There’s nothing like the great outdoors! Give your team a break from work with some great outdoor team building activities. These are some of the most effective (and fun) ways to strengthen bonds, enhance friendships, and increase cooperation and productivity across your team. If you’re not sure where to start, give some of these a shot:
Want to keep it simple? Try playing some old school "field day" activities during an extended lunch break or company BBQ. This is pretty easy, just set up a few inexpensive challenges around the area like a beanbag tossing ring, a potato sack race, a small croquet course, and maybe even a spot for tug of war. Split your group up into teams and have someone keep a tally of which teams win the challenges. This is a great outdoor team building activity for groups who want some friendly competition, good food, and a chance to socialize!
If your team loves mysteries and brainteasers, try putting together a mock crime scene outside of the office or at a local park. (Of course, you should keep it PG, especially if you’re doing it at the park). This is a great way to test your team’s critical thinking skills, and it’d be even better if you tailored some riddles or pieces of evidence to your teammates’ interests or strengths. That will let everyone play a crucial role in moving the investigation forward!
If a crime investigation is a bit too elaborate, how about a game of soccer—blindfolded? This is a classic outdoor team building activity in which two teams are made up of multiple pairs of people—one is blindfolded while the other isn’t. Only the “blind” teammate is allowed to handle the ball while the unblind team member has to guide him or her around the course and to the ball or goal. The first team that scores five goals wins!
You could also get your team involved in a charitable event. There are plenty of ways to do this, just look up volunteer opportunities near your business and choose whatever seems the most relevant to your team, or even take an office poll. Soup kitchens and construction volunteer events are always popular, and the bond your group will form during these events will be strong ones.
It’s hard work, and your team will need to coordinate their actions to pull it off, but by the end of the day, everyone will feel generous, happy, and purposeful. If you have a group of animal lovers, volunteering at a local shelter to feed and walk the animals is also a great way to spend the day!
This is a perfect outdoor team building activity if you want to get everyone strategizing! Organize your group into teams of three and task them with creating a container that will keep a dropped egg from breaking. The egg will be dropped from a fixed height, so the team will have to construct a container that will catch it from the ground. That might sound easy, but they only have straws, tape, and balloons to work with! Whenever a team catches the egg without it breaking, give them a small prize and let them help the other teams. It’s always great to see what clever innovations some teams come up with. Better yet, this activity can typically be played in the parking lot outside of work!
Have you ever seen videos of those inflatable bubbles that you can actually wear over the top half of your body? Google "bumper balls" and you'll get the idea. Rent one bumper ball for each member of your team (remind them to bring in sneakers for the day) and head to a local field or park. Have everyone put on their bumper balls and then designate someone as being "it." That person has to run around and try to tag or "bump" into another bubble person. Don't forget to have someone record a video of this! It's definitely an entertaining and hilarious outdoor team building activity.
If you have a competitive group that would enjoy a more physical outdoor team building activity, bandana football is a lot of fun! It’s basically flag football but with bandanas (they’re typically easier to find in the store). It’s a simple game: two teams try to earn points by bringing a football into the opposing team’s goal post or goal area (ie: space between cones), but there’s no tackling here! Whenever you want to stop the person running with the ball, you have to remove the bandana that’s dangling out of their pocket. Make sure everyone has their shirts tucked in and is dressed for running!
Also called "frisbee golf," lots of local parks have disc golf courses that are super fun and pretty addicting (in a good way). Once you find a disc golf course near you, split your team into groups of two and play the course—seeing how many throws it takes to land the frisbee in each of the baskets around the course. The goal is to have the least amount of throws to get the frisbee in the basket.
It’s one thing to throw your team a party in the office – but if you really want to give them an experience they’ll never forget, take them out of their comfort zones and let them figure things out together. Hosting outdoor team building activities is a great way to re-introduce employees outside of the office since you’ll get to see a new side of them, and the fresh air and excitement will get everyone in a great, collaborative mood. Even if working at charities, playing bandana football, or solving a mock criminal investigation might seem irrelevant, there are countless transferable skills that your team will pick up on, and they’ll bring their stronger bonds back to the office!
If the activity you have in mind will involve a lot of moving or if you think your team will have to dress for the weather, definitely let them know about it far ahead of time. This will give everyone a chance to get ready, but it will also let them have time to bring up any issues they see arising. (Maybe the animal shelter isn’t a good idea if Sheryl is deathly allergic to cats!) This is especially important if you’re going to do something messy, so make sure you sent plenty of reminders to your team to bring a change of clothes. The same goes for events that involve a lot of physical activity – running in slacks and a button-down shirt isn’t fun in any weather! Finally, just make sure you set clear expectations about what’s going on, where it’s happening, and what team members ought to bring.
Different groups will like different kinds of activities. If you and your team like fast-moving, high-energy games, then you probably want to use some of the more active outdoor team building activities like Bandana Football and Blind Soccer. If they’re all about brainteasers and investigative games then more strategic activities like CI: Corporate Investigation and Save the Egg are great choices. You can also just work together on a charitable event like constructing a house or contributing at the local soup kitchen, or just enjoy a company picnic with various games like croquet, darts, and a sack race.
You might not have to drive anywhere! Before you start planning carpool groups, take a look for open areas of grass or empty sections of the parking lot near your office. These can be perfect for your outdoor team building activity, and they’re much more convenient for everyone in the office. If that isn’t an option, then finding nearby parks, empty public sports fields, or even a beach are all good options – just make sure you plan transportation a few days ahead of time!