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Mel Gravely

3 Team-Building Exercises to Try in Your Next Head Start Meeting

Team Building Exercises for Head Start

A team is a group with a common purpose, committed to working together interdependently, and who are accountable as a unit within an organization. Head Start agencies, along with corporate and non-profit agencies of all kinds, at some point have to form teams to solve problems. However, before problem solving can begin, that team has to build trust and report.

Now, we’ve all been forced to participate in an ice-breaking exercise at one time or another (I can already hear the collective moan) – from the container to prevent an egg from breaking, to a variety of quizzes, crafts, and riddles. One of the reasons that so many of us moan at the thought of participating in team-building exercises is that it makes us step out of our comfort zone. Incidentally, that’s also one of the reasons why they’re so effective. By placing a quick problem in front of your team from the start, the team can cash in on their momentum in order to solve more complex and important problems down the road.

These are all designed to be performed indoors with minimal set up and props.

Team Building Exercise: Communication

Back to Back Drawing
Teams of 2
One person describe an image or shape while the other person draws it based solely on their description. The describer cannot use the actual words of the images to describe it. A nonsensical picture or drawing often makes the game more interesting and fun. This game should be timed. Once the game is over, have the entire group compare their original photos with the drawing and discuss gaps in description and interpretation.

Team Building Exercise: Problem Solving/Team Work

Paper Tower
Teams of 2 or more
Give each member 25 sheets of paper. Ask them to build a freestanding paper tower using only the sheets of paper. See which team can build the tallest tower. After the exercise, discuss how each team settled on their final design plan. How did they harness the collective talents and energy of the group?

Team Building Exercise: Learning About Your Teammates

Fun Questions
Teams of 2
This simple icebreaker is just a way for everyone to get to know each other better. Break off into teams of two and give each pair three interesting questions to ask of each other. When done, an individual has to give their partner’s answers to the questions. Fun questions might include something like: “If a genie gave you three wishes, what would you wish for?” Or, “What is the strangest thing to ever happen to you when on vacation?” Have the group discuss the most interesting or creative answers.

I encourage you to try one at your next team meeting, especially when its still early in the team-building process. Exercises like these can help set the tone and allow all participants to gain a sense of ownership of the team. Besides, why should the kids have all the fun?


  1. Karen Hines says:

    I have facilitated exercise 1, during a meeting with Family Advocates. This is a great reflective training on communication/interpretation between staff – staff, Advocate – parent.

  2. Melvin says:

    Karen thanks for sharing your experience

  3. Priscilla Yellow Horse says:

    I love these ideas

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