Outdoor team building activities: the one thing you need to try out, whether you just joined a new company and need to bond with your co-workers or you require some desperate family time and you need to spice things up. Employees, students, young adults, kids, and pretty much people everywhere can benefit greatly from outdoor team building activities. It’s an amazing way to connect with others, catch up on your skills and have some serious fun in the meantime.
It’s no secret that some friendly competition out in the sun is an amazing way to facilitate a positive environment and reduce stress levels. Below I will offer you some insight into outdoor team building activities from the benefits to some tips on how to organize such an event and even some great examples from which you can choose.
The Benefits of Outdoor Team Building Activities
Why outdoor team building activities right? Why not simply grab a ball and go and play some soccer or volleyball? Why go through all this trouble to organize team building events for your family or friends? Needless to say, there are tons of benefits to outdoor team building activities and I will be sure to list the most important ones in this article so that you can realize what an important tool they are.
First of all, they create a positive and healthy environment where people learn to relax, have fun and forget about their everyday problems. Stress is a major factor that damages people’s health and well-being. In that sense, outdoor team building activities are a great way to reduce stress. Not only are you outside, in nature, soaking the sun and fresh air ( which researchers have demonstrated to be a major benefit for your health ), but you are also in the company of other people, cooperating and communicating with them in a fun way.
Another benefit that must be taken into consideration is the fact that these activities improve your focus and creativity. They are a great assent when it comes to pushing players to use their imagination when the situation requires them to. Not only that, but winning takes effort and concentration. Depending on the type of activity, you need to be able to think clearly and creatively for your team to go all the way to the end.
Finally, another key benefit of outdoor team building activities is the fact that they improve communication among individuals, foster new and better relationships, and favors cooperation and collaboration between team members. A bunch of key benefits to be fair, but all of them stand at the basis of team building activities and are one of the major reasons why these games are preferred in corporate or educational environments.
How To Organize Outdoor Team Building Activities
Before you get into outdoor team building activities, it is important to understand how to plan such an event. Whether you are thinking of setting up a corporate team building event or simply trying to organize a fun day outdoors with your family or friends, you need to be aware of the basics.
First of all, you need to set some clear goals. Regardless of the nature of the event, you are planning, you need to be really concise about what you want the participants to learn after taking part in the activities planned. You need to establish some fundamental guidelines for the others to follow and you need to ensure that at the end of the day everybody will acquire some new skills or improve their preexisting ones.
Next, you need to find a proper time and place. When planning team building games and especially ones that are taking place outdoors, you have to make sure you are taking the spatial and temporal aspects of the event into account as well. The space chosen must be wide enough if you are thinking of incorporating some large-scale team building games. You must also ensure that you are not inconveniencing the bystanders. The same applies to the time period. If you are organizing a corporate event, most employees might have a problem with doing outdoor team building activities in their free time. Because of that, you need to sure everyone is on board with your plans.
And last but not least, you need to set up a budget. This might be an obvious one, but this is incredibly important, especially if you are dealing with a corporate event. You will need to take into account a large number of people, props, a location that may cost you money, etc. All of these factors will contribute to how big or small you want your budget to be. Rest assured, you have to remember to take the financial aspect into account as well.
Examples of Outdoor Team Building Activities
1. Capture the Flag
“Capture the Flag” is one of the most popular and practiced summer outdoor team building activities. The goal of the game is to capture the flag from your opponent and bring it to your team’s area without being stopped or apprehended. You need two teams to make the game work. The more people involved, the better. Each team will receive a flag that will try to be stolen by the opponents during the game. To emerge a winner within the game, you must rely on your teammates. All participants must be well organized and ready to engage together. This is a great activity because it allows a lot of people to come together and depend on one another for achieving their objectives. Not only that but it also encourages participants to think strategically and develop tactics
2. Scavenger Hunts
Another popular choice for outdoor team building activities is scavenger hunts. The goal of the game is for the players to find the treasure. As a game moderator, you first need to create a list of clues and then choose a location to hide those clues. You need to place them in strategic places: far enough so that the participants can switch locations but close enough so that the game won’t take hours to finish. Give the participants a time limit to complete the challenges and reach the treasure. The first team that manages to do that wins the game. Alternatively, this can also be done as an individual activity.
3. The Parachute Game
The Parachute Game is perfect for a group of teens or children looking to do some physical activity and have some fun in the meantime. The goal of the game is for all participants to move in a synchronized way while holding the parachute and make waves. This type of activity can be subject to a lot of variations, depending on what other items you have on hand or not. One extra variation would be adding a ball in the center of the parachute and make the players work together to flip it in the air and catch it in the middle of the fabric. It is a great way to test their coordination and ability to come together as a team. That being said, players can easily modify their movements and pick their tactics in search of victory. And on top of all that, it is a great way to spend your time in a fun and easy-going environment.
4. Field Day
Field Day is one of the best outdoor events to organize for large groups of people. And that is because it incorporates a series of activities that will sure to benefit everybody. We are talking about various physical challenges such as obstacle courses, frisbee golf, soccer, sack race, etc. To host such an event, simply divide your group into teams and keep a running score after each challenge. At the end of the day, announce the winner and make sure there are some prizes involved. This will keep people motivated to give their best shot when competing.
5. Egg Drop
If you are looking for an activity that will focus less on physical capabilities and more on creative thinking and problem-solving skills then this game is for you. Simply gather a few groups of people and provide them with an egg and materials to build a contraption that will allow them to drop the egg from a considerable height without breaking it. Participants will be given the task to design the contraption in a successful way. Allow them a specific time like 20 or 30 minutes and watch them use their imagination when developing various strategies to win the challenge. When the time runs out, each team will have to test their creation by going to the third or fourth floor of a building and drop their contraption. The team that manages to not damage the egg in the process wins the game. If more eggs survive the fall, have a tie-breaker by increasing the height until one egg remains intact.
6. Human Knot
The Human Knot Game is a very effective team building game. It is quite impressive and perfect for enhancing collaboration in every emerging team. The goal of the game is simple, yet hard to attain: the team must carefully untie its members who will form a carefully tight human knot. Be ready to bend, twirl and be as flexible as you can. In the beginning, it will be difficult, but because it is a team game you have to think about your members and work together to succeed. You need flexibility, coordination, and help from your team for a better result. This activity is a great way to improve team cooperation and communication. It gives you a better idea of how combined team efforts work and it’s an efficient method to build relationships.
7. Cross the River
This particular game focuses on cooperation and coordination. It is a great way to enhance group efforts in the pursuit of a common goal. It favors the bonding of individuals and builds an environment where people become more inclined to help one another, as part of a team. The basic aim of the game is quite simple: all participants must safely cross the river and reach the other side together, in order to win. Divide the space you have on hand and mark it using a rope. After you have your imaginary river set, put some “stones” on it that you will use to cross it. All players are required to walk only on the “rocks” available to them. No part of a person’s clothing or skin may touch the water. If someone falls, the whole team needs to start from the beginning. This type of game focuses a lot on communication between players. Reaching the goal takes planning and the precise execution and for this purpose, the team must come together for success.
8. Team Camp-Off
Are you a camping fan that wants to take things to the next level? Then this activity is for you. When enjoying the great outdoors, take some friends with you and turn the whole experience into a competition for some extra dose of fun. Simply switch your regular hiking and camping routine and transform it into an exciting event. During your trip, when you are about to make camp somewhere in the mountains, divide your group into two teams and put a time limit on how fast can each team organize a camp first. This is a fun way to ensure everyone has some extra good time when doing something mandatory and it also encourages individuals to communicate, come up with strategies and work well under pressure.
9. Cops and Robbers
This is one of the most fun outdoor team building activities out there that I greatly enjoyed playing as a teen. Simply gather everybody and divide them into “cops” and “robbers”. Then, hide one special item in the area you are playing in. The robbers will have to find and steal that item during the game while evading the cops’ attempt at putting them in jail. There are numerous alternatives to make this outdoor team building game even greater than it already is so make sure you give it a try. You can create a safe zone for the robbers or you can give a superpower to the cops each time they manage to catch a robber. The possibilities here are truly endless.
10. Freeze Tag
And lastly, we are closing our list with one of the classics: a game of tag, but with a slight variation to it. All you have to do is gather a group of people and choose one person that is “it” meaning he or she will be the one running after the others. That person has to freeze everyone else in order to win. You have to choose a large space to play in such as a park and you can even pick some spots as safe zones ( trees, benches, the swings in the playground, etc ). You can have either one or multiple runners depending on the desires of the players. This is a standard and time-honored game that will be sure to use up all of your stamina.