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  • Writer's pictureTerry Withers

5 Minute Team Building Activities


Improv is great for team building, particularly among work colleagues. Oh, so you should retain an improv company, maybe like The Radical Agreement Project, to come by your office and lead a 90-120 minute workshop sometime? Sure, that would be great, thanks for your business!


Eh, but sometimes you don’t need 90 minutes of improv to leverage the team building fun it can provide.  


Below are a handful of simple improv exercises (or games). These games are quick and fun and silly. And they can double as 5 Minute Team Building Activities that you can easily lead at your own events.


Count To 20 - A 5 Minute Team Building Activity

Description:

Participants should form a close circle and, with eyes closed, endeavor to count sequentially from one to twenty. The challenge lies in this simple rule: No Speaking At The Same Time & No Prescribed Order For Who Speaks Next! Each participant needs to reach out to the larger group and sense when it is time to speak. If two people do speak at the same time, you have to start all over again. 


Once you get to 20, everyone should cheer and applaud their amazing feat! You can help by starting te clapping and cheering!


How to Describe It:

Circle Up: Participants gather in a circular formation to facilitate clear auditory communication.

No Peeking: Participants are instructed to close their eyes to heighten reliance on auditory cues and minimize distractions.

Count To 20: The primary objective is to verbally count to 20 in an orderly manner, with each participant contributing a single number per turn, and no one speaking simultaneously.

Restart Rule: Should two or more participants speak concurrently, the group is obliged to reset the count back to one.


Takeaways:

  • It’s okay to make mistakes! You will make errors doing this exercise, especially the first time. Coach players to laugh and play through tere errors without engaging in negative self talk (or negative talk about each other).

  • Working together, you can do amazing things! The first time you successfully hit 20 with a group it can feel like an epiphany. In actuality, most groups get to 20 pretty fast, but most groups are also amazed by it. Encourage that feeling.



5 Minute Team Building Activities example Crazy Eights
Crazy Eights In Action


Crazy 8s - A 5 Minute Team Building Activity


Description:

Crazy 8s is a popular energy warm-up frequently used by improvisers before a practice or performance. Participants gather in a tight circle, making eye contact with one another to establish connection and build a sense of camaraderie. The activity begins by collectively counting from 1 to 8, during which participants vigorously shake their limbs in sync with the count. Starting with the right hand everyone loudly counts 1! 2! 3! 4! 5! 6! 7! 8! Then you repeat with the left hand, right foot, and finally the left foot. Participants shake each limb as they count to 8. The countdown then repeats in decreasing increments. So next you would count to 7 for each limb, then 6 and so on.  That is, until you reach 1, at which point participants shoot out a new limb and shake it vigorously each time they yell 1! The routine concludes with a spirited group exclamation of "Yay!" to celebrate the completion of the exercise.


How to Describe It:

Circle Up: Participants stand in a close-knit circle, fostering a sense of unity and collaboration.

Eye Contact: Making eye contact with fellow participants establishes connection and encourages mutual engagement.

Count and Limb Shaking: Starting with the right hand and progressing to the left hand, right foot, and left foot, participants vigorously shake each limb while loudly counting up to 8.  As you get to the lower counts the speed should pick up.

Group Celebration: The routine concludes with a collective cheer or exclamation of "Yay!" to signify the successful completion of the exercise.


Takeaways:


Energy Boost: Crazy 8s serves as an effective warm-up routine to energize participants and prepare them for creative activities.

Team Building: Engaging in synchronized movement and vocalization fosters a sense of teamwork and unity among participants.

Positive Reinforcement: The concluding group exclamation reinforces a positive atmosphere and encourages mutual support and encouragement within the group.


Pass The Face - A 5 Minute Team Building Activity

Description: 

Pass The Face is a popular warm-up activity that sneakily focuses on nonverbal listening while getting everyone feeling silly and collaborative.  Participants form a circle, standing in close proximity to one another. A designated player initiates the activity by making a distinctive facial expression directed at the person on their left. The recipient then turns to their left and recreates an exaggerated version of the facial expression they observed. This process continues around the circle, with each participant amplifying the expression they receive, gradually enlarging the expression as the activity progresses. If a noise is made with a face, then exaggerated versions of that noise should be included moving forward. Same thing with and gestures or other physical actions. The exercise ends at the instructor's discretion.


How to Describe It:

Circle Up: Participants stand in a circular arrangement, facilitating interaction and engagement with one another.

Face Passing: A designated player begins by making a unique facial expression directed at the person to their left.

Exaggerated Recreations: The recipient of the expression then turns to their left and exaggerates the facial expression they observed before passing it on to the next participant.

Continuous Circulation: The process of passing and exaggerating facial expressions continues seamlessly around the circle, with each participant contributing their interpretation of the expression received.


Takeaways:

Creativity Enhancement: Engaging in the imaginative recreation of facial expressions encourages participants to explore creativity and expressiveness in a lighthearted setting.

Nonverbal Communication Skills: Participants hone their ability to convey meaning and emotion through facial expressions, fostering awareness of nonverbal communication cues.

Adaptability and Spontaneity: Responding quickly and adaptively to the evolving expressions challenges participants to think on their feet and embrace spontaneity in their creative responses.


Mimed Knife Throw - A 5 Minute Team Building Activity

Description: In the energizing warm-up known as Mimed Knife Throw, participants stand in a circle, ready to engage. 


Initially, one player, designated by the instructor, simulates swiftly throwing an imaginary knife at another participant within the circle. The recipient of the "thrown" knife responds by “catching” it with mime work, bringing their hands together in front of their face as if narrowly avoiding being hit. They then take on the role of the thrower and proceed to mime throwing the knife at another participant, thus continuing the cycle.


This is a focus exercise.  The challenge is to be ready to catch a knife as soon as it is thrown to you.


As the exercise progresses, the instructor introduces a second imaginary knife, either predetermined before the exercise or prompted spontaneously. With two knives now circulating the circle, participants maintain the pattern of mimed throwing and catching, adding an additional layer of challenge and coordination. 


Finally, the instructor introduces a playful twist by introducing an imaginary cat into the mix. This introduction can be prearranged or triggered verbally by the instructor.


When the cat is introduced, one participant lovingly mimics tossing the imaginary feline to another participant, who pretends to catch it while the tosser vocalizes a playful "Meow." With both knives and the cat now in circulation, participants continue the pattern for a designated period, fostering creativity, coordination, and camaraderie within the group.


How to Describe It:


Circle Up: Participants stand in a circular arrangement, ensuring equal participation and interaction.

Knife Throwing Mimicry: A designated player initiates the activity by miming throwing an imaginary knife at another participant.

Catch and Throw: The recipient of the mimed knife responds by mimicking catching it before proceeding to mime throwing the knife at another participant.

Introduction of Additional Elements: The instructor introduces a second imaginary knife and later introduces an imaginary cat into the activity, adding complexity and variety to the exercise.

Continued Circulation: Participants maintain the pattern of mimed throwing and catching, incorporating all introduced elements, for a designated period or until instructed otherwise by the instructor.


Takeaways:


Creativity and Imagination: Engaging in imaginative play fosters creativity and encourages participants to think outside the box.

Adaptability: Introducing additional elements challenges participants to adapt and react to changing scenarios.Team Building: Collaborating in the mimed activity promotes a sense of camaraderie and teamwork within the group, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment.



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