Everyone knows the importance of employee engagement. Team-building exercises help to create those personal bonds that bring teams together. Unfortunately, most traditional team bonding activities involve predictable (like trust falls) and “unfun” trips out of the office. Bring your people together with team outings people will actually look forward to.
Below are 50 fun and unique team outing ideas you can get started on right now.
1. Paperclip Trade-Up
This is a great way to push people out of their comfort zones and can be done in small or large groups. Major cities are ideal for this game, but any populous area is fine. Break into smaller teams and give each team a single paperclip. Set a time limit of an hour or more.
Each team must try to trade their paperclip with strangers. They can then try and trade whatever they get from the first trade. Meet up and see what final item each team has.
2. Try Live-Action Role Playing
Live-action role-playing (LARP) is among the most unique group activities. It is best to find a local role-playing group that can host the event for you. LARP is a bit like a real-life dungeons and dragons game, including the use of foam swords and armor.
In short, it involves participating in a narrative-driven story while dressed in character and, in some cases, may involve teams battling against each other.
3. Take a Survival Skill Test
Some scout or outdoor groups can host private events. Otherwise, you can plan an event yourself. Break into small teams and give each team a range of resources. Give the teams challenges such as “build a shelter” or “light a fire without matches.” At the end, discuss how each group of employees performed and what they learned from it.
4. Have an Amazing Race
Create a secret route around your city between unique venues and activities. Give each team an envelope with the first location and a short clue about the challenge. To find out the second location, they must complete the challenge, e.g., bowl a strike at the local bowling alley. The first team to complete all challenges and get to the end wins.
5. Try Tabletop Gaming
Tabletop gaming is ideal for small teams, particularly those who prefer smaller group activities. Unless members of your team are already active players, it is best to find a local game store or gaming group to host a tabletop gaming event. Players take control of mythical armies on a tabletop battlefield and attempt to out-strategize and out-maneuver each other.
6. Visit a Farm Day
This is a great activity whether you have a small or large team. It’s also an excellent opportunity to learn about each other and where your local produce comes from. Many farms can arrange private tours for small groups. However, some farms specialize in hosting corporate events and offer different options depending on the time of year.
7. Video Gaming Competition
Hook up a console to the television in the breakroom and start a video gaming tournament complete with prizes for a great time. Make sure you opt for video games that everyone can play (like Pac Man and Frogger) because not everyone on your team is necessarily a gamer.
8. Host a Chinese Hot Pot Dinner
There’s no better way than a shared experience, such as a communal meal, to strengthen team bonds. Hot pot is a bit like Korean barbecue. All you need is an electric frying pan, hot-pot flavor base (just ask at your local Asian supermarket), and an assortment of sliced or cubed meats, vegetables, and fish balls.
Place the pot in the middle of the table, add hot water, add hot pot base and bring to a low boil. Then add a generous assortment of selected meat and vegetables. After 5 minutes, they should be ready to eat. Each person can take a share of the cooked food in their own plate or bowl. Add more food to cook while eating the first batch.
9. Have Dinner in the Dark
For a really good time and to encourage conversation, ditch the work environment for dinner in the dark. Find a local food venue that can host a dinner in the dark event (many major cities will have one). The entire night is served in pitch black, so make sure everyone wears clothing that they’re willing to get food on.
10. Enjoy a High Tea
A high tea event is borrowed from the UK and is still uncommon in the US. Some high-end restaurants offer these events, and many coffee houses can assist. High tea is a great team outing and a low-key way for remote workers to get familiar with the team. It is basically tea and coffee served with a generous assortment of high-end baked goods and is a good way to facilitate conversation.
11. Take a Ride on a Scenic Railroad
Team building events are a great way to improve employee morale when run well, but it can be hard to find fun team building activities that everyone can participate in. There are plenty of operational vintage railroads that gives rides to the public. Many, such as the Branson Scenic Railway in Branson, Missouri, which goes through the Ozark Mountains, operate in scenic areas. Some offer food tours as well. There’s not much to it. Book a private train ride as a group and see how much fun can be had.
12. Take a Martial Arts or Self Defense Class
Martial arts are a great way to build self-discipline, respect, confidence, and team spirit. A great option is to take a basic self-defense class, as it’s usually low intensity and easy to remember. Contact your local martial arts or self-defense provider to book a class.
13. Have an Iron Chef Cook-Off
If you are looking for the best way to spice up the classic cook-off, this is it! You will need a group of eight people. Nominate two chefs and have the remaining six people bring random ingredients (one protein and one carbohydrate). Stock up on some basic staples in case not enough food is brought.
On the night, each chef chooses six ingredients and must cook a meal for four people in 90 minutes. Everyone gets a meal and can talk about and enjoy while judging the cooking.
14. Take a Pottery Class
If you are after new ideas for a team activity that the entire group can all enjoy regardless of age or physical ability, taking a pottery class is a great idea that’s often overlooked.
It is challenging enough that even the most ambitious team member will find it interesting, and yet it is simple enough that anyone can have fun, from beginner to expert. Simply find a local pottery school and book a private class.
15. Host a Comedy Contest
Find a local bar that has a private function room or a comedy club that hosts an open mic night. Try to encourage everyone to have a go presenting their best joke or short stand-up routine.
16. Take a Barista Course
Most people love a good coffee, but few can make a good coffee themselves. Find a local hospitality school that offers barista training and book in for a class. Have fun taste-testing each other’s coffees and have gift cards for the best coffee makers at the end.
17. Spend the Night at a Zoo or Nature Park
This idea is only available at limited locations, but some zoos and animal parks host campouts. These are nights where visitors can camp (safely) in certain parts of the park. Usually, guests will need their own sleeping bag and clothes, but everything else is usually provided. Contact your local zoo to find out if they offer an overnight stay.
18. Take a Street Art Tour
Many local artists are commissioned to paint murals and street art. In addition, unnamed artists often create striking and impressive graffiti art. Look up tour operators in your city to see if you can book a guided tour of your city’s street art.
19. Go Skywalking
The name can be different city-to-city, but the activity is the same. If you are near any major city with a prominent skyscraper, there’s a good chance that skywalking is available near you.
Skywalking operators put you in a safety harness and let you walk around special viewing decks on skyscrapers without safety rails. Some venues will even help you gain the confidence to lean off the edge supported only by your harness.
20. Visit a Tree Walk or Zipline
Tree walks are venues where high walkways are built between platforms in the trees, giving visitors a unique experience of the woods. Treetop ziplines are similar, but instead of walking, visitors zipline between trees. Many activity providers offer both at one location so everyone can choose the activity at their comfort level.
21. Try Sandboarding
To go sandboarding, you will need to find a professional operator to host the event as it requires specialized equipment. Sandboarding is available along most coastal areas as well as anywhere inland near sand dunes. It is similar to snowboarding, but is less common and usually more accessible.
22. Go Slacklining
At a basic level, slacklining is very easy to set up and can even be done in a local park. A basic slackline can be a strong rope, but specialist slacklines are also available. Set up a slack line between two trees or other solid objects, and start with it just off the ground when weight is applied.
Make sure slackliners wear a good helmet and then attempt to traverse between the trees balancing on the line. For beginners, extra support ropes can also be added.
23. Try Mountainboarding
Mountain boarding is best done by hiring a professional operator. It requires a mountain board (an off-road skateboard), a good helmet, protective clothing and pads, and a suitable hill to learn on. Riders ride down hillsides attempting to follow courses and avoid obstacles.
If you want a similar rush but that is less physically demanding (and also more accessible), visiting an indoor skydiving venue will provide plenty of adrenaline-charged fun.
24. Ride a Sand Yacht
To go sand yachting, you will need to find an event operator near you. Sand yachting involves riding wheeled land yachts along sand dunes using sails, not dissimilar to sailing yachts. Another variation involves riding similar land yachts over crass and fields.
25. Have an International Sports Day
Have a day playing an international sport such as Cricket, Soccer (European football), or even try Australian Rules Football (AFL). You will need to break into different teams, nominate team captains and find a field to play.
The rules for each sport are available online, but you can also ask any international team members to teach their favorite sport. By playing non-competitively, it won’t matter if your teams are a little too big or too small or if you make mistakes while learning the rules.
26. Try Axe Throwing
Axe throwing is rapidly growing in popularity, and more and more venues are opening up offering this activity. It’s a good casual activity and a great opportunity to get to know each other in a low-stress environment with friendly competition.
All you need is to find an axe-throwing club or venue near you and make a group booking for a private experience.
27. Visit a Trampoline Park
Visiting a trampoline park is a simple and fun activity, but due to its active nature, it can sometimes exclude the elderly and differently-abled, so keep your team in mind when planning your event. It’s also a very easy activity to organize, find a trampoline park near you and make a booking. Ideally, book a Friday, so everyone has the weekend to recover before coming back to work.
28. Take a Woodworking Workshop
Some workshops, such as woodworking, can be a weekend commitment or may run one or two nights a week for several weeks. Classes are available, from basic carpentry how-to classes to craft woodworking classes that will teach you how to do a small project during the class. However, if you have the time, it is a unique activity that builds practical skills and will allow everyone to learn new skills together.
29. Host a Debate
Debating is sometimes a lost art, but thinking critically and communicating effectively and persuasively are valuable professional skills. This makes hosting a debate one of the most valuable professional development activities you can do for team building. Select two teams of three to four people.
Choose a topic (avoid anything remotely polarizing). Set a date and time for the debate, and encourage the rest of the team to participate as the audience. Teams take turns in 3-minute rounds putting forward their argument for or against the topic. For extra competitiveness, nominate a judge and assign points for validity, clarity, and delivery of arguments.
30. Watch a Movie
Go to the cinema or watch a movie right there in the office. Make it a regular thing to reward your team for a job well done. Ask everyone what sort of movies they’re into and hold a vote over the course of the week. It’s a fun way of ending the week.
31. Go to the Theatre
If you want to do something more passive, like watching a movie but still want to spice things up and have a unique experience visiting a live theatre or an operator is a great opportunity. You don’t need to be near Broadway to enjoy theatre, simply find your local theatre group and look up their next show.
32. Have a Board Gaming Night
Ideally, collect an assortment of different games or ask your team for suggestions for their favorite board games. Choose a venue. Some game shops will have a dedicated game room available for rent. Make sure you choose a game suitable for the number of players you have. If you have more than six people, you will need to play two or more separate games.
33. Explain a Book
Some local libraries can assist with this event, but it can also be hosted just about anywhere. You may choose separate books for each person or have everyone read the same book. This event is more fun if your team has a lot of avid and/or fast readers. The idea is to have everyone have 4 hours to read a book (or as much of it as they can). They then need to explain to everyone else what they took from the book.
34. Golf Day
Contact your local golf club and book a corporate event. Most golf clubs can provide a trainer or coach for the day, as well as rental clubs. Bring your own polo shirt and sun visors. Golf is an often underrated sport. Simple in principle, it is harder both mentally and physically than it is given credit for.
Make sure to allow for a group for people that haven’t played golf or are beginners, as there will very likely be a set of people in this category. You could also consider providing an alternative for this group, like a Spa Day.
35. Paintball, Airsoft, or Laser Tag
Depending on the level of activity, ambition, and willingness to be shot with projectiles, any of these three sports are strong candidates for team building. Break into teams randomly, or host department vs. department games. These games develop leadership skills and unite groups to achieve a common goal. It is easiest to contact a local field who can provide all of the equipment necessary, just bring a good attitude.
36. Go Rock Climbing
Outdoor rock climbing does require a lot of experience and equipment, but indoor climbing venues can cater to climbers of any skill level. Find a local rock climbing gym and book a corporate event. They will provide all equipment, safety instruction, and instructors who can help coach people to improve their confidence and technique.
37. Pinot and Picasso
While wine tasting and art classes alone are common team-building exercises, wine drinking and art tutorials are fairly new. “Pinot and Picasso” under different names is increasingly offered by small art studios.
Operated as a “bring your own” venue in most cases, you can sip on your favorite wine while learning to paint. Some alcohol in moderation often helps less creative art students to loosen up and have an easier time letting their creative juices flow.
38. Go Go-Karting
The steps for this are quite simple, find your nearest go-kart track and book a team-building event. They will provide everything, karts and helmets. It’s advisable to bring gloves if you have them, wear long sleeves and long pants and fully enclosed shoes to make sure you are not denied on the day.
Go-kart racing for beginners is usually non-competitive, keeping it very safe. But you can still have a lot of fun seeing who overtakes who the most.
39. Sing Karaoke
There are several ways to host a karaoke night. For smaller teams, you can hire a karaoke machine and organize a private venue. Some venues may even have a karaoke machine available for bookings of private rooms. For smaller teams, you can just find a local karaoke bar and sing your worst while laughing and having a good time.
40. Go Orienteering
You will need a suitable outdoor area. A nature reserve is ideal. You will also need a detailed (1:25,000 or 1:50,000) topographic map, a good compass (e.g., Silva Ranger), a pencil, and a ruler for each team. You may also choose to hire a professional to run the event. Set up a course through your chosen wilderness area, and teams must use their map and compass to navigate through the course and make it to the end.
Camping is a great base for some of the other team-building activities. You will need a professional to host or overlook the event to do it safely. As a minimum, everyone will need a tent, a sleeping bag, and food. Some camps will provide cabins instead of tents, and sometimes even food can be arranged.
42. Horse Riding
Find a local horse riding school or trail riding operator and book a day of horse riding as a team. It’s a great way to enjoy a day in nature and take in the scenery. Plus, it’s a unique skill that many people will have never even tried, and it takes a lot more skill and patience than most new riders expect, which makes it a fun and fulfilling learning experience.
43. Team Picnic
Get all your team members together for a picnic on the lawn or to the nearest park. Set aside a budget for some food and encourage others to bring their own. It could even just be a round of takeout on a Friday afternoon. It’s the perfect way to get people socializing who otherwise wouldn’t speak about anything other than work.
44. Scavenger Hunt
Split your employees into groups and send them on a wild scavenger hunt around the city. Make the clues easy enough to follow but difficult enough to pose a challenge. Offer a prize at the end for the winning team. To make the most of your scavenger hunt, segregate the entire team early to mix things up.
45. Escape Room
Escape rooms are a great way to enhance how people work together. Breed creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills with your nearest escape room venue. Many escape rooms have rooms designed for both small and large groups, with varying themes and difficulty levels.
Give back to the community with an afternoon of volunteering. People love to feel valued, so volunteering is a fantastic way of boosting morale. Get suggestions from your team on what they would like to do and make it happen.
47. Happy Hour
Some corporate experts advise against anything to do with alcohol, but it can work when executed the right way. Let everyone quit work early and head to your nearest local venue for a happy hour on the company dime. If you need to get everyone relaxed after finishing a stressful project, happy hour is the way to do it.
48. Visit a Sports Event
Sometimes a change of scenery is what you need to refresh and recharge. Take everyone out to a local basketball, baseball, or football game. Find out who’s playing and what your team is into. Even if they’re not into sports, it’s a fun way of changing the pace of the office.
49. City Tour
Be a tourist in your own city by organizing a tour of some of the famous sites around town. Learn more about the communities you serve and stretch your legs with the help of a tour guide. If you’ve got the budget, you could even visit a nearby town or city.
50. Join a Local Club or Group
This may become a regular activity outside of work rather than a once-off event. In small groups of similar interests, find a local community or sports group that appeals and join together. This could be a kayaking club, book club, sewing club, or any other activity, e.g., kayaking or white water rafting.
Great team-building activities can make a big difference in team morale and the ability to work together. It is especially valuable for remote teams to get together once a year or so and to find creative ways to interact and build trust and friendship with each other quickly. The most important thing is to match your activity to the type of team you have.