Team Building Activities for Small Groups: Boost Collaboration and Morale

Kaela Shupe
July 5, 2024
Team Building Activities for Small Groups: Boost Collaboration and Morale

When it comes to worker satisfaction, morale, and overall happiness, most American employees give their jobs a B-.1That’s not a rock-bottom score, but there’s certainly room for improvement.

Happier employees with higher company morale not only lead more fulfilling lives, but they’re also more productive. Studies show they take fewer sick days, work harder, and get less distracted than disinterested, disengaged workers.2

So, how can you—as an HR manager or similar organizational leader—take your employees’ morale and collaborative skills from a B- to an A+? From in-office games to employee outings, try out these team-building exercises for small groups to bring your staff closer together.

Creative team-building activities

Below are a variety of team-building activities you can try with your staff. They’re sorted by the skill sets they help develop, so decide what qualities you want to work on with your crew and give some of them a go. 

Activities for communication and collaboration

To enhance your team’s interpersonal skills, try leading them in with these team-building activities2:

  • Card Pieces – Cut all 52 cards of a deck in half (literally, with scissors) and then again, making 4 triangle pieces out of each card. Divide your team members into groups of two or three and distribute the pieces evenly. Give them three minutes to barter within and between their teams to create as many full card sets as possible. Whichever team has the most at the end reigns victorious—but, by increasing their communication skills and ability to compromise, everyone will walk away a winner. 
  • Just Listen – Have everyone pick a team member as a partner and distribute eight index cards with unique conversation topics to each pair. Have one person randomly choose a subject and talk about it uninterrupted for three minutes. Afterward, their partner must recap their points to the best of their ability, and then switch positions for the next round. Just Listen teaches staff to actively understand and value other people’s opinions—a key part of collaborative work. 

Activities for problem-solving and creativity

If you’d like your employees to think outside the box a bit more and diversify their approaches to problem-solving, try:

  • Escape rooms – Like Card Pieces or Just Listen, escape rooms test your employees’ abilities to collaborate and delegate work. They also promote critical thinking, logic, and focus. Plus, they're just plain fun! There are currently over 3,000 escape rooms across the United States, so there’s bound to be one near your workplace.3 If you can’t make it to a physical event space, try completing online escape rooms together to experience many of the same benefits. 
  • Paper Bridge Challengesome text
    • Objective: Build the strongest bridge using only paper and tape.
    • Materials Needed:some text
      • Printer paper or construction paper (about 20 sheets per team)
      • Clear tape (one roll per team)
      • A small set of weights (e.g., coins, small books, or other objects of varying weights)
    • Instructions:some text
      • Form Teams: Divide the participants into pairs or small teams of 3-4 people.
      • Explain the Challenge: Each team must build a bridge spanning a gap of 30 cm (12 inches) between two tables or chairs using only the provided paper and tape.
      • Set a Time Limit: Give the teams 10 minutes to design and construct their bridges.
      • Testing Phase: After the construction phase, test the bridges by gradually adding weights to the center until the bridge collapses. The bridge that holds the most weight before collapsing is the winner.
    • Rules:some text
      • Only paper and tape can be used to build the bridge.
      • The bridge must span the entire 30 cm gap without touching the ground or any other surfaces besides the tables/chairs.
      • Teams cannot tape the bridge to the tables/chairs for added support.
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Activities for fun and relationship-building

Sometimes, the best way to bring a team closer together is through relaxation and leisure—especially when it’s in an exciting new location.

Interestingly, 83% of American employees say business travel is a major job perk.4 So, consider rewarding your team’s hard work, building morale, and bringing them closer together by planning a group trip somewhere special.

Where you’ll go depends on your location, budget, group size, and more. However, some of the most popular places for corporate retreats across America include5:

  • Myrtle Beach, North Carolina – Conveniently located near both Raleigh and Charlotte, Myrtle Beach offers a wide variety of outdoor activities and team-building fun. Your staff can enjoy a bit of friendly competition during a round of golf, work on their interpersonal communication skills during doubles tennis matches, or support each other as they try new water sports on the Atlantic. Plus, the city is well accustomed to group retreats and more than prepared to accommodate your company’s needs.
  • Joshua Tree, California – Located in the heart of Southern California, Joshua Tree is an immense national park filled with beautiful sights and (despite being in a desert) abundant plant life. Your team can discover cacti, yucca plants, and, of course, the park’s namesake Joshua trees as they hike trails and bond over the rejuvenating effects of being surrounded by nature. 
  • The Hudson Valley, New York – With its proximity to major transport hubs in New York City and New Jersey, The Hudson Valley is an ideal choice for remote teams flying in from different corners of the country. With rolling hills, snaking rivers, and lush, green landscapes all around, it provides the perfect backdrop for your workers to connect with the environment and each other.

Planning your team-building event

To make the most of your team-building events and exercises, consider these tips:

  • Set clear objectives – Outline what you expect your employees to learn from the experience and what they should pay attention to throughout.
  • Choose an appropriate time and location – Decide on a time and place that allows the maximum amount of employees to participate.
  • Provide the necessary materials and instructions – Plan ahead to make sure there are no missing pieces once your activities get underway.
  • Take group size, interests, and abilities into account – Pick inclusive activities that suit as many of your workers as possible. 

Resources for additional activities

Plenty of other team-building experiences can benefit your staff’s collaborative abilities and morale. Consider asking your employees about their preferred activities and planning something they can all agree on. 

You can also browse these team-building websites for extra resources and ideas:

Quickly and easily organize a team getaway with Hotel Engine

Team-building activities can boost morale, bolster your staff’s collaborative skills, and bring them closer together. And, if you plan a corporate getaway, you can experience these benefits while rewarding your workers at the same time. 

No matter where you plan your business’s retreat, Hotel Engine has the rooms you need at exceptional prices. With over 750,000 properties around the globe, white-glove service, expertly negotiated rates, and dedicated trip managers standing by to accommodate your every need, Hotel Engine simplifies the booking process so that you can ensure comfortable and high-quality group accommodations.

Plus, when it comes time to go, you won’t have to rack your brain sorting out everyone’s bill and paying each individually because we consolidate invoices into a singular, smooth transaction.

Find the ideal team-building location for your small group and book rooms at unbeatable prices—our support team is available 24/7, 365 to help you get started.


  1. HR Dive. Most employees would grade their jobs a B-.
  2. Mind Tools Team Building Exercises – Communication.
  3. IBISWorld. Escape Rooms in the US - Number of Businesses.
  4. United States Chamber of Commerce. 8 Benefits of Hosting a Company Retreat.
  5. Forbes. The Best Places To Host Corporate Retreats.
  6. American Psychological Association. Boosting morale.
  7. Mind Tools. Team Building Exercises – Communication.
  8. Outback Team Building & Training. 22 Unbeatable Team Building Problem Solving Activities.
Article written by
Kaela Shupe

In her role at Hotel Engine, Kaela's focus in marketing revolves around enhancing the company's online presence through targeted digital strategies. Her expertise plays a crucial role in improving user experience. Kaela's approach combines analytical skills and creative insights, consistently delivering growth and heightened customer satisfaction.

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