Middle school can be a tough time for children.
At this stage in a student’s life, they are more interested in connecting with peers and making friends than anything else.
This is why team building activities are a great way to start the school year out right or to help reconnect an existing class that needs a little help.
Also, team building allows students to develop stronger relationships and trust among each other.
As well as, team building activities are a great way to help students learn how to communicate with each other effectively which is one of the most important skills a middle school student can learn.
In this article, we have found 16 of the best team building activities for middle school students and we have also included video examples so it is much easier for you to implement them at your school.
Feel free to change and mold the activities to what works best for your students.
If you are not a teacher, these activities still work great in any situation where team building is necessary.
1. Group Paper Tower
In this great team building activity, students will be tasked with building the tallest tower possible with 20 sheets of plain computer paper.
Students are timed but feel free to make a time limit that best fits your students and schedule.
This game is excellent at helping students be creative and really encourages problem-solving.
At the end of the time, each group’s tower is measured to see which one is the tallest.
The activity is also great at helping students learn from their mistakes and learn from how other’s solved a problem.
This activity is not only a great team building activity for middle school but it is a lot of fun.
A very important part of any team building activity is the student’s ability to listen to both peers and teachers alike.
To get more information about how parents and teachers can help children listen go to our article How To Get A Child To Listen In School.
2. Centipede Ski Challenge
The Centipede or Group Ski Challenge is most likely an outdoor activity.
Although, you could do the activity in the hallway or large space in the school.
In this activity, a group of students will step on the group skis and hold onto the handles.
In order for the students to move, they have to move in unison with each step or the ski will not move.
The students will race and move together to see who can get to the finish line first.
The activity does a great job of teaching students about cooperation and how without the help of others it can hard to accomplish a goal.
This activity will not only get the student’s heart racing but it will also be a class favorite.
3. Magic Carpet
The Magic Carpet or Tarp Flip is a great way to get kids moving and problem-solving at the same time.
This is a great activity that can be done inside or outside depending on the size of each group.
If you would like to make the number of students smaller in each group you could use a towel rather than a “carpet”.
A group of students stand on a “carpet”, tarp or blanket and try to flip it over while all the students are standing on it.
If a student steps off the “carpet” then the group has to start over.
The students that are able to flip over the “carpet” first (without stepping off of it) are the winners.
This activity does an excellent job of encouraging students to communicate efficiently in order to complete a goal.
4. Team Pen
Team Pen is a perfect in classroom team building activity.
The teacher will need to tape strings to a large pen before the activity begins.
Students will be placed into teams and each student will hold on to one of the strings connected to the pen.
The teacher will give each group a word to write on a piece of blank paper.
The students within the group will have to navigate the pen together to write the word.
Start out with easy and short words at first but eventually once the kids get better at it this can be a great way to help students practice for their spelling tests or phonics work.
The best part of this activity is seeing what the word ends up looking like once the students are done.
This is a such a fun activity I can hear the laughter from here!
Laughter makes everything better! For more laughs please read our article Teacher Jokes (One For Each Day Of The School Year)
5. Pipe Line
Pipe Line can be an indoor or outdoor activity.
Students will each get half of a PVC pipe or long “U” shaped item.
If you do not have a half-pipe piece you can have students create a “U” shape out of a piece of paper or even better a piece of card stock.
This does work well but does increase the difficulty as it is hard to keep the paper stable enough to create the “U” shape and in enough time to let the ball pass through it.
Once you have your “U” shaped item for each of the students they will be put into groups.
The teacher will place a ping pong ball or golf ball at the beginning of their half-pipe and they must tilt it until the ball starts to roll down it.
Once the ball gets to the end another student will have to catch the ball with their half-pipe to continue the ball rolling down the track.
The student who just had a turn and the ball is off their half-pipe will run to the end of the line to help continue the game.
The team that gets to the finish line without their ball falling off the track will win.
6. Knee Relay Race
This is a classic relay race with a twist.
Students will be split into teams and each team will have a medium size ball.
Each team will have to put the ball between their knees and run knock-kneed to a hola-hoop or bucket at the end of the relay.
Once they get to the hula-hoop or bucket they must drop the ball from their knees into the hula-hoop or bucket.
Depending on how difficult you want the game to be you can make a rule that if the student drops the ball outside of the hula-hoop or bucket they have to start over.
Which ever team gets all their balls to their target and back wins.
This game will help create a sense of comradery as it can be a difficult challenge.
7. Cross The Lava Challenge
Cross The Lava is both a great indoor or outdoor team building activity depending on the sizes of the teams.
In this activity, students are put into teams and each student on the team will get a ” Magic Lava Stone” otherwise known as a carpet square, piece of fabric or piece of paper (card stock will work better than regular paper).
The students in each team will stand in a line and the first person will start laying the “Lava Stone” down for them and other students to stand on.
Each student in the team will step forward on the stones until there are no more stones to put down.
At this time the last person in the team will have one empty stone and they will pass the stone up to the front of the line so they can use it to continue the path.
This will continue until one of the teams crosses the finish line or the end of the “Lava”.
This team building activity for middle school students is extremely fun and it fosters critical thinking and teamwork.
This activity really gets kids moving. To learn more about keeping kids healthy please read our article A Complete List Of The Best Exercises For Kids
8. Caterpillar Race
The Caterpillar Race is a fun team building activity for middle school students that promotes teamwork and communication.
Before this activity, the teacher must tape together strong pieces of paper or sew together a long piece of fabric in order to make the “Caterpillar”.
Students will be placed in teams and each team will step into the paper or cloth caterpillar.
They will have to move their feet and their hands to help move it in the direction of the finish line.
Students will have to keep pace with the students in front of them and behind them to be successful.
The students that are able to navigate their caterpillar to the finish line first are the winners.
To make the activity more difficult, use paper to make the caterpillar so that the students have to be very careful not to tear it before they finish which could be quite difficult depending on the materials used.
Learning and having fun is the best way to teach and the Caterpillar Race is a perfect example of that.
9. Hula Hoop Pass
One of the best parts about team building is that it helps students understand both their strengths and weaknesses.
It also helps them by seeing how other students handle problems and how they handle the stress associated with those problems.
the Hula Hoop pass seems like an easy task until you try it yourself.
Students will get into teams, make a circle and link hands.
Two people will start the game by putting their hands through the middle of the hula hoop and then linking hands with their partners.
Once the game has started each team will have to move the hula hoop across and over their body to the next student where they will do the same.
The team that is able to move the hula hoop around the entire circle ending with the students who started the game are the winners.
While this game seems simple it does take some cordination.
This game is the perfect opportunity to help teach your students constructive praise techniques.
10. Quadropus Cup Stacking
The Quadropus Cup Stacking game is one of the coolest on our list but it does take a little “crafting” to get started.
Before the game, the teacher or the students will need to make the “cup mover” by fastening a certain number (depending on the size of the teams) of pipe cleaners to a rubber band to create a contraption that will allow the students to pull the pipe cleaners to expand the rubber band and relax the pipe cleaners to contract the rubber band.
The cup mover contraption will allow the students to grasp the cups only if they work cooperatively.
Once the cup mover has been made then students are given different tasks to move and stack the cups in certain patterns.
The best part of this game is that the students must work together in order to move the cup.
If even one students is not working with the team the cup mover will not be effective.
The game is the perfect example of how teamwork is only accomplished when everyone works together.
11. The Human Knot
The Human Knot is similar to the Hula Hoop pass but now there is no hula hoop but you still need to maneuver your body and work together to win the challenge.
The students will be placed into teams and will need to make a circle.
Each student will hold out their right hand and grasp the student’s hand cross from them.
They will do the same with their left hand.
Now it is time for the students to try to maneuver themselves so that they are back in a similar position as they started and “untied”.
This game is a great game to teach direction skills and to help students problem-solve when things don’t go quite right (and they will!).
While this game can get complicated it sets up so many teachable moments that you will have to try it.
12. Marshmellow Tower Challenge
The Marshmallow Tower Challenge is the pinnacle of problem-solving and critical thinking challenges.
Students must use all their team building strategies to complete this task.
Students will be given a certain number of materials and one marshmallow to build a structure the best they can.
While the materials are helpful, there is only a limited amount which makes using them efficiently important and encourages strategy.
Students are encouraged to plan and strategize before making their structure which is a great lesson in itself.
When students are given the opportunity to work together and communicate regardless of how the tower turns out the activity will be successful.
13. Escape Classroom
The Escape Room or Escape Classroom is one of the most engaging and exciting team building activities ever but it takes a lot of planning.
The idea behind this team building activity is that the students are locked in the classroom and have to get out by finding all of the clues left by their capture. ( This is all pretend of course)
The students are split up into teams and must find clues (activities) to move on to the next clue.
The Teacher sets up a group of activities that the students must do in order to get to the next clue which leads them closer to solving the main problem which is escaping from the classroom.
The theme of this team building activity can by anything from a book theme to having students solve certain math problems to escape and win the game.
The first team that can “escape” (by solving all the clues) from the classroom is the winner.
If the teacher can pull off this activity, it will be talked about all school year long.
14. Blind Minefield
The Blind Minefield game is not only a great team-building activity but it is an amazing game for building trust within the teams as the students are blindfolded and they have to rely on their teammates to be successful.
The teacher will set up obstacles either outside or inside the classroom and the students have to navigate through the obstacle course while blindfolded.
Students will be put into teams and each person is selected one at a time to go through the course blindfolded.
The other team members have to call out directions to help the blindfolded person get through the course without touching any of the obstacles.
If the blindfolded person from a team touches an obstacle they lose their turn and another team member gets a turn.
The team with the most people that can get through the obstacle course without touching anything wins.
Everyone will love this one!
15. Pencil Grab
The great part of the team building activity is that it is super simple and it uses one of the most abundant school supplies in the classroom…
The teacher will place pencils on a table or a desk in four or five groups with the number of pencils ranging from smallest to largest. (Group 1- two pencils, Group 2- 4 pencils…)
The students will start the game off with the small increments of pencils such as one or two in the first pile.
Students get into teams and they race to see who can grab the most pencils by placing them on the back of their hand.
Once the pencils are placed on the back of the student’s hand they will pop up the pencils in the air and try to grab them with the palm of their hand.
If they can grab all of the first group of pencils they will go to the next group of pencils until they complete all of them or they can not grab them all at the same time and they lose their turn.
The team that can grab the most pencils is the winner!
16. Balloon Pyramid Relay Race
The Balloon Pyramid Relay Race is a great cooperative team building activity.
In this game, each student has to help stack the cups into a pyramid by inflating and deflating a balloon.
Only one student is allowed to work at a time.
Once they are finished with their task they stop and go to the end of the line.
Then it is the next student’s turn to continue the next step of the pyramid.
If a student knocks down a cup they must set the cup up where they found it, go to the end of the line and let another student try. (You can come up with your own rule here that best fits your class).
The team that creates the pyramid first wins.
For more information about why team building is so important please read Michigan State’s article Why is team building so important?
Please Comment Below!
If you have any comments or you have another team building activity that you would like to add to the list, we would love to hear from you!