As was often heard in my household growing up, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Sure, there is a place for competitive youth sports. But an important life skill kids learn from sports is how to be a team player.
Why Team Building Activities Matter for Kids Sports
Learning to work together to achieve a goal can be fun and leave a lasting impact. But coming up with those lifelong lessons can be a lot for a coach or parent. We’ve compiled these team building activities for kids sports teams to help get your creative juices flowing. All of these can be adapted and customized to fit your own sport (soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball, etc.) or age. And, of course, depending on how restrictive youth sports are where you live, other adaptations may also need to be implemented to ensure safety due to COVID-19.
- Tug-o-War – Great for any age group, just grab the longest rope you can find and mark a line in the center. Be sure the weights of either side are relatively equal. Then, tug with all your might!
- Blind Partner-Led Course – Set up an age-appropriate obstacle course and have your team members pair up. Draw straws to see who will be blindfolded. The other member will guide the blindfolded partner through the course in this time trial team building contest. This teaches many skills including teamwork and problem solving.
- Float Boat Challenge – This team building activity may take an evening or two at a member’s garage. Form small teams and gather supplies such as cardboard boxes to help the kids build their best boat. Then, gather at a local pool or lake and see which boat floats the longest with 1-2 kids on board!
- My Teammates – Start with the whole team and stand in a circle. The oldest begins by standing in the middle and making a statement, such as “all my teammates like _____” where they fill in the blank with whatever they want (i.e. “broccoli”, “math” or “the beach”). Those who like what they’ve said jump into the middle of the circle. That teammate nominates someone in the middle to make the next statement. Repeat until you’ve got the whole team together in the middle.
- Body Part Roundup – Have the players wander around a section of the field until the coach calls out a number and a body part. For example, “Eight Elbows” means the wandering players must gather up eight elbows as quickly as possible.
- Birthday Lineup – For a team of 10, give the kids 100 seconds to order themselves left to right according to their birthdays. It’s that simple. Allow more or less time for teams of different sizes.
- Collective Memory – Gather 20 easily identifiable objects under a blanket. Unveil the objects for a short 5 seconds or so. Have the team work together to come up with the full list of what was under the blanket. They can strategize beforehand to ensure they are working together to get the job done.
- Group Juggle – Break into groups of 4-5 and start by asking them to juggle two balls around the group. Slowly introduce more balls. The group who can successfully work together to keep the most balls in the air wins.
- Team Caterpillar – Line the whole team up front to back and separate each player with a balloon. The team must stay tight enough to keep the balloons between them without using their hands, and make it to a finish line as one giant caterpillar.
- Classic Silly Races – There’s nothing like a good old fashioned potato sack, wheelbarrow or ankles-tied race. Try your own twist on this, like a race with foreheads touching. Get together and crack up as you run for the finish line!
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