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Team-building activities that require no props

Updated April 17, 2017

Team-building is a great way to both bond your team together and make each individual team member more confident in his abilities. However, a lot of organizations and groups are put off the idea of team-building activities by the thought of having to buy expensive equipment that takes up a lot of space and is awkward to transport. The truth is there are many team-building activities that don’t require any props at all. You can easily teach your team about communication, focus and teamwork with fun, prop-free activities involving moving, writing, listening and talking.

Moving

Some of the best team-building activities are those that don’t involve just standing or sitting in one place the whole time. Play the game Welded Feet to teach your team the importance of staying focused. The participants stand shoulder to shoulder, forming one long line. They then have to walk a specific distance together as a line, with each person making sure their foot is touching their neighbour's the whole time. If you only have a small area to work in, try Walk Tag. Split your group up into pairs and get each participant to try and tag his partner by chasing him around the area at walking pace. All the pairs play the game in the same area, at the same time.

Writing

You don’t need pens and paper to play writing games. Back writing is a classic team-building activity that can be easily adapted into a no-prop game. Line up the group so that one person is standing behind the other. Whisper a single word into the ear of the last person in the line. That person has to use his finger to trace the word on the back of the person in front of him, who then has to write the word he thinks it is on the next person’s back. When the first person in the line has had the word drawn on his back, he has to shout out what he thinks the word is.

Listening

Get people into the habit of listening carefully by playing Hum Dinger. Everyone in the group takes it in turns to hum the tune of a popular song or well-known nursery rhyme of their choice. It’s up to the rest of the group to try and guess the song. A variation of this exercise is to get people mimicking the sounds of different animals, with accompanying mimes optional if it helps the group to guess correctly.

Talking

Playing games where people have to talk to one another to succeed will teach them the importance of communication. Play a variation of Pair Compass Walk where verbal communication is not only allowed but necessary. Split the group into pairs. One person in each pair has to shut his eyes and walk to a certain point in the room without peeking. His partner has to guide him to the right spot by giving him oral directions and instructions.

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About the Author

Based in London, Autumn St. John has been writing career- and business-related articles since 2007. Her work has appeared in the "Guardian" and "Changing Careers" magazine. St. John holds a Master of Arts in Russian and East European literature and culture from University College London, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in modern history from the University of Oxford.