Everyone on the Tripod       Catch the Snapper       String Burning       Rescue Relay Race        Desert Survivor        Hot Isotope Transport


Pre-activity Instruction: Training session in Tripod and Square Lashing techniques.

Materials: For each team, three 8-foot spars, three 6-foot spars, six 15-foot lashing ropes, one 20-foot lashing rope.


1) On signal, team members lash the three spars into a tripod, using the 20-foot rope.  

2) When finished, they set up the tripod and using six square lashings, lash a 6-foot spar between each of the legs.

3) When all lashings are completed and the tripod is strong and secure, all the team members stand on the 6-foot spars, making sure their weight is evenly distributed.

Scoring: (Optional) The first team with all its members off the ground receives 100 points. 2nd place, 50 points, all other teams completing the challenge receive 25 points.  Back to Top


Pre-activity Instruction: Training in Round Lashing technique.

Materials: For each team, four 5-foot staves, six 6-foot lashing ropes, one string, 1 fishing sinker, and a rat trap.

Method: Teams work behind a line 15 feet away from a cocked rat trap (“snapper”). Using two round lashings to join each of the staves together, each team puts together a long fishing pole and using their string, suspends their fishing sinker to one end. The first team to pick up their “snapper” wins. NOTE: Only the fishing sinker is to touch the snapper. No one from any team may cross over the line opposite their rat trap.

Scoring: (Optional) 100 points - 1st team to catch their snapper, 50 points - 2nd team, 25 points for all other teams that can complete the task.  Back to Top


Pre-activity Instruction: Training in firebuilding techniques and use of hot spark kit.

Materials: For each team, one 2”x4”x8” piece of yellow pine, one hand axe, two knives, one hot spark kit, two cotton balls, one string suspended between two upright sticks 10” above the ground.

Method: On signal, using the hand axe, each team will split their wood into kindling and immediately start making tinder shavings using the knives. When ready, they will build a small fire under their string, igniting the tinder shavings using the hot spark kit and a cotton ball.

Scoring: (Optional) The team whose fire burns through the string first scores 100 points. The other teams who succeed in burning through the string within a fifteen minute time limit score 50 points each.  Back to Top

Each team is given a 50' length of rope. Certain members of each team are selected to serve as "victims." Each "victim" in turn sits on a plastic snow disc 35' feet from the team. On signal, each team coils and throws their rope to the victim who must catch the rope while sitting on their disc. A bowline MUST be tied at the "victim's" end of the rope. When the victim catches the rope, they position it around their waist, and are then pulled to their team mates (rescued) while holding onto the snow disc's handles.
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A Group Decision-Making Exercise on Resource Management
11 items:

  • map of desert
  • salt tablets
  • parachute   
  • rain coats
  • mirror
  • compass
  • book (edible plants of the desert)
  • flashlight
  • pistol (loaded)   
  • canteen of water
  • hunting knife

"You have been a passenger on a plane that has crashed in the desert. These are the items that you have retrieved from the plane before it burned up. The pilot and copilot have been killed and the only survivors are the people in your group. On a scale of 1-11, number these in the order of importance to survival."

The following instructions are given to each group:

  • Work individually for a few minutes   
  • Appoint a chair person to facilitate the process   
  • Decide as a group on the correct survival order

NASA uses this group decision-making exercise with the Astronauts.

THE POINT: as each group starts to discuss, they'll find out that the priorities vary depending on the GOAL or PURPOSE they come up with. For example, the biggest issue is, are they going to stay by the plane (air force pilots, unless in enemy territory and in danger are told to stay with the plane) or leave. If they are going to stay, then the compass and map aren't much of a priority. The group needs to establish the FRAME in which every other decision is made, or discussion is useless.
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: For each team, one can filled 1/2 way with water positioned 25 feet from a designated point, eight 15' nylon lines, elastic circle. The can is placed in the middle of an area (supposedly radioactive) 25 feet from a designated landing point.

Method: Each team assembles a “Hot Isotope Transporter” by attaching the lines to the elastic circle. They then line up around the can, outside the "radioactive" area, at least 12 feet away, and pull the lines to stretch the elastic circle. The object is to bring the expanded elastic circle down over the can, then relax the elastic circle to fit tightly over the can. They then lift and deposit the can upright to a designated landing point, 25 feet away, without spilling a drop.

Scoring: 100 points - 1st team to move the can out of the circle. 75 points - 2nd team. 50 points - third team. 25 points all others that successfully complete the challenge within the allotted time.


Water Balloon Volleyball     Bucket Filling Relay     Coconut Bowling     Floating Duck     Ride the Dolphin 


Materials: Appropriate supply of  9” water balloons, two 70" round tablecloths, volleyball net.

Method: Each team spaces itself around the edges of tablecloth as evenly as possible. The tablecloth serves to launch and catch the water balloon.  Flip a coin to see who serves first.

A water balloon is placed in the center of the tablecloth held by the serving team. The serving team tries to propel the water balloon over the net onto the other team’s side. The receiving team tries to catch the balloon in their tablecloth. If they can, it is then their turn to propel the balloon back over the net onto the serving team’s side. The serving team scores a point every time the water balloon breaks on the other team’s side. If it breaks on their side, they lose the serve. Just like in regular volleyball, only the serving team can score a point. The water balloon is propelled back and forth over the net as much as possible until it breaks, at which time a new balloon is provided. The game continues until a predetermined amount of points is reached, or until there are no more water balloons.  Back to Top

A large hula hoop is positioned twenty feet from a starting line. Behind the hoop are six plastic bottles. One at a time, team members try to roll their coconut into the hoop without knocking over any bottles.
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All members of each team line up in single file behind a starting line. On signal the first straddles a large, inflated dolphin and races to a turn around line and back to his team, handing off the dolphin to the next in line. The dolphin must stay between each team member’s legs the entire time while racing.
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For each team plastic duck is placed in the bottom of an empty bucket. The object is to fill the bucket with water so that the duck rises and eventually floats out of the bucket. To do this players have to walk between a source of water and the bucket but those carrying the water to the bucket are not allowed to touch their feet on the ground.
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On signal, 4 team members run to the ocean fill up their cup with water, and run back emptying the cup’s contents into their team’s bucket. Whenever a team member is done, they hand their cup to another team member who repeats the process until either the bucket is filled or time is called.
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Amoeba Race    Balloon Frantic    Balloon Shuffle    Blind Square    Blind Train    Centipede Race    Flip It    Handicap Obstacle Course    Helium Stick    Human Knots    Lift Chair Race    Sky High    Welded Ankle

Shuffle a normal 52 playing card pack. Each person takes a card from the pack which denotes which disability they will have for the task:

  • Clubs = Not able to use their legs
  • Spades = not able to use their arms
  • Hearts = not able to speak
  • Diamonds = not able to see

All players are instructed to complete an obstacle course as a team—working together and helping one another. Back to Top

Each team is given a pile of newspaper and two rolls of scotch tape The challenge is for each team to build the highest freestanding structure they can using only those materials they have been given. All structures have to be able to stand upright without help for more than one minute.
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Each team stands in a tight circle and grabs the hand of two different people NOT standing next to them. They must not let go of either of these peoples' hands. On signal, they attempt to untangle the complicated looking jumble of hands and arms. (It’s possible.)
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Teams assemble in a horizontal formation behind a starting line. A 3 foot length of cord joins the ankles of team members standing next to each other. On signal, they carefully travel to the finish line while maintaining continuous contact with the feet of their team mates.
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All team members are blindfolded and a 50’ rope is thrown on the ground next to them. They are then instructed to make a square, using the full length of the rope lying on the ground next to them. No other instructions are given (There is no trick and it’s revealing to see who takes charge, how they organize the corners, if one person facilitates from the middle, etc.)
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A winding, 4’ wide track is laid out and roped off for each team. Teams line up in single file at the start of their track, with each player grasping the waist of the one in front of him. All players except one are blindfolded. That team mate serves as his team's guide. On signal, the guide must direct his team through their course, without touching anyone, giving only verbal instructions.
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Each team member is given one balloon of different colors. One color is assigned to each team. On signal, all team members must keep tapping their balloon, whatever color, in the air, without letting it hit the ground, and exchange it with a member of another team who is tapping their color balloon. The object of the event is to have every team member tapping only balloons of his team’s color.
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An activity using the basic biology concept of a cell requiring cooperation and close physical interaction. There are 3 parts to the amoeba: a lot of protoplasm made up of people who don't mind being close, gather together, a cell wall consisting of people who like to contain themselves & others, surrounding the protoplasm, facing outward and linking elbows, a nucleus who is someone with good eyesight and the ability to keep on top of things, seated on the shoulders of some of the protoplasm. Once the amoeba is formed, it makes its way through a field or around a course. If there are a sufficient number, then each team can form an amoeba and race.
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Deceptively simple but powerful exercise for learning how to work together and communicate in small to medium sized groups. Teams line up in two rows facing each other. The Helium Stick, a long, thin, light rod is introduced, and participants are asked to point their index fingers and hold their arms out. The Helium Stick is laid down on their fingers. The group needs to adjust their finger heights until the Helium Stick is horizontal and everyone's index fingers are touching the stick. The challenge is to lower the Helium Stick to the ground. The catch is, each person's fingers must be in contact with the Helium Stick at all times. Pinching or grabbing the pole in not allowed - it must rest on top of fingers. Warning: Particularly in the early stages, the Helium Stick has a habit of mysteriously 'floating' up rather than coming down, causing much laughter. Eventually the group needs to calm down, concentrate, and very slowly and patiently lower the Helium Stick - easier said than done. The stick does not contain helium.  The secret is that the collective upwards pressure created by everyone's fingers tends to be greater than the weight of the stick.  As a result, the more a group tries, the more the stick tends to 'float' upwards.
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Two to three inflated balloons per person are needed and a stopwatch.  Each person has a balloon, with the rest in a nearby pile.  Everyone begins bouncing their balloons in the air.  Every five seconds, another balloon is added.  The object is for the team to see how long they can keep the balloons bouncing before receiving six penalties.  A penalty is announced by the facilitator when a balloon hits the floor. When the team gets six penalties, the total time is recorded.
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Each team is given a 5’ wooden stick. Three members straddle the stick with their left hands grasping it. On signal, they run to a designated line, return, and give the stick to the next three players in their line. If any player releases his hold on the stick, he must regain it before his team may progress further.
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Each team is given a chair and on signal must carry one team mate to a turning-line and back again, and then repeat the process twice more with two other team mates.
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All team members stand on a cloth. On signal, they must flip the cloth over and all stand on the flipped over side. No one's feet are allowed to touch the ground outside of the cloth.
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 All Aboard      Trolleys      Trust Fall      Islands      Whale Watch      Nitro Crossing      Disc Jockeys      Prouty's Landing
Mohawk Traverse     The Wall     Spiders Web

Team members are presented with the challenge of supporting as many people as possible on a 2'x2' portable platform for 10 seconds.
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Trolleys are long boards of various lengths with 4' hand ropes attached about a foot apart. Two trolley boards are placed parallel to one another like a pair of skis. A prescribed number of team members mount the boards, one foot on each, holding a rope in the right and left hand. The challenge is to walk the trolley boards as a team crossing a designated area. This can either be a timed event or a race with penalties for slipping of the trolleys.
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Individual team members perform a controlled fall from a three and a half foot platform, into the arms of at least eight team spotters facing each other in two parallel lines. Spotter’s arms are in an “L” position, palms up with finger tips equal with the opposite person's bend in the elbow, intertwined like a zipper. Spotter's legs are spread apart with one leg about 2' in front of the other, with knees bent and heads back. Back to Top

This challenging problem-solving activity requires the team to move, one at a time, through a series of three wooden platforms measuring 5'x5', 3'x3', and
5'x5', using an "anchor board" and a "bridge board." All team members start on the first island and end on the third island, carrying the boards with them. Back to Top

A platform measuring 16' long and 6' wide is positioned on a fulcrum to form  It is placed on top of a fulcrum board to form a large seesaw or teeter-totter. The team challenges are:

  • Balancing on the platform for 10 seconds
  • Changing sides on the platform while maintaining their balance
  • Positioning themselves in an oblong on the platform while maintaining their balance
  • Maintaining their oblong shape but rotating 180º or 360º while maintaining their balance  Back to Top

A rope with a loop in the bottom end and knots tied, spaced a foot apart hangs about two feet off of the ground. The entire team must cross the "off limits area" by swinging on the rope without touching the boundaries or the ground. Also, they must not spill any of the good attributes (water) from their can. Back to Top

A pyramid of wooden discs are placed on the ground in the "off limits area." Each participant must swing to and end up with their feet on a disc. Only two feet are allowed on any disc. If three feet touch a disc, both participants must start over. Landing on the ground between the discs is a start-over for that person. If only one foot makes contact with a disc, a participant may then step to one more discs beyond the one they initially landed on. As soon as both feet are located on a disc, that is where they must stay. If a team member can’t swing to a disc, because their teammates are already occupying discs and in the way, they may be caught and passed to a disc further on in the pyramid. A team memeber that is caught and passed must accept the first disc they touch. After they are put down no fuerther steps are allowed. If a person falls off a disc, they must return to the start.
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All team members must swing to a 3' x 3' platform and remain for 10 seconds.
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Five cables are strung between trees. The team must traverse the entire length of the series of cables without falling or stepping off. If a team member steps off a cable or uses a spotter for support,
they must go back to the closest tree and attempt that section of cable again. Team participants can only receive help from other team members who are on the cables. Back to Top

Te team must find a way to move all its members up and over an 8-10 foot wall. Once over, team members can help their teammates but not from the front side.
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A “spider’s web” configuration can be constructed between two poles or trees. The entire group must move through the holes of the web without touching any part of the web. If
a participant going through an opening touches any part of the web, that opening closes and the participant must return and try again. If any participant touches the web on an attempt to pass someone through an opening, that person must return and restart.
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Team members traverse a bridge consisting of a foot cable and one hand cable.
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Team members traverse a bridge consisting of a foot cable and two hand cables. Back to Top

Team members traverse a bridge consisting of a balance beam. Back to Top

Team members traverse a bridge consisting of a foot cable and dangling hand ropes. Back to Top

Team members traverse a bridge consisting of two crossing hand wires connected to a foot cable. Back to Top

Team members are attached to a cable and pulled up by their teammates. At a particular height, a release cord is pulled and the participant swings.  Back to Top

A single cable is attached between two poles as the zip wire. The participant slides across the wire via a pulley attached to their harness. (Refer to the video on the Home Page.) Back to Top

Team members climb up a pole, stand on a platform and jump to a trapeze. Back to Top

Though the center of operations of TEAM BUILDING! is Myrtle Beach, SC, our presenters have conducted sessions throughout the southeastern US for over 20 years for groups ranging in size from eight to over 150 individuals. Contact us. We look forward to creating a customized presentation that will meet the unique needs and special requirements of your group.
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