Five Minute Competitive Exercises

April 30, 2018 : General Team Building

Five Minute Competitive Exercises


Developing an efficient team doesn’t have to be a tedious or overwhelming challenge. Most leaders and managers today are beginning to understand that we get more out of staff when they feel valued, as opposed to being pushed to the brink of exhaustion. If you’re looking for a group activity that will bring your team together, read on. 

At Maximillion, we are passionate about team building. We specialise in fun activities which help organizations foster strong relationships among employees. Our goal is to entertain employees while reinforcing company values in an engaging and lasting manner.

And the fact that you took the time to search for this article means you too understand the importance of communication, problem-solving and a relaxed atmosphere at your workplace.

Happier employees are more effective employees.

That’s why we have put together a list of 10 five minute activities you can play today with colleagues.  

Though these delightful games won’t take up too much of your time, they will help bolster team spirit, they will remind staff that you call about their health and well being.

By creatively improving the cooperation among team members you will drive results more efficiently and eventually create a warm community of helpful co-workers. We know this because we have seen it happen over and over again. Check out some of the onsite team building activities we’ve carried out in London and Edinburgh.


View Our Corporate Team Building Activities


Five Minute Competitive Exercises:


Take What You Need

Team Building Take What You Need

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Gather your team around a table.

2.) Place a roll of toilet paper or a pile of pennies in the middle of the table.

3.) Ask each participant to take as many squares of toilet paper or pennies as they think they’ll need for the activity without telling them what the activity is or how they’ll use the materials.

4.) Once everyone has taken some, ask them to share an interesting fact about themselves for each square or penny they took!

Why We Love “Take What You Need” as a Team Building Activity:

Imagine the reaction! Team members will believe the game is going one way only to run into a twist that demands a real team bonding session. We enjoy experiencing that joyful moment of clarity when staff understand they may have to share more interesting facts than they are used to – and it was all their doing! This game makes for a quick and fun time.

Plus, every office has the competitive individual who is likely to collect as much as possible items as possible in order to win the game. We love this game because of the surprise and all the fascinating things we tend to learn about people.


Developed Team Building Outcomes:

The Key Takeaway:

Don’t jump to conclusions before sorting out the facts.

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Pirates Treasure

Team building pirates treasure

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Select a volunteer (the captain) to be blindfolded and sit them on a chair in the middle of a circle with an item (the treasure) located under the chair.

2.) Get the group running around in a circle, then point to someone (pirate) in the group to move as silently as possible as they try to capture the treasure.

3.) If the captain points in the direction of the pirate, the pirate is then out of the game. If the pirate successfully retrieves the treasure without the captain noticing (for ten seconds), both participant switch places.

Why We Love “Pirates Treasure” as a Team Building Activity:

We have found that this is a game that most people flat out enjoy. It combines a great balance of suspense, laughter, and team building. But above all else, everyone involved has fun at the same time.

Those running around the chair get to cut loose while at work. The participant on the chair is forced to focus at the centre of chaos. The participant trying to capture the treasure must be steady and calm while everyone around them watches in anticipation.


Developed Team Building Outcomes:


The Key Takeaway:

The ability to be mindful in the workplace is great for mental health and is something that can be practised as soon as we focus our attention on the present.

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Hidden Numbers

Team building hidden numbers

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Gather your group into an inward facing semi-circle around you.

2.) Place a shoestring on the ground and layout a shape. Your team has to guess which number you are representing between one and ten.

3.) Once the shoestring is on the ground, place your hands on your lap then ask the group, ‘what number is this?’

4.) Give the team a few guesses and then tell them the answer.

5.) Read “why we love hidden numbers “(below)” to learn the “hidden” step.

Why We Love “Hidden Numbers” as a Team Building Activity:

It is the twist that makes this game so fun and intriguing: your hands are on your lap for a reason!

The instructions above explain how to get your team involved. Team members will have to guess which number the shape of a string represents. HOWEVER! You will be giving them the answer the whole time.

Every time you create a shape with the string, you will be asking team members to take guesses. In the meantime, you will be demonstrating the number you have in mind by placing the corresponding number of fingers on your lap.

Don’t be surprised if no one notices.


Developed Team Building Outcomes:


The Key Takeaway:

Don’t be so focused on one detail that you end up missing the big picture!

At work and often times in life we tend to find ourselves too wound up in distractions. Without realising it, many of us try our best to solve problems by focusing on the wrong options. It is always useful to take a step back to consider the obvious that everyone else is too preoccupied to notice.

Suddenly, the “work smarter, not harder” mantra seems more applicable than ever.

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Team building evolution

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Gather team members together – Each participant wobbles around like an egg.

2.) Eggs meet each other for a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors – the winner evolves into a chicken (participant then acts like chicken).

3.) Chickens may approach other chickens for a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors – the winner evolves into a prince/princess (participant then acts like prince/princess).

4.) Princes/Princesses may approach other Princes/Princesses for a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors – the winner evolves into a king/queen (participant acts like king/queen).

5.) Kings/Queens may approach other Kings/Queens for a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors – the winner is the champion of the game

6.) Every time a participant loses a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, they devolve to an egg!



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Why We Love “Evolution” as a Team Building Activity:

We love “Evolution” because there is nothing like watching a bunch of adults enjoying themselves as kids once again. Just about everyone is familiar with the game rock, paper, scissors. It happens to be one of those no pressure games than anyone can win. But add a few layers to it and suddenly it becomes a  thoroughly engaging game among colleagues.


Developed Team Building Outcomes:

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The Paper Tower

Team building paper tower

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Hand each participant a piece of paper (or a few sheets depending on your preference)

2.) Explain to participants that each has exactly five minutes to construct the tallest freestanding structure using no other materials.

3.) The winner is the participant with the tallest structure. Discuss the steps the winner took to create their structure.

4.) Discuss the thought process behind the building of the other structures.

Why We Love “The Paper Tower” as a Team Building Activity:

Participants only have five minutes to figure out how to win a competition with paper. And simultaneously these participants are competing to create the tallest structure.

With such challenges and time constraints, it is no wonder that many will begin folding their pieces of paper after only a few seconds of thought. We love this game because it reinforces the significance of planning despite the circumstances.

It is important to realise then when we are faced with a task, planning is an integral key to success. As admirable as initiative is, it is seldom productive without a reasonable amount of preparation.  


Developed Team Building Outcomes:


The Key Takeaway:

When the results matter, best to plan thoroughly.

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team building ghost

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Select one ghost for every three participants of the game.

2.) Ask the rest of the group to spread out across the room and choose a spot to stand.

3.) Ask non-ghost participants to close their eyes.

4.) Ghost participants are to try to eliminate those with their eyes closed by stealthily standing behind them for 10 seconds without being noticed.

5.) If a non-ghost participant suspects a person is behind them, they would ask, “Is there a ghost behind me?” If they are right then they become a ghost. If they are wrong they are out of the game.

Why We Love “Ghost” as a Team Building Activity:

We love “Ghost” because although it is a team-building exercise, it can actually be as spooky as its name suggests. Funny how the mind can play tricks on you. You’ll be swearing you could feel someone behind you when no one actually was. But most importantly you will get colleagues interacting with each other in a natural and jovial environment filled with plenty of laughs and a bit of paranoia.


Developed Team Building Outcomes:

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Eye Contact

team building eye contact

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Set up your team into pairs, standing across each other.

2.) Challenge them to maintain eye contact for 60 seconds. First to turn away loses.

Why We Love “Eye contact”  as a Team Building Activity:

Eye contact provides an opportunity for managers to gamify positive employee behaviour. Play it enough and those who are relatively timid among your staff will gain the confidence to maintain eye contact. They will become accustomed to it while having fun with colleagues.

Plus, it is much easier to build a healthy work environment with staff that are happy to look at each other in the eye.

Developed Team Building Outcomes:

learn more about others icon  

The Key Takeaway:

This is a rather simple game that helps you practice an important life skill. Not only does eye contact promote the confidence of an individual, but it also shows respect and engagement to those we converse with.

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Wink Murder

team building wink murder

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Ask your group to stand in a circle.

2.) Ask one person to leave the room – This person will the detective of the game

3.) Among those remaining in the room, have them select the participant who will play the role of a murderer.

4.) Once the detective returns to the room, they must stand at the centre of the circle.- The detective has THREE attempts to guess who the murderer is.

5.) While the detective spins to examine his possible suspect, the murder winks at other participants while the detectives back are turned.

6.) Every participant the murderer winks at must die in a dramatic fashion.

7.) The murder wins by being the last participant standing. And then becomes the new detective.

Why We Love “Wink Murder” as a Team Building Activity:

Will the detective find out who the murderer is before every participant is killed? We love this one because it is flat out fun.


Developed Team Building Outcomes:

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123 Lookup

Team building 123 lookup

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Gather participants into a circle.

2.) On the count of three, each member is to look at and/or point at someone in the circle.

3.) If two participants look at each other, both are out of the game.

Why We Love “123 Lookup” as a Team Building Activity:

We appreciate “123 Lookup” for its simplicity. The instructions are among the most straightforward on this list. It requires no equipment to play, yet you may be surprised by how well your team members will take to this fun and easy game.


Developed Team Building Outcomes:

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The Human Knot

team building human knot

Five Minute Team Building Instructions:

1.) Organise your desired number of groups (preferably no less than 7 members per group) into inward facing circles.

2.) Ask participants to raise their right hand and then grab the hand of a participant opposite them.

3.) Repeat step 2 with the left hand, instead grabbing the hand of a different person.

4.) Check to be sure everyone is holding the hands of two people.

5.) Participants must try to untangle themselves to form a circle. WITHOUT letting go of those they are holding on to. (if the chain is broken at any point, the game must be restarted.

6.) If you are playing with multiple groups, the winner is the team that is able to be untangled first.  

Why We Love “The Human Knot” as a Team Building Activity:

One may consider it quite unfortunate that many of us spend about 8 hours a day with those we work with, yet we can still find it difficult to connect with each other. The potential to break the ice and to help team members become more familiar with each other is why we love The Human Knot.

And we aren’t speaking about those awkward and brief introductions we make to each other on the first day of work. We are talking about those icebreakers that transform a distant professional work environment into a productive workforce beaming with team spirit.


Developed Team Building Outcomes:


The Key Takeaway:

The human knot forces individuals out of their comfort zone. It helps colleagues realize they can not only work together but they can have fun while at it too. Give it a try.


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