How Important are Team Building Activities for Kids?

Kids need fun challenges to bond with one another

When trying to motivate and encourage groups of young people, most teachers have at some point in their careers heard of or indeed used the motto Come on guys, work together, because ‘Together Everyone Achieves More.

As a former PE teacher, a keen and committed sportsman, and a father of 4 national standard swimmers, sport has always played a central role in my life. I firmly believe that I would not be half the man I am today, had I not played sport and in particular, team sports.

Fun, camaraderie and unity are all key drivers when participating in the wide range of activities and pursuits. However, above and beyond the quick gain of adrenalin and endorphin release, there are longer and more sustained benefits.

Developing important life values and team skills

The formation and development of key life skills, attributes and qualities is a very useful and important aspect of a well-rounded education, hence why sport has always played a huge role in private education and the armed forces.

I have watched my four children go from local club swimmers to national finals because of attributes such as commitment, dedication. will-power, determination, passion and focus. Watching the Rio Olympics, I often wondered what it must have taken to be presented with a gold medal on the podium.

More and more of our major and leading corporate organisations are now removing academic benchmarks in favour of a skills-based recruitment process.
A not so detailed Google search will quickly reveal what UK companies regard as the most highly prized and desired skills that they seek in their colleagues, teams and when recruiting for future applicants. One such search revealed the following attributes:

1. Organisation
2. Communication
3. Motivation
4. Self-starter
5. Job specific experience
6. Flexibility
7. Commitment
8. Passion
9. Inner strength
10. Innovation

Schools should be the first ones promoting team values

So why on earth do we continue to ignore and marginalise subjects and lessons, which actively contribute to the development of these very skills? Drama is laden with fun challenges for kids, which develop confidence, self-esteem and inner strength, whilst PE is perfect for encouraging teamwork games for kids in all manner of ways.

It appears that we only want to use kids team building activities on special days or drop down days. Team building for schools seems to be frowned upon or just not understood in more traditional lessons and classroom settings. Only the most adventurous and daring math teachers will take the risk of running problem solving and team building activities during a normal lesson on Pythagoras’ theory.

Children learn more about teamwork with games

School team building activities can also be left for residential trips and visit to outdoor education centres, where the hard work is left to the ‘expert’ instructors. Over the past thirteen years, we at humanutopia have placed great emphasis on using teamwork games for kids and students for several key reasons.
Firstly, using fun challenges for kids as icebreakers is a really easy way to break down social barriers and build new relationships. We have used kids team building activities with huge success and they have helped them develop many important life skills such as confidence, communication, democracy and public speaking.

What activities are good for team building?

We use a variety of teambuilding activities for kids ranging from low risk, non-contact games such as getting into Alphabet order, birthday order, height order or shoe size order. Young people enjoy these as the don’t have much to lose by joining in and fun challenges for kids are some of the basic building blocks they will need to survive and flourish in school and indeed the rest of their life.

We step up our kid’s team building activities to more complex and higher risk interactions so they are having to touch or indeed hold the hands of other people in games like Human Knot, Impulse and Bodypop Wave. Through these challenges young people are able to develop much higher levels of respect, tolerance, empathy and compassion.

The highest level of school team building we do is about workplace readiness skills in which young people learn how to meet and greet other people, present themselves confidently and seal their skills by doing an ‘Elevator Pitch’, all great practice for the real challenges that lay ahead when trying to find work.

Due to the fact that we turn fun challenges for kids into kids team building activities from which they can gain, personally, socially as well as improving their own employability and life chances.

For the past 13 years at humanutopia we have created and run hundreds and thousands of inspirational courses and programmes that have had a transformational impact upon the lives of many young people. These courses have also helped school team building, they have brought year groups closer together and inspired many thousands of individuals to go on achieve greater things than they ever thought possible.

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