10 Team Building Icebreakers for your Return to Work
Picture this: you’re a team leader looking to organise a team-building activity full of enticing ice breaker games.
You’re thinking of a fun way to do team bonding to welcome back your team.
You invite your team members to do two truths and a lie. They groan in unison.
The truth is, the best ice breaker games offer that little bit more. It’s your job to encourage employees, spark conversation, and fast track group familiarity.
Check out these fantastic team building icebreakers for your return to work. They are entertaining while encouraging creative thinking to mould an effective team.
Fun ice breakers that improve collaboration
Collaboration is critical for any effective team. A team member needs to be able to collaborate with their colleagues toward shared goals and objectives. Therefore, any fun ice breaker should look to encourage team members to cooperate and pool their problem-solving skills.
Let’s examine a few examples of team icebreakers that foster collaboration.
The Marshmallow Challenge
Grab some tape, string, spaghetti, marshmallows, and a can-do attitude, and you’re ready for a great ice breaker that’s fantastic for both new teams and more established groups.
The aim of the marshmallow challenge is, with those materials provided, simply build the tallest free-standing structure that you can as a group – with a marshmallow resting upon the top of the taped-up spaghetti/marshmallow tower.
With standardised amounts of materials, each group must go through a brainstorming session to evaluate the best course of action against the clock. They must work together in small groups, listening to each other and discussing ideas before embarking upon their grand architectural project.
Make sure to award the winners with a grand prize.
While seemingly frivolous, the marshmallow challenge can provoke interesting conversation, especially when team members contribute their thoughts to a debriefing discussion to determine what went well and what teams could have done better.
Electric fence icebreaker
The imaginary electric fence is a simple yet captivating challenge for teams. It is the perfect icebreaker to help your team get to know each other on a more personal level – moving around is always a great way to break the ice.
Simply stretch a piece of rope or string between two poles in the meeting room. Set the rope around 4 feet off the ground. This is your electric fence and, as such, should not be touched.
Break into smaller groups who then have to combine their brainpower to work out how to get the whole team over the fence to the other side. They must not go under the fence. Once a team member is on the other side of the fence, they cannot come back around to the other side, and only one team member can scale the dangerous electric obstacle at a time.
This relatively simple concept requires your remote teams to cooperate physically – they need to plan, approach the problem with logic, and communicate to come up with the best solution.
The Perfect Square
Icebreaker games are often best and most memorable when they involve some kind of prop and movement.
The third example on this list, the perfect square, sometimes called the blind square, involves blindfolding your team members – already a test of trust in a group setting.
Sit your team in a circle and blindfold each team member. Place a long piece of string tied at both ends in their hands – everybody should be holding this. Then, a simple instruction – stand up and, without taking off the blindfold, arrange yourselves into a perfect square.
Once they are happy with their square, they can take off their blindfolds and see how they did. This is one of those activities that can teach the importance of communication and show insights into your group’s makeup. Is one person leading? Does the entire group offer input? Are other team members happy to follow directions?
Try the same activity a second time to see if they learn any valuable lessons and approach the task differently.
‘Just for fun’ icebreaker activities
Not every work-based meeting needs to focus on team building virtues. At your next meeting, embrace the silly side and just focus on fun. Training sessions can be tedious, so make the most of the return of in-person teams to play some games together.
Try a few of these at your next ‘training session’:
What’s my name?
This is a classic icebreaker mainstay. Stick the name of a well-known celebrity or historical figure on people’s backs and have them mingle and ask each other questions to find out who they are. It’s a fun way of initiating a conversation without forcing awkward small talk.
The movie pitch icebreaker
Break up the entire team into smaller groups and give each 10 minutes to develop a movie pitch. Each team dusts off their presenting skills in a bid to win ‘funding’ for their film. It’s a celebration of a commonality – almost everyone likes movies!
It’s an oldie but a goodie – it’s incredible how grown adults can enjoy reverting to their infancy in this old classroom favourite.
Some people love jigsaws. They find them therapeutic. Others think they are tortuously time-consuming with little payoff on completion. One sure-fire way to make them more entertaining is to make it a race between teams. Hand out the same jigsaw to two separate teams and wave the chequered flag to instigate some frantic frivolous piece-finding. Inject a little fun competition into your company culture.
Set up an open space and litter this with harmless obstacles -think soft toys and cushions. Blindfolded team members need to navigate their way through the ‘minefield’ relying only upon the instructions of their colleagues.
Team-building icebreakers with Making Teams
At Making Teams, we have a plethora of team-building icebreakers for your return to work.
Creating meaningful activities that foster communication and collaboration among your employees is difficult and time-consuming. It’s even more challenging to ensure that these icebreaker games engage and energise to create lasting memories for your team members.
Let us take that responsibility from you by providing tailored team-building experiences that captivate and inspire. From building boats out of cardboard to building machines, these activities go above and beyond your usual 10-minute icebreaker to make up fully-fledged teambuilding extravaganzas.
Here are two examples:
Based on the tv show ‘Survivor’ – this team building half-day programme sees groups face off in a series of mental and physical challenges that put their teamwork skills to the test.
Entirely customisable, available challenges range from a camp-building exercise to an eating challenge, from logic puzzles to gladiator jousting. Throughout the day, teams will develop their communication skills and engage in critical and creative thinking tasks in an all-around enriching experience.
Teams are given their own t-shirts, bandanas, and flags for the day to embrace the team spirit.
Build a Bike CSR
Team bonding while problem solving with a rewarding outcome.
Our Build a Bike icebreaker sees teams compete through various team-building tasks testing their collaboration skills (you can choose these tasks from an extensive list). The added element is that, whenever they complete a task, they are given one piece of what will eventually be a bike.
The end task is assembling the bike together.
These bikes are then donated to the children of local charity workers. The pre-briefing and debriefing of this team building activity serve to question the role of corporate social responsibility and asks employees what more can be done in the future – it is a genuinely intriguing brainstorming session that celebrates inclusivity in this process.
We can work together to identify participating charities before the team building day, and, once again, there are plenty of options to customise and tailor the event to your needs.
What are the benefits of working with Making Teams?
By partnering with Making Teams, you effectively outsource the stress of creating, planning, and implementing the best ice breakers. We do all the work for you.
Make your return to work team-building event an unforgettable experience.
Our activities aim to:
- improve communication within the team
- encourage effective planning, delegation, and organisation
- provide an enriching experience
- offer opportunities for leadership
- build trust and develop interpersonal connections between team members
- give back to the community
- increase employee engagement
We firmly believe that a well-planned team building event can achieve all of the above.
Reach out and start a conversation today to see how we can organise a team-building event your employees will never forget.