15 Playground Games to Build Teamwork

15 Playground Games to Build Teamwork

Teamwork is a valuable lesson, and all the skills that come with it are essential for kids to learn. Fun team building activities for kids make learning communication skills and ways to support peers feel like play instead of a lesson. Students will be excited to engage in playground games and not even realize they are developing those and other valuable life skills.

If you have never thought about using team building activities for students or want to add new games to playground time, Playworld is here to help. Find 15 playground games to build teamwork below and introduce them to your students as activities that develop useful skills:

1. Group Jump Rope

Outdoor team building games for kids get them moving and working together — much like jump rope does. Have two adults or older kids hold the ends of a long rope. A group of a few kids then line up between them, ready to jump rope. All the adults have to do is swing the rope at a decent enough pace for kids to play.

This simple activity works either as a fun way to get moving or as a friendly competition. You can keep score or simply have a group of kids jump and rotate between different groups for a fun activity. Count how many jumps a team makes before getting caught on the rope and have groups try to beat that score.

Group jump rope inspires kids to encourage each other to try their best as they jump. It also teaches children that teamwork helps everyone succeed, as they can only continue jumping rope if everyone on their team clears it.

2. Hula Hoop Challenge

With this challenge, kids need to get a hula hoop from one end of a line to another or around a circle. Have each child hold hands with the kids on either side of them to create the line or circle. The first kid in line will take a hula hoop on their arm. You can also have two kids in the circle link hands inside the hula hoop.

From there, kids have to maneuver the hula hoop around their bodies and get it to the arm of the child next to them. Encourage teamwork by telling kids to lift their arms and help the child next to them as they get through the hula hoop. Create smaller teams of kids and have them compete to see who can complete the challenge first.

3. Over Under Relay

For this fun team building activity, kids stand in a line all facing the same direction. Have a starting line and an endpoint for the group or competing teams to reach. Give the first child in line a ball to pass over their head behind them to the next kid in line. That kid passes the ball under their legs to the person behind them, who then passes the ball overhead behind them and so on.

Once the ball gets to the last child in line, they go to the front and restart the process. That activity motivates children to work quickly but accurately. This team building activity teaches kids how essential it is to focus on a task when others rely on them.

4. Sports Hot Potato

Kids start in a small circle for this game. They toss a ball across the circle to each other — whichever type of ball suits the age group and their abilities. If a child catches the ball, everyone takes a step back until the circle gets bigger and bigger.

This game is easy to modify to suit your group. Have kids call out the name of who they want to throw the ball to as an icebreaker exercise. You could also play a version where kids have to take a step in if someone drops the ball. This version of hot potato teaches kids the importance of every player on a team and the value of helping others as they try to throw their best.

5. Agility Course

For kids team building games that emphasize movement, use components of your facility’s playground to lay out an agility course for two teams. One child from each team goes through the course, climbing and sliding down the playground equipment. Once they reach a finish line that you set up, the next child on the team goes through the course. Whichever group has all its members across the finish line first is the winner.

Expand the course with other components around the playground. Draw a hopscotch outline or set up cones for kids to weave through to add more movement to the activity. An agility course enforces the idea of rooting for fellow team members and teaches how each part of the group is essential for success.

6. Hopscotch Relay

Put a teamwork twist on traditional hopscotch. Draw two equally sized outlines near each other and have kids split into teams of two. If you work with a larger group of kids, add more courses to keep the groups smaller. Give each group a beanbag to toss and explain the rules.

Instruct kids to throw the marker at a random spot. They then have to hop down the course, landing on every spot except the one the marker landed on. When they get to 10, they turn around and come back, picking up the marker and skipping the number again. When they get back to start, they pass the beanbag to someone else and head to the back of the line. The team that has all its members go through the course first wins.

Add more rules to make the game challenging. If a child accidentally jumps on the spot where they threw their marker, they have to start over. If they throw the marker out of the line, they have to pick it up and throw it again. If they jump or stumble out of the hopscotch squares while hopping, they have to go back to the starting square. A hopscotch relay shows kids the importance of trying their hardest when they’re on a team to help their group members be successful.

7. Blindfolded Toss

Kids pair up in teams of two for this activity. One child will have to close their eyes or wear a blindfold and try to throw a ball into a hoop or at a target. The second kid on the team will not be blindfolded and will have to instruct the blindfolded child where to throw the ball. You and other adults can hold a hula hoop for every team, draw chalk targets for kids to roll balls toward or use Toss-Up hoops. Use foam balls to create a safer game.

With this activity, kids learn the importance of communication in teamwork. Enhance that experience with a friendly competition. Make multiple teams of two and have them compete against their peers to see who can make it in the hoop or hit the target first.

8. Body Spellers

Split kids into equal teams for this game that you can play outside or indoors. Give the groups the same word to spell out, choosing a smaller word for younger kids in small teams or longer words for older kids in big teams. They then have a minute to use their fingers, hands, arms or bodies to spell the word. Whichever teams spell the word correctly and in a readable way get a point. Play to as many points as you have time for.

Spelling words in a group will reinforce classroom lessons and communication skills. Team building activities for kids that require them to collaborate with their peers to achieve a goal will teach them what makes a group successful. They may naturally appoint a leader or rely on their group members for spelling knowledge, realizing that every individual has something to offer.

9. Team Simon Says

Group playing Simon Says

Most kids know how to play Simon Says, but adding teams can make the game more interesting. Create groups of equal sizes and have those teams stand together on the playground. Then give out instructions for kids to follow. If you say, “Simon Says,” they do your instruction, and if you do not, they should not do what you said. Any child who breaks those rules is out, and the last team standing wins the game.

This game will be easier to play if you have a few adults or older kids be referees for each team, especially if you have a lot of kids playing. Simon Says teaches kids the importance of listening, and a team version of the game emphasizes that skill. It also shows kids how important each team member is to achieving a goal.

10. Limbo Relay

Turn limbo into a fun competition with two teams of kids. You will also need three additional adults or older kids to hold the rope or limbo bar for each group. Start at the same height and have everyone in the line pass under it. Once everyone goes through, lower the bar a few inches while staying equal with the other team’s bar as it drops down.

If a kid stumbles or cannot make it under the bar, they are out. The last team standing or the team who gets their bar the lowest is the winner. Creating team building games for kids out of familiar activities is a great way to encourage students to work together and support each other as they play.

11. Marco Polo

Make this a teamwork game by creating two teams of kids and being the one to call out “Marco.” All the kids respond to you with “Polo,” and you try to tag them. Draw or make a boundary that kids cannot step outside of for a bigger challenge. Have other adults watch to make sure you and the children do not step out of bounds. If a kid steps out of bounds or you tag them, they are out. The last team with members remaining is the winner.

To make the teams clear, give kids coordinating pinnies, vests or bandannas to wear. That will make the game easier and show kids who is on their side and who they should help. Kids can then warn their teammates if they are about to be tagged, and they will see the importance of communication and paying attention to support a team.

12. Birthday Line Up

Birthday Line Up

Play this game for team building activities for kids that don’t involve competition. Instead, your group will work together to line up based on their birthdays, going in order from January 1 to December 31.

Birthday Line Up encourages communication and teamwork to achieve a goal. Make changes to the game to make it more challenging and require extra teamwork. Set a time limit or use a stopwatch to see if they can beat a certain time. Or, make a rule that kids cannot talk and should only use their hands to communicate when their birthdays are. To play another round, use new rules like lining up in alphabetical order based on first names.

13. Fingertip Hula Hoop

Get a small group of students to play this kids team building game. A team of four to six kids stands in a circle, points their index fingers and puts out their arms at the same height. You then place a hula hoop so it rests on their fingers. Make sure no one hooks their fingers around the hoop or tries to hold it throughout the activity.

The goal is for the team to work together and lower the hoop to the ground without it falling. They have to go at the same pace and adjust to meet the speed of their team members to keep the hoop on their fingers. If it falls, have the group start over from the top.

Kids will learn communication skills and the importance of working together in this teamwork challenge. Make it a fun competition by having different teams of kids race to get their hula hoop lower. You could also let one group go at a time and see who can lower the hoop the fastest by timing them.

14. Mingle Groups

Have kids walk around in an area, waiting for you to call a number. When you say a number — two or higher — kids create groups with that many members. Make it a challenge with a rule that kids cannot join a group with someone they’ve teamed up with before. Have adults or older kids be referees to keep track of who has grouped with who.

If a child tries to join a repeat group, they must find different kids to team up with. After a few rounds, change up the rules. Kids can only join groups with others wearing the same color or with a birthday in the same month, for instance.

Kids will get to meet and interact with their classmates in this game, working together to form groups and help kids who have not found a team yet. This activity is great for an icebreaker or a group that has been together for a while.

15. Unpretzel

Create endless fun with untangling team building games for kids. Have a group of six to 10 kids stand in a circle close to each other. They should then hold hands with those across from them, crossing arms with different kids in the circle to create the pretzel. The challenge is then to work together to unpretzel themselves back into a circle while still holding hands, which encourages communication and teamwork.

Be sure to watch if any kids are getting too tangled. If it looks like they cannot unpretzel themselves, have everyone stop holding hands and try again. Some kids may not want to or be able to play. They can observe the activity and help the students in the pretzel by problem-solving and suggesting ways to become untangled.

Encourage Teamwork on the Playground With Playworld

Create a playground where your students will work and play together with Playworld! Improve your playground with equipment made for kids ages 5 and under and ages 5 to 12. You will also find fitness and wellness products, electronic equipment and furnishings to take your playground to the next level.

You will see our values of inspiring play in all our products and equipment, encouraging confidence and empowering kids. With equipment from Playworld, your students will practice their teamwork skills and develop new abilities that can stick with them for life.

We will be happy to answer your questions and guide you toward the best equipment choices for your facility. Find a Playworld representative near you or request a quote today!

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