When it comes to breaking the ice in the classroom, team-building activities for students are the best way to become comfortable with each other quickly. These different games allow students to practice various problem-solving skills while learning how to work together. If your goal is to set the stage for a great school year, then taking the time to build a cohesive classroom environment is imperative.

13 Fun Team Building Games for the Classroom

Each of the activities chosen on this list allows you to build positive rapport with your students while having fun! I always play a handful of these games during the first week of school for several reasons: 1. You get to know students in a whole different way when you add a competitive aspect to the environment, and 2. You allow students to see you in a different light.

1. Red Solo Cup Tower

This team-building activity aims to work together cohesively to build a tower out of solo cups only using their rubber band and string! Divide students into four teams (or five if needed) and make sure that each team has ten solo cups. Tie four (or five) pieces of string to the rubber band and spread the cups out around the table.

You can set a time limit for this game or allow whoever finishes first in stacking their cups into a tower to be the winner! The hardest rule of all…students must not touch any of the cups with their hands.

This video will show you how this is possible:

Have your students stand when playing this game as this promotes communication and working together. Lastly, make sure to talk around to each team to encourage students as they take on this challenge.

What You Need

2. Look, No Hands!

When it comes to fun team-building activities, this one is definitely a favorite amongst teachers and students. Divide students into groups of two and have each student turn their backs to one another. Have each set of students interlock their arms.

The common goal of this team-building game is for each student to keep arms locked with each other and, from a sitting position, stand up together.

Many of your students will think that this is an easy feat. However, it will prove to be a challenge for them! Your students will have a fun time problem solving with their team members and coming up with a plan to stand before the other teams!

What You Need

  • Just yourself and some kids!

3. M&M’s Color and Talk

Students (and teachers too!) love team-building activities that include getting to eat part of the game! Have your students split into groups of three or four. I would suggest keeping the groups smaller so that students feel more comfortable practicing those communication skills.

As the teacher, it is essential that you walk around while students are completing this activity and with your own pack of M&Ms to talk about you as well.

While it may seem self-explanatory, make sure to let your teams of students know not to eat their M&Ms until they are instructed to do so. Please make sure you buy extra M&Ms because there will always be that one student who goes ahead and eats their candy! This activity is such a fun game where students learn a ton about each other.

What You Need

  • Individual packages of M&M’
  • The M&M talking point worksheet

4. TP Mummy

This challenge is definitely one that will get your students laughing uncontrollably.

I have played this game in my classroom and as a party game for my children’s birthdays. However, watching someone get wrapped up in toilet pay for the fastest never gets old!

First of all, this team-building activity doesn’t really require anything super expensive. Purchase the cheapest $.88 toilet paper you can find at your local supermarket and use this for this game.

Split your students into groups of two or three and have each group create a cool team name. Then, announce, “On your marks, get set, GO”! Each team of students will have one person who is “the mummy” (aka, the person who will be wrapped in toilet paper) and must wrap up their mummy as quickly as possible.

This creative game will certainly get your students laughing from the bottom of their bellies. The prize? Whichever team wins gets to keep all the toilet paper. Just kidding!

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5. Marshmallow Tower

This is another one of my favorite team-building activities for students! For one, I love team building activities that include students’ problem-solving, and two; I really like any games that include eating yummy things at the end. In this particular game, students must work together to build the greatest marshmallow tower with their given tools.

Give your teams a time limit of anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes to construct their building. You will be surprised by the creativity and ingenuity your students display within their groups.

For this game, groups of 3-5 are best. Help students think harder by walking around the classroom and asking about their structure. This also allows you to prompt those who may be trying to fall into the background.

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6. Team Building Trivia

Trivia games and activities are such a fun way to see your students really get competitive. One of my favorite online trivia programs is Kahoot. This online program is totally free and has many different trivia challenges that can be tackled as a group or individual student.

First, you will need to access the Kahoot website and set up a free account. Then, click the “discover” button and begin searching for whatever topic you want to quiz your students.

Each student (team member) will then put the given link in on their phone with the game pin and begin playing. While this game is a great way to promote a fun environment and play a game together, it is also a fantastic tool for the teacher in that these can be used for lesson topics.

What You Need

  • A computer
  • Projector or smartboard
  • Account with Kahoot

7. Human Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are so much fun, and there are so many different ones to choose from! Personally, I really like the Human Scavenger Hunt that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Human Scavenger Hunt Worksheet

You can download this Human Scavenger Hunt worksheet here on TpT.

The best part? This is totally free! This team-building activity allows students to work individually and together by getting to know other students in the class.

What You Need

  • Just your computer and a Google search 🙂

8. Trash-ket-ball

With trash-ket-ball, it is important to create several teams of students in your class. Set up your trash-ket-ball goal at the front of the class near the projector screen and have a way for kids to indicate they know the answer to the trivia questions first. Your indicator can be something as simple as a buzzer or colored stick that gets held up once asked.

Teams must write each answer on the given binder paper. The team who gets the question correctly gets to have a shot at the trash-ket-ball goal. I like to give a point for getting the questions correct and one for getting in the goal. Also, if a kid can do the trick or jump shot, an extra point for flare!

Students love to work together as a team on this game, and they love being able to throw paper in the classroom! The first team to meet the point limit wins! Also, there are great ONLINE versions of this game to be able to serve each person in your class, even if they aren’t physically there.

What You Need

  • Trashcan
  • Projector (to project questions)
  • A way to indicate who answers first
  • Binder paper
  • Masking tape
  • Trivia or review questions (at least 20-30)

9. Classroom Escape Activity

Creating an escape room in your own class is a great way to promote teamwork in a challenging and fun way! You could go online and Google “escape room activities” and find a whole bunch of different ones to choose from!

Teachers Pay Teachers is one of my favorite sites for these activities because 1. I like to support other teachers in the work that they create, 2. I like to save time! Check out this post for learning how to set up and create your very own escape room.

What You Need

  • Just a computer and some creativity!

10. Two Truths and a Lie

Two Truths and a Lie Team Building

These team-building activities are so much fun because students really get a laugh out of trying to figure out the truths and the lies! For this game, I would have students position themselves into a circle around the room so that they can see you (the teacher) and the faces of all the others in the class. Challenge your students to pay attention closely to how each person says their different “truths” to help solve what is real and what isn’t.

What You Need

  • Just yourself and some kids!

11. Jigsaw Puzzles

Puzzles are a challenging activity that allows for communication and working together! Jigsaw puzzles are great team-building activities for students and can also be used during the school year as an extension activity for when students are done early with their work.

Another thing that I love about jigsaw puzzles is that they can be done as a group or as a one-student activity. In this particular case, when starting the school year, I like to put students into groups of three to four and have them work together to solve the puzzle. The group of students that finished the fastest wins the prize!

What You Need

  • Jigsaw puzzles (50 pieces or less)
  • Some kids!
  • A timer (if you want to set a time limit)

12. Find the Colored Kernel!

activies with kernels in bowl

My school did this as a team-building skills game with all the teachers as an ice breaker during our professional development time before school actually started for the students. This game was so much fun, showed lots of teamwork opportunities, and was most certainly a challenge! When I played with my students, they felt the same way!

Divide your class into groups of four to five, then assign each team color (blue, green, red, or purple). The goal of this game is for each team to retrieve five-colored kernels out of the full bowl without spilling ANY of the kernels.

If one team (or all) spills any kernels out of the bowl, they must put all of the color kernels found so far back into the bowl to find again! Students love this game and always found a way to figure out how to get all the kernels out as a group competitively.

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13. Fly Swatter Golf

This team-building game allows students to work on those put-put golf skills! Separate your students into four teams. The goal is for each student on the team to hit a ping pong ball into the solo cup using only the fly swatter.

This creative game is another great way to see communication happen between your students in a competitive environment. If you have one group that is larger than another, allow for there to be a general amount of “holes in one” they need to get. I find that having each group hit four ping pong balls into the cups takes plenty of time.

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Final Thoughts

Team building is such an important piece of building a cohesive classroom of students. No matter what course you teach, there are many creative ways to build positive forms of communication among those in your classroom. Our goal with these activities is to promote a sense of teamwork in the classroom because each and every teacher has the goal to provide the very best environment for learning!

About the Author

Brittany Ray

Brittany is a dedicated educator to students in high needs schools, a habitual DIY’er, and an avid runner. She is a high school teacher by day and a passionate freelance writer by night. Her passion and life mission with her work is to help students and teachers in practical ways that will allow them to flourish. Brittany loves spending time with her family and being outside any chance she can get. She loves taking the family on long bike rides and on family hikes in the beautiful surrounding areas of the Midwest. You can check out her projects and life encouragement on her blog.

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