10 Critical Thinking Team Building Activities for Work

10 Critical Thinking Team Building Activities for Work

Are you looking for some critical thinking team building activities?

Employees who can think critically and solve complex problems are valuable assets to any company. With this skill, they can objectively analyze data and make informed decisions.

This will ease your job as a leader, right?

In this article, let’s see 10 critical thinking activities for your employees.

What are the Main Benefits of Critical Thinking in the Workplace?

Critical thinking helps employees to assess situations accurately and make sound decisions. When it is incorporated into the workplace, it can help teams become more collaborative and productive. Moreover, they can think strategically under pressure.

10 Critical Thinking Team Building Activities for Work

Here are 10 activities that will help your teams develop their critical thinking skills:

#1. Debate It Out

This activity requires teams to debate a controversial topic and come to a consensus.

Time: You decide

Materials: None

Participants: 3-10 people per group


• Break the participants into small groups and assign each group a controversial topic to debate.

• Give them some time to research their topics and discuss possible arguments.

• During the debate, encourage all group members to participate and cooperate while developing their arguments.

• Finally, each group should come up with a consensus.


Discuss how the groups reach a consensus. Ask them how they overcame disagreements to come to an agreement.

#2. The Challenge Quest

This activity requires employees to answer questions and solve puzzles to reach a common goal.

Time: You decide

Materials: Questions, puzzles, and clues about the given subject.

Participants: 3-10 people in a team


• Break the participants into teams and give each one a set of questions, puzzles, and clues related to a given topic. For example, the topic could be sustainability in the workplace.

• Give the teams time to discuss and answer each question or puzzle.

• Once they’ve answered all the questions, they must come up with a plan to reach a common goal.


During the debrief, see how each team worked together and what strategies they used to solve the puzzles. Encourage them to think strategically and in an orderly manner.

#3. Fishbowl

This team building activity requires employees to come up with solutions to a given problem.

Time: You decide

Materials: Questions, topics, and discussion prompts

Participants: 5-15 people per group


• Choose a person to be in the center of the circle that everyone else can see. Everyone else stands around them in a circle.

• Ask the group a question or provide a discussion prompt, and allow the person in the center to begin discussing their thoughts.

• Everyone else takes turns providing input and suggestions, helping the individual in the center reach a solution or conclusion.


Discuss how the group worked together to come up with ideas and solutions. Talk about what strategies were used, how people communicated, and any key points that came up during the discussion.

#4. Elimination Match

This exercise requires employees to use their strategic planning skills. Here groups must complete tasks quickly in order to win the game.

Time: 15-30 minutes

Materials: Cards with various tasks, such as creating a budget or developing a marketing plan

Participants: 5-10 people divided into teams of 2-3


• Ask teams to pick one card from the deck and assign each team the task indicated.

• Give them some time to complete their tasks.

• After the time is up, ask each team to present their results.

• Award points to the teams based on how well they completed the task, and choose the winner!


Discuss how each group planned and worked together to complete the task. Also, talk about the importance of thinking critically and strategically under pressure.

#5. Quick Brainstorming

In this activity, employees must quickly brainstorm ideas in order to come up with solutions.

Time: 5 minutes

Materials: Problem and discussion prompts

Participants: 4-10 people per team


• Initially, present a problem to the group. Next, give them 2-3 minutes to brainstorm as many solutions as possible.

• Have each team present their ideas.

• Ask the teams to discuss each solution and vote on the best one.


Have employees reflect on the ideas that were generated during the activity. Discuss how open and honest communication can help groups come up with creative solutions in a short amount of time.

#6. Creative Writing

This team building exercise encourages employees to think creatively while crafting a story.

Time: 15-30 minutes

Materials: Story prompts and writing utensils

Participants: 4-10 people in a group


• Give each group a short story or scenario to work with.

• Have the groups discuss potential plot points, character traits, and other creative aspects of the story.

• Each group should write the completed story collaboratively.


Evaluate the effectiveness of teamwork and recognize any biases or patterns noticed while writing the stories. Talk about how important it is to communicate openly and consider different perspectives while solving problems.

#7. The Exchange

This exercise requires teams to work together by exchanging and reallocating items.

Time: 10-20 minutes

Materials: Any items needed to complete the task such as cards, balls, puzzles, etc.

Participants: At least two teams of any size


• Give each team a different task to complete. For example, building the highest tower or creating the most complex puzzle.

• Provide a set of items to each team.

• Allow them to exchange items with the other teams until they have created their final product.


Evaluate the team members’ problem-solving abilities and recognize any biases that may have impacted their decisions. Also, assess what they learned about communication and collaboration during the exercise. ​​​ ​​

#8. Idea Generation Game

This team building activity encourages groups to think creatively by generating ideas for a particular challenge.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Materials: Any items needed to complete the task such as construction paper, tape, scissors, etc.

Participants: 3-10 members in a team


• Assign each team a set of items and ask them to come up with an innovative idea or invention using the materials provided.

• Encourage them to brainstorm and generate ideas with their team members.

• Allow each team to create prototypes or models of their idea if desired.


Evaluate the creative problem-solving skills displayed by team members. Also, identify any potential areas for improvement.​​ ​​

#9. The Case Study

This activity encourages employees to collaborate and think critically in order to solve a case study.

Time: You decide

Materials: Case study, research materials, and discussion prompts

Participants: Any number of members per group


• Present the groups with a case study that requires critical thinking to solve.

• Provide them with research materials and discussion prompts to come up with solutions.

• Each group should present their findings and solutions to the other groups.


Assess how well the teams worked together, and evaluate their strategies for problem-solving. Also, discuss which solution was the most effective.​​​ ​​​ ​​

#10. Desert Survival

This exercise encourages employees to work together and think critically in order to survive in the desert.

Time: You decide

Materials: A list of items, paper, and pen

Participants: Teams of 3-8 members


• Each team should assume that they are stuck in a desert. Their goal is to come up with solutions for survival.

• Now, provide a list of 10 items to each team. Some of the items can be food, shelter, water, etc.

• Instruct them to choose five items from the list that they value the most.

• After a few minutes, ask each team to present their solution.

• Award points to the teams based on how effectively they used the items to survive.


Discuss how the teams used their problem solving skills to come up with solutions and ask them what other strategies they could have used in this situation. Also, talk about the importance of being able to think critically and strategically under pressure.

Want Unique Team Building Exercises?

If you want some unique team building exercises for your employees, you can get my new e-book:

The Busy Leader’s Guide of Unique Team Building Activities: 30 Fully Customizable Exercises That You Can Conduct with Any Group of Employees, Anywhere

Final Words

Teams can enhance their critical thinking skills by taking part in the above-mentioned activities in a fun and collaborative environment. Since everyone has varying viewpoints, you must exercise patience and respect while exchanging ideas. Finally, conducting a debrief after each activity is essential to help everyone gain insight from the experience and incorporate it into future scenarios.

FAQ: Critical Thinking Team Building Activities

You might have these questions in mind.

What are critical thinking activities?

These are exercises that can help your teams to think outside the box and solve complex problems. They will help your employees work under pressure and make the right decisions.

What are some critical thinking 5-minute team building activities?

Some 5-minute activities that can help your employees think critically are Idea Generation Game, Quick Brainstorming, and The Challenge Quest.

How does improving critical thinking skills increase workplace performance?

Having good critical thinking skills helps employees think strategically and analyze data efficiently. They also become better problem solvers and are able to generate innovative solutions more quickly. All of this helps to improve overall workplace performance and productivity.

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