We’re All In This Together – Team Building Exercises Part II

by Pamela Muir

Part I can be found here.

This article contains additional games and exercises designed to encourage cooperation.  While part one focused on whole class exercises, these are designed for partners or for two or more competing teams.  These activities don’t just promote working together, they are great warm ups before class.   Each one either gets the heart rate up, practices spatial and body awareness, provides a comfortable stretch, or some combination of these.

Materials needed:
Two bandanas or short pieces of rope to represent the dragons’ tails
Divide the participants into two groups.  Each group forms a human chain with the players placing their hands on the shoulders or at the waist of the person in front of them.  Tuck a bandana into the waistband or collar of the last person in line, this is the dragon’s tail. The front person in each line is the dragon head.  The object of the game is for one dragon to steal the other’s tail.  Only the head of a dragon may catch the other dragon’s tail and the tail is only considered caught if the catching dragon is intact, i.e. all players are still in contact.  A variation of this game involves forming a single dragon that must catch its own tail.  Either variation, played enthusiastically, starts to resemble a cross between Crack the Whip and Tag.

Bean Bag Drop
Materials needed:
Two hula hoops placed on the ground at least 10 yards apart.  These mark your goals.
At least as many bean bags as you have players.  Increasing the number of bean bags increases the challenge level of the game.
The game starts with the bean bags placed in the center of the playing area.  Set the winning number to about two-thirds of the total number of bean bags.  Each team tries to get at least that many bean bags into its own goal under the following conditions:
Bean bags may not be thrown at all, nor may they be passed from person to person.
Bean bags may be removed from the other team’s goal.
No goal tending.
Any player may only handle one bean bag at a time.
Bean bags may not be taken from another player.
You can also set a time limit, because sometimes this game will last quite a while with no clear winner.  As such, it makes a great aerobic warmup exercise.

Team Twister
Materials needed:
A Twister mat for every team.  A team consists of at least four players.
One Twister spinner
In general, follow the regular rules of Twister.  However, instead of competing against the players on your mat, the object of this game is to keep all of your team members in play. A team is eliminated when one member touches the mat with a body part other than a hand or foot or cannot reach one of the designated circles.  This game works particularly well as a warm up and ice breaker before a wrestling unit.  Of course, regular Twister does that as well, but it does not have a team building component to it.

Car and Driver
This is a partner activity that promotes trust and also the ability to sense what your partner is doing, a useful skill in wrestling or when bound at the sword.  One partner stands behind the other and places their hands on the shoulders or waist of their partner.  The person in front is the car, the person behind is the driver.  The car, with eyes closed, is driven and steered by the driver.  Each car and driver pair moves around the room avoiding obstacles and other pairs.  A variation has three players grouped together, forming a tractor trailer.  The middle player is the driver, the front player is the cab, and the back player is the trailer.  Only the driver has eyes open.

Partner Stand Up
Two partners sit on the floor, back to back, legs straight out in front, arms linked at the elbows.  Together they must stand up, staying locked at the elbows so they cannot use their hands or arms to push off.  For even more of a challenge, they return to a sitting position without either partner falling or landing hard.

Partner Stretch
Two partners sit on the floor, facing each other, legs outstretched.  Partners join hands and have the soles of their feet touching.  They gently bend forwards and backwards, in a see-saw like manner, giving each other an easy stretch.