students working together in the classroom

It’s easy to think of the corporate world when you hear about team-building exercises. After all, many companies use them to develop relationships, build teamwork skills, open lines of communication, and elevate company morale. 

But team building isn’t just for those in the workforce. Think about it — kids spend an average of 180 days in the classroom with their peers every school year. And, they, too, can benefit from team building exercises uniting them in a supportive environment. 

Interested in getting your students to work together but don’t know where to start? Here is everything you need to know about team building for your students, as well as 5 fun ideas you can try in your classroom. 

The Importance of Team Building in the Classroom

Team-building activities are perfect for bringing kids together and encouraging them to work toward a common goal. Each one tends to take on different roles as they discover one another's strengths. For instance, those who are leaders will rise and begin to take charge, those who are creative may come up with some great ideas, and those who may have greater physical strength will take on that aspect of the task if needed. 

While the idea of team building is ultimately learning how to work as a team, many additional benefits come from engaging students in these activities. 

  • Students learn their strengths and weaknesses
  • Relationships can be formed between classmates
  • Trust and respect can be developed 
  • Comradery between classmates
  • Communication skills can be enhanced
  • Greater sense of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Leaders discover what they are capable of
  • Problem-solving skills are refined
  • Fosters security and comfort in the classroom
  • Improved social and emotional development

All of these things stem from the engagement in team-building within the classroom. And, as a result, it can lead to greater academic achievement. 

Every teacher should be using some form of team-building activities to enhance the growth and development of their students. 

5 Fun Team-Building Ideas for Students

There are so many different team-building exercises that you can do in your classroom and outside. The problem is that these activities are not a one-size-fits-all. Some of them may not fit your physical location or circumstances and others may not suit the students. 

Whatever the activity is, kids will have fun with it. It provides them with a change of pace from their routine. So, to help you get started, below you will find 5 fun team-building ideas for students that you can choose from. Or, get creative and come up with your own. 

1. Marshmallow and Toothpick Challenge

Skills developed: teamwork, collaboration, creativity, communication

Split your classroom into groups of five to ten students (or whatever number works best for you). Then give them their challenge: to create the most creative and largest structure using nothing more than marshmallows and toothpicks. 

Encourage them to take their time and work together. Flying through the challenge may not yield the greatest results, but slow and steady wins the race. 

2. Pass the Hula Hoop

Skills developed: teamwork, problem-solving

Have your entire class work together on this one. Standing in a circle, have them link hands. Break the link at a select point within the circle and place a hula hoop on the arm of a student before they re-close the circle. 

Now, without unlocking their hands, they must figure out how to move that hula hoop from one person to the next, continuing around the circle. If you want to pick up the pace and make it a bigger challenge, break the class into two groups and have them race each other to get the hula hoop around the circle. 

3. Idea Building Blocks

Skills developed: problem-solving, collaboration, and teamwork. 

Get your students to think outside the box on this one. Deliver a problem that needs a solution, relating to something your students are currently studying. Split your students up into groups of about five to ten and explain the problem. 

The first student in the group will write a short solution to the problem and then pass it on to the next person. This individual will read it and add to the original solution before passing it on to the next team member who will read both before adding to it. This continues until everyone has had the opportunity to add to the solution. 

Finally, the team will present their full and final solution to the class. 

4. Snakes

Skills developed: trust, teamwork, communication

In this activity, the students must rely on one another to get through it. Blindfold each student and have them stand in a single-file line with their hands on each others’ shoulders. The person in the back of the line will not have a blindfold — and will guide the rest of the team using verbal communication.

Soft (non-dangerous) obstacles should be placed around the room and as they come to them, the rear guide should make it known to the leader so that everyone can follow through. 

Hands must remain on the shoulders for the duration of the activity. Take turns with the verbal guide — changing up the course each time. 

5. Newspaper Fashion

Skills developed: creativity, collaboration, communication

This is just a fun team-building exercise that can be done in smaller groups. Using newspapers, old sale ads, and magazines, have each group design the most stunning outfit. One person will wear the newspaper fashion while the others will work to create it. 

The outfit will be presented to the class before playing some music and having a newspaper fashion show. 

This activity is fun and a real break from classwork. Yet, it is still effective at getting the students to work together and build rapport with one another. 

How to Engage Students in Team Building Exercises

It doesn’t matter how much you try to push the team-building exercises on your students, there will always be a few that are hesitant to engage. How can you encourage them to do so? Since being stern and demanding that they participate is going to take away from the overall experience, you will want to avoid this. 

Instead, try positive reinforcement. 

This is a great way to get kids to engage with one another. Not only does it mean they get to participate and get a reward, but it instills in them that when you work together as a team, there is a valued reward that comes from it. 

Rewards can be just about anything you want them to be. Fun pencils, erasers, pens, novelty toys, and more are all great ideas. Either fill a treasure chest or pass out the reward to the winner. Just be sure that everyone gets a little something for the positive reinforcement technique to be effective. 

GEDDES Has Everything You Need for Your Team-Building Rewards

GEDDES has a long list of school supplies and novelty toys that kids will love. This isn’t the stuff you will find in your local retail chain, but rather the cool stuff. Gather up some great rewards for a job well done when it comes to team-building —- desk pets, squish balls, fidget toys, slime, and so much more.

Shop online today!