Updated: December 01, 2023

18 Top 15-Minute Team Building Activities

You found our list of 15-minute team building activities.

15-minute team building activities are interactive games and projects that take about 15 minutes to complete. Examples include Two Truths and a Lie, Playing Favorites, and Remote Viewing. The purpose of these activities is to build morale by providing fun ways for team members to connect with one another.

These exercises are similar to get to know you games, team building games, and problem solving games. These activities work great during team building meetings and can help make virtual meetings fun. You can also combine these activities with icebreaker games to add variety to your team building event.

15-minute-team-building

This list includes:

  • 15-minute team building games
  • virtual 15-minute team building activities
  • 15-minute activities for adults
  • 15-minute games for meetings

Here we go!

List of 15-minute team building activities

From creating unique poetry to showering coworkers with praise, here are some ideas for fun 15-minute activities to engage your team.

1. Exploding Kittens

Playing games as a team is a great way to loosen up before a meeting or unwind after a long day. Exploding Kittens takes two minutes to learn and 15 minutes to play, making it a great addition to your team building rotation! Similar to Russian Roulette, players draw cards until they pick an exploding kitten. Players who draw this card explode and are out of the game unless they have a diffuse card. For instance, cards like belly rubs and catnip sandwiches prevent the kitten from exploding. Aside from the kittens, all the cards in the deck help participants move, avoid, or mitigate the cats. The last player standing wins!

If you love this game, then you can also order different versions or expansion packs to keep the activity fresh!

Buy Exploding Kittens.

2. Blackout Poetry

Blackout poetry is a unique form of writing that turns an old piece into a new one! This activity is great before a meeting, as it encourages creative thinking.

Here is how to host this activity:

  1. Give team members a sheet of paper with writing on it. You could give them all the same piece or all different.
  2. Hand out large black Sharpies.
  3. Participants must use Sharpies to mark out most of the language on the page, leaving only a few words behind. The remaining words should form a poem.
  4. Ask a couple of volunteers to share their poems.

To add a fun twist to this exercise, you could also hand out workplace materials as the starting page! For instance, you could print off a page from your employee handbook or a list of goals for an ongoing project. Creating poems from these materials might encourage members to think about them differently! Plus, participants can do this activity repeatedly with different printouts.

Learn more about how to create blackout poems.

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3. Bad Day, Good Day

Bad Day, Good Day is a 15-minute team building activity that lets team members vent while also practicing gratitude. Each team member shares an event or experience that has made their day bad, followed by an event or experience that has made their day good. For example, a fire drill that brings productivity to a halt is sure to ruin a fantastic Friday, while a friendly exchange with an executive can transform a mediocre Monday into a memorable day.

Details shared by the team can be personal as well as professional, giving workers a chance to share a bit about their lives outside the workplace. By having the team discuss their good day details after sharing the bad, the activity ends on a positive note every time.

4. Origami Challenge

The Origami Challenge is a creative and precise team building activity. Participants receive a single sheet of paper and instructions for folding it into a specific origami shape. In just 15 minutes, team members must work together to follow the folding instructions and complete their origami creations. You can make this game even more competitive by turning it into a race! This activity encourages attention to detail, patience, and teamwork as participants collaborate to make intricate and beautiful paper sculptures.

5. Puzzle Race

Puzzle Race is a fast-paced team building exercise that tests participants’ problem-solving and coordination skills. Each team member receives a small jigsaw puzzle, and the challenge is to complete it within the 15-minute time frame. To make it more challenging, you can mix pieces from multiple puzzles. This activity promotes healthy competition and encourages communication, as team members may need to collaborate to match pieces and complete their puzzles quickly. This thrilling and time-bound challenge keeps teams engaged.

6. Balloon Sculpting

Balloon Sculpting is a highly creative and imaginative team building activity. Players inflate balloons and shape them into unique sculptures. For instance, teams can form balloon dogs or turtles. You can provide the players with instructions and different colored balloons to help them make their masterpieces. This game is a fantastic way to encourage creativity and resourcefulness within the team.

7. Silent Mime Relay

The Silent Mime Relay is a non-verbal communication challenge. Participants must act out various actions or scenarios without speaking. In this 15-minute exercise, team members divide into pairs, taking turns as the actor or guesser. The actor silently mimes actions, and the guesser must interpret and guess what the action is. This game improves non-verbal communication skills, trust, and teamwork. Participants must rely on their intuition and body language to share and understand messages without words.

8. Memory Game

The Memory Game is a memory-testing team building activity that boosts participants’ recall and observation skills. In this game, hosts will display a tray filled with various objects for a short time and then cover it. Team members have a few minutes to write down as many objects as they can remember. Depending on how long writing takes, hosts can reset the items and run the exercise again. Whichever player remembers the most items correctly wins! This activity encourages focus, attention to detail, and memory improvement.

9. Workplace Praise Party

As 15-minute activities for adults go, listening to compliments from coworkers is an uplifting way to spend a quarter hour! You can schedule a session that lets your team shower one another with praise. This activity provides an opportunity to show appreciation for the whole team. While it may be easy to choose a compliment, letting your team know about the activity a few days in advance will allow members to consider what they want to say.

You can provide an upbeat tune such as “Praise You” by Fatboy Slim, “The Best” by Tina Turner, or “Thank You For Being a Friend” by Andrew Gold to introduce each team member receiving the praise. Snacks and drinks will help turn the event into a full-fledged praise party!

10. Playing Favorites

Playing favorites in the workplace is okay during fun 15-minute games for meetings! For this game, send out a questionnaire with a list of five favorites for team members to fill out and share aloud during a team meeting.

This list of ideas will get you started:

  • Favorite vacation
  • Favorite movie
  • Favorite international food
  • Favorite pet
  • Favorite hobby
  • Favorite color
  • Favorite type of weather
  • Favorite season
  • Favorite television show
  • Favorite book
  • Favorite restaurant
  • Favorite band
  • Favorite song
  • Favorite school subject
  • Favorite game
  • Favorite sport
  • Favorite team
  • Favorite drink
  • Favorite snack
  • Favorite memory

If your team has a good sense of humor, then you can throw in their favorite dinosaur as a bonus question!

11. Finish the Phrase

A unified team can sometimes finish one another’s sentences, as the game Finish the Phrase demonstrates. This 15-minute team building activity uses common sayings and familiar phrases to test players’ ability to make solid connections with each other.

To play Finish the Phrase:

  1. The leader provides player one with a card printed with two halves of a phrase. For example, “The early bird” is the first half, and “catches the worm” is the second half.
  2. Player one reads the first half of the phrase to player two.
  3. Player two responds with their guess for the second half of the phrase.
  4. If player two responds correctly, then they take a turn reading the first half of the next phrase to player three. If player two responds incorrectly, then they are out of the game, and player one reads the first half of the next phrase to player three instead.
  5. Play continues until all team members have a turn to read and respond.

This list of common proverbs will get you started. Song lyrics, film quotes, and advertisement tag lines also make great phrases for this game.

12. Card Castle Contest

A few decks of cards and some skills for building card castles are all it takes to create a quick team building activity.

Here is how to host this activity:

  1. Divide your team into smaller groups.
  2. Provide each a deck of cards.
  3. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  4. Let the teams collaborate on the best design for the tallest tower possible.
  5. Whichever team builds the tallest tower that remains standing wins!

Creating a card castle may seem simple, but keeping it standing poses a fun challenge for teams to overcome together.

13. Remote Viewing

You can test your team’s descriptive powers with a few rounds of Remote Viewing. For this game, you will need a selection of common items to serve as props.

To play Remote Viewing:

  1. Player one and player two sit back-to-back.
  2. Player one holds an item and describes it using three one-word clues. For example, if the item is a stapler, player one might say, “Heavy. Shiny. Clicks.” The clues should avoid direct descriptions, such as “Staples. Papers. Together.”
  3. Player two tries to guess what the item is.
  4. If player two guesses incorrectly, then player one tries twice more to give three one-word clues.
  5. Play ends when player two guesses correctly or player one uses all three tries.

Though multiple teams of two can play simultaneously, watching one team at a time take their turn is bound to be more fun!

14. Heads Up!

When looking for virtual 15-minute team building activities, consider Heads Up! This app is a charade-style game for the digital age. Players can use their smartphones or tablets to view prompts from familiar categories, such as movies, music, and sports.

To play Heads Up!:

  1. Download the Heads Up! app, and choose a category.
  2. Player one holds their phone to their forehead with the screen pointed toward the rest of the team.
  3. Using verbal clues and gestures, the team acts out the prompt on the screen, trying to get player one to guess the prompt correctly.
  4. When player one guesses correctly, they tip the phone downward for the next prompt, and play repeats. If player one chooses to pass, then they tip the phone upward, and the app moves to the next prompt. The app keeps a score of correct answers and passes based on the phone’s motion.
  5. Play continues until the app signals the end of the round.

You can download Heads Up! for Apple or Android devices.

15. Paper Plane Races

A playful team building project like paper plane races is great for getting your crew in a creative frame of mind. You can use a vacant hallway or conference room as the airfield. For a fun outdoor activity, you can even take the races outside if the weather permits. Each team member creates their best take on a paper airplane to prepare for the race. Once all planes are complete, all players throw at once to see which plane travels the farthest. If two or more planes tie for first place, then a second round of flight occurs to determine the ultimate winner.

To raise the stakes, challenge your team to research paper plane designs online. Participants may find shapes and structures that work better than the versions they can create from memory.

16. Grapevine

You can turn office gossip into 15-minute team building games with a few rounds of Grapevine! Aside from being fun, this activity shows how a message can change when passed from player to player.

To play Grapevine:

  1. Player one chooses a phrase or message and whispers it to the player on their left.
  2. Player two whispers their version of the message to the player on their left.
  3. Each player continues whispering the message to the next player until all players have heard the message.
  4. The last player announces the message. Player one either confirms or denies that this is the message they sent.
  5. Player two chooses the next message as gameplay continues.

Simple phrases will work best for Grapevine. Players can even use items as their message, such as “chocolate-covered donut,” “baseball stadium,” or “pink-and-black Cadillac.”

17. Meditation

A simple meditation session can work wonders for bringing a team to a relaxed state. Breathing exercises, visualizations, and guided meditations are all helpful for reducing stress and refreshing tired minds.

To try a simple breath meditation like square breathing:

  1. Exhale slowly until your lungs are empty.
  2. Inhale softly through your nose while counting slowly to four.
  3. Hold your breath for another slow count of four.
  4. Exhale softly through your mouth for another slow count of four.
  5. Hold the exhale for one last slow count of four.
  6. Repeat from the beginning.

By becoming aware of their breathing, meditators can focus on the present moment. This type of meditation provides a brief escape and can help keep your team centered during a frenzied workweek.

18. Two Truths and a Lie

A few rounds of Two Truths and a Lie let team members share interesting details about themselves. Whether or not these details are true is up to the rest of the team to decide!

To play Two Truths and a Lie:

  1. Player one tells the team three facts about themselves. These facts can be past jobs, achievements, experiences, or favorite activities.
  2. The team tries to determine which two facts are true and which is the lie.
  3. After the team offers their guesses, player one confirms the truths and explains them in greater detail.
  4. If there is an interesting story behind the lie, then player one can share that as well.
  5. Play continues until all team members have taken a turn.

This activity is a great opportunity for new teams to get familiar with one another. For team members who already know each other, the lies are bound to get outlandish and hilarious!

Conclusion

By offering quick blasts of fun interaction, 15-minute team building activities allow your team to bond, demonstrate strengths, and share hidden talents. You can create a collection of these brief activities to end meetings or relieve stress during the week. For occasions when workers need a boost, call a get-together and share a few quick team building activities that will energize and invigorate the whole crew.

Next up, read about team building leaders and fun leadership activities for work.

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FAQ: 15-minute team building activities

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about 15-minute team building activities.

What are 15-minute team building activities?

15-minute team building activities are quick, interactive games and projects that help create a more connected team.

What are some good 15-minute team building activities?

One of the best 15-minute team building activities is Heads Up!, an app-based game where teams try to get a chosen player to guess a prompt through verbal clues and physical gestures. Another is Two Truths and a Lie, where colleagues guess which facts are true and which one is a lie.

How do you do team building in 15 minutes?

To do team building in 15 minutes, have some activities prepared in advance that you can use at a moment’s notice. You can focus on activities that promote quick interaction, such as games you can play in short rounds. If your team is larger, then a simultaneous group activity like meditation or a paper plane race can help you fill the 15-minute timeline.

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Author:

People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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