25 Outdoor Team-Building Activities & Games

A young Black woman leads her team in a project meeting

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INTOO Staff Writer

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Keeping employees engaged and thriving requires more than just good pay——it necessitates fostering a vibrant team culture year-round. That’s where outdoor team-building activities come in. These activities take your team out of the daily office routine and into a fresh invigorating environment. This break from the ordinary fosters creativity, breaks down communication barriers, and allows team members to connect on a deeper level. While these activities are fun, they’re strategically designed to address critical areas that benefit your team back in the office.

This article covers a list of 25 unique outdoor team-building activities, each offering a specific way to strengthen your team. 

How Are Outdoor Team-Building Activities Beneficial?

Outdoor team-building activities offer a stimulating way to boost your team’s effectiveness. These activities encourage teamwork, problem-solving, and trust-building in a fun setting. They allow employees to see each other in a new light, discover hidden talents, and build stronger relationships. Team members return to the office with improved communication and collaboration and inspired with new ideas. The social aspects also benefit your team, creating a sense of camaraderie and making your employees better friends and colleagues, leading to a happier and more productive work environment.

25 Outdoor Team-Building Activities and Games  

Now that you know the advantages of taking your team outdoors, let’s explore some fantastic outdoor team-building activity ideas:

1. Scavenger hunt 

This ever-popular activity can be customized for any location and skill level. Create a list of clues or challenges that lead participants around a park, neighborhood, or even your own office grounds. Teams work together to decipher clues, find hidden objects, and complete tasks. This classic activity encourages teamwork, communication, and critical thinking.

2. Egg drop challenge

This classic engineering challenge encourages creativity, resourcefulness, and collaboration as teams design and build a container to protect an egg from a fall. It fosters innovative thinking and teamwork, as participants must brainstorm, test, and refine their ideas to achieve a common goal. Teams are tasked with building a contraption using readily available materials (cardboard, tape, straws, etc.) to protect a raw egg from a significant drop. The team with the unbroken egg wins!

3. Blind retriever

This activity emphasizes communication and trust. Teams line up with one person blindfolded at the front. The rest of the team, through verbal instructions only, guides the blindfolded teammate to retrieve an object placed a distance away. This exercise highlights the importance of clear instructions, active listening, and trust.

4. Wild goose chase

Incorporate technology into your team-building with a “Wild Goose Chase.” Teams use their smartphones with apps or online tools to complete a series of challenges around town. These challenges could involve taking pictures, filming short videos, or answering trivia questions. This activity gets people moving, using technology creatively, and working together to achieve a goal.

5. Rope course challenge

Challenge your team to a ropes course adventure! Working together on a high ropes course can be a thrilling way to overcome fears, build trust, and rely on teammates for support. This activity, done at a ropes course facility, is perfect for teams seeking a physically and mentally stimulating experience.

6. Cardboard boat-building competition 

Get creative and resourceful with a cardboard boat-building competition. Teams are challenged to build seaworthy (or at least semi-seaworthy) vessels from cardboard and other readily available materials. Then, they race their creations across a small body of water (a lake, pond, or even a large pool). This activity encourages imagination, resourcefulness, and problem-solving skills.

A team of employees work together to plant a tree

7. Tree-planting or community service project 

Are you looking for a team-building activity with a social impact? Organize a tree-planting or community service project. Working together for a common goal strengthens team bonds while giving back to the community.

8. Capture the flag

This classic game gets everyone moving and working together. Divide the group into two teams and designate “bases” on opposite sides of a playing field. Each team has a flag at its base. Teams try to capture the other team’s flag while protecting their own. This activity promotes teamwork, strategy development, and physical activity.

9. Obstacle course race 

Design a physical obstacle course using cones, tires, ropes, and other easily accessible materials. Teams race against each other or the clock, navigating the obstacles and working together to complete the course. This activity is fun, as team members cheer each other on as they advance toward the finish line.

10. Team sports tournament

Organize a friendly competition in a sport like volleyball, basketball, or soccer. This promotes teamwork, communication, competitiveness, and a sense of camaraderie. Participants work together towards a common goal, strengthening their bonds and fostering a healthy competitive spirit.

11. The human knot

This activity is a great way to test effective communication and problem-solving skills. Have team members stand in a circle and reach out with their right hand to grab the hand of someone not directly next to them. Then, instruct them to reach out with their left hand to grab another hand, creating a tangled mess. Now, the team has to work together, without talking, to untangle the human knot they’ve created.

12. Group juggling 

Juggling together is a fun activity emphasizing communication, coordination, and patience. It’s a lighthearted way to build trust and break the ice. Teams must synchronize their efforts and support each other, making it a playful yet effective team-building exercise.

13. Water-balloon toss

This lighthearted activity is a fun way to cool down on a hot day and encourage communication and coordination. Divide the team into pairs and have them stand a certain distance apart. The goal is to toss water balloons back and forth without dropping them. Teams can gradually increase the distance as they get better. 

14. Photo scavenger hunt

Combine a scavenger hunt with a photo challenge. Create a list of items or locations for teams to find outdoors. However, instead of simply collecting the items, they must take a creative photo with each one. This activity encourages exploration, teamwork, and creative thinking.

15. Blindfolded taste test

This activity is a fun way to challenge taste buds and communication skills. Blindfold volunteers from each team and have them taste different foods or drinks. Their teammates then need to guide them through identifying the flavors using only verbal descriptions. This activity promotes trust, communication, and vulnerability.

16. Giant “Jenga”

Take the classic game of Jenga to a whole new level with a giant outdoor version. Teams work together strategically, deciding which block to remove from the tower without causing it to collapse. This activity encourages teamwork and planning.

17. Nature hike and scavenger hunt

Combine a scenic hike with a scavenger hunt. Create a list of natural objects to find along the trail, such as different types of leaves, animal tracks, or specific types of trees. This activity promotes teamwork, observation skills, and appreciation for the outdoors.

18. Campfire cooking competition

Set up a campfire outdoors and a variety of ingredients and organize a cooking competition. Teams can be judged on the creativity, taste, and presentation of their dishes. This activity fosters teamwork, resourcefulness, and socializing.

19. Group yoga or fitness challenge

Promote relaxation and well-being with a group yoga or fitness challenge outdoors. Hire an instructor to lead a yoga session or design a group fitness challenge that everyone can participate in at their own pace. This activity is an excellent way to de-stress, improve physical well-being, and bond as a team.

20. “The Amazing Race”

Create your own “Amazing Race”-style competition outdoors. Design a series of challenges spread across different locations, requiring teams to complete them sequentially. Challenges can involve physical tasks, mental puzzles, or creative problem-solving. This activity gets everyone moving, working together strategically, and fosters a sense of accomplishment.

A team of employees clean up a beach

21. Beach cleanup and picnic

Give back to the environment and enjoy a relaxing day at the beach with a beach cleanup and picnic combo. Teams can work together to collect trash along the shoreline, followed by a picnic lunch or barbecue. This activity promotes environmental awareness, selflessness, and an appreciation for volunteerism.

22. Flashlight tag

Turn a classic game into a nighttime adventure with flashlight tag. Divide the team into two teams and play a game of tag after dark, with flashlights as the only light source. This activity is a fun and energetic way to bond as a team in a unique setting.

23. Archery or axe-throwing challenge

For a more adventurous team, consider an archery or axe-throwing challenge. Take your team to a facility where they can learn the basics of archery or axe-throwing in a safe and controlled environment. This activity promotes focus, hand-eye coordination, and friendly competition.

24. Board game tournament

Organize a tournament for classic board games or outdoor strategy games. These games promote strategic thinking, communication, and friendly competition in a relaxed setting. Team members engage in lighthearted rivalry, developing tactical skills and building stronger interpersonal connections.

25. Movie night under the stars

Set up a projector and screen for an outdoor movie night. This allows for casual interaction, team bonding, and a shared enjoyable experience in a relaxed atmosphere. It provides a break from routine work, fostering relaxation and informal team connections.

Try Outdoor Team-Building Activities with Your Employees

Survey team members to gauge interest in activities on this list or surprise them with an unexpected activity. Use the success of each activity to make recommendations to other teams within your organization, so that every employee has the opportunity to bond, develop their collaborative and strategic skills, and enjoy the workplace culture.

Looking for additional ways to develop your employees? INTOO offers dynamic career development programming, including interactive training sessions, workshops, and career coaching. Contact us today to learn more.

INTOO Staff Writer

INTOO staff writers come from diverse backgrounds and have extensive experience writing about topics that matter to the HR and business communities, including outplacement, layoffs, career development, internal mobility, candidate experience, succession planning, talent acquisition, and more.

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