Last updated March 27, 2023

If you are looking for a free team-building game that gets trainees engaged and that they normally have a lot of fun with, look no further than the classic ‘Arctic Team Building Game’ activity.

Duration and Cost

Arctic team building activity and icebreaker
  • 30 minutes is the ideal time frame to allocate to this team-building game.
  • FREE game.


Participants are separated into groups of 4 and each group is given a handout (with a list of items to choose from, as per the list shown below) and a pen.

Purpose of the Game

This is a classic game that has been used in various ways in the past and which still remains one of the simplest and best team-building games.

The participants are presented with a choice of only selecting 5 out of 21 items in order to survive in an imagined situation where they are lost in the arctic

This activity gets participants to share ideas and pushes them to discuss and debate a variety of options and choices and to think creatively.

The participants must choose from a:

  • backpack
  • box of matches
  • sleeping bag
  • compass
  • 25 kg of rice
  • canteen of water
  • portable gas stove
  • 5 chocolate bars
  • portable TV
  • 6 pack of beer
  • knife
  • books
  • magazines
  • pack of cigarettes
  • mirror
  • toilet paper
  • 4-pack of baked beans
  • machine gun
  • snow skis
  • pistol
  • map

This remains one of the simplest games both to play and to organize as a corporate training activity.

The challenge is for the participants is to select only 5 out of 21 items to take with them, in order to survive in the Arctic. 

In doing so, participants will have to discuss options, share ideas, debate, and maybe think out of the box. So, this activity can also be good as part of a creativity training session, as well as a team-building session.

Game Instructions

1. As the trainer, split the participants into groups of 5 (or 6 if you have a large attendance).

2. Then give each group the handout with the list of items to choose from and a pen (if they need one).

3. Each group then has 15 minutes to discuss which 5 items they would choose to keep.

4. After the 15 minutes is up, the trainer will choose 3 groups to explain which items they chose and why.

5. This activity can be kept to 30 minutes or can easily be extended to 45 minutes with a quarter of an hour spent on an open discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of each item.

Training Game Benefits

This activity pushes participants to communicate as a team by guiding them toward debating and discussing the items they would need to choose.

This task does also tend to showcase who the leaders are as one of the 4 team members will often take control of the group.

From a management point of view, this can be an especially interesting activity to observe if you are interested to see who the natural leaders are.

By mixing teams up, this is also a good way to get people to chat with others that they would otherwise not engage with.

This can also be a great activity internally for companies looking to get employees from different departments to know each other.

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Dr Valeria Lo Iacono