Creative Parenting: Team-Building Activities As “Punishment”

hands together for team-building
Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

Are your kids constantly fighting?

If your kids are like mine, they start fighting the second they get into a car. Recently during one of these tumultuous car rides, I took a look in the rearview mirror, just in time to see my oldest son pinch my youngest son. When we arrived home. I made him write out “I will not pinch my brother.” on a piece of paper twenty times. Then I thought, That’s not enough to improve their relationship, though. They could all use some team-building.

hands together for team-building
Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

I tried some creative parenting: team-building activities. These could be the thing to restore peace and build trust… or they could totally backfire.

Here’s what happened when I tried a few classic strategies: 

Human Knot

My kids have all been to summer camp, so I would have thought they’d attempted the human knot before… but they hadn’t (have you?). With this being a non-competitive team-building task, I didn’t have to split them up on teams. They simply stood in a circle, reached out in front and grabbed a hand and then another. It took about 30 seconds for them to unravel, but it was a simple challenge that got them working together.

Three Obstacles

For the three obstacles I set up, it was best done in pairs. Thankfully, I have four kids fairly close in age, so it’s nearly an even split. The ideal playing area is a safe outdoors area (like a backyard or small park), with a dedicated start area and finish area. One kid is blindfolded and spun around gently (the kids really enjoyed this part!). Move the blindfolded kid around a few steps so that he or she isn’t in the same exact position as before. Then have his or her “teammate” come over and act as a guide. The guide must get the blindfolded kid to get to the finish area – but he can’t touch him, and can only give verbal cues

In an effort to prevent the dreaded “winning” team and “losing” team and to ensure that it is a team-building activity focused on improving the relationships among all the children, I mixed up their pairings. This ensured that everyone could participate with one another and that everyone won at least once in our team-building exercises.

Trust Walk

The first obstacle course: The Trust Walk. I paired my two oldest and let them go first. This allowed my two youngest to see how it was done. The oldest completed the challenge in less than two minutes, while the twins took about double the time; but they did it! Drake trusted Dylann and didn’t take his blindfold off once. 

Obstacle Course

For the second obstacle course, I paired my oldest with the oldest twin (7-year-old). They were challenged with a variety of obstacles to include running, jumping, snaking in and out around chairs, hopping, and skipping. All of this was timed. The girls beat the boys by just ten seconds! They all tried their best. 

Obstacle Course with Puzzle Challenge

For the final obstacle course, we included a puzzle challenge at the end. I paired my oldest with the youngest twin. By this point they were really getting into the games; they  even created their own chant, calling themselves the “Tigers.” Duke and Dylann went first and made good time. However, my oldest is pretty competitive and smart so her team won again. Thankfully, she didn’t do much bragging and kept the momentum going with her free spirit and willingness to participate in the dance party portion of my mandatory fun/team-building experiment. 

kids and parents dancing
Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash

Freeze Dance

While you finish with a dance party, you may want to keep the challenges going with a freeze dance. This is a fun game for the big finish. Simply turn on the music and let the siblings dance. Then turn it off suddenly, and the kids must freeze. If you’re keeping track of points, those who don’t freeze gets a point! This is a great sibling game because kids are more comfortable to let loose while at home among just family. It will be sure to increase bonding and comfortability among siblings and family. 

These are just a few suggestions for some team-building exercises to use in place of punishment. There are other ideas here. Try a few and see if these work for your family dynamic. If anything, you can throw a super fun dance party and call it a day!


What creative parenting tips and tricks do you use? Share them with us in the comments!