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.
One 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:
- 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.
- Relay Races
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.
- 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.
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