Calculator Team Building Activity


In this activity, the team has to touch all the numbers on the ‘calculator’ from 1 to 20 in sequence. They will get two attempts and the objective is to improve their time.


  • 20 pieces of paper, numbered 1 – 20
  • Rope or masking tape to mark out the calculator (approx. 7m in length)
  • Timer

Space Required: Medium. Outdoors or indoors.

Group Size: 6 – 10 participants.

Total Time: 30 minutes

  •    10 minutes to brief and setup
  •    10 minutes for the activity
  •    10 minutes to review and debrief


  •    Create the ‘calculator’ by marking out a large rectangle (approximately 1.5m by 2m)  with enough rows and columns for 20 numbers. Place the numbered pieces of paper into the ‘calculator’. You can do place the numbers in sequence or jumble them up to make the task more difficult.
  •    Mark out a starting line that is 5m away from the ‘calculator’.

Calculator Team Building Activity

Running the Activity

  •    Explain the activity: Each team is tasked with pressing each ‘button’ on the ‘calculator’ in sequence, from 1 to 20. They will get 5 minutes of planning time before each attempt. Once ready, the facilitator will begin the activity and time how long it takes for the team to complete the task. In the second round, the team’s aim is to lower their time.
  •    The team receives 5 minutes of planning time to plan their strategy.
  •    Once they are ready, they can begin the activity. The facilitator will time how long it takes to complete the task.
  •    At the end of the activity, the team is informed of their time. Then the second round begins; they are given 5 minutes to devise a new strategy that will lower their time.


  •    The team must start and end the activity with all members standing behind the starting line.
  •    Each team member must touch one number.
  •    Only one person can touch each number.
  •    All team members must stand on the outside of the ‘calculator’ except for the person who is touching a number.
  •  The numbers must be touched in sequence; if not, the team must restart from 1.

Suggested Learning Outcomes

  •    Communication
  •    Teamwork
  •    Strategy
  •    Planning

Activity Guidance and Notes

This activity promotes better communication between team members and highlights the importance of planning . How smoothly the activity goes depends largely on how well the team plans their approach to the ‘calculator’.

If you think that the team can further improve their time after their second attempt, you can give them a third try at the activity.


Suggested questions to ask:

  •    How did the planning time help you execute the activity?
  •    What problems did you encounter during the challenge?
  •    Did you identify a leader? How was leadership demonstrated during the challenge?
  •    How well did you communicate during the challenge?
  •    How did the team act differently in the second round?
  •    What did you learn from the challenge?

1 Comment

  1. Hi have used this activity a lot I turn the numbers upside down it makes the challenge/problem solving a lot better Only one person inside the calculator they can only turn numbers over one at a time if not the next no. put back down up side down .ALL OTHERS OUT SIDE CALCULATOR CAN’T TOUCH No.

Leave A Reply

Get 30 of our best Team Building Activities in one PDF eBook!