Kindergarten seems like all fun and games most of the time, doesn’t it? These kindergarten team building games are fun and effective!
What if I said that many of those fun activities have some deeper-rooted critical thinking, reasoning, and team-building philosophies behind them?
Well, it’s true! Kindergarten is more so about teaching our little ones how to practice those essential practices before teaching more complex and specific educational building blocks.
Teachers have specifically utilized all of these in different ways to help their students practice these important brain reasoning in a safe and low-stakes setting.
The list today dives into how these games are all specifically team-building exercises! The best part is that all of these games are fun for anyone–regardless of age.
Arguably, the most classic game on the list, a scavenger hunt is the perfect place to start this list. Kids can divide and conquer, find the items on the list together, or assign who is looking for each item.
Either way, kids have to communicate for the hunt to be successful. Those that accomplish this will inevitably find the most from the list and win.
This game can get a little loud quickly, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
For those unfamiliar, kids gather all together and have to grab two random hands across from them, and the goal is to untangle everyone without breaking apart.
Here, kids have to communicate, listen, and physically follow directions to make the game continue. Make sure everyone has enough room to move safely as they disconnect from the knot as the game continues.
One of the classics, tug of war, is the other quintessentially classic game on the list.
Timing, communication, and working in unison to win the war will help the kids commune together to come out on top!
I grabbed this tug-of-war pack last summer, and we love it! Having the game in an open field or a padded gym is a good idea–room is essential for this activity.
Line up is a great ice breaker because it involves ordering the team members in a specific order. Smaller teams can work better here, depending on the group of children involved.
A caller calls out a particular command–shortest to tallest–etc. Kids have to listen and talk to each other or use critical thinking to get the order right.
This is also a great preschool game for girls and boys!
Everyone joins hands, but someone starts with a hula-hoop on them before everyone does.
After the hula hoop is on, the circle closes, and the goal is to get the ring all around the circle by passing it through each player’s body.
Kiddos must be physically aware of themselves and each other when they have the hoop, communicate, and practice patience. Get a great deal on hula hoops here!
Another classic, duck duck goose, is a favorite for most. Patience, listening, communication, and physical awareness are all needed for a great game of duck duck goose.
A wonderful outside or inside activity! Inside just make sure there’s enough room for this one for kids to really run freely around the circle.
Group jump rope can be a little dangerous, depending on who is holding the jump rope!
The goal of the game is to be physically aware of one another, have physical awareness of oneself, and communicate.
Kids are to jump into moving ropes, and the goal is to jump a few rounds before jumping out and letting the next continue. These jump ropes are more forgiving than the ones we used to use.
Trust walk gets done in pairs, with one student closing their eyes and the other leading the first.
This game aims to create an emotionally safe space for the person to trust and hear the guiders directions.
Successful pairs will get through the course pretty unscathed. Age-appropriate levels are definitely key while doing trust walks.
Team sports are an obvious team-building activity, but introducing this to kindergarteners is a great place to start.
It allows children to take all the practices from the other games on this list and put them into a medium-stakes scenario.
Teach them throughout the seasons, modeling after the professional season’s time frames. Modify any sports to the children’s needs.
Groups are to pick up and put down a hula hoop just with their fingertips. The game helps promote social communication and physical awareness.
The game can get more complicated with communication restrictions or other additions to the game. Try having the kids close their eyes while doing it, not speaking or trying it one-handedly.
Picture pieces puzzle is a great group activity for the accountability of each member of the group.
The aim of this game is to have each kid enlarge and replicate a piece of a puzzle and be accountable for their work.
Once all the pieces are together, communication is key to replicating a copy of the original picture given to the group. Once the recreation matches the original copy given to the team, the game ends.
These board games for preschoolers might also be of interest for your kids!
This game is fun to do during Halloween for obvious reasons, but the goal of the game is to make sure the web stays tight.
The children need to be aware physically and communicate with one another for success in playing spider web.
The web can get made with any yarn or rope to create the web. Have the kids throw the string to someone across from them once until everyone has the line.
If you want fun and festive Halloween games for classrooms, this is it!
The tallest tower is just as it sounds, trying to build the tallest tower among the groups playing.
Choose your own materials for the kids to use, or grab this STEAM kit that has multiple materials to try this one out.
Sometimes the goal is to have something with a little weight sitting on top of the tower to make the kids create a more sustainable build.
These board games for 5-6 year olds are also great fun!
Some of the kids really love this one, and it sounds just like it sounds using your body to make different letters. Listening, physicality, and communication all come into play in this game.
Don’t wake the dragon incorporates some imagination into the game. Without talking, the kids all have to line up from shortest to tallest.
When they believe they’re in the correct order, they, in unison, have to shout “Boo!” the game illustrates how to communicate to each other by other means than speaking.
Chinese whispers, also known as telephone, practices communication and listening in a large group setting.
One person starts with a word or a small phrase and goes through the circle, with the last person announcing what they’ve heard.
The goal for the kids is to have the message stay as close to the original as possible.
Another vintage game that we’ve all experienced and have a distinctive memory of.
We all know you can’t get far in a three-legged race without communication, listening, and physically working in unison.
For kindergarteners, try setting up a course for them to walk through instead of amping them all do the race–or at least make sure there’s enough room, and the ground is forgiving if they fall.
A silent game that promotes communication and teamwork is trust ball.
Kids stand in a circle and try to toss the ball to everyone in the circle at least once without dropping the ball–if the ball drops, the game starts over!
Children should hold up their fingers as many times they’ve been passed to. Give the game a little more excitement by dividing the group into two teams and see who can complete the task first.
We like to use these lightweight rubber balls, just in case somebody does get hit unexpectedly.
This game is a great icebreaker at a party or a new school year to get to know others through preferences.
Whoever is putting the game on will draw two parallel lines for kids to line up in–chalk, tape, etc., will work.
Then, the host will call out two choices (salty or sweet, winter or summer, etc.), and the kids hop to the side they prefer.
Building small connectors to others who have also opted for the same, they then return to the middle, and the game continues.
Divide kids into multiple teams of two to four and have them line up behind a certain point.
One child has to have at least one hand on the ground at all times, and the others grab the ankles of the first child.
The goal is to get your team across the finish line first without disconnecting (everyone has to stick together). This game is great for communication, teamwork, listening, and coordination.
Splits kids into teams of two, and just as it sounds, blindfold one child while the other is guiding the way. This game is great for trust-building, practicing listening, and gross motor.
Depending on the kids you have, make the obstacle course appropriate for the age level you’re working with.
This is also a great outdoor party game for kids birthdays!
STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Is so important for young kids to learn; this cup game is a great way to introduce the idea in a very accessible way.
The idea of this activity is up to you; most traditionally, it’s a game of building as high as you can sustainably.
The game is a great way for students to communicate, experiment together, and think critically in a group setting. We love the stem sets from here.
Perfect for a rainy day or just anytime kids need to get that extra energy out, play a round of the freeze dance game.
Kids will be good at this game if they are actively listening while they are dancing because when the music stops, kids freeze.
If they don’t freeze, they’re out of the game, and the game continues until the best listener remains.
A goofy tried, and true game, follow the leader is great for listening and responding exercises.
Whether you’re just doing a mirroring exercise or playing a specific game within this idea, like Simon Says, it’s great for kids to practice listening.
My personal favorite from elementary school days, heads up 7 Up, is a game of guessing and paying attention.
A select group of children will start as the tappers, and the rest of the group will put their heads down so they cannot see.
The group then walks around and chooses one person to tap–so everyone needs to pay attention.
It’s then a guessing game of who tapped who–those that succeed are aware physically, listening, and paying attention.
My kids beg to play this game at home or really wherever we are.
It’s a game of communication and paying attention because those who’ve gotten tagged have to freeze, but their teammates can unfreeze them.
It’s chaotic for a little while but pretty fun all in all, and it gets a lot of energy out. Sometimes we have a time frame on it to make it more exciting.
Another classic game that isn’t as popular as it once was, who has got the button, is a game of guessing and practicing nonverbal skills and communication.
Let an older kid or one that’s played before go first as a model to the others.
The first person that goes drops the button into one of the other players’ outstretched hands, and all hands are closed once the first person touches their hand.
Then each person has a chance to guess who has the button.
Hot Seat is great for vocabulary lessons and understanding and communication skills. Break the kids into two teams and have two players sit facing away from a board.
Then a word gets written behind them, and their teammates give them clues with the goal of them guessing the word correctly.
Clues shouldn’t directly lead to the word but indirectly related in nature. The game continues until all players have had a chance to play, and whoever has guessed the right words wins.
A quintessential item of the kindergarten room is, of course, the parachute!
Parachute play has endless possibilities and can demonstrate any team building skills, from communication to physicality to listening skills and beyond.
One thing’s for sure–it’s always a fun time for the kiddos. This smaller one is great for home play.
First and foremost, do this in an open area or safe area. Split the kids into multiple teams and have them stand on a sheet of really large-size butcher paper, like this one, or even a tarp.
The goal of the game is to get the sheet flipped over without any of the kids touching it or stepping off. This team builder promotes being present, creative, and concentration.
So this hot seat is similar to the one above, but the idea here is if you need to alter the guessing item for something simpler like animals or letters, feel free to do so.
I like using this pack of educational cards to play Hot Seat with kids that are not practicing full words yet.
Again the idea is not to give direct clues to lead to the item or letter but to give hints leading to the guesser guessing correctly.
The activity promotes critical thinking, reasoning, listening, communication, and teamwork.