Teaching students and teens the value of teamwork can help them develop a sense of servanthood as they grow into adults. Teamwork building can also help teens and students understand the importance of working positively with their peers. As part of our commitment to helping today’s generation of teens and students grow into the leaders of the future, we have created the following teamwork and team building activities. Each of the free team building exercises for teens and students listed below is designed to help enhance their ability to work well with others. These teamwork building resources are part of our collection of 52 Leadership Ideas. To view more activities like these, we invite you to click the link below and download the complete 52 Leadership Ideas PDF.
Feeding the Homeless
Locate a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Go together to the shelter and serve meals to the homeless. Be sure and get your young person involved in the process. Let them experience what it means to serve others, on a team of people.
Afterward, discuss how it made you feel. Describe your experience to one another: how did you feel about serving the needy? How about the sounds, the smells and the sights of it all? Did you feel uncomfortable? Why was it important to have a team of people serving? Could one person get the job done?
Work to Win
Prepare to hand out Saturday chores, some weekend. Ask each young person (if you have more than one) to do a list of chores that are appropriate for their age.
Without telling them, hide an envelope with money in it or tickets to a ballgame, and put it where they’ll find it if they do the chores very thoroughly. For instance, if you tell them to clean out the sofa—you may hide ten dollars under the cushions that they can find and keep if their work is thorough. Or, you may tell them to clean out their closet, and you can hide some tickets to a movie or ballgame—and they’ll find them if they are thorough. The winner is the one who works with excellence. Hopefully, everyone will win.
Family Work Day
Plan a family work-day, some Saturday. Assemble a team of people, or your entire family and go through closets to find clothes and other items that you don’t need and that would be useful to the Salvation Army, or some other charity that provides for the needy. Make it a team effort, organizing items into boxes or bags. Include everyone in taking the items to the charity you have chosen as well. This will become a win/win/win: you get rid of things you don’t need, the needy benefit, and you learn what it means to work as a team.
Afterward, take some time over pizza to discuss how the role each of your team or family plays and what the special contribution each makes.
This one will require you to plan ahead. Investigate volunteer opportunities that your school or some other organization may be sponsoring locally. If possible, plan to go on a crosscultural mission trip together and serve in some unfamiliar place, such as to the inner city or a different-culture neighborhood. Make sure it’s a place where you are out of your comfort zone and that you are concentrating on serving others.
This kind of a trip does wonderful things for those who participate. Once you return home, take some time to debrief the experience. How did you work together as a team? What was the highlight of the trip? How could the service you rendered on the trip become a lifestyle for you at home?
This one is an activity that may take different forms depending on the season of the year. For instance, in the fall, you may have lots of leaves to rake in your yard. Why not ask your young person to rake leaves for you or for a needy person who lives nearby. Sit down with them and suggest that they organize a team to do the raking, and offer to pay them for their effort. Talk about how many people they’ll need on the team and what’s involved if they’re going to do a good job. (If it’s winter, you might have them shovel snow; if it’s summer or spring they could wash cars.)
The key to this activity is preparation. Be sure and take the time to really discuss how your young person can make this project work. Get them organized. Whatever you are going to pay them, give the money to your young person to divide up between the team members. Let them experience what it means to be a supervisor and see the job through to the end.