Playground Games That Teach Teamwork
Teamwork is a vital part of everyone’s life. From daycare to school to work, everyone needs to learn how to work with others, consider others’ opinions and cooperate to reach a shared goal. On the playground, kids of all ages can engage in a similar type of learning as they become familiar with sharing and cooperating with other kids.
Playing outside gives kids the opportunity to learn how to express their feelings and ideas to those around them. Additionally, interacting with others through teamwork can help them understand empathy and compassion as they listen to each other to achieve their goals. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of team building with some playground games that teach teamwork skills.
Why Is Team Building Among Kids Important?
Teamwork and cooperation are essential skills for all kids to learn, especially at a young age. With each year they grow throughout their childhood, they become more independent and teamwork helps them understand other people’s feelings, thoughts and perspectives. Team building skills benefit children throughout every stage of life, from toddler years to school-age years and through adulthood.
Working as a team allows kids to develop other social and emotional skills, such as thinking creatively, negotiating conflict and listening. In addition, they’ll benefit from some critical learning qualities they can use to foster friendships and give them an advantage when they do group or work projects in the future.
Leadership skills help kids gain confidence in their abilities and present them with opportunities to develop responsibility, which can help them achieve success in many different ways when they’re older. During team building activities on the playground, kids can lead others and practice being an example to help their team accomplish a goal — winning the game.
Problem-solving is a part of every child’s daily activities and helps them gain independence throughout all stages of life. Finding new ways to solve a problem or overcome conflict by thinking objectively allows kids to come to solutions when faced with an obstacle, whether in a game or in school.
Team building games for students are an effective way to exercise this skill and ability by teaching kids to work towards a solution with others. While working against the game will help them think outside the box, it will also help them learn to cooperate with other kids who have different personalities and ideas. These fun games are the perfect time for kids to put their imagination to the test on the playground and see what they come up with.
There are many different forms of communication that kids will learn throughout the stages of childhood. As they get to a certain age, they will begin to have their own thoughts and ideas that they’ll want to voice, particularly in team-building games. These games allow kids to express those ideas while considering others’ as well.
While talking and expressing one’s emotions and thoughts is critical for every child, communication also involves listening. Receiving other teammates’ suggestions and discussing the best way to achieve their goals can help kids win the game and build their self-confidence at the same time. The more experience they have talking through their thoughts and listening to others, the easier it will be for them to use those communication skills in the future.
10 Playground Games That Teach Teamwork Skills
Team building games for kids are an effective way to show kids how to work together, communicate with others and share ideas to meet their goals. When split into teams, each member has something to contribute to win the game and gets to be heard and valued by the other players.
While these games allow kids to think critically and overcome obstacles together, they’re also fun and exciting for all who participate. These games are best played outside on the playground to give kids plenty of room to move around. You can even use some playground equipment to help you conduct outdoor team-building games.
1. Hula Hoop Pass
In this game, students will stand next to each other in a line or circle holding hands. The only item you’ll need for this game is a hula hoop. Place the hula hoop on the arm of the first person in the line or on top of two kids holding hands in the circle.
The objective of this game is to get the entire group to pass the hula hoop down the line or around the circle through each of their bodies as fast as possible while keeping their hands together. This game is great for kids to practice communicating, listening and coordinating as they try to figure out how to maneuver their arms, neck and shoulders to pass on the hula hoop to the next person.
2. Team Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are an easy game to play that only requires any materials you have lying around the classroom or house and even things you can spot outside on the playground. Split kids into two large teams or a few smaller teams and give them clipboards or folders with a list of items for them to find outside. You can include items such as rocks, flowers, pencils, erasers or toys or you can keep it general and ask them to find things based on colors or letters.
For example, you can ask them to locate something that starts with the letter B, such as a bug, and have them write it down. For older school-age kids, you can give each team a camera so they can take pictures of the item to help find more items than the other team. Kids will have fun searching the playground as they complete the list and split up to find items and use their critical thinking skills. The team that collects or captures pictures of all the items first wins the game!
3. Playground Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are another timeless favorite for kids to play outside while building their teamwork and cooperation skills. Create an obstacle course outside using playground equipment, such as:
You can also use additional items on the playground to lengthen the course, such as:
- Pool floats
- Traffic cones
As with all playground games, be sure to pick up all the items you bring outside when you’re done playing. This can help prevent creating tripping hazards. Split kids into two teams and have them line up at the beginning of the obstacle course. Instruct them to go through the series of equipment until they reach the designated finish line. You can also demonstrate how they must complete the course so they know what to do.
The kids will have to work together and encourage each other to climb the monkey bars, go down the slide and zig-zag along the traffic cones to get to the end. The first team to complete the course wins the game.
If you want to create a long-lasting way for kids to engage in friendly competition and physical activity, you can also install custom climbing challenges, such as the Champions Trek.
This playground obstacle course consists of free-standing equipment, including various climbers and breakaways for kids to practice their agility, balance and strength. You can arrange these products in any way that works for your outdoor space for kids to enjoy all year long.
4. Ants on a Log
For this silent game, you simply need to draw a line on the playground surface using tape or any other material. Instruct kids to line up in one straight line in any order they choose. The objective of this game is to have the kids rearrange themselves according to a specific challenge you give them. For instance, you can ask them to rearrange themselves into alphabetical order by their first name, from tallest to shortest or in order of their birthdays.
The trick is, they can’t talk to each other! The kids must remain silent as they try to communicate using hand motions, facial expressions and problem-solving to switch positions while staying on the line as best as possible. This game involves both a communication and physical challenge as kids try to organize themselves into a completely new line without stepping off or mouthing words to each other.
5. Slide Object Race
This game involves using any size slide on your outdoor playground and some miscellaneous items. Some of the objects you can use in this game include:
- Rubber balls
- Toy cars
- Bottle caps
Before conducting this race, check that no kids are standing in the way of the slide. Children should always keep a clear distance from all equipment during these games. When the game is over, be sure to pick up all items that were used to prevent them from being left on the ground and creating a tripping hazard.
Split your students or kids into different teams and have each person choose one of these small objects, alternating between groups. Have them stand in two separate lines and allow each member from each team to push different items down the slide and see which objects land faster.
The team with the most items that reach the ground first wins the game. You can even make this game more science-related and ask kids beforehand which objects they predict will reach the ground first. The team with the most accurate guesses wins!
6. Flip the Sheet Challenge
This game is a little more tricky and involves creative thinking. The only material you’ll need for this challenge is one or two sheets or tarps big enough for several kids to stand on comfortably. Divide the students into two teams and instruct all the members to stand on top of the sheet. Challenge each group to flip over the sheet to stand on the other side without stepping off the sheet.
The objective of this game is to see which team can successfully — and quickly — flip the sheet over while keeping all team members’ feet touching the tarp at all times. Kids will have to use communication skills and instruct their teammates to shift and lift their feet as they attempt to flip the sheet over. Whichever team can flip it first wins the game.
7. Eye Contact
This playground game is an excellent opportunity for kids to practice nonverbal communication skills. Split kids into two groups and have them choose the first player. Create two small designated spots or circles for player one to stand in from each team. Once you begin the game, player one must make eye contact with the next teammate in their line to signal that they can slowly move toward their spot in the circle.
As player two advances, player one will make eye contact will player three and signal that they can come forward towards the circle. The objective of this game is for each player to time their movements carefully so that the players who make it to the circle can make enough room for them to fit by the time they reach it. The first team to get all their players to fit inside the circle without stepping over the border wins the game.
8. Human Alphabet
An outdoor playground is the perfect setting for this game because you’ll need plenty of space. Have kids spread out and instruct them to practice making different letters of the alphabet with their bodies. For example, asking them to make a ‘T’ would consist of standing still with both of their arms straight out.
Once they get the idea, divide the kids into two teams and give them simple, short words to spell out, such as “cat,” “dog” or “tree.” Students will team up and try to spell out a letter of the word with one person each. If the students can easily tackle these short words, you can make it more challenging and offer four or five-letter words and see which team can complete the most words in a shorter time.
9. Applause, Please
You’ll need one or two small objects to hide on the playground for this game. Split kids into two or three groups. Have each team select a player — a finder — to find an object chosen by the rest of the team. The finder will not know what object their team chose and the team cannot use any words to communicate what it is.
As the finder begins walking around the playground looking for the hidden object, their team can only assist them by applauding. The slower and softer they applaud, the further away the finder is from the object. The louder and harder they clap their hands, the closer the finder is to the object.
You can set the finders out simultaneously to make it even more challenging as they have to focus only on their teams’ applause and not the others. Whichever finder picks the correct object first wins the game for the rest of their team. This game is a fun way for kids to support their teammates and encourage them to be silly and clap as hard as possible to get their finders’ attention.
10. Hot Seat
This teamwork game is similar to charades and requires no materials, as long as there is a place for one of the players to sit on the playground. Divide the kids into two teams and have them select one player to be in the Hot Seat. Next, write down or speak a word to the rest of their team, ensuring no one else can hear.
Each team will have to give clues and act out the word, without saying it or spelling it out, until the player in the Hot Seat can correctly guess the word. You can determine the winner by seeing which player guesses the word first or which team guesses the most words within 10 minutes.
Contact Your Local Miracle Recreation Representative
Playing on an outdoor playground has endless benefits for kids throughout all stages of life. Whether you want to help them focus on teamwork, communication, leadership, problem-solving or creativity, there are many ways they can strengthen these skills while having fun and socializing with others.
At Miracle Recreation, we believe in the thrill of playgrounds and provide quality and durable products that help kids develop physically, emotionally and cognitively. Our commercial playground equipment teaches kids how to work together as they scale climbers, race down a slide, whirl on a spinner or balance on a spring rider.
Find a sales representative near you to design your playground and bring it to life.