The Best Team Building Exercises for Kids

Team Building for Kids

As adults, many of us are constantly tasked to work in collaborative environments. For some of us, this task may be challenging as we prefer to work alone. As you may have realized, individual work may not always be feasible or permitted, so having effective collaboration skills can be invaluable to you for professional development. We all have high hopes for our children to grow up to be successful, well-adjusted adults. One way to help our children achieve this state, is to expose them to team building early on. The earlier kids learn how to navigate the dynamics of a team, the better adjusted they will be in their teen and adult years to working with others. Help your children, students, or campers become more cooperative and influential team players by having them participate in highly effective team building exercises.

team of kids working togetherOne great team building exercise for kids is literally exercise. Being a member of a sports team helps children gain a sense of identity and belonging. The collaborative nature of team sports allows children to be exposed to the pleasure of comradery created by cumulative efforts and hard-work. Being on a team teaches the value of reliability. Having teammates will inspire kids to do their best to be an asset to a group of people that is counting on them to perform well. In addition to building individual work ethic, being on a team helps kids gain an understanding of limitations. Athletic competitions show children that winning is not achieved by just one person, instead takes an entire team. Being a part of a team also teaches kids how to get along with others, even those that they may not like. It has proven to help adult coworkers work better together, so recreational teams will definitely serve your kids well too.

Though being a member of a team sport is a great way for kids to learn how to work collaboratively, it is not the only option. There are great activities that you can implement in your academic or leisurely settings that will allow children to learn important principles in collaboration. Here is a list of a few great team building exercises:

  1. The Human Knot

Ah yes, this game bring us back to our sweet summer childhood memories. It’s simple to execute and does not require any materials. Have your team stand in a circle, each person joining hands with someone positioned across from them. Everyone should be holding hangs with two different people. Without letting go of anyone’s hand, the team must work together to untangle the knot. The kids will have to communicate and work together to achieve their goal.

  1. Relay Raceskid participating in pass the egg activity

If you’ve ever run track, you know that relays are true tests of effective collaboration. Have kids break into teams of equal numbers and instruct the first player of each team to run down to a designated spot and back, then passing off a baton to the next player. The race is complete when the last person on each team returns to their original spot.

  1. Pass the Egg

This activity can get a little messy but it is a great lesson in collaboration and trust for kids. This game is played in pairs, each pair given one egg. The pairs will line up across from one another. The first player will throw this egg to his or her teammate. If the egg is successfully caught, each player will take a step back. The partners will take turns tossing the egg. Once the egg drops, the pair is out.

For more great team building ideas, click here.

Five Icebreaker Ideas for New Employee Onboarding

Icebreakers for Onboarding

break through social iceJoining a new professional environment can be extremely nerve-wracking. New employees may be so focused on making goodfirst impressions, that it can hinder them from actually doing so. This is one of the many reasons why team building is so important. A fun and productive way to team-build while facilitating onboarding is to have your new team play icebreaker games. I know, I know; “cheesy” and “cliché” are two words thought, if not verbally associated, with the idea of icebreakers. Truth is, icebreakers are a little cheesy and they are widely used… because they work! Icebreakers allow the newbies to let down their guards and share a little bit about themselves with their teammates.

Here are five icebreaker ideas that will help you transition in your office new-comers:

  1. Name Toss

This game is an icebreaking essential. New employees are often too embarrassed to admit they have forgotten a coworker’s name, and in this game they cannot fake it. Name Toss is simple. Have the employees sit in a circle and call out a coworker’s name before throwing a small ball or beanbag to them. The participants cannot call out the same name twice, so that they will have the opportunity to learn new names.

  1. Two Truths and a Lie

This game will help your employees get better acquainted through learning unique and interesting facts about one another. The new employees will each share three statements about themselves, one being a lie. The listening parties will have to guess which statement is false.

  1. Salesman

salesman icebreaker gameThe Salesman icebreaker distinguishes the flamboyant from the shy, and the creative from the dry. Each participating employee will be instructed to select a random item they may have on their person and stand up and try to sell it to their coworkers. They will have to really get into the character of a salesperson and explain the item’s utility. This game obviously works great for new sales and marketing employees, otherwise it is just fun to watch coworkers improvise a witty (or not so witty) sales pitch.

  1. Champions

During these quirky games you not only want to learn the new employees’ interests, but also their personality types. You’ll want to discover their areas of strengths and weaknesses, as knowledge of this will come in handy for effective collaboration. Remember no one personality type is better than another. According to Forbes Magazine, workplace diversity breeds innovation and growth. The Champions game promotes the discovery of individual strengths within the office. To play, have your employees pair up and then take turns telling the other a little bit about themselves, designating five minutes for each turn. At the end of the allotted time, each person in the room will stand up and tell one strength he or she gathered about the other person.

  1. Silence

This is a game that tests self-control (or displays a lack thereof). Employees will pair up, sitting back-to-back. On the count of three, each teammate will face the other and try not to laugh or smile. This may seem easy at first, but just wait until the awkwardness of staring at each other in silence mounts. This game is a simple way to make your new employee crack a smile, while breaking the ice. There are workplace benefits to smiling often.

Once everyone embraces the blatant banality of icebreakers, they can be really fun, and most importantly, effective. Implement one or all of the above game ideas into your next onboarding session and watch your team grow closer and more confident.




Best Practices for Onboarding New Employees

Onboarding New Employees

Hiring in the USAExpectations of success are typically based on a corresponding level of preparation, right? Well, tell this to the job market. Nearly 75 percent of companies in the nation say they’re planning to increase hiring over the next year, yet less than half of these companies have onboarding procedures in place for the new hires. Something is not right there. It is consensually advantageous to the employee and employer that the employee becomes quickly and effortlessly well-adjusted to the culture and responsibilities of the new job. Unfortunately, in many cases, the results are less than this ideal. Despite highly intentional and extensive interview processes and assessments of interviewees’ credentials, hiring new employees can be a gamble for any employer. Though you cannot change the aptitude, personality, or work ethic of your new hire, you can set a positive tone for their performance on and assimilation to your professional team. Studies show that one of the best ways to construct this type of positive experience is to have a strong onboarding procedure in place. Intentionality and thoroughness in onboarding will be your best tool in easing your new hire’s transition in. Follow these steps to learn how to implement effective practices in your team’s onboarding protocol.

Facilitate Socialization

Introductions are important! Send an email to your department informing coworkers of the arrival of the new hire. This will allow the new employee to feel welcome and expected. Sometimes feeling comfortable is the only thing a new hire needs to get off to a productive start. Losing an employee to feelings of alienation is indicative of an inefficient or nonexistent onboarding program.

Train for Success

onboarding and job training for new hiresEverything else is extra, this is requisite. The point of onboarding is to prepare your new hire for his or her transition in to your work environment. What is more important for the newbie to learn than their own job? Have a seasoned employee who is well-versed in the new hire’s job responsibilities show them the ropes. This will give the employee a chance to comfortably ask questions and get a firm grasp on what is expected of them. Mentorship is key to employee performance and retention.

Don’t Be Cheap

Invest in you onboarding program. According to the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey, companies spend almost $11,000 to fill one position. Why spend that much on hiring, and fall short on investing in training? Set aside a budget for onboarding that allow for icebreakers, training tools, mentor compensation, and whatever else you need to prepare your new hire to be productive.

Keep it Current

You’ll want to have a standardized onboarding procedure in place, but it does not have to be based on tired information. Do some research and adjust your program based on new employee trends, or even your own observations of the performance of other new hires. Make sure you set milestones and expectations of the new employee that reflect your company’s present and future goals.

Follow these tips to transform your employees’ new job jitters into confidence and productivity.

How to Deal with Passive Aggressive Team Members in the Workplace


employees working together to solve a problemNobody likes to work with that person. You know, that coworker who makes underhanded comments, sends snarky emails, and procrastinates. You may have realized that for all of the infuriating things he or she does, there’s never really been anything overtly offensive you can call them on. This is a classic example of passive aggression. Passive aggression on its own can be extremely frustrating, but even more so in the workplace. In a professional setting you are expected to maintain a level of equanimity that may seem impossible given the aggravating circumstance of dealing with covert hostility. If you find yourself struggling to coexist at work with a passive aggressive coworker, follow these tips to help put your mind at ease.

Check Yourself

Before you begin taking steps to address the issue, make sure that there is actually an issue warranting rectification. There is a difference between interacting with a passive aggressive person and interacting with someone you simply don’t like. If you find that you are annoyed by everything a certain coworker does, chances are the issue may lie within yourself. Make sure you are being fair in assessing whether or not the individual is treating you unjustly. And be sure you yourself aren’t acting passive aggressively. If you decide that you have reason to address a recurring issue, make sure to do it with tact.

Tackle the Issue Head On

Don’t try to beat them at their own game; fighting fire with fire has never been an effective solution. Speak up and ask the passive aggressor what their deal is—in a respectful and professional manner, of course. When you approach them, be sure to have specific incidents you can reference so that you can be as direct as possible. It is best if you even have documentation of the incident so that you can provide tangible evidence of the behavior you deem to be unacceptable.

Control Your Own Emotions

Stay calm. Passive aggression has the potential to incite more extreme emotion than can overt aggression because it does not give the receiver a chance to react without seeming unstable or groundless. Fight your urge to angrily confront the person as it will cause them to shut down, undermining the productivity of the conversation. Passive aggressive people like to avoid that type of confrontation so you’ll need to remain collected while at the same time speaking directly.

Be Open to Feedback

Take ownership of problems that you may have caused. If you show a willingness to accept fault, your adversary may open up to you about issues they may have with you. Once they tell you what is wrong, make a sincere apology for anything you truly think you may have done to offend that person. In addition to achieving conflict resolution, you may even receive a returned apology.

Accept your Inability to Change that Person

changing an indiviual If, when all is said and done, you cannot get through to the passive aggressive person, just remind yourself that only the individual can change himself. Passive aggression is a complex coping mechanism that will not likely go away with one conversation. It takes time, work, and maturation for someone to let go of a deeply rooted way of dealing with stress.

Though it may be difficult to work with passive aggressive people, the reality is you will probably encounter quite a few in your career. If you know to properly handle passive aggression you will save yourself a headache, and potentially, a trip to the HR office.