10 Critical Thinking Team Building Activities

It's time to go one step beyond - check out these 10 critical thinking team building activities to enhance team cohesion and boost productivity.
10 Critical Thinking Team Building Activities
One of the most important elements of success for in-person and remote teams is the ability to think in a reasonable, critical way.

However, this is harder than it sounds - critical and creative thinking are two sought-after skills that are not easy to find during the recruitment process.

Instead of finding great team players with powerful and relevant skills, we'll turn our current team into a valuable asset with these 10 critical thinking team building activities.

Instead of seeking great team players with powerful and relevant skills, we'll transform our current team into a valuable asset with these 10 critical thinking team building activities.

Critical thinking activity in the office

Why Are Critical Thinking Team Building Games Important?

Critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills are among the most important core skills that employees in all industries seek.

In this case, having the ability to overcome new situations through critical analysis is a must, and the following statistics help us prove this point:

  • A survey by the American Management Association revealed that 72% of employees believe that critical thinking skills are key to their organization's success, yet only half of those surveyed reported these skills in their employees.
  • A research paper by The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) reveals that the proportion of jobs demanding critical thinking has increased by 158%, showcasing the importance of soft skills that encourage reasonable, rational, and logical decisions in various tasks.
  • According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), the majority of new graduates looking for a position lack critical thinking capabilities, which puts a focus on encouraging the development of this skill to create high-performance teams in different industries. 


10 Critical Thinking Team Building Activities

Introducing critical thinking, problem-solving, and classical team building activities into the workplace motivates employee engagement and contributes to improved productivity.

Let's explore 10 team-building games that encourage critical thinking and are suitable for both remote and in-person teams.


1. Escape Room

It's time to boost team morale by participating in an Escape Room challenge where participants collaboratively solve puzzles and decode clues to "escape" within a set time.

Teamland's Virtual Escape Room activity will encourage team members to collaborate as a united team in order to overcome the challenges ahead.

Virtual escape games enhance the communication and critical-thinking skills of remote team members, "forcing" them to make innovative decisions to achieve a common goal.

  • Activity Duration: From 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Best For: Small and medium-sized hybrid teams.


2. Virtual Murder Mystery

Virtual Murder Mystery is a classic team-building game by Teamland that will test the critical thinking skills of your teams to the limit.

In this immersive experience, participants work together to unravel a fictional crime through clues, witness accounts, and detective work.

All team members will join a virtual party and will need to collaborate with each other to discover the identity of the murderer before time runs out.

This activity not only hones critical thinking skills but also enhances interpersonal connections as team members become characters in a shared narrative, fostering a dynamic and engaging atmosphere for problem-solving and strategy development.

  • Activity Duration: 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Best For: Small and medium-sized hybrid teams.


3. Company Debates

Company Debates is a simple team building activity that consists of holding a debate about different topics among all team members in the office.

Enjoying critical thinking activity with colleagues

Choose a topic, divide team members into smaller teams, and make them articulate their ideas to defend their points of view.

This activity sharpens critical thinking as team members weigh various perspectives, consider evidence, and articulate their positions persuasively.

  • Activity Duration: From 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Best For: Small and medium-sized hybrid teams.


4. Public Speaking Training

Public Speaking Training is an expert-led workshop by Teamland that teaches team members the importance of having public speaking skills.

Speaking in front of an audience enhances communication and transparency, fostering a more dynamic work environment where all team members learn how to prevent communication problems.

Learning how to properly communicate your ideas is a great way to improve critical thinking and foster the whole team's leadership skills. 

  • Activity Duration: From 1 to 2 hours.
  • Best For: All team types and sizes.


5. The Worst-Case Scenario

The Worst-Case Scenario is yet another standard team building game where everyone can participate.

Divide team members into groups, ask them to put themselves in the worst-case scenario (which can be a plane crash or stranded on a desert island), and make them come up with 10 must-have items (survival items, ideally) to overcome the situation.

Through an out-of-the-box thought process, team members will need to elaborate on why their items of choice will help them during difficult times.

It's important to make all team participants collaborate in the activity, as this will enhance the critical thinking skills of the entire group. 

  • Activity Duration: From 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Best For: Small and medium-sizes in-office and remote teams.


6. Survivors

If you are familiar with the classic TV show "Survivors," you'll love this team-building activity by Teamland.

In Survivor, team members will need to work with each other to overcome different challenges, which include both mental and physical activities.

This team-building game for adults will make "tribes" compete against each other in a friendly way, but they will all want to win the great prize, so thinking critically will be imperative. 

  • Activity Duration: From 1 to 3 hours.
  • Best For: In-office teams of all sizes.

7. Office Olympics

The Office Olympics are here, and it's time to win a gold medal!

Office Olympics involve a series of mini-games designed to foster teamwork, enhance company pride, and create a fun and creative space for your team.

Doing Office Olympics with colleagues

Some games will be simple, and some others will be a real challenge - critically analyzing the situation and having strong communication is crucial to end up victorious.

Whether you're celebrating milestones, improving cooperation, or welcoming new team members, this activity is ideal for fostering critical thinking and instilling a sense of victory in your team.

  • Activity Duration: From 1 to 3 hours.
  • Best For: All in-person group types and sizes.


8. Bridge Build

If your team members had all the materials to build a small bridge, would they know how to do it?

If not, don't worry - Teamland's experts will show them everything they need to know about bridge building in our Bridge Build Experience.

In Bridge Build, contestants will need to build a bridge from scratch. Teams will compete against each other to build the more impressive and durable bridge and win the great prize.

However, keep in mind that the bridge needs to be strong and stable enough to allow a large remote-controlled vehicle to safely cross it - critical thinking will be crucial to achieve this! 

  • Activity Duration: From 2 to 4 hours.
  • Best For: All in-office group sizes.


9. Capture the Flag

"Capture the Flag" by Teamland may seem straightforward, but in reality, it's a game that pushes your team's problem-solving and critical skills to the max.

The concept is simple: there are two flags and two bases. Teams need to capture the enemy flag while also protecting theirs.

This game requires an immense amount of collaboration, but once everyone gets the hang of it, it'll turn into an unforgettable activity that will teach valuable lessons to everyone.

This activity, which sounds simple at first, unfolds into a challenging and strategic experience, requiring your team to work together, think on their feet, and come up with clever solutions to emerge victorious.

  • Activity Duration: From 1 to 3 hours.
  • Best For: Medium and big-sized in-office teams.


10. Teamopoly

Teamland has created Teamopoly, the ultimate outdoor adventure, which is a game that combines the best of Monopoly, Scavenger Hunts, and other outdoor activities.

Teamopoly is a city-wide scavenger hunt where team members will discover the most iconic places of their city while also acquiring properties as they would on Monopoly.

Although it might sound a bit complicated at first, the truth is that this original experience will not only keep your team members entertained for hours, but it'll also improve the whole team's critical, analytical, and communication skills. 

  • Activity Duration: From 1 to 3 hours.
  • Best For: All in-office team sizes.


Summary: Best In-Person and Virtual Team-Building Activities to Encourage Critical Thinking

Implementing any of these critical thinking building activities can help you create a powerful workplace and improve the potential of all team members. This is a quick summary of the best 10 team building activities to encourage critical thinking:

  1. Escape Room: Collaboratively solve puzzles to "escape" and boost team morale.
  2. Virtual Murder Mystery: Unravel a fictional crime through clues and detective work in a virtual setting.
  3. Company Debates: Encourage thoughtful discussions and argumentation on business topics.
  4. Public Speaking Training: Learn the importance of public speaking skills for improved communication and leadership.
  5. The Worst-Case Scenario: Think critically about survival items in a worst-case scenario.
  6. Survivors: Experience team challenges inspired by the TV show "Survivor."
  7. Office Olympics: Engage in mini-games to foster teamwork and company pride.
  8. Bridge Build: Compete to build an impressive and durable bridge.
  9. Capture the Flag: Strategically capture the enemy flag while protecting your own.
  10. Teamopoly: Enjoy a city-wide scavenger hunt with Monopoly elements.

Author Details

Written by:
Najeeb Khan
Head of Training & Events
Leadership Development, Team Training, Belonging, Diversity & Inclusion, & Innovation
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What you should do now

Whenever you're ready...here are a few ways we can help you:

1. Book a team social event. If you'd like to work with us to have more engaging team events, book an event.

Don't know what activity to pick? Use the Team Building Idea Generator for options.

2. If you'd like to learn remote work strategies for free, head to our blog where you'll find several guides and posts.

3. If you'd like to create a offering for companies for a skill that you have, then contact us and let us know.

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