Cooperation Exercise: Wear a Bandana

Cooperation Exercise: Wear a Bandana


This is a fun and entertaining team training exercise that helps you cover many topics such as team coordination, self-organisation, leadership, teamwork and cooperative behaviour while achieving a given goal quickly and efficiently.

Teams are assigned to wear a bandana in a way that it is different from other groups. The first group that does this successfully wins. The pressure to wear the bandana uniquely but quickly leads to complexities similar to those found when engaged in real-life projects. The time pressure helps to increase tension and stress so teams can practice working under pressure while achieving a goal.


Be the first to wear a bandana in a unique way that is different from all other groups. All members of a group must wear the bandana the same way to succeed.

What You Need

  • One bandana per delegate. Ideally you can use one colour or pattern for each group, though this is not a requirement.
  • Prize
  • Timer


  • Divide the delegates to groups of five. This is usually an ideal number for a team to practice inter-team communication skills. If you don’t have enough people, divide delegates into three groups.
  • Give a bandana to each person.
  • Explain that the objective of the exercise is that each group must wear a bandana in a unique way. All members of a group must wear the bandana in the same way. Declare that you will be the judge and that if even a single member is not wearing the bandana the same way as everyone else in that group, the team is disqualified.
  • Once a group has finished the task, it should shout “finished”.
  • Other groups should continue until all have successfully completed the task.
  • Their bandana style cannot be the same as groups that have already finished. Hence it is possible that two groups might be aiming to wear their bandana the same way and will be competing on timing. The failed group must then adopt a different style to finish successfully so it is very risky to compete on timing with another group as they can easily end up at the bottom of the ranking list.
  • Confirm that everyone has understood the objective.
  • On your mark, get the groups to start the activity.
  • Record the total time for each group as they finish. Create a ranking order based on completion times.
  • Give a prize to the group that finishes first.
  • Follow with a discussion to analyse their performance.


Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 10 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


What do you think of your teamwork? If you were the winning team, what contributed to your success? If you did not win, what slowed you down? Were you happy with the communication in your team? Did you nominate a leader? How did you coordinate your activities? How did you decide on a unique style of wearing a bandana? If you were to go through this exercise a second time what would you do differently? 

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