16 Best Team Building Problem Solving Activities

June 2, 2023
a team in meeting doing classic team building problem solving

There are many events and techniques that you can use to get the most out of team building exercises. These will help instill teamwork skills in your workers.

One of the most effective ways to do that is by implementing team building problem solving activities. These are tasks that can enhance your work environment and boost productivity.

So, if you’re interested in finding out more about these activities, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the tasks. We’ll also cover how they can help you create harmony in the workplace.

16 best team building problem solving activities

There are countless activities that can help you build creative problem solving skills. To make your life a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best 16 options. 

Let’s take a look at these tasks and what they can do for your company. 

1. Egg Drop


  • Great for: Creativity, decision making
  • Duration: 15-60 minutes
  • Players: Flexible
  • You’ll need: eggs, various building supplies (newspaper, sticky notes rubber bands, balloons)

We all remember that one time in school when they asked us to participate in egg drops. While you may not know this, the activity is excellent at boosting decision making.

The workers will need to rummage through unconventional building materials. Then, they’ll have to work on a design that will protect the egg.

In addition, this is an easy way of getting everyone’s creative juices flowing.

Thankfully, this trait translates well in the workplace. It’ll ensure that your employees are capable and ready to take on any challenge. 

After distributing the building blocks, give your team about 15 minutes to get ready. During this time, they’ll need to communicate with their peers to share resources and ideas.

To help with that, you can use the Conversations® app.  

2. Human knot


  • Great for: Communication, adaptability
  • Duration: 5-10 minutes
  • Players: 6+ (even numbers)
  • You’ll need: N/A

Team dynamics can be a bit tricky to define. Sometimes it can be tough to figure out exactly where you fit in. 

If that’s the case, then the human knot may be able to solve this issue.

To play the game, all the participants stand in a circle. Then, each player will have to hold hands with two people that aren’t standing directly next to them.

At this stage, your circle should look like a tangled mess of arms. Next, instruct the workers to unravel the knots without letting go of anyone’s hand.

This should spark the fire of problem-solving. The team must work together to figure out how to free themselves. 

As the game progresses, a natural leader should emerge. That’s a player who’ll take the reins and streamline the process.

So, not only do you learn more about your employees, but you test their communication skills. You’ll also get to see how they adapt to strange situations.

3. Three-legged race


  • Great for: Cooperation
  • Duration: 20-30 minutes
  • Players: 4+ (even numbers)
  • You’ll need: Rope, plastic cones

If you want to work on team-building skills, then the three-legged race should come in handy. The event is an excellent way of getting your workers to cooperate.

To kick off the game, everyone will need to pair up. During this time, ask the employees to choose a partner that they never worked with before.

While they do that, set out the plastic cones to create your race track. The best courses have a few twists here and there, but with a clear path to the finish line.

Next, tie the right ankle of one team member to the left ankle of the other player.  

As soon as the race starts, the hopping will commence. It won’t take long for the participants to realize that they need to depend on each other.

To win, they’ll need to synchronize their footwork. By the end of the activity, you’ll all be laughing and having a good time. This should also help boost morale

It’s important to note that this event won’t work for everyone. Some employees prefer games that don’t require a lot of strenuous physical activity. 

In that case, you’ll need to choose a different exercise. 

3 teams in three-legged race

4. Scavenger hunt


  • Great for: Problem-solving
  • Duration: 60-90 minutes
  • Players: 5+
  • You’ll need: Clues, prizes

People all across the world have enjoyed scavenger hunts for many years. That’s because these events have many benefits

One of the most significant is that they improve your problem-solving skills. 

In order to win, you’ll need to decipher clues and find various hiding spots. Not only does this promote critical thinking, but it’s also an incredible workout.

Everyone will run around to find the treasure, which should get their heart pumping. So, you’ll work on developing skills and focus on employee well-being.

In addition, you can ask the participant to solve problems alone or in small groups. Both are beneficial, but the latter will help with communication. 

5. Coworker feud


  • Great for: Collaboration
  • Duration: 30-60 minutes
  • Players: 10+
  • You’ll need: Coworker Feud survey

Many of us grew up watching Family Feud. The gameshow revolves around trying to guess the correct answer to various questions.

To play this game, you’ll need the Feud survey. You can make one yourself, but the process may be a bit tedious. 

Instead, you can rely on companies like Confetti. It has its own version of the game with pre-set questions about team building. 

The key to winning is working together. Collaboration skills will lead to better gameplay. The participants will have to pool their general knowledge to score as high as possible. 

Plus, it’ll spark the competitive side of the workers. These activities help your team by boosting morale, which should enhance productivity. 

6. Marshmallow spaghetti tower


  • Great for: Collaboration
  • Duration: 15-30 minutes
  • Players: 2+ (even number)
  • You’ll need: Marshmallows, spaghetti, tape

When you think of stable towers, you usually imagine bricks and cement. However, marshmallows and spaghetti are much more fun to build with. 

This is a group problem solving exercise. So, you’ll need to divide your workers into teams. Then, give each team 20 uncooked spaghetti sticks, one marshmallow, and a roll of tape. 

The rules are quite simple, the participants will need to use these materials to build a tower or pyramid. Plus, they’re not allowed to use other objects for support.

Give each group about 30 minutes to build the biggest structure they possibly can. To do that, the players will have to work together to ration their resources.

At the end of the time frame, the team that builds the tallest tower wins. You can even try adding a marshmallow to the top of the towers to test their stability. 

8. Virtual clue murder mystery night


  • Great for: Collaboration
  • Duration: 60-120 minutes
  • Players: 4+
  • You’ll need: Computer 

If your company mainly works with remote teams, then this game may be for you. Outback Team Building designed a game that relies on your wits. 

Every participant will get a character description and a backstory. One of the players will get the role of the murderer.

The key to winning is figuring out who the culprit was before the time runs out. 

While the activity may sound simple, it’ll aid with developing many skills. First off, workers will need to collaborate with each other to uncover clues.

Besides that, they’ll have to use non-verbal communication traits. They must check body language and eye contact to find out if someone is being dishonest.

On top of that, since the game uses virtual team building, you can play from anywhere. 

8. The shrinking vessel challenge


  • Great for: Adaptability, collaboration
  • Duration: 10-15 minutes
  • Players: 4+
  • You’ll need: Rope 

You don’t know how adaptable people can be until they’re dropped into a sticky situation. Well, this game focuses on doing just that. 

The process starts by using your rope to make a giant circle in the middle of the office. Then, ask your employees to step into the boundary you created.

Then, every minute, shrink the barrier by tightening the rope. The participants will have to shuffle around to make sure they’re still inside the circle. 

For that to work, they’ll need to rely on their cognitive diversity. All suggestions are welcome, as long as they help you stay within the boundary. 

As everyone racks their brains, you begin to see inventive ideas pop up. For example, some people may decide to stand on one foot.

To make sure that the rest of the team feels included, you can use the Social Recognition® app. The platform provides a space for people to share their appreciation for one another. 

9. The domino effect challenge


  • Great for: Conceptualizing
  • Duration: 60-90 minutes
  • Players: 4+ (even number)
  • You’ll need: Dominos 

We’ve all seen the impressive displays people can achieve when they line up dominos. For this game, you’ll need to create a masterpiece of your own.

Start by choosing an image that you want to recreate. Then, ask your employees to break up into teams of two. 

Next, divide the picture into equal sections so that each group, large or small, can be in charge of one area. 

Give the participants about an hour to complete their portion. After that, they’ll need to work with other teams to form the final image.

Allow them an additional 30 minutes to combine the separate sections.

The idea behind the domino effect revolves around the concept of chain reactions. That means the first step is reliant on the second, and so on. 

Because of that, the employees will need to work together to ensure the dominos don’t tip over. 

10. Corporate escape rooms


  • Great for: Communication, problem-solving
  • Duration: 60-90 minutes
  • Players: 2+
  • You’ll need: N/A
the escape room is a creative problem-solving activity

Escape rooms are incredibly effective team-building exercises. The main idea is that your group is in a locked space.

Inside, there are riddles and clues that point you toward the key. To find it, you’ll need to communicate with your teammates and work on solving the puzzles together.   

Aside from working on problem-solving skills, it’ll get your workers on their feet. This gets your team moving to sharpen their analytical skills and develop bonds. 

It’s the perfect way to celebrate the end of a long week at work. To make organizing the activity simpler, you can use the Community Celebrations® app.

The software makes scheduling and remembering important events a walk in the park.

11. Improv challenge


  • Great for: Communication
  • Duration: 10-20 minutes
  • Players: 2+
  • You’ll need: N/A

Improv is an inspired way of working on communication skills. The concept revolves around story-telling.

You’ll start the process by suggesting a topic. Then, the first player must build on what you said and add to the narrative.

That means the entire staff will need to rely on their listening skills. They won’t be able to move the story forward if they only have half the information.  

As the game progresses, people will need to come up with inventive plotlines. This resembles the structure of a brainstorming session, but without the pressure.

That’s because there are no wrong answers. The “yes, and…” format will encourage unconventional thinking. This, in turn, should lead to improved workflow. 

To up the challenge, you can add a few extra rules. For instance, you can stipulate that every sentence has to start with the letter B.

12. Cardboard boat


  • Great for: Presentation skills, trust building
  • Duration: 20-40 minutes
  • Players: 4+ (even numbers)
  • You’ll need: cardboard, tape, a bucket of water

Making paper boats is a rite of passage that most of us go through. This event builds on a nostalgic activity and gives it a competitive twist. 

Begin by asking your workers to divide your group into teams of two. Then, give each team a sheet of cardboard and a roll of tape.

They’ll need to use these construction materials to create a boat. The only regulation is that the boat has to float on water.

Because of that, the employees will need to engineer a way to make it waterproof. Allow everyone 20 minutes to complete their projects, then test them out using the bucket.

Once the process is over, the teams will have to give a presentation on why their boat is the best. Working on a small, stress-free task like that can build trust in no time. 

13. Survival challenge


  • Great for: Negotiation skills
  • Duration: 10-30 minutes
  • Players: 3+ (odd numbers)
  • You’ll need: N/A

Have you heard of the game where you’re stranded on an island and you can choose three items to take with you? Well, the survival challenge takes this activity to a whole new level.

The premise is the same, but instead of an island, you’re in the office.

You’ll start by breaking up everyone into groups of three. Next, each team will need to pick 10 items they think are necessary for survival.

They can choose any object as long as it’s present in the office. 

Then, the groups will need to rank the items in order of importance. The catch is they all need to agree on the arrangement. 

That’s when negotiation skills will come in handy. The employees will need to consider each other’s opinions if they want to survive and thrive.

14. Code break


  • Great for: Dynamic thinking
  • Duration: 60-90 minutes
  • Players: 2+
  • You’ll need: an assortment of problem solving games (sudoku, Rubik’s cube, puzzles) 

All the previous options on our list focus on building skills with one event. However, that may not be the most efficient use of your afternoon.

Instead of playing one game, you may find it useful to split your time between several activities. 

Doing so will engage your worker’s dynamic thinking capabilities. They’ll need to switch from one train of thought to the next within the span of a few seconds.

To kick off, you’ll need to clear out the office and create different stations with a single table in the middle. Each stop should include one game.

For example, the first table will be sudoku. Then, split up your workers into groups. The team that manages to complete all stations in the shortest time is the winner. 

If you prefer, you can even try virtual code break to make matters easier. 

15. Blindfolded maze


  • Great for: Collaboration, trust building
  • Duration: 10-30 minutes
  • Players: 2+ (even numbers)
  • You’ll need: blindfolds, plastic cones
  • You’ll need: blindfolds, plastic cones

If you want to test how well your employees follow instructions, the blindfolded maze is for you.

To begin, set out your plastic cones to form a makeshift maze. Then, the workers will need to form teams of two.

One group member will be the captain, and the other will wear a blindfold.  

The aim is to get from one side of the maze to the other, without hitting any of the cones. So, the leader will have to instruct their partner using only their voice. 

This activity helps build trust between your workers. 

16. Role reversal


  • Great for: Communication
  • Duration: 10-30 minutes
  • Players: 2+ (even numbers)
  • You’ll need: N/A

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk a mile in your coworker’s shoes? If you have, then this game is for you. 

As you can guess by the name, two people will switch positions for a day. This allows your employees to get to know the business a bit better. 

On top of that, role reversal can help employees develop empathy for each other. That will both enhance their communication skills and develop a sense of comradery. 

With this newfound sensitivity, you may need to use the Life Events® app. This platform allows your workers to share and celebrate their personal accomplishments. 

With Moodtracker®, the FREE employee survey tool from Workhuman®, you can gauge the pulse of your organization’s employees and determine what needs to change so they are properly supported. 

Get Moodtracker!

A Guide to Employee Surveys

The importance of strong problem solving skills

collaborative team in a meeting

Problem solving skills are essential to any workplace. They allow employees to think critically and analyze situations in a flash. 

This will help them come up with appropriate solutions for complex issues.

On top of that, these skills can enable employees to identify and address issues that they face on a daily basis. 

Moving on, workers who have well-developed problem solving skills can adapt to any situation. They’ll use their creativity to find innovative ways to overcome obstacles. 

Not only will that help the staff advance professionally, but it’ll also improve productivity.


Wrapping up

Did you enjoy our list of 16 team building problem-solving activities? These are games that you can play to improve the relationship between coworkers.

Some of these include the improv challenge, cardboard boat, and code breaker. Other than that, there are also corporate escape rooms, the domino effect, and the egg drop.

No matter which one you choose, they should all help with improving workflow. 

If our list helped you figure out the best problem-solving activities, be sure to leave us a comment. Plus, don’t forget to share the article with your coworkers and friends. 

Team Building