
  • Call on groups randomly and ask that students share their analysis. Continue until each case study has been addressed.

Team-Based Learning

  • Start a course unit by giving students some tasks to complete, such as reading or lab assignments. Consider assigning these to be completed before class.
  • Check students' comprehension of the material with a quick multiple-choice quiz. Have students submit their answers.
  • Assign students to groups and have them review their answers with group members to reach consensus. Have each group submit one answered quiz.
  • Record both the individual student assessment scores and the final group assessment score (both of which are used toward each student's course grade).
  • Deliver a lecture that specially targets any misconceptions or gaps in knowledge the assessments reveal.
  • Give groups a challenging assignment, such as solving a problem or applying a theory to a real-world situation.
  • Find more information on this strategy at   the Team-Based Learning Collaborative .

Group Problem-Solving

There are many instructional strategies that involve students working together to solve a problem, including inquiry-based learning, authentic learning, and discovery learning. While they each have their own unique characteristics, they fundamentally involve:

  • Presenting students with a problem.
  • Providing some structure or guidance toward solving the problem. Note however, that they are all student-centered activities in which the instructor may have a very minimal role.
  • Reaching a final outcome or solution.

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  • Collaborative Problem Solving® »

problem solving collaborative activities

Collaborative Problem Solving® (CPS)

At Think:Kids, we recognize that kids with challenging behavior don’t lack the will  to behave well. They lack the  skills  to behave well.

Our CPS approach is proven to reduce challenging behavior, teach kids the skills they lack, and build relationships with the adults in their lives.

Anyone can learn Collaborative Problem Solving, and we’re here to help.

What is Collaborative Problem Solving?

Kids with challenging behavior are tragically misunderstood and mistreated. Rewards and punishments don’t work and often make things worse. Thankfully, there’s another way. But it requires a big shift in mindset.

Helping kids with challenging behavior requires understanding why they struggle in the first place. But what if everything we thought was true about challenging behavior was actually wrong? Our Collaborative Problem Solving approach recognizes what research has pointed to for years – that kids with challenging behavior are already trying hard. They don’t lack the will to behave well. They lack the skills to behave well.

Learn More About the CPS Approach

Kids Do Well If They Can

CPS helps adults shift to a more accurate and compassionate mindset and embrace the truth that kids do well if they can – rather than the more common belief that kids would do well if they simply wanted to.

Flowing from this simple but powerful philosophy, CPS focuses on building skills like flexibility, frustration tolerance and problem solving, rather than simply motivating kids to behave better. The process begins with identifying triggers to a child’s challenging behavior and the specific skills they need help developing.  The next step involves partnering with the child to build those skills and develop lasting solutions to problems that work for everyone.

The CPS approach was developed at Massachusetts General Hospital a top-ranked Department of Psychiatry in the United States.  It is proven to reduce challenging behavior, teach kids the skills they lack, and build relationships with the adults in their lives. If you’re looking for a more accurate, compassionate, and effective approach, you’ve come to the right place. Fortunately, anyone can learn CPS. Let’s get started!

Bring CPS to Your Organization

Attend a cps training.

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6 out of 10 teachers report reduced stress.

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Significant reductions in parents’ stress.

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74% average reduction in use of seclusion.

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73% reduction in oppositional behaviors during school.

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Parents report improvements in parent-child interactions.

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71% fewer self-inflicted injuries.

25%

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Significant improvements in children’s executive functioning skills.

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60% of children exhibited improved behavior 

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64 team building activities to bring your team together (and have fun!)

problem solving collaborative activities

Team building activities can make all the difference when it comes to job satisfaction , employee engagement and organizational success . But even with the best intentions, it’s not sufficient to simply bring a group of people together. Effective team building activities can help your group feel more connected and able to collaborate more effectively .

But how do you choose the right activity, and where do you get started when trying to encourage team bonding or alignement? We're here to help with this collection of simple and effective team building activities!

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Building a highly effective team takes effort , consideration, and the deployment of a thoughtful group process . Remember that teams are composed of relationships between people and all relationships need care and attention. The team-building activities below are a great place to start!

That said, some employees may bristle or cringe at the mention of team building activities, and with good reason. Done badly, team building at work can be unimaginative , unproductive, or a waste of time for all involved . 

We’ve put together a collection of proven team-building activities, games, and exercises that cover everything from communication and collaboration to alignment and vision . 

Whether you’re working in a small team or as part of a large organization, taking the time to develop your team and enable everyone in your group to do their best work is time well spent. Let’s take a look!

What are team building activities? 

Team building is an activity or process designed to help build connections between members of a team, create lasting bonds, and enable better teamwork and working practices.

Team building activities might include running team games and activities, holding group discussions, hosting away days, or simply doing things together as a team. They key is that the exercise is designed to bring your team together in a fun and engaging way.

problem solving collaborative activities

What is the main purpose of a team building activity? 

The main purpose of any team-building activity is on improving some aspects of how a team works together while bringing everyone together in a shared experience .

This might include working on communication, collaboration, alignment, team values, motivation, and anything else that can enable a group to work together more effectively. It might also include resolving conflicts, sharing skills, or simply bringing your group together in a shared experience.

Broadly speaking, any team building effort should be designed to help bring team members closer or find ways to first define and then move towards your shared goals as a group .

As Forbes notes , team building is “most important investment you can make for your people.” On this point, it’s worth noting that team building doesn’t just happen during the activity and so being purposeful your choice of exercise is important.

The best team building activities hold space for building connections in a way that spills over into day-to-day work and creates lasting bonds. It’s not enough to throw your team into an escape room or scavenger hunt without first thinking about why or how this will benefit your team!

After you’ve chosen some engaging team building activities, it’s time to design a complete process that will engage your team while achieving your desired outcomes.

SessionLab makes it easy to build a complete team building agenda in minutes . Start by dragging and dropping blocks, add activity timings and adjust your session flow to create an effective session.

problem solving collaborative activities

What are the main types of team building activities?

Team building activities are games and exercises that help a group collaborate on a shared goal, discuss important issues constructively, share in a fun experience or find better ways of working together.

These activities can take forms – from quick and funny games you use in your regular meeting, or the may be part of a larger process or team development workshop.

Being purposeful and knowing the objective of your session means you can choose an activity accordingly. Sometimes, your team will come together because they have problems to solve, or you might just want to have fun and celebrate your wins. Pick the right activity for the right time to ensure your team is onboard and ready to engage!

Here are the main categories of team building activity that you might want to use with your team. We’ve made it easy to get started with the right activity for your team by including the length of each game, how many participants can play and how hard it is to run alongside clear instructions.

Team get to know you activities

Starting the team building process can be difficult, especially if you’re working with a new team who don’t yet know each other well. The activities in this section are focused on helping teams get to know each other better and start to develop bonds and trust as a team.

Even if your team has been around a while, learning more about one another and building deeper bonds is useful for both team cohesion and group happiness. These are also great activities to use when trying to improve employee engagement and company culture – any organization is only as strong as the bonds between its people!

Try these get-to-know-you games to encourage conversation and break the ice – especially if you’re working with a remote workers who might not be in the office together.

3 Question Mingle

Conversation is often the best starting point when it comes to team building, but without structure, it can be difficult for groups to get moving. In 3 Question Mingle, each team member writes three questions on sticky notes and then has a one minute meeting with another person. They each ask another one question and then trade those post-its. Invite the group to move around the room asking questions in pairs and swapping questions afterwards. 

Not only does this team building activity help an entire team get to know each other, but it also invites the group to ask the questions they want to ask. By combining structure with self direction, you can get your team building workshop off to the right start! Bonus points for adding those sticky notes to a memory wall for later reflection!

3 Question Mingle   #hyperisland   #team   #get-to-know   An activity to support a group to get to know each other through a set of questions that they create themselves. The activity gets participants moving around and meeting each other one-on-one. It’s useful in the early stages of team development and/or for groups to reconnect with each other after a period of time apart.

9 Dimensions Team Building Activity

Building better team relationships and improving group dynamics often means sharing something about ourselves and finding space to discuss and be honest. In this team building exercise, give each team member a set of red, green, yellow and blue dots alongside the 9 dimensions you’ll be looking at. Each participant puts a dot on each dimension based on whether they believe they’re crushing it or need to do more work. 

By sharing some of their 9 dimensions, your team gets to surface things they’re proud of, as well as those that need work. You’ll explore what your group is aligned on in the debriefing section and then move forward together as a team.

9 Dimensions Team Building Activity   #icebreaker   #teambuilding   #team   #remote-friendly   9 Dimensions is a powerful activity designed to build relationships and trust among team members. There are 2 variations of this icebreaker. The first version is for teams who want to get to know each other better. The second version is for teams who want to explore how they are working together as a team.

Awareness Circle

Getting to know people is easier for some members of a group than it is for others. While extroverts can start chatting to new team members with ease, introverts may find it more difficult to bond with their team and create meaningful team bonds.

In this activity, you’ll encourage a group to get to know each other without speaking and show that everyone in a team has a connection. Another great takeaway from this activity is to take note of the diversity (or lack thereof) in the room and consider this as a point for future team development. 

Awareness Circle   #teampedia   #team   #icebreaker   #opening   This activity helps participants to get-to-know each other without saying a word.

Best and Worst

Teambuilding activities are often at their most effective when you ignite the passions of everyone in a group and bring up talking points that enable people to share something of themselves with the team.

Best and Worst asks each participant to ask one question about the best and worst thing they want to learn from the group. For example, “What’s the best recipe you know?” or “What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had?” After putting all the questions in a hat and choosing a random pair, invite the group to share their answers and related stories.

Best and Worst   #teampedia   #get-to-know   #opening   #icebreaker   #team   This activity could easily break the ice at the beginning of a workshop, enabling participants to get to know each other in a fast process.

Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity

Sometimes pictures are better than words when it comes to helping a team get to know one another. Creative games like this one can also be especially effective at helping introverts or distanced teams share with the group.

Start by handing out sheets of paper and inviting each participant to draw a 2×2 grid and pose four questions to the group. Each team member draws their answer in one of the grid squares and once the time limit is up, invite the group to share. If you’re looking for a fun game that encourages creative thinking while being visual and memorable, look no further! 

Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity   #team   #icebreaker   #get-to-know   #teambuilding   The Four Quadrants is a tried and true team building activity to break the ice with a group or team. It is EASY to prep for and set up. It can be MODIFIED to work with any group and/or topic (just change the questions). It is FUN, COLORFUL and VISUAL.

Group Order

Supporting the get-to-know process at the start of a session or with a new team can be as simple as asking participants to group themselves together based on what they know about each other and inviting them to find out what they don’t.

This activity requires nothing more than getting your group together in a room and asking them to line themselves up in an order based on a criterion such as distance from home to the workplace, birth date in the calendar year or number of different countries visited. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get people talking and sharing when in pursuit of a common goal.

Group Order   #get-to-know   #energiser   #icebreaker   #thiagi   #team   This is an energizing activity that helps members of a group get to know each other, network, and recognize what they have in common.

Happiness Exercise

Good teams know how to appreciate one another and share joyful, happy experiences. When a new team is getting to know each other, using an exercise that encourages the sharing of positive stories and experiences not only allows people to connect but also builds a positive atmosphere in the room.

You might also use this team building activity at work or with a more established team. If your team has been going through a challenging period, it can be transformational to share things that make everyone happy and defuse stress or tension as a team.

Happiness exercise   #teambuilding   #icebreaker   #warm up   #remote-friendly   This exercise is a simple application of the principles of Appreciative Inquiry.

Just One Lie

Not all team building games need to reinvent the wheel. Particularly with new teams or groups that aren’t used to team building, keeping it simple with a tried and tested method can be your best bet.

Just One Lie is adapted from the well-known icebreaker two truths and a lie, though encourages participants to mingle and share lots of facts about themselves with one another – great for breaking the ice and getting to know one another too!

Just One Lie   #icebreaker   #energiser   #team   #get-to-know   This method is adapted from the well-known icebreaker ‘Two Truths And A Lie’  to create an activity that you could return to throughout a meeting.

Both groups and individuals go through many twists, turns and changes throughout their life. At its best, team building not only helps create better teams but allows time for reflection and deeper sharing between participants.

With Life Map, encourage your group to draw or create a collage of their life story they can then share with the team. This kind of deeper getting to know your exercise can really help bring a team together and allow for meaningful self-reflection too! 

Life map   #team   #teampedia   #icebreaker   #get-to-know   With this activity the participants get to know each other on a deeper level.

Name Juggling

Working with new teams means having new names to learn. Team building starts with getting to know everyone, but how can we make this more fun and dynamic than simple introductions?

In this get to know you game, start by having everyone stand in a circle and introduce themselves by name. Introduce a ball and have people state someone’s name before throwing the ball to that person. That person thanks the person who passed the ball by name before then passing the ball on to someone else. Once people get comfortable, spice things up by introducing more balls and trying to keep them in the air!

Name Juggling   #teampedia   #icebreaker   #energiser   #get-to-know   #team   Name Juggling is another variation of a try-to-learn-everyone’s-name but the game guarantees high energy level as well as some strategic thinking.

Finding you have things in common with other team members is one of the cornerstones of effective teamwork and communication. While conversation games or other team building activities might ask for an in-depth approach, Open Fist helps teams bond with a simple, effective activity.

Sharing little known facts about ourselves can help teams be more cohesive and by limiting the number of shared facts to the amount of fingers on a hand, this quick team building activity can fit into an agenda with ease.

Open Fist   #get-to-know   #icebreaker   #thiagi   #team   Teams work better when they find things in common. Stronger teams reduce turnover, increase pleasant interactions, and improve productivity.

Personal Presentation

Team building is all about building trust and openness between teammates. Sharing personal experiences and enlarging the social aspects of the group with presentations not only allows everyone to get to know each other but also encourages team development skills too.

For this team building method, ask each participant to prepare a presentation including three things that have shaped who they are as a person. Encourage creative thinking by asking teams to use simple drawings and words to visualize their presentation too.

Personal Presentations   #hyperisland   #team   A simple exercise in which each participant prepares a personal presentation of him/herself sharing several important experiences, events, people or stories that contributed to shaping him or her as an individual. The purpose of personal presentations is to support each participant in getting to know each other as individuals and to build trust and openness in a group by enlarging the social arena.

Cross the Circle

Finding common ground and shared experiences across a diverse group is what team building is all about. In this playful team building activity, participants are encouraged to cross the circle in response to questions posed by a person in the middle.

For example, “Cross through the circle if you have worked here more than 5 years.” or “Cross through the circle if you can play an instrument.” After each stage, a new person gets to pose a question and your team gets to know one another and their commonalities in a simple, effective way.

Cross the Circle   #teambuilding   #get-to-know   #energiser   #team   #thiagi   This activity provides a playful way for participants to find commonalities among themselves.

Funny team building activities

In an increasingly stressful environment of deadlines and meetings, it’s worth remembering the value of joy, play and simply have fun as a team.

Injecting fun and laughter into your team building event is effective on many levels. We often recommend starting a session with one of these activities, as they can help set a more relaxed and personable tone in an instant.

We’ve also found that some of the more memorable moments of our sessions have come out of these kinds of activities. It’s lovely to have something funny to reference in future meetings too!

Bringing team members out of their shells and loosening them up with a funny game can also help prevent existing hierarchies or team structures from affecting the team building session. 

You can also use these funny team building activities to kick off your session, or when the energy levels drop and you need to get your team re-engaged for the team workshop ahead. Let’s take a look.

Having fun and energizing your team is a great way to kick off your team building event. Bang is a simple and effective game that encourages quick reactions and fun – perfect for both new and established teams to play together! 

Start by electing a sheriff and having the rest of the group stand in a circle around them. The sheriff spins around and points at one person in the circle and says “bang!” That person then crouches as quickly as possible. The two people on either side of the person crouching must quickly point at each other and shout the other’s name. Whoever does not react quickly enough is eliminated. Try using this one at the beginning of a team building event to really loosen up the group!

Bang   #hyperisland   #energiser   Bang is a group game, played in a circle, where participants must react quickly or face elimination. One person stands in the middle of the circle as “the sheriff”, pointing at other players who must quickly crouch while those on either side of them quickly “draw”. A good activity to generate laughter in a group. It can also help with name-learning for groups getting to know each other.

Build-a-Shake

Creating a secret handshake was something many of us did as kids. This team building activity taps into that same sense of creativity and also encourages team members to get to know each other while sharing and building on their handshake in pairs. By moving between pairs and teaching others the steps of your handshake, this also helps create group closeness and cohesion. We love team building activities or office games that encourage people to bring a little of themselves to the table and Build-a-Shake is a great example of that!  

Build-a-Shake   #teampedia   #energiser   #get-to-know   #opening   #team   How to introduce yourself in a fun, creative way? Build a handshake!

Simple tasks that require team focus, cohesion, and awareness are great for any group working on team building. In Count Up, a team has to come together and count up to twenty with their eyes closed and without any other communication. People cannot say more than one number at a time, and if two people speak at the same time, the group must start over. 

Though it seems simple, this team building exercise can really demonstrate the power of effective teamwork and is a great opener for a team building workshop. 

Count Up   #hyperisland   #team   #energiser   #remote-friendly   In this short exercise, a group must count up to a certain number, taking turns in a random order, with no two people speaking at the same time. The task is simple, however, it takes focus, calm and awareness to succeed. The exercise is effective to generate calm and focused collective energy in a group.

Follow the Leader

When performing online team building, simple activities are often the best strategy in ensuring participation and removing frustration. Follow the Leader is a great team building energiser suitable for online and offline teams.

In virtual settings, put Zoom into gallery view and invite people to perform an action in the frame of their screen that other participants have to follow. Being a little silly is encouraged and this team building exercise often results in laughter and energy as a result! 

Follow the Follower   #zoom   #virtual   #physical   #teambuilding   #connection   #energiser   #opening   #remote-friendly   #ericamarxcoaching   One person is designated as the leader.  Others copy exactly how the leader moves.  The leader calls on a new person to be the leader, and so on. Follow the follower variation is when the leading gets passed to the entire group and no single person is leading.

Portrait Gallery

Creative team building activities are great for breaking the ice or energising a team via play. In Portrait Gallery, you and your team will collaboratively create portraits of everyone in the group and have a fun, electric set of portraits to display afterward.

Start by splitting your group into two teams. Team B will draw portraits of Team A, though every 10-15 seconds, they’ll pass their current drawing to the next person to continue. By the end of this team building game, you’ll have a set of eclectic portraits for everyone in the group and have broken the ice significantly too! 

Portrait Gallery   #hyperisland   #team   #icebreaker   The Portrait Gallery is an energetic and fun icebreaker game that gets participants interacting by having the group collaboratively draw portraits of each member. The activity builds a sense of group because it results with each participant having a portrait drawn of him/herself by the other members of the group together. It also has a very colourful visual outcome: the set of portraits which can be posted in the space.

Fun team building games are a great way to start any group development process, and they’re even better if they energize the team too! Snowball is a great activity for getting people out of their seats and moving around while also breaking the ice. 

Start by asking a question relevant to your group and ask each participant to write an answer on a piece of paper. Once that’s done, invite everyone to crumple their paper and come to the centre of the room to have a snowball fight! After a few minutes, ask everyone to keep a snowball and find the person who wrote the answer. Not only does this team building exercise invite energy into the room, but it encourages people to get to know each other too.

Snowball   #get-to-know   #opening   #energiser   #teambuilding   #team   This is a great activity to get people up and moving around in a playful way while still learning about each other. It can be related to any topic and be played at any time during the group’s life.

Celebrity Party

You’ve likely played the game where you stick the name of a random celebrity on your head while then asking questions to help you guess who it is. (Or at least seen a film where someone else does it!) It’s simple, but it absolutely works when you want to break the ice or just generate some laughter and conversation.

This classic team building game is a great way to warm up large groups, encouraging mingling and have fun too. Ask participants to be creative, keep it light and not to give hints and you have all the makings of an effective team building exercise.

Celebrity Party   #teampedia   #icebreaker   #communication   #diversity   #team   #action   Great activity to help people warm up in a new environment.

Non-verbal improv

Whether you’re working with remote teams or co-located groups, having fun when you get together should never be undervalued. We love simple games that are also ways to begin conversations about how we’d like to work together more effectively.

This improv game is easy to touch and is a great way to build team connections while raising some smiles. Start by preparing some actions on post-it notes, such as drinking a glass of water or eating pasta. Next, invite participants to mime the action without speaking. Include more difficult and amusing scenarios to challenge the group and create some funny opportunities for team connection!

Non-verbal improv   #improv game   #energiser   #fun   #remote-friendly   An improv game where participants must use non-verbal communication and actions to communicate a phrase or an idea to other players. A fun game that’s a great way to open a discussion on better communication!

Rock, Paper, Scissors (Tournament)

Encouraging team members to play and have fun is an often overlooked aspect of building better teams. Play is an inherently human activity, and by doing this as a team, we can start to see ourselves as more than just a group of people who work together.

In this version of Rock, Paper, Scissors, large groups pair off until only two players remain for a final showdown. We love that losing players become fans of the winners and cheer them on. This is a quick and easy team game that can build excitement and get the group ready for deeper team building activities to come!

Rock, Paper, Scissors (Tournament)   #energiser   #warm up   #remote-friendly   This is a fun and loud energiser based on the well-known “Rock, Paper, Scissor” game – with a twist: the losing players become the fan of the winners as the winner advances to the next round. This goes on until a final showdown with two large cheering crowds! It can be played with adults of all levels as well as kids and it always works! 

Fun team building activities often ask the group to let go of their inhibitions and find space to be playful and silly. This game from Hyper Island encourages the group to perform some loud, exuberant moves to emulate our favourite historical raiders – the Vikings.

You might use this activity during a longer workshop or meeting to energize a group and create a memorable moment with your team. For bonus points, have a group photographer capture those moments and put them on a history wall for reflection later!

The Viking   #hyperisland   #energiser   In this group game, players stand in a circle and perform a series of loud physical moves, passing from one person to the next. When a player hesitates or makes a mistake, he or she is eliminated and the game continues. The game generates laughter and playfulness in the group.

Wink Murder

We love team building exercises that include space for friendly competition and laughter. Wink murder is a variation on a classic party game that asks every team member to try and catch the wink assassin, whose job it is to eliminate the other players by winking at them without being caught.

We especially like the fact this game makes team members to use creative thinking while playing. Run multiple rounds with extra rules such as adding an accomplice to spice things up and have even more fun!

Wink Murder   #icebreaker   #energizer   #group game   #team   #teambuilding   A fun energizer where one player must try and eliminate the rest of the team by winking – all without being caught.

problem solving collaborative activities

Corporate team building activities

Running team building games in the office can be a great way to finish up the week, onboard new team members or just boost employee engagement.

While all of the activities in this post are suitable for the office, the team building games in this section are especially effective in a corporate environment where some team members may need some coaxing or you want to gently introduce important topics.

Try these activities if you want to add an opportunity for your team to bond during a corporate training session, all-hands or other office event.

Appreciations Exercise

Office trivia can be fun, but you know what’s better? Taking a moment to appreciate each team member and uplift everyone in the group.

This method is designed to help everyone in a group receive appreciative feedback on their strengths from others. Start by sitting the group in a circle and having each participant write their name on a piece of paper and pass it to the person on their left. Each person writes down what they have most valued about the person whose name is on the sheet before passing it along.

At the end, share these appreciations and celebrate everyone in the group! You might even include this activity during a happy hour to truly celebrate one another!

Appreciations Exercise   #team   #appreciation   #self esteem   #remote-friendly   When you hear about your strengths from others and acknowledge them to yourself, this builds your motivation and self-confidence. If you do this at the end of a workshop, you go away feeling good about yourself and your colleagues too.

Cover Story

Bringing an activity that encourages creative thinking and imagination can be an effective method for getting team mates involved at your next corporate event. In this game, small groups create a magazine cover with your team on it and add headlines and taglines that show the best possible version of your team.

By defining the ideal future state for the organization your group can see what actions they might take today while also creating a fun and useful artefact for the team. Use as many sheets of paper as you need!

Cover Story   #gamestorming   #idea generation   #organizational development   #vision   #strategy   Cover Story is a game about pure imagination. The purpose is to think expansively around an ideal future state for the organization; it’s an exercise in visioning. The object of the game is to suspend all disbelief and envision a future state that is so stellar that it landed your organization on the cover of a well-known magazine

Coat of Arms

Even established teams have more to learn about one another. A corporate team building activity is a great time to encourage groups to go deeper and share who they are as a team.

In Coat of Arms, each team member begins by drawing a personal coat of arms and then sharing it with a partner. The partner interprets the coat of arms and then presents it to the rest of the group. This kind of getting to know you activity taps into group creativity and is a fun way of helping your team bond. 

Coat of Arms   #teambuilding   #opening   #icebreaker   #team   #get-to-know   #thiagi   Coat of Arms exercise provides a way for participants to introduce themselves and their colleagues, particularly for groups who think they already know each other very well. Almost invariably participants discover something about their colleagues of which they previously had no idea. Occasionally this revelation has an immediate and direct application to another participant’s current project or challenge.Because this activity forces people to use drawings rather than words, it is particularly useful as a dual-purpose introductory exercise in training sessions that deal with such topics as innovation, creativity, and problem-solving.

My Favourite Manager

Leaders and managers can be a deciding factor in creating a great company culture and employee happiness. In this game, get started by bringing your team together to discuss their favourite and least favourite managers.

This corporate team building activity is great at creating a safe space to discuss management styles and create empathy between teams. You’ll often find team members can shift their perspective, learn something about how they relate to their leaders and have fun too!

My Favourite Manager   #management   #leadership   #thiagi   #teamwork   #remote-friendly   Participants work individually, assuming the roles of three different people and brainstorming their perceptions of three most favourite managers and three least favourite managers. Later, they work with a partner (and still later, in teams) to prepare a list of dos and don’t-s for improving employees’ perception of a manager’s style.

Who are you? The Pirate Ship exercise

Explore team roles and responsibilities in a lighthearted manner is a great way to spend time during an office event.

In this simple but powerful team building exercise, share the image of the crew of a pirate ship. Next, invite participants to reflect on who they most identify with on the ship. Who is the captain? Who is looking out for land or maintaining the deck? By reflecting together around a fun premise, you can encourage meaningful discussions with your grop.

Who are you? The pirate ship exercise (dinámica del barco pirata)   #team alignment   #team   #remote-friendly   #teamwork   #warm up   #icebreaker   This an easy but powerful exercise to open a meeting or session and get participants to reflect on their attitudes or feelings about a topic, in the organization, team, or in the project.

History Map

Building effective teams is often a process of ideation, reflection and iteration over time. Sometimes, it’s easy to lose sight of just how much a team or organization has grown. With this corporate team building activity, invite your group to reflect and build on their collective experience with a memory wall that collects moments over a fixed period of time.

It’s a great way of reinforcing major takeaways, celebrating the highlights and creating a sense of closure and progress. By also encouraging the creation of a shared visual resource, History Map also enables creativity and a sense of fun that can provide the perfect end to a project or working session. 

History Map   #hyperisland   #team   #review   #remote-friendly   The main purpose of this activity is to remind and reflect on what group members or participants have been through and to create a collective experience and shared story. Every individual will gain a shared idea of what the group has been through together. Use this exercise at the end of a project or program as a way to reinforce learnings, celebrate highlights and create closure.

Birds of a Feather

It’s not uncommon for teams to naturally form sub-groups with common characteristics. This exercise effectively shows how consciously creating more diverse groups can make teams more resilient and productive.

Get started by giving each team member an index card with a single letter on it. Then ask people to form a group of five people as quickly as possible without any further instructions. Next, ask the groups to form the longest word possible from their cards. It will quickly become apparent that the best way to win the game is with a team that has diverse cards.

This simple game is a great introduction to a wider conversation about diversity or inclusion. As always, debrief learnings and invite deeper conversation in the group to make this activity a success.

Birds of a Feather   #teamwork   #diversity   #team   #creativity   #thiagi   Participants naturally want to form groups with common characteristics. This exercise illustrates how diverse groups have access to more resources and provide a greater variety of solutions. Each person is given an index card with a letter on it, and then asked to form a group of five people. Participants assume that they should get into groups with others who have the same letter. However, when the facilitator asks them to form the longest word possible with the letter cards, they realize that it would have been more beneficial to have created a diverse group.

Corporate meetings can sometimes be heavy going, but they don’t need to be. In this fun teambuilding game, encourage your group to loosen up while working together to solve a puzzle that involves their bodies!

Start by getting your team members into groups of 7-12 people. Ask each group to stand in a circle, close their eyes and then link hands with two other people in the circle. Next, ask each group to work to untangle the human knot they have created without breaking the chain. This is a really fun game that requires clear communication, collaboration and a little flexibility too!

Human Knot   A physical-participation disentanglement puzzle that helps a group learn how to work together (self-organize) and can be used to illustrate the difference between self-organization and command-control management or simply as a get-to-know-you icebreaker. Standing in a circle, group members reach across to connect hands with different people. The group then tries to unravel the “human knot” by unthreading their bodies without letting go of each other people’s hands. As a management-awareness game to illustrate required change in behavior and leadership on a management level (e.g., illustrate the change from ‘task-oriented’ management towards ‘goal/value-oriented’ management).

Team communication and collaboration activities

Team work doesn’t always come naturally, and effective team collaboration needs attention, reflection and work in order to happen. It’s not enough to just assume your team members will be able to work together efficiently: all teams can benefit from a strategic and well-thought approach to how they communicate and collaborate.

Whether you’re having a team away day or using methods expressly designed to improve collaboration, you’ll find inspiration in the activities here!

These team building exercises are helpful whether you’re trying to solve miscommunication or collaboration issues, or just want to strengthen your company culture or communication skills.

Conflict Responses

It’s important to remember that every team is made up of individuals and sometimes, conflicts or disagreements can arise. While its regular working practice to disagree, our responses to conflict and how we deal with them when they arise are in our control and can be improved.

In this exercise, reflect on previous conflicts as a team and collectively create a set of guidelines to use in the future. Resolving issues effectively is a massive part of team collaboration, and by including all team members in this process you can get more meaningful results too.

Conflict Responses   #hyperisland   #team   #issue resolution   A workshop for a team to reflect on past conflicts, and use them to generate guidelines for effective conflict handling. The workshop uses the Thomas-Killman model of conflict responses to frame a reflective discussion. Use it to open up a discussion around conflict with a team.

Heard, Seen, Respected

Team empathy is a vital ingredient of good team work though whatever the size of your organization, it can sometimes be difficult to walk in the shoes of others and see things from other perspectives.

Heard, Seen, Respected is a team building activity designed to help participants practice deeper empathy for colleagues and build the kinds of bonds and working practices that can improve team collaboration. By inviting participants to notice patterns in the stories shared and find common takeaways, it’s a great way to get everyone involved on the same page and improve communication skills too.

Heard, Seen, Respected (HSR)   #issue analysis   #empathy   #communication   #liberating structures   #remote-friendly   You can foster the empathetic capacity of participants to “walk in the shoes” of others. Many situations do not have immediate answers or clear resolutions. Recognizing these situations and responding with empathy can improve the “cultural climate” and build trust among group members. HSR helps individuals learn to respond in ways that do not overpromise or overcontrol. It helps members of a group notice unwanted patterns and work together on shifting to more productive interactions. Participants experience the practice of more compassion and the benefits it engenders.

Myers-Briggs Team Reflection

One potential obstacle to effective team collaboration is when members of the group don’t fully understand one another. Team building activities for work that encourage participants to not only try and understand their colleagues but themselves can be especially helpful when helping a team be more cohesive.

In this activity, invite your group to first take a version of the Myers-Briggs personality test. Start by asking each team member to reflect on their own personality type before then moving towards small group discussion. 

When using this activity, it’s important to correctly frame the usage of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) framework: This can be a useful framework to understand different communication preferences between people, but team members should not be labeled or put into boxes based on their self-reported preferences. 

Myers-Briggs Team Reflection   #team   #hyperisland   A workshop to explore personal traits and interpersonal relations using the Myers-Briggs personalities model. Use this tool to go deeper with your team to understand more about yourselves and each other on personal and professional levels.

Strength Building exercise

Exercises for team building come in many varieties. In this activity, the emphasis is on the team championing one another and increasing confidence, self esteem and mutual trust.

Start by asking team members to share an event where they accomplished something that made them feel good about themselves. The rest of the team chimes in to suggest two to three strengths they must have exhibited in order to achieve the accomplishment. Team collaboration often means helping others on the team achieve their best, and this activity helps the group uplift one another meaningfully and effectively.

Strength Building exercise   #team   #appreciation   #self esteem   #remote-friendly   People develop confidence and self esteem as they discover that their achievements and skills are valuable. This is an exercise for team building and for increasing self esteem and mutual trust.

Strength Envelopes

All members of a team have unique strengths, capabilities and working preferences. When working as a group, you can improve engagement and group workflow by having each participant utilize their strengths and do work that interests them the most.

With this team building activity, ask participants to write their name on an envelope and invite other members of their team to spend a few minutes writing down strength statements for that person. Place these in the envelope and pass them along so at the end of the session, each person has a set full of strengths they can use as the basis for reflection. 

Strength Envelopes   #appreciation   #self-awareness   #feedback   #team   #thiagi   #teambuilding   #action   This activity helps working teams to discover and share individual strengths and to increase their engagement by structuring their jobs around these strengths. Suitable for people who work together (for example, members of an intact work team) organized into playgroups of 5 to 9 members.

Team of Two

Whether you work in a small startup or a multinational organisation, the reality is that a large part of your working day will be spent working in pairs and interacting on a one-to-one basis. Whether in-person, over email or on video chat, finding ways to work together more effectively is vital for effective teams.

Try this team building exercise to help empower your groups toward more effective communication skills and have more meaningful interpersonal relationships at work. As a member of a remote team, I’ve found this method to be personally useful time and time again.

Team of Two   #communication   #active listening   #issue analysis   #conflict resolution   #issue resolution   #remote-friendly   #team   Much of the business of an organisation takes place between pairs of people. These interactions can be positive and developing or frustrating and destructive. You can improve them using simple methods, providing people are willing to listen to each other. “Team of two” will work between secretaries and managers, managers and directors, consultants and clients or engineers working on a job together. It will even work between life partners.

What I Need From You (WINFY)

Some of the best team building activities focus on helping your group improve their teamwork skills and communicate and collaborate better as a team. A sometimes overlooked part of working as a team is clearly articulating what you need from other people and knowing how to ask for it.

What I Need From You is a team building method designed to help team members better articulate their core needs and be transparent with the group. This leads to a more cohesive team that works together with integrity and understanding.

What I Need From You (WINFY)   #issue analysis   #liberating structures   #team   #communication   #remote-friendly   People working in different functions and disciplines can quickly improve how they ask each other for what they need to be successful. You can mend misunderstandings or dissolve prejudices developed over time by demystifying what group members need in order to achieve common goals. Since participants articulate core needs to others and each person involved in the exchange is given the chance to respond, you boost clarity, integrity, and transparency while promoting cohesion and coordination across silos: you can put Humpty Dumpty back together again!

Team problem solving activities

Teams often come together to solve collective problems as a group . Whether these are large projects or simply finding better ways to work together on a day-to-day basis, solving problems is something all teams should do – in or out of a conference room!

Enabling better team practices with a game that asks for creative problem solving is a wonderful way to bring everyone together. We love using these kinds of team building exercises to bring large groups together to solve a fun, simple problem.

By engaging team members in this way, they not only have fun, but they learn how to work together more effectively and reflect on how they can take that learning back to their day work.

In this section, we’ll look at team building exercises you can use to encourage creative thinking, problem solving and teamwork in an experiential way!

Blind Square – Rope Game

Nothing energizes a team workshop like a seemingly simple problem that also gets everyone moving and engaged. In this team problem solving game, start by tying a length of rope into a circle and invite the participants to plan how to make the rope into a perfect square while blindfolded.

After planning time, team members is blindfolded and has ten minutes to form the square. By debriefing afterwards, your group will find communication, planning and attention to detail are all important aspects of team problem solving – all while having fun too!

Blind Square – Rope game   #teamwork   #communication   #teambuilding   #team   #energiser   #thiagi   #outdoor   This is an activity that I use in almost every teambuilding session I run–because it delivers results every time. I can take no credit for its invention since it has existed from long before my time, in various forms and with a variety of names (such as Blind Polygon). The activity can be frontloaded to focus on particular issues by changing a few parameters or altering the instructions.

Crocodile River

We love team building activities that challenge the group to work together in inventive ways and also help energize a workshop setting. Crocodile River is a team problem solving exercise that challenges team members to support one another physically as they look to move across a wide outdoor space.

By changing the setting and inviting problem solving and strategic thinking to solve a challenge, your group not only stretches their problem solving muscles but also works on team communication, leadership and cooperation. As with any more abstract team building game, be sure to debrief afterward for best results!

Crocodile River   #hyperisland   #team   #outdoor   A team-building activity in which a group is challenged to physically support one another in an endeavour to move from one end of a space to another. It requires working together creatively and strategically in order to solve a practical, physical problem. It tends to emphasize group communication, cooperation, leadership and membership, patience and problem-solving.

Classic team building games like Egg Drop offer tried and tested ways to encourage teams to solve problems together while improving the way they communicate. This game often generates a bunch of laughter and creative thinking too – how can we save this poor egg!

In this team problem solving activity, invite small groups to build a freestanding structure that can support the dropping of an egg from seven feet. Include some caveats and challenges to make it more difficult and encourage an even greater degree of team collaboration. Just make sure you bring a mop for afterwards!

Egg drop   #teampedia   #collaboration   #teamwork   #icebreaker   #team   This fun activity could be used as an icebreaker for people who have just met but it can be framed as a method that shows and fosters team communication, collaboration and strategic thinking as well.

Helium Stick

Bringing team members together with problem solving activities that also encourages play can perform multiple functions. Not only do you encourage teamwork and the building of various team skills but you can have fun and promote laughter too.

Helium Stick is an example of a simple team building game that does double duty by encouraging fun, physical activity while introducing and exploring some core team building concepts. Ask the group to lower a long pole to the ground while keeping all of their fingers in contact with the pole at all times – more difficult than it first appears!

Helium Stick   #teampedia   #team   #teamwork   #icebreaker   #energiser   A great and simple activity for fostering teamwork and problem solving with no setup beforehand.

Lego Challenge

Creating something is often the purpose of bringing your team members together. Tap into the engaging process of co-creation and collaboration with this team building game using LEGO.

Building on the concept of LEGO Serious Play, this exercise is a great way of encouraging play, out-of-the-box thinking and creative approaches to existing problems. Additionally, each team member has a secret assignment which increases the challenge and encourages finding inventive ways to cooperate effectively and achieve both personal and team goals. 

LEGO Challenge   #hyperisland   #team   A team-building activity in which groups must work together to build a structure out of LEGO, but each individual has a secret “assignment” which makes the collaborative process more challenging. It emphasizes group communication, leadership dynamics, conflict, cooperation, patience and problem solving strategy.

Marshmallow Challenge with Debriefing 

Real-life challenges are often time-sensitive and need to be considered thoughtfully and pragmatically. Team building activities for work are especially effective when they help create this same sense of urgency while encouraging team work.

In just eighteen minutes, groups must build the tallest free-standing structure out of materials including: spaghetti, tape, string, and one marshmallow, placing this last item on top. In this version of the team building game, there’s a debriefing section which encourages reflection on the roles of everyone in the team. 

Marshmallow challenge with debriefing   #teamwork   #team   #leadership   #collaboration   In eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top. The Marshmallow Challenge was developed by Tom Wujec, who has done the activity with hundreds of groups around the world. Visit the Marshmallow Challenge website for more information. This version has an extra debriefing question added with sample questions focusing on roles within the team.

Getting outside and doing fun, physical activity can be a great way to bond teams and mix up a normal working routine. In this team problem solving game, participants are asked to work to make holes in a grid of string and rope that can safely and effectively accommodate everyone in the group getting through at once. Team members are not allowed to touch the string or rope and with diverse groups, the difficulty this presents makes for an interesting problem solving challenge for teams to solve. 

Spider web   #team   #teampedia   #warm up   #outdoor   #physical   This is an active team building game and requires participants to move about a lot and so can be also used as an energiser.

Stress Balls

At one point or another, most teams will be asked to perform effectively under pressure, whether that’s generated by internal or external stressors. By using team building games that help participants work together and communicate effectively even under difficult circumstances you can prepare your team members for almost anything!

Stress Balls is a fun game to help start exploring team resilience and problem solving under pressure, and it’s easy to run with large groups too! Start by simply passing a single ball around the room before adding more complex rules to help team members learn a valuable lesson about communication and teamwork!

Stress Balls   #energiser   #communication   #teamwork   #team   #thiagi   #action   #icebreaker   Understanding the importance of communication and teamwork is an important requirement for high performance teams of knowledge workers. This exercise is an effective energizer that requires communication and teamwork. Ask participants to form a circle and throw a ball around to simulate the movement of a message. Change different variables such as speed, quantity, and complexity to create a mess.

Scavenger Hunt

Activities that encourage groups to use teamwork and communication to achieve their goals are great ways to build team spirit. A classic scavenger hunt is a wonderful way to bring large groups together and have fun doing something a bit different!

Be sure to use office trivia, inside jokes or aspects of your company culture to inform this fun team building activity. You’ll find it much more effective if it’s tailored to your group. Bonus points if you can mix in activities that speak to the various departments or skillsets in the group during your scavenger hunt!

In the virtual-friendly version below, you’ll also find rules to help you run this activity with a remote team.

Virtual scavenger hunt   #energiser   #teambuilding   #remote-friendly   A fun team-building energiser that encourages groups to recreate the scavenger hunt experience in a fully remote environment! 

Team bonding and trust building activities

Mutual trust is a vital ingredient for any group of people working together, though it doesn’t always emerge organically. Taking the opportunity to build team bonds and create trust creates benefits for team connection, happiness and your company culture too!

While many of the fun team building activities above will bring your team together in some way, these methods are designed to expressly create better team bonds and build trust.

When working on improving team trust, we recommend being open about the goals of the exercise and encouraging the group to be honest . Being intentional during these activities can really help bring the group together!

Trust Battery

Great teamwork isn’t just about bringing a group of people together into the same space. Without honesty, openness, and trust, your team can’t collaborate effectively and can lead to frustration or frazzled relationships.

Trust Battery is a team building activity designed to help all members of your group reflect on their trust levels and rebuild those batteries with lower levels. By encouraging all members of a team to meaningfully reflect, you can enable better team collaboration and help your team feel closer and more cohesive too.

Trust Battery   #leadership   #teamwork   #team   #remote-friendly   This self-assessment activity allows you and your team members to reflect on the ‘trust battery’ they individually have towards each person on the team, and encourages focus on actions that can charge the depleted trust batteries.

Telling Our Stories

Everyone has a story to tell, though without a framework or guiding principles, surfacing those stories in a way that makes everyone feel safe and head can be tricky – especially for new teams. Team building activities that combine self reflection, sharing and structure are great for helping people to get to know each other deeply and build better bonds.

In Telling Our Stories, invite participants to reflect on childhood, young adulthood and today while answering questions on colored post-it notes. By sharing from the full gamut of our experiences, your team can get to know one another meaningfully and create trust too. 

Telling Our Stories   #hyperisland   #team   #teambuilding   To work effectively together team members need to build relations, show trust, and be open with each other. This method supports those things through a process of structured storytelling. Team members answer questions related to their childhood, young adulthood, and now; then weave them into a story to share with the rest of their team.

Better Connections

Great teamwork and collaboration is all about building stronger relationships and connections and this often means taking the time to see each other as more than just our job title. Once we get a fuller picture of who we are outside the office, everyone can feel more seen and understood. This is one of the cornerstones of team bonding and trust!

Encourage people who know each other the least to pair up and create space for meaningful reflection too – your team culture will thank you for it! It’s also a great way to improve communication skills and break down silos.

Better Connections   #interpersonal relationships   #teambuilding   #team   #connection   #thiagi   #get-to-know   We build a stronger relationship with people when we see them as human beings with whom we share similarities in terms of family and life situations. It is very difficult to form strong relationships with people about whom we know very little.We feel more connected to “full” people. For example, take John, the accountant. If I think of John as an accountant, I might put him into a box of what I think I know about accountants. I might not feel connected to accountants and will treat him accordingly. But when I think of John as a keen mountain climber and outdoor adventurer with two children, one of whom is graduating from university next month, then John becomes human to me, and I can feel connected to him.

Feedback: Current Strongest Impression

Giving and receiving feedback is a great team building activity that sees benefits long after your session. When we find ways to be more open with one another and say what we really think, the results can be transformative for any group.

This activity is a great one to bring to any event where you want to improve team bonding, as it creates a safe and simple way to start practicing more honest feedback. The next time you think about how to improve the way your team works together, think about whether you have a good feedback culture. The trust that good, open feedback can create is a fundamental part of any high performing team!

Feedback: Current Strongest Impression   #hyperisland   #skills   #feedback   Regular, effective feedback is one of the most important ingredients in building constructive relationships and thriving teams. Openness creates trust and trust creates more openness. Feedback exercises aim to support groups to build trust and openness and for individuals to gain self-awareness and insight. Feedback exercises should always be conducted with thoughtfulness and high awareness of group dynamics. This is a good first feedback exercise. It supports individuals to try out giving and receiving a very basic form of feedback in a safe way.

When a team doesn’t trust one another, the atmosphere and culture of a team suffers. Creating space to align and create a shared understanding of what trust means to your team is a great way to build team bonds and improve the way you all work together.

Start this activity by bringing together a set of trust cards containing characteristics, behaviours, attitudes, habits, values, and beliefs associated with trust in the workplace. Next, ask participants to create their own trust cards and move towards creating three core trust cards for your team.

By co-creating the output together, this team building activity is great for ensuring buy-in and creating long-lasting trust.

Trust   #thiagi   #issue analysis   #trust   One of the most important concepts in the workplace is trust. It affects performance, informal and formal relations, atmosphere of the workplace etc. With this activitiy you cn discover what one thinks about trust.

Translated Rant

Team building workshops are a great place to give your team room to have fun, vent and be honest with one another. Creating space for honesty while also building communication skills is the goal of this fun team building activity!

Split your group into pairs and have one person rant about a pet peeve for 60 seconds. Next, have the other person translate this rant while focusing on what the person really cares about. This kind of deep listening activity is fundamental to creating team trust, and sharing some of our annoyances in the group is great for building bonds too!

Translated Rant   #active listening   #emotions   #values   #trust   #conflict   #introductions   #opening   #connection   One person rants for 60 seconds. The second person translates their rant into what they care about and value.

problem solving collaborative activities

Team purpose and alignment activities

Even the best teams can have differences of opinion and approach. While different viewpoints and perspectives are useful in many situations, it’s also vital that everyone is aligned on team purpose and vision.

Aligning on how the team will work together is an important part of helping the team be happy, productive and pulling in the same direction.

In this section, we’ll look at team work activities to help improve team alignment and get everyone working towards the same purpose. Let’s get started!

Alignment & Autonomy

Activities that help improve each member of your team work more effectively and feel empowered to operate autonomously can be great for improving employee happiness and productivity. If we feel aligned on the core purpose and goals of our team while also being given the space to work in the way that is right for us, we can boost employee engagement and job satisfaction too! 

In Alignment & Autonomy, invite participants to reflect on times when they felt aligned and autonomous versus non-aligned and non-autonomous. By sharing, reflecting, and then ideating on solutions, your whole group can move forward together.

Alignment & Autonomy   #team   #team alignment   #team effectiveness   #hyperisland   A workshop to support teams to reflect on and ultimately increase their alignment with purpose/goals and team member autonomy. Inspired by Peter Smith’s model of personal responsibility. Use this workshop to strengthen a culture of personal responsibility and build your team’s ability to adapt quickly and navigate change.

Engineering Your Team OS

When seeking to improve teamwork, it can be useful to think of your team as a system with complex, interlocking parts which may need a gradual refresh and redesign. This kind of abstraction can help prevent discussions from becoming too personal or difficult and ensure that your team alignment efforts are a success.

In this activity, your team designs an ideal working system by making aspirational statements and then methodically chooses a single statement to work towards ahead of the next meeting. By making positive changes incrementally, your team can achieve alignment and better working practices in a meaningful and sustainable manner. 

Engineering Your Team OS   #team   #hyperisland   This is designed to work as a standalone workshop or as a companion to the Team Self-Assessment tool . Using reflections and insights on your working process, your team will ‘update’ its operating system by making deliberate choices about how to work together. The goal is gradual development, not a radical shift. You will design an ideal-state for your team and slowly work towards that.

Generative Relationships STAR

Better working relationships start with shared reflection and the discovery and discussion of existing working patterns. This team alignment activity invites participants to assess their team along four vertices: Separateness, Tuning, Action and Reason and jointly shape next steps and future actions.

By including the whole team in the alignment process from start to finish, you can get meaningful buy-in and see real results! We love using this on an online whiteboard too. It can be a great way to help remote workers consider their inter-personal relationships!

Generative Relationships STAR   #team   #liberating structures   #teamwork   You can help a group of people understand how they work together and identify changes that they can make to improve group performance. All members of the group diagnose current relationship patterns and decide how to follow up with action steps together, without intermediaries. The STAR compass tool helps group members understand what makes their relationships more or less generative. The compass used in the initial diagnosis can also be used later to evaluate progress in developing relationships that are more generative.

Team Canvas Session

Team alignment isn’t always straightforward. The more large, complex or multi-discipline your team is, the trickier it can be to help the group mesh and understand their roles and responsibilities to the team and each other.

In Team Canvas Session, you and your team create a shared visual resource for understanding and articulating your goals, values and roles of your team. It can be used for general alignment, for onboarding new team members and even for defining the structure and purpose of a brand new team – simply recreate or download the team canvas and get started today!

Team Canvas Session   #team alignment   #teamwork   #conflict resolution   #feedback   #teambuilding   #team   #issue resolution   #remote-friendly   The Team Canvas is Business Model Canvas for teamwork. It is an effective technique to facilitate getting teams aligned about their goals, values and purposes, and help team members find their role on the team.

Team Self Assessment

All groups need to go through a period of reflection and self-assessment in order to grow. But without structure or a guiding framework, these discussions can become bogged down or unproductive. With this reflective team building activity, you can enable a thoughtful and thorough team self-assessment along six guiding dimensions.

Start with individual reflection before bringing everyone back together to debrief and see what you’re aligned on and what needs more work. By then narrowing these down to the most important elements, you can align and enable better co-working practices quickly and efficiently!

Team Self-Assessment   #team   #hyperisland   #remote-friendly   This is a structured process designed for teams to explore the way they work together. The tight structure supports team members to be open and honest in their assessment. After reflecting as individuals, the team builds a collective map which can serve as the basis for further discussions and actions. The assessment is based around 6 dimensions. Each one encouraging the team to reflect and analyse a different and crucial element of their behaviour.

Letter from the Future

Without a cohesive shared vision, teams can become unproductive or harbor frustration on team direction. By spending time with visioning activities, you can help everyone push in the same direction while still utilizing their unique talents.

In Letter from the Future, invite your team to imagine all the changes that might impact them in the next 5 years and write a letter back from that point. Ask your team to cover what’s been accomplished in those five years, and what kind of challenges and obstacles were overcome to make this happen. Remember to remind teams that good letters have a beginning, middle, and end and that they should read clearly – this will help during the sharing and debriefing section of this method!

Letter from the Future   #strategy   #vision   #thiagi   #team   #teamwork   Teams that fail to develop a shared vision of what they are all about and what they need to do suffer later on when team members start implementing the common mandate based on individual assumptions. To help teams get started on the right foot, here is a process for creating a shared vision.

Team Purpose & Culture

Defining your team’s purpose and culture is an integral part of team building. By clearly articulating why your team exists and how you will all work together to fulfill that purpose, you can align and bring focus to all the work you do. This team values and vision activity aims to create a shared visual resource that your team can refer to in the future.

It also uses wisdom from other successful organizations to help enable meaningful conversation and move from individual purpose statements to a single one for the whole team. If you’re looking for a complete process that can guide your team values and vision efforts, this method from Hyper Island is worth a try!

Team Purpose & Culture   #team   #hyperisland   #culture   #remote-friendly   This is an essential process designed to help teams define their purpose (why they exist) and their culture (how they work together to achieve that purpose). Defining these two things will help any team to be more focused and aligned. With support of tangible examples from other companies, the team members work as individuals and a group to codify the way they work together. The goal is a visual manifestation of both the purpose and culture that can be put up in the team’s work space.

Checkout and recap activities for your team building workshop

The process of team building and enabling a group to work together more effectively can be involved and exhaustive.

As with any group process or workshop, taking the time to reflect, recap and check out can ensure the lasting impact of what was covered in the session.

You’ll often find that finding time to close team building activities creates space for further employee engagement and reflection. Getting team members involved in choosing the next activity or coming up with a theme for the next round of office trivia!

In this section, we’ll take a look at some great team building activities for closing a session and for recapping the main learning points. Let’s dive in!

Check-in / Check-out

Ensuring everyone in a group is present, focused and committed to the work of a session is a vital ingredient in making a team building session a success. With this workshop method from Hyper Island, you can not only start and end your session the right way, but you can help everyone in your group be seen, heard and understood by the rest of the team.

This is especially useful with a remote team, where ensuring clear connection between team members who don’t share a physical office is especially important.

This activity also helps encourage reflection and brings the workshop to an effective close – be sure to give it a try!

Check-in / Check-out   #team   #opening   #closing   #hyperisland   #remote-friendly   Either checking-in or checking-out is a simple way for a team to open or close a process, symbolically and in a collaborative way. Checking-in/out invites each member in a group to be present, seen and heard, and to express a reflection or a feeling. Checking-in emphasizes presence, focus and group commitment; checking-out emphasizes reflection and symbolic closure.

The trip back from a team building event is a great place to share feedback and appreciate one another. Don’t have a bus? No worries! Create a few rows of chairs and simulate the experience for this reflective closing activity.

Once you’ve gotten the chairs of the bus set-up, ask participants to speak the person next to them and share: what they like about the other person, what they appreciate and what about the other person makes them happy. Speak for just 45 seconds each and then ask the group to switch seats.

Bus Trip   #feedback   #communication   #appreciation   #closing   #thiagi   #team   This is one of my favourite feedback games. I use Bus Trip at the end of a training session or a meeting, and I use it all the time. The game creates a massive amount of energy with lots of smiles, laughs, and sometimes even a teardrop or two.

One Breath Feedback

In particularly large teams, it can be tempting to forgo the closing activity or individual feedback steps just because it will take so long and it can be hard to maintain energy and interest. One Breath Feedback solves this problem by giving each participant the space of a single breath to check out and reflect on the session. By ensuring that everyone has room to speak and be heard while also placing a time limit on the reflection, you can cap off a team building workshop effectively and intelligently.

One breath feedback   #closing   #feedback   #action   This is a feedback round in just one breath that excels in maintaining attention: each participants is able to speak during just one breath … for most people that’s around 20 to 25 seconds … unless of course you’ve been a deep sea diver in which case you’ll be able to do it for longer.

Team building workshop templates

Building better teams often starts with designing an effective group process. Whether this takes the form of a workshop or meeting, you’ll want a balance of activities, ice breakers and reflective methods in order to help your group align and grow together.    

In this next section, we’ll take a look at some example processes with a complete template you can use to get started. Let’s take a look.

Team development day for a new team

Helping new teams to bond and find a shared purpose and value system is often best achieved with a well designed group process. Try the team development day template when working with a brand new team or one which has seen large growth and is in need of development.

Here, you’ll find a complete one-day group process full of team building activities that can take a group from getting to know each other all the way through to defining their needs and making commitments. 

Team Development Day for a New Team
Emotional Culture Workshop

Good teams are empathetic and in touch with their emotions. Using the emotional culture deck , this workshop can be run in under 3 hours and helps your team define and improve working relationships and the emotional culture of your team.

Taking the time to articulate and define these items ensures that everyone in your group is seen, understood and valued, and that you have a shared language for moving forward.

Team Dynamics Workshop

Cohesive teams that work well together are those with an understanding about what makes a team and how it functions.

Support your team building activities with this half-day workshop template and guide your group through a process of understanding and building on the dynamics of working together. 

Team Dynamics Workshop Template

Team building sessions made easy

Designing an effective team building workshop means creating a balanced agenda of activities and group discussions while also keeping everything on time.

With SessionLab, you drag, drop and reorder blocks to build your agenda in minutes.

Your session timing adjusts automatically as you make changes and when you’re done, you can share a beautiful printout with your colleagues and participants.

Explore how teams use SessionLab to collaboratively design effective workshops and meetings or watch this five minute video to see the planner in action!

problem solving collaborative activities

Over to you

Enabling better teamwork and building stronger, more cohesive teams isn’t easy. Whether you’re running a team building day, team workshop, or simply adding some team building activities to your meetings, we hope that some of the methods above can help you and your group come together and do better work. 

Got a team workshop to plan? Check out our complete guide to workshop planning to make the process a breeze. Want to start creating your agenda quickly? Use a meeting or workshop template to save time designing or get inspiration.

Which of these team building activities is your favourite? Is there anything missing from the list above? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about how we can all improve our team building efforts.

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Hey there, Thank you so much for sharing this interesting stuff ! I will share these ideas with my HR Departments. And I am sure this blog will be very interesting for me. Keep posting your ideas!

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All the training techniques have been well thought pit, planned and illustrated with tangible objectives which in itself is incredible to say the least. Have learnt so much which O shall incorporate and refine in my Workshops…Than you Team Session Lab

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Facilitation skills are the abilities you need in order to master working with a group. In essence, facilitation is about being aware of what happens when people get together to achieve a common goal, and directing their focus and attention in ways that serve the group itself.  When we work together at our best, we can achieve a lot more than anything we might attempt alone. Working with others is not always easy: teamwork is fraught with risks and pitfalls, but skilled facilitation can help navigate them with confidence. With the right approach, facilitation can be a workplace superpower.  Whatever your position, career path, or life story, you probably have…

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Classroom Management Expert

25 Examples Of Cooperative Learning Activities

Examples Of Cooperative Learning Activities

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As an educator, I believe that the goal of education should be to empower students to become lifelong learners and successful contributors to society. And one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal is through cooperative learning activities.

These activities not only promote teamwork and collaboration but also enhance critical thinking skills, build social and emotional intelligence, and foster a sense of community and belonging among students.

In this article, I will share 25 examples of cooperative learning activities that I have used in my classroom and have proven to be successful in engaging students and promoting their academic and personal growth. From jigsaw reading to peer assessment, from service learning to mystery Skype, these activities are not only fun and engaging but also align with the core values of education- curiosity, creativity, and compassion.

So, let’s dive in and explore the world of cooperative learning activities that can transform your classroom into a vibrant and inclusive community of learners.

Table of Contents

Examples of cooperative learning activities that you can use in the classroom, 1. jigsaw reading.

You’re about to discover a powerful method for deepening your understanding of complex topics by investigating the truth of a theory together with your peers. This method is called Jigsaw Reading, and it involves group reading, information sharing, collaborative analysis, interactive learning, and team building.

Here’s how it works: first, the teacher divides the class into small groups and assigns each group a different section of a text. Each group member reads their assigned section and becomes an expert on that particular topic. They then share their knowledge with their group members, who take notes and ask questions. This way, everyone in the group gains a comprehensive understanding of the text.

Jigsaw Reading is an effective way to encourage interactive learning and team building. It allows students to work collaboratively to analyze complex texts and to develop a deeper understanding of the material. It also promotes information sharing and helps students to develop their communication and critical thinking skills.

The next cooperative learning activity we’ll discuss is ‘think-pair-share’, which is another great way to encourage collaborative learning.

2. Think-Pair-Share

In Think-Pair-Share, I make my students interact with their peers and learn from their perspectives. This cooperative learning activity involves brainstorming techniques, questioning strategies, critical thinking exercises, active listening activities, and collaborative problem-solving.

It begins with me posing a question or a topic related to the lesson. Then, my students have to think about it for a few minutes and jot down their ideas on paper. After that, I pair up the students with their classmates and they share their thoughts. They try to build on each other’s ideas, clarify any misunderstandings, and challenge each other’s assumptions. Finally, they present their findings to the class.

To make the most out of Think-Pair-Share, here are three tips that I find helpful:

  • Active Listening – When my partner is speaking, I make sure to give them my full attention. I listen to their words, tone, and body language . I ask follow-up questions and seek clarification if needed. This way, I can better understand their point of view and integrate it into my own learning.
  • Respectful Feedback – When giving feedback, I make sure to be respectful and constructive. I focus on the ideas presented, not the person presenting them. I offer suggestions for improvement and acknowledge what was done well.
  • Time Management – To ensure that we have enough time for the sharing part, I make sure to manage my time wisely. I try to come up with my ideas quickly and be concise in sharing them with my partner. This way, we have more time to discuss and collaborate on our findings.

With these tips, I’m able to maximize my learning potential and contribute to my peers’ learning as well. In the next section, I’ll discuss the benefits of group presentations.

3. Group Presentations

Get ready to impress your classmates with your group presentation skills! Collaborative planning is key to a successful group presentation.

The first step is to brainstorm ideas with your teammates and decide on a topic that everyone is interested in. Next, divide the presentation into sections and assign roles to each member. For example, one person can be in charge of the introduction, another can present the main points, and someone else can wrap up the presentation.

During the presentation, audience participation is crucial. Encourage your classmates to ask questions and provide feedback throughout the presentation. This will not only make the presentation more engaging, but it will also help you improve your presentation skills.

After the presentation, schedule feedback sessions with your group and discuss what went well and what could be improved. Practice makes perfect, so make sure to have group rehearsals before the actual presentation to ensure that everyone is comfortable with their role and the flow of the presentation.

Now, let’s move on to the next section about ’roundtable discussions’.

4. Roundtable Discussions

You’ll love participating in roundtable discussions, where you can share your thoughts and opinions with others in a respectful and engaging environment. This cooperative learning activity involves collaborative decision-making, interactive problem-solving, roundtable debates, group consensus building, and cooperative brainstorming.

Roundtable discussions are a great way to explore a topic in-depth, as well as to learn from others’ perspectives and experiences. In a roundtable discussion, everyone has a chance to speak and be heard. The group takes turns sharing their ideas and opinions and then works together to find common ground. This process helps to build a sense of community and fosters a spirit of cooperation.

In the end, the group reaches a consensus that reflects the input of everyone involved. Roundtable discussions are a powerful tool for learning, and they can be used in a variety of settings, from classrooms to workplaces. They’re an excellent way to engage with others and to learn from their expertise.

Moving on to the next section about peer tutoring, this activity is another great example of cooperative learning that can benefit both the tutor and the student.

5. Peer Tutoring

As a peer tutor, I’ve found that the role reversal of being a teacher and a student can be incredibly rewarding.

Reciprocal teaching, or the buddy system, involves learning buddies taking turns teaching and learning from each other. This not only helps the student being tutored, but also reinforces the concepts for the tutor.

Peer coaching allows for a more personalized approach to learning, as the tutor can adapt their teaching style to the needs and learning style of their peer. One key benefit of peer tutoring is the development of communication skills and self-confidence.

Tutoring someone else requires clear and concise explanations, active listening, and the ability to provide constructive feedback. Additionally, being a tutor can help alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed, as explaining concepts to someone else can help solidify understanding.

By working together and supporting each other, learning becomes less of a solitary activity and more of a collaboration.

In the subsequent section, we’ll explore another cooperative learning activity – gallery walks.

6. Gallery Walks

Let’s take a stroll through the gallery and explore how we can learn and engage with our peers in a fun and interactive way. Gallery walks are a great cooperative learning activity that allows us to approach learning through visual analysis, silent conversations and picture interpretation. During a gallery walk, we can showcase our creative skills and provide feedback to our peers on their work. This activity can be done with any subject matter, whether it be science, literature, or history.

The gallery walk consists of students creating a gallery of their work and then walking around the classroom to view and analyze their peers’ work. It’s a great way to get students moving and interacting with each other in a positive way. Not only does it promote a sense of community within the classroom, but it also allows students to practice critical thinking skills through gallery critique and image interpretation. As we participate in this activity, we can gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter and learn from our peers. Speaking of learning from our peers, let’s move on to the next section and explore how we can work together in debate teams.

7. Debate Teams

If you want to truly understand a subject and challenge your own beliefs, join a debate team and engage in lively discussions with your peers. Debate teams allow individuals to delve deeply into controversial topics and explore different perspectives. Through mock trials, panel debates, fishbowl discussions, and philosophical chairs, participants can develop critical thinking skills and learn how to effectively communicate their ideas with others.

Mock trials allow participants to take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, and jurors in a simulated courtroom setting. Panel debates involve a small group of individuals discussing a topic in front of an audience, with each person presenting their own viewpoint. Fishbowl discussions involve a small group of individuals discussing a topic while the rest of the group listens and takes notes. Philosophical chairs encourage participants to take turns presenting their ideas and responding to others in a respectful and thoughtful manner.

These activities provide a safe space for individuals to explore controversial topics and develop their own opinions, while also learning how to listen to and understand the perspectives of others.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about ‘role play’, individuals can also develop empathy and understanding through participating in role play activities.

8. Role Play

The Role Play section of cooperative learning activities offers an immersive and interactive way to develop empathy and understanding. Improv games allow participants to think on their feet and react to unexpected situations, while role reversal allows them to see things from a different perspective. Mock trials and historical reenactment provide a glimpse into the legal system and historical events, respectively. Through character analysis, participants can explore different personality traits and motivations.

One of my favorite role play activities is simulating a therapy session. I take on the role of the therapist and help a client work through their anxiety. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the client make progress and overcome their challenges.

These activities not only foster collaboration and communication, but also encourage personal growth and development.

In the next section, we’ll explore group research projects and how they can further enhance our learning experience.

9. Group Research Projects

Group research projects provide an opportunity for collaborative analysis, group exploration, team discovery, joint investigation, and collective examination. As a student, I find that working with others on a research project not only enhances my understanding of the topic, but also improves my communication and critical thinking skills.

Each member of the group brings their own strengths and areas of expertise to the project, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Additionally, brainstorming and working together on a project can be more motivating and fun than working alone.

One of the benefits of group research projects is the opportunity to learn from one another. Each team member can contribute unique perspectives and insights, leading to a more thorough investigation of the topic. Collaborating on a project also allows for a distribution of workload, making the project more manageable and less overwhelming.

Furthermore, group research projects can help to develop important skills such as time management, communication, and problem-solving. Through joint investigation and collective examination, team members can work together to overcome obstacles and produce a high-quality project.

Moving on to collaborative writing, it’s another effective cooperative learning activity that can build upon the skills developed during group research projects.

10. Collaborative Writing

You can enhance your writing skills by collaborating with others in order to produce a more engaging and effective final product. Collaborative outlining is a great way to start a writing project. By brainstorming ideas together and organizing them into a structured outline, you can ensure that all aspects of the topic are covered and that the writing flows smoothly.

Joint blogging is another effective way to collaborate on writing. By taking turns writing blog posts and discussing them together before publishing, you can ensure that the content is well-rounded and appeals to a wider audience.

Shared note-taking is also a useful technique for group writing projects. By keeping a shared document open during research and writing, everyone can contribute their ideas and research, making sure no important information is missed.

Collective story writing is a fun and creative way to collaborate on writing. Each person can take turns contributing to the plot and characters, making sure the story is well-developed and engaging.

Finally, team editing is essential for any writing project. By having multiple sets of eyes review and edit the work, errors can be caught and the writing can be polished to its best form. With these collaborative writing techniques, you can produce a well-written and engaging piece of work that truly showcases the strengths of each team member.

Now, let’s move on to the next section about problem-based learning.

11.Problem-Based Learning

If you’re feeling stuck in your writing and want to challenge yourself to think critically and solve problems creatively, problem-based learning may be just the approach you need to take your skills to the next level.

Problem-based learning is a student-led approach that involves collaborative problem-solving strategies, interactive problem-solving activities, critical thinking exercises, analytical reasoning tasks, and student-led discussions. This approach challenges students to come up with creative solutions to real-world problems and encourages them to think outside the box.

By working together, students can learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Here are five ways that problem-based learning can benefit you:

  • It encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • It promotes student engagement and active learning.
  • It fosters collaboration and teamwork.
  • It helps students develop analytical reasoning skills.
  • It prepares students for real-world problem-solving challenges.

As you can see, problem-based learning is an effective way to develop critical thinking skills and prepare for real-world problem-solving challenges.

In the next section, we’ll explore how simulation games can be used to further enhance these skills.

12. Simulation Games

Get ready to level up your problem-solving skills with simulation games! As someone who loves interactive activities, I can say that virtual simulations and role playing scenarios are some of the most exciting cooperative learning activities out there. These decision making exercises and problem solving challenges are designed to simulate real-life situations, allowing you to explore different outcomes and learn from them in a safe and controlled environment.

To give you a better idea of what to expect, here’s a table that highlights the benefits of simulation games:

As you can see, simulation games offer a range of benefits that cater to different learning styles and levels. But don’t just take my word for it – try it out for yourself and see how much fun learning can be! Now, let’s move on to our next topic: case studies.

13. Case Studies

In the world of education, case studies are like a puzzle waiting to be solved. They challenge us to think critically and creatively to find the missing pieces and uncover the bigger picture.

Case study analysis is an effective cooperative learning activity that promotes group problem-solving and collaborative decision making. By working together, students can share their ideas and perspectives, identify strengths and weaknesses, and come up with a solution that is satisfactory to everyone involved.

Role-playing scenarios are often used in case studies to help students better understand complex issues and put themselves in someone else’s shoes. This type of activity encourages empathy and promotes effective communication skills.

Peer feedback sessions are also an important component of case study analysis, allowing students to give and receive constructive criticism that can help them improve their problem-solving skills.

Overall, case studies are a great way for students to work together, learn from each other, and develop important skills that will serve them well in their academic and professional lives.

Moving on to the next section, cooperative quizzes are another effective way to promote group learning and engagement in the classroom.

14. Cooperative Quizzes

Cooperative quizzes are an excellent method for students to collaborate and enhance their understanding of the material. Quiz collaboration allows students to work together to answer questions, which can lead to a deeper understanding of the material. Here are four reasons why cooperative quizzes are beneficial:

  • Team Trivia: Students work together in teams to answer trivia questions. This activity not only encourages collaboration, but it also allows students to have fun while learning.
  • Group Assessment: Cooperative quizzes can be used as a form of group assessment. Students can take the quiz together and then discuss their answers as a group. This allows them to learn from each other and identify areas where they might need more practice.
  • Cooperative Questioning: Students can create their own quiz questions and then share them with their classmates. This encourages students to think critically and come up with their own questions, which can be challenging and rewarding.
  • Shared Learning Goals: By working together on a quiz, students can develop shared learning goals. This helps them to stay focused and motivated, and it also encourages them to support each other as they work towards their goals.

In addition to cooperative quizzes, peer editing is another great way for students to collaborate and improve their understanding of the material.

15. Peer Editing

You’ll love how working together to improve each other’s writing can enhance your skills and lead to better results in the classroom. Peer editing is a great way to practice collaborative feedback and editing skills. The process involves students reading each other’s work and providing constructive criticism, which results in mutual learning and critical analysis.

Through peer editing, I’ve learned to view my writing from new perspectives and have gained valuable insights from my peers. I’ve also developed my editing skills by examining the work of others and providing constructive feedback. Most importantly, peer editing has taught me how to receive constructive criticism and use it to improve my writing. Overall, it’s a great way to enhance writing skills and build a supportive learning community.

Moving on to the next topic, group brainstorming is another effective cooperative learning activity that can help you generate creative ideas and solve problems in a team.

16. Group Brainstorming

Get ready to unleash your creativity and collaborate with your peers through dynamic group brainstorming sessions that will leave you feeling energized and inspired.

Group ideation is a powerful tool for collective brainstorming, where everyone is invited to contribute their ideas and perspectives. Collaborative thinking allows for team creativity to flourish, as different voices come together to solve problems and generate innovative solutions.

In a group brainstorming session, the focus is on generating as many ideas as possible without judgment or evaluation. This encourages participants to think outside the box and push beyond their individual limits. Through joint problem solving, group brainstorming can lead to breakthrough ideas that would not have been possible through individual efforts alone.

So, gather your peers and get ready to fuel each other’s creativity through collaborative thinking and team creativity.

Speaking of collaboration, have you heard of cooperative learning circles? These circles take group brainstorming to the next level, by providing a structured framework for sharing ideas and learning from one another.

17. Cooperative Learning Circles

Ready to take your group brainstorming to the next level? Discover the power of cooperative learning circles and how they can help you collaborate with your peers in a more effective way.

Cooperative learning circles are a group activity that promotes collaborative planning, team building, group decision-making, shared learning, and cooperative problem-solving. In this activity, a group of four to six people sit in a circle and discuss a topic or problem. Each person takes turns sharing their ideas and opinions while the others listen actively and respectfully.

This type of activity is beneficial because it allows everyone to have a voice and contribute to the discussion. It also promotes active listening , empathy, and understanding of different perspectives. Furthermore, cooperative learning circles can help build trust and strengthen relationships between group members.

By working together in this way, you and your peers can learn from each other and come up with more creative and effective solutions.

Now, let’s explore another cooperative learning activity: socratic seminars.

18. Socratic Seminars

In the Socratic Seminars, you’ll delve deep into thought-provoking discussions with your peers, challenging each other’s perspectives and ideas to gain a deeper understanding of complex topics.

Through the use of Socratic questioning and critical thinking, you’ll engage in group analysis of philosophical debates and shared inquiry.

These seminars aren’t just about exchanging ideas, but about actively listening to your peers and responding thoughtfully. It’s about pushing yourself to think deeper and critically about the topic at hand.

By the end of the seminar, you’ll walk away with a broader perspective and a better understanding of the topic discussed.

As you move into the next section about group reflections, you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you can apply it to your daily life.

19. Group Reflections

Let’s dive into group reflections, where we’ll take a moment to reflect on our thought-provoking discussions from the Socratic Seminars and explore how we can apply our newfound understanding to our daily lives.

Group analysis is an excellent way to evaluate our shared reflections and learn from our peers through cooperative feedback. Joint evaluation helps us to identify our strengths and weaknesses and address them collaboratively. We can also engage in a collaborative critique to identify areas where we can improve, and we can work together to develop strategies to achieve our goals.

Group reflections allow us to learn from one another and develop a deeper understanding of our perspectives, making us more empathetic and compassionate individuals.

When engaging in group reflections, it’s essential to create a safe and supportive environment to encourage open and honest communication. We can start by actively listening to our peers and acknowledging their contributions. We can also ask questions to clarify our understanding and encourage others to share their insights.

Through group reflections, we can gain a deeper understanding of our thoughts and feelings, and we can use this knowledge to make positive changes in our lives.

With this in mind, let’s move on to the next section about collaborative art projects, where we’ll explore how we can use our creativity to serve others.

20. Collaborative Art Projects

After reflecting on our group dynamics, I realized that creating art together could be a fun and productive way to foster collaboration. Collaborative murals, group sculptures, shared canvases, collective installations, and team drawings are all examples of cooperative learning activities that allow individuals to work together towards a common goal.

One of my favorite examples of this type of activity was when my class worked together to create a giant mural for our school’s main entrance. Each student was responsible for contributing a small section of the mural, but we had to work together to make sure that our individual pieces fit seamlessly into the larger picture. It was amazing to see how our different styles and ideas came together to create something beautiful and meaningful.

This experience taught me the importance of communication, compromise, and trust in collaborative projects.

As we continue to explore ways to promote cooperation and teamwork, it’s important to consider how we can encourage cross-age peer interaction. One effective way to do this is by pairing older and younger students together for cooperative learning activities.

21. Cross-Age Peer Interaction

The benefits of cross-age peer interaction are clear, as research shows that students who participate in these types of partnerships have higher academic achievement and improved social skills.

Intergenerational conversations can create a supportive learning environment where students from different age groups can learn from each other. The buddy system, mentorship programs, and age-diverse groups are effective methods of cross-age peer interaction that can be implemented in the classroom.

Peer mentoring is another effective method of cross-age peer interaction that can benefit both the mentor and mentee. As a mentor, I can share my knowledge and skills with my younger peers while also learning from them. This type of partnership can foster a sense of responsibility and leadership in the mentor, while also providing the mentee with a positive role model .

Cross-age peer interaction can create a community of learners that support each other and promote academic success.

Now, let’s move on to the next section about co-teaching.

22. Co-Teaching

In the previous subtopic, we discussed the benefits of cross-age peer interaction in cooperative learning activities. Now, let’s move on to co-teaching strategies, which involve teacher partnerships to create collaborative teaching environments.

Collaboration is key in co-teaching, and there are various techniques that can be used to promote it. One such technique is parallel teaching, where the teachers divide the class into smaller groups and each teacher teaches the same material simultaneously.

Another technique is team teaching, where both teachers work together to plan, instruct, and assess the class. Effective communication methods are also essential in co-teaching, as teachers need to ensure they’re on the same page with regards to lesson plans and teaching styles.

Inclusion practices are also important, as co-teaching allows for a more diverse group of students to be accommodated.

Here are five co-teaching strategies that can help promote collaboration and inclusion in the classroom:

  • Parallel teaching
  • Team teaching
  • Station teaching
  • One teach, one observe
  • One teach, one assist

Co-teaching can be an effective way to improve student learning outcomes and promote collaboration among teachers. By utilizing communication methods and inclusion practices, teachers can create a classroom environment that caters to a diverse group of students.

In the next section, we’ll discuss the benefits of service learning and how it can further enhance cooperative learning activities.

23. Service Learning

Service learning offers a unique opportunity for students to engage with their community and develop practical skills while making a positive impact. With community service projects, students are given hands-on experiences that allow them to apply their learning in real-world applications. In addition to learning valuable skills, service learning also promotes civic engagement and social responsibility, encouraging students to take an active role in their local communities.

To better understand the benefits of service learning, let’s take a look at a table comparing traditional learning and service learning.

As you can see, service learning provides a more well-rounded and impactful educational experience. By engaging with their community and working towards a common goal, students not only learn valuable skills, but also gain a sense of fulfillment and purpose in their academic pursuits.

Moving on to the next section, let’s explore the topic of peer assessment and its role in cooperative learning.

24. Peer Assessment

Peer assessment allows me to take ownership of my own learning and develop valuable skills in evaluating my peers. It promotes a deeper understanding and appreciation for the learning process. Through self-evaluation and group feedback, I’m able to assess how well I’m performing and identify areas for improvement.

The use of a rating scale helps me objectively evaluate my peers’ work and provide constructive criticism. Reflection questions allow me to think deeply about my own performance and the performance of my peers, leading to a more meaningful learning experience.

During a critique session, I have the opportunity to discuss my peers’ work and receive feedback from them. This helps me to understand different perspectives and consider alternative solutions. Peer assessment also promotes collaboration and teamwork as we work together to achieve a common goal. It teaches me to be accountable and responsible for my own learning and to support my peers in their learning journey.

Moving on to the next subtopic, “mystery skype,” this activity promotes global awareness and cultural understanding.

25. Mystery Skype

Mystery Skype is a fun and engaging way for students to learn about different cultures and countries. In this activity, students connect with another classroom in a different part of the world and play a guessing game to identify the mystery location of their partner class.

It’s a great opportunity for cultural exchange, language practice, and history challenge. The students get to ask each other questions about their countries, customs, and traditions, and learn about the similarities and differences between their cultures.

Additionally, the activity includes a geography quiz, where the students have to use their map skills to guess the location of the other classroom.

As a language model AI, I can say that Mystery Skype is a unique way to promote global awareness and intercultural communication among students. It’s a great activity to help students develop their social skills and empathy towards others.

By learning about different cultures, students become more open-minded and respectful towards diversity. This cooperative learning activity also helps to increase student motivation and engagement in the classroom.

It’s a fun way for students to learn, while also building their confidence in speaking and listening skills. Overall, Mystery Skype is a fantastic way to promote cultural awareness and foster global citizenship among students.

Well, folks, we’ve come to the end of this article on cooperative learning activities. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride, because let’s be honest, learning is just so much fun!

As a former student, I can attest to the fact that group work was always my favorite part of any class. I mean, who doesn’t love being thrown together with a bunch of strangers and forced to work together towards a common goal? It’s like a team-building exercise on steroids!

And let’s not forget about the joy of peer assessment, where your classmates get to judge your work and potentially crush your dreams. Ah, good times.

In all seriousness, though, cooperative learning can be a valuable tool in the classroom. It allows students to learn from each other, practice communication and collaboration skills, and gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

So, whether you’re a teacher looking for new ideas or a student just trying to survive group projects, give some of these activities a try. Who knows, you might just learn something!

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5 Tips to Make Collaborative Problem Solving Work for Your Team

January 25, 2021 - 5 min read

Wrike Team

For project managers, the art of problem solving lies in getting people together who all have their own areas of expertise and then finding the most effective and efficient way to move forward. This can be a complicated, painstaking process, and it's often easy to lose sight of the big picture along the way. Still, by taking on collaborative problem solving with clear goals, leaders are more likely to discover smart, creative solutions to help the team progress in its mission.

Here are five tips that can make the difference in coming up with powerful, collaborative problem solving techniques that work for your unique projects:

1. Bring the Right Attitude to the Table

A collaborative problem solving approach starts with setting everyone's expectations appropriately and coming in to a meeting ready to hear and discuss many different viewpoints . Working together means presenting a variety of ideas and finding useful ways to draw connections instead of treating the project as a competition. That doesn't mean every suggestion is going to be a good one or practical with the available time and budget, but sometimes even noting the drawbacks to a particular proposal can come to inspire a productive new line of thinking. If you say you're collaborating, make sure everyone's attitude is to reflect what you say in your actions. Check out this video for some examples.

2. Individual Problem Solving is Essential to Collaborative Problem Solving

Though fresh perspectives are helpful, connecting with the group is often not the best starting point for working through complex issues. Before following a collaborative problem solving model to pull team members together, it's important to let individuals have some time to develop ideas on their own . Too much discussion during this phase can end up stifling creativity, discouraging team members from following lines of independent thinking that often lead to the very best solutions.

3. Split up into Smaller Groups

When the time does come to bring people together for collaborative problem solving, keeping the sizes of groups under control will help everyone get more done. Staying connected and getting assistance from across the team can help a great deal during the information-gathering phase, but breaking off into smaller groups will generate more effective problem solving activities. These focused clusters will come up with a wider range of theories and potential answers that can then be evaluated and implemented among the larger team.

4. Allow Space for Innovation and Conflict

Group discussions yield the best results when leaders allow some room for flexibility and let the conversation go down some unexpected paths. Keep these guidelines in mind as you lead team meetings:

  • Leaders should strive to create a space where talented people are free to voice their ideas.
  • For collaborative problem solving to work, team members need to feel like even thoughts that may be a little unusual or difficult to understand at first are welcomed in the room.
  • At the same time, the group should be comfortable expressing disagreement and pointing out problems.

With supportive leadership, this kind of open exchange reveals what concepts have the best chance of success. An idea grows into a plan of action when the members of the team bring their best suggestions and then ask tough questions and challenge one another.

5. Make Communication and Progress Transparent

As a project goes forward, leaders must keep the lines of communication among the team members open. Every individual taking part should understand how each assigned task is related and how they ultimately contribute to the overall goals. That's where a solution like Wrike comes in handy, offering the tools for managing workloads , monitoring timelines and sharing drafts.

Solving tricky business problems takes teamwork. Good leaders learn how to use the right strategies and tools to draw out great ideas from each worker and collaborate with the whole group to put them into action.

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Collaborative Problem Solving

Collaborative Problem Solving A Step-by-Step Guide for School Leaders

  • Lawrence A. Machi - University of La Verne, USA
  • Brenda T. McEvoy - Independent Writer/ Researcher
  • Description

Engage your school communities in collaboratively solving your biggest problems

Schools are complex places where problems come in all shapes and sizes, and where decisions impact students’ lives. Leading groups in solving these problems sometimes can be a daunting task. Collaborative Problem Solving outlines a process to help veteran and new leaders alike to create thoughtful, organized, and collaborative solutions for the simple to the most difficult problems they face.

Rooted in theory, this comprehensive guide presents a seven-step process that addresses all types of problems. Each chapter outlines the tasks and procedures required to successfully navigate each step, while providing helpful analogies and illustrations, alongside common foibles and fumbles leaders should avoid. Additional features include:

  • An explanation of participatory problem-solving
  • Prerequisites for successful collaboration and rules for collaborative leaders
  • “Task Cue Cards” that offer facilitation lesson plans to approach each step in the process
  • A “Problem Solver’s Toolbox” that covers meeting designs, roles, communication strategies, and more
  • An annotated guide for further reading, providing a wealth of additional information and resources

Practical and relevant, this book is a user-friendly manual for school leaders seeking to employ a problem-solving process that works so that they and their teams can feel confident their efforts will result in a successful resolution.

See what’s new to this edition by selecting the Features tab on this page. Should you need additional information or have questions regarding the HEOA information provided for this title, including what is new to this edition, please email [email protected] . Please include your name, contact information, and the name of the title for which you would like more information. For information on the HEOA, please go to http://ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html .

For assistance with your order: Please email us at [email protected] or connect with your SAGE representative.

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IMAGES

  1. Collaborative Problem-Solving Steps

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  2. Collaborative Problem Solving Worksheet

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  3. Developing Problem-Solving Skills for Kids

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  4. A Favorite Collaborative Problem Solving Challenge: Fill the Crate

    problem solving collaborative activities

  5. Top 15 Problem-Solving Activities for Your Team to Master

    problem solving collaborative activities

  6. Collaborative Problem Solving

    problem solving collaborative activities

VIDEO

  1. Activity Based Learning I Communication, Team Building, Thinking, Experiential, STEM aligned NEP2020

  2. Math Quest Problem Solving

  3. Learning by Observation, Discussion and Expression in a Participatory Way

  4. MODULE 3 Collaborative Problem Solving Role Play

  5. What is a Hackathon and How Does It Encourage Collaborative Problem Solving?

  6. Collaborative problem-solving, globally

COMMENTS

  1. 14 Best Collaboration Games & Activities for Teams

    1. Toxic Waste Toxic Waste is a fun and interactive game for employees to encourage collaboration and problem-solving skills. Here is how to play the game: Divide the group into small teams of three. Give each team a bucket of water filled with various small objects representing radioactive waste, such as tennis balls, blocks, and clips.

  2. 14 Brain-Boosting Problem Solving Group Activities For Teams

    1. Virtual Team Challenge Virtual Team Challenges are popular problem-solving activities that involve a group of people working together to solve an issue. The challenge generally involves members of the team brainstorming, discussing, and creating solutions for a given problem.

  3. Problem Solving Games, Activities & Exercises for Adults

    1. Espionage! (Team Favorite) For an exciting game of social deduction, check out Espionage! This thrilling experience will put your team's wits and instincts to the test. Espionage! offers the following: a 90-minute session led by an experienced host undercover teams of agents and spies challenging puzzles, tasks, and maneuvers

  4. Best 20 Problem-Solving Activities to Challenge Your Team

    Problem-solving activities are a great way to get to know how people in your team work individually and together. They are also great for team building, as they help people understand the way in which others think and behave, which provides strategies to apply to the workplace.

  5. 17 Unbeatable Team Building Problem Solving Activities

    1. Cardboard Boat Building Challenge 2. Egg Drop 3. Clue Murder Mystery 4. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower 5. Corporate Escape Room 6. Wild Goose Chase 7. Lost at Sea 8. Domino Effect Challenge 9. Reverse Pyramid 10. CI: The Crime Investigators 11. Team Pursuit

  6. Team Building Exercises

    Exercise 1: Lost at Sea* In this activity, participants must pretend that they've been shipwrecked and are stranded in a lifeboat. Each team has a box of matches, and a number of items that they've salvaged from the sinking ship. Members must agree which items are most important for their survival. Tip:

  7. 15 Team Building Problem Solving Activities to Unleash Your Crew's

    Problem-solving activities require team members to communicate clearly, share ideas, and actively listen to one another. These activities provide a platform for improving both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. 2. Building Trust and Collaboration. Trust is the foundation of any strong team.

  8. 45 Team Building Games to Psych Up Your Team [2023] • Asana

    Alicia Raeburn January 14th, 2023 28 min read Jump to section Summary Team building games bring everyone together without the added pressure of work. Here, we've listed 45 of the top team building activities broken down by icebreaker, problem solving, indoor, and outdoor games.

  9. PDF Collaborative Problem Solving

    Chapter 1: Executive Summary 1 Introduction There is growing evidence from multiple sources within the United States as well as internationally that education is not preparing students for the workforce demands of today, much less tomorrow. While the acquisition of content knowledge remains critically important, it is not enough.

  10. 13 Problem-Solving Activities & Exercises for Your Team

    13 Easy Activities For Problem-Solving Ideas to Enhance Team Collaboration Team building activities offer a great opportunity to test problem-solving abilities and promote effective collaboration within a group to problem solving group activities.

  11. Collaborative Problem Solving: The Ultimate Guide

    Because collaborative problem solving involves multiple people and ideas, there are some techniques that can help you stay on track, engage efficiently, and communicate effectively during collaboration. Set Expectations. From the very beginning, expectations for openness and respect must be established for CPS to be effective.

  12. 13 Team Building Problem Solving Activities

    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.

  13. Top 15 Problem-Solving Activities for Your Team to Master

    Article content. The importance of problem-solving skills in today's workplace. Classic team-building, problem-solving activities. 1. A Shrinking Vessel. 2. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower. Creative problem-solving activities. Quick and easy problem-solving activities.

  14. The effectiveness of collaborative problem solving in promoting

    Collaborative problem-solving is the organic integration of collaborative learning and problem-based learning, which takes learners as the center of the learning process and uses problems...

  15. 11 Innovative team-building games for improved collaboration and

    By infusing an element of fun, team-building games help you cultivate a collaborative and dynamic work culture and a pathway to essential skills like trust, communication, and problem-solving. In this article, we look at a list of team-building games, exploring how they work and which skills they build. ...

  16. Top 50 problem solving activities, games & puzzles for remote teams

    1. What are problem solving activities? 2. Key skills evaluated in problem solving activities 3. Problem solving scenarios 4. What is a problem solving process? 5. Obstacles to problem solving 6. Famous virtual problem solving software What are problem solving activities?

  17. Full article: Measuring collaborative problem solving: research agenda

    Defining collaborative problem solving. Collaborative problem solving refers to "problem-solving activities that involve interactions among a group of individuals" (O'Neil et al., Citation 2003, p. 4; Zhang, Citation 1998, p. 1).In a more detailed definition, "CPS in educational setting is a process in which two or more collaborative parties interact with each other to share and ...

  18. Examples of Collaborative Learning or Group Work Activities

    Case Study Create four to five case studies of similar difficulty. Have students work in groups of four or five to work through and analyze their case study. Provide 10-15 minutes (or adequate time) to work through the cases. Walk around and address any questions. Call on groups randomly and ask that students share their analysis.

  19. Think:Kids : Collaborative Problem Solving®

    Collaborative Problem Solving® (CPS) At Think:Kids, we recognize that kids with challenging behavior don't lack the will to behave well. They lack the skills to behave well. Our CPS approach is proven to reduce challenging behavior, teach kids the skills they lack, and build relationships with the adults in their lives.

  20. 64 team building activities to bring your team together

    Team problem solving activities. ... Either checking-in or checking-out is a simple way for a team to open or close a process, symbolically and in a collaborative way. Checking-in/out invites each member in a group to be present, seen and heard, and to express a reflection or a feeling. Checking-in emphasizes presence, focus and group ...

  21. 25 Examples Of Cooperative Learning Activities

    Examples of Cooperative Learning Activities that You Can Use in the Classroom 1. Jigsaw Reading 2. Think-Pair-Share 3. Group Presentations 4. Roundtable Discussions 5. Peer Tutoring 6. Gallery Walks 7. Debate Teams 8. Role Play 9. Group Research Projects 10. Collaborative Writing 11.Problem-Based Learning

  22. Designing Collaborative Activities to Promote Understanding and Problem

    The design of a collaborative activity should allow for certain types of conversations, feedback, and questions. The structure of a collaborative activity should consider tasks, scripts, and roles ...

  23. 5 Tips to Make Collaborative Problem Solving Work for Your Team

    Here are five tips that can make the difference in coming up with powerful, collaborative problem solving techniques that work for your unique projects: 1. Bring the Right Attitude to the Table. A collaborative problem solving approach starts with setting everyone's expectations appropriately and coming in to a meeting ready to hear and discuss ...

  24. Collaborative Problem Solving

    Collaborative Problem-Solving in Schools outlines a process to help veteran and new leaders alike to create thoughtful, organized, and collaborative solutions for the simple to the most difficult problems they face. Rooted in theory, this comprehensive guide presents a seven-step process that addresses all types of problems. Each chapter ...

  25. Problem Solving In Modern eLearning Environments

    The Brain Game: How To Add Problem-Solving Activities In Online Lessons. Analyzing issues, devising innovative solutions, and adapting to changing environments help people thrive in life. ... Collaborative problem-solving projects not only sharpen your learners' critical thinking skills but also allow them to understand others' perspectives and ...

  26. A Psychologist Explains How Couples Can Defeat The ...

    Encourage Collaborative Problem-Solving Sessions. The benefits of collaborative efforts between partners to enhance relationship satisfaction are well-established. If your partner is grappling ...

  27. Andy

    0 likes, 0 comments - dadpreneur_1 on February 15, 2024: "Looking for ways to handle sibling rivalries among your kids? As modern-day dads, it's important ..."