Changing Tides Team Building Games and Challenges

Kayaking Teambuilding

Here are the descriptions of some of our favorite games. We mix and match them depending on the the group compliment, age, skill, environmental conditions and take into consideration what you think would be appropriate for your group.

By Sea

One Fish, Two Fish:
A combination of games: red light, green light and capture the flag, requiring teamwork and creativity.  Participants must work together to transport an object, while keeping the object hidden from the guesser. If the guesser correctly identifies who has the object the game begins again.  Students recognize that all participants are necessary to successfully complete the objective.

Kayak Basketball:
Participants will unseal their kayaking skirt from the combing, making their cockpit into a basket. Each double kayak is its own team. Multiple balls are going during play. Tennis balls or floating sqooshees are used by teams to try to score a basket in another kayak's cocpit.  A certain number of points will be established as a goal and play continues as teams try to earn the set point level.  This game encourages team play and kayak maneuvering skills.
            Variation: Participants sit behind their seats with their feet dangling in the water, requiring extra balance.


Kayak Hockey:
An inflated paddle float or a beach ball with air and a little water is used.  Teams consist of an even number of kayaks. Teams must work together to pass the “puck”

Colorful Raft:
“Rafting up” is a safety procedure, allowing the group to handle situations or hold discussions while on the water. By moving as a unit, stability is increased and individual boats do not have to work to stay in the same place.  This activity can lead into a Raft Stand or Raft Walk.

Raft Stand:
After rafting together, participants work on their balance and group trust, standing up in the cockpit of their kayaks.

Walk the Plank:
A real trust exercise, requiring balance. One at a time, participants will walk along the raft of kayaks, relying on other participants for stability and staying dry.

Birthday Line Up:
Participants will have to maneuver their kayaks into a line of birthday order by either the front or rear person in the kayak.  This activity is done while making forward progress and encourages kayak handling skills and group interaction.

Three Men/One Boat:
After landing on shore, we leave some boats behind and get into three person teams. Each team must decide where to put the extra person, paddle out to a designated place, all switch places, and return to shore. Creativity, teamwork, planning, and a good attitude keep participants begging for just one more race.

Swap It:
With eight boats: every boat has seven of something. All boats must interface and trade items without any boat contact. If approaching a boat and the boats touch, the teams must interface with another team before trying again.

Sharks and Minnows:
A classic, only a bit trickier in kayaks. Guides establish a perimeter for play, and the hungry shark(s) try to make contact with all the other boats. High speed ramming is illegal and usually impossible.

Rescue/Wet Exit:
Participants will learn and practice how to safely escape an overturned or “capsized” kayak, and then re-enter.

By Land

Human Knot:
Untangle the human knot. A team exercise requiring close proximity and ingenuity.

Alligator Pit:
The team is given a certain number of safe boards that will enable the crossing of a predetermined pit. The team must work together. This activity tends to require an emerging leader.

Human Letters:
Participants will be given a construct for communication: silence, yelling, polite, rude, etc. and must work together to form the letters of the alphabet. After completion of this activity, participants debrief the differing tones' effect on their mood, emotions, and desire to perform.

Helium Stick:
Everyone starts standing with their two index fingers supporting a paddle.  The goal is to set the paddle on the ground, although it seems the paddle may be filled with helium as it continues to rise despite the team’s efforts.

Mine Field:
Items are set out in the “field”. The teams goal is to safely get the blindfolded person across the field without coming into contact with any of the objects.

Remote Control:
A speaker who cannot see the scene, a blindfolded team member, and a mute crowd that can see the scene and who know what the end result must be, must find a way to communicate and work together to build a handful of objects into a certain structure.

Trust Fall:
Participants learn proper technique and then support each other through this exercise.

The Machine:
The turners of the rope determine a fixed pattern that the participants must pass through the jump rope in to successfully complete this exercise.

Get Ready, Go:
Start standing next to boats with no gear on. Put on gear, seal skirts, and launch. Participants must be ready and safe and make it to a marked location on the water.