How to Plan an Outdoor Team Building Event
There is a reason why it’s called “the great outdoors” – everyone loves to get outside to play when the weather is beautiful! Take advantage of that and consider hosting an outdoor team building event for your next get-together. Read on to learn more about the who, what, when, where and how of outdoor team building events…
Who should participate in an outdoor team building event?
Anyone looking to take a “brain break” from meetings, looking to engage employees, and/or those who are interested in connecting with their colleagues in a meaningful way will enjoy an outdoor team building activity. That being said, do keep your demographic in mind and consider the environment where it will be hosted. For instance, avoid rough terrain if people in your group are older or have special needs, and if the weather is a scorcher, look for a shady area to host the activity.
Why should I host an outdoor team building event?
- For the last few years, people were isolated, many of them indoors. They are READY to go outside and enjoy the fresh air, so accommodate them with an outdoor team building activity. Our team building company, Wildly Different has been inundated with requests for outdoor team building events since groups are planning more in-person team activities. With that, many planners and meeting attendees agree that congregating outdoors vs. a more confined space indoors feels safer and healthier.
- Remember what it was like when you were in school and you stared out the window daydreaming and longing to leave the classroom to play outside? That little kid lives on in all of us and your colleagues feel the same way today. Meeting participants are itching for a change of scenery, even more so if your meeting room or the venue where you’ve been all day has no windows or natural light.
- There are also known health benefits of holding a team builder outside. When you go outside, your brain produces endorphins, which help you create positive changes in your overall state of mind including improved concentration and stress reduction. Plus Vitamin D generated by exposure to sunshine protects neurons in the brain and reduces inflammation, making a dose of sunshine a healthy thing!
Where should I host my outdoor team building event?
- Any open space will do for an outdoor team building event – a lawn, the beach, poolside, etc.
- If you don’t have time to go off site and your meeting venue does not have one large space, consider doing a kick-off indoors and have guests consult a map where they can go to visit game stations set up in pockets of spaces around your venue to earn points. For example, check out The Amazing Chase.
- If your venue has no space at all, there’s always the option to host a scavenger hunt where your attendees can walk around outdoors to find and complete challenges without the need for booking a dedicated space. You can also have attendees do this around a city center to experience the local area. One example of this is The Great Race.
What types of events are ideal for an outdoor team building event?
- Relay games – Like an old-fashioned Field Day when you were at school or something like our “The Games,” which is inspired by the Olympics!
- Game stations – Set up challenges throughout your venue that attendees must find and compete in. These work perfectly when tied together with a theme, such as those that are a part of our Amazing Chase, SurStrivor, Summer Camp Challenge and Football Frenzy activities.
- Scavenger hunts
- Table games – If you prefer to host an event that is less physical, you can still take games played at team tables outside. We’ve played Game Shows, Crunch Time (a series of Minute To Win It-style games), charitable events and others around tables set up outdoors.
- Water-based games – These are perfect if you want your guests to enjoy the outdoors and stay cool while doing it. An example of one of these would be our Float Your Boat event, a classic where teams build boats that two people on their team must race in using nothing else but cardboard and duct tape!
How should I go about planning an outdoor team building event?
There are definitely components you don’t have to consider for indoor team building events that you should keep in mind when planning an outdoor team building event. For instance:
- If you are hosting an event in a public space, check to see if you need a permit. There’s nothing worse than being asked to leave halfway through one of your events if you did not secure this!
- Be courteous of your surroundings, as noise carries and it’s easy for your outdoor team building event to disturb others. For that same reason, have a sound system, as the lack of walls means sound carries, but the actual words may be hard for your group to discern.
- Take breaks, keep people hydrated and consider offering ice-soaked washcloths to keep guests comfortable and help them avoid sun and heat stroke.
- Whenever possible, set your outdoor team building event up in shade or set up shade tents for people to take breaks under.
- Have a rain back-up plan and check the weather in the days just before. Knowing when to play outdoors is also key. I.e. it rains every afternoon in Florida in the summer, so you’d probably want to host your event in the morning.
- Provide sunscreen and bug spray for your attendees.
- Instruct attendees to dress appropriately – casual dress and comfortable shoes are key!
- Nature is beautiful, but wide-open spaces can look empty. To really make an impact add colorful décor such as flutter flags.
Now that you have all the tools you need to host an outdoor team building event, in the words of your mother, “Get out there and go play!”