Outdoor Team Building Activities are a great way of finding out how well you work as part of a team. But why should you bother?
What are Outdoor Team Building Activities All About?
Team building games and activities are designed to create a challenge that enables you to show how you work in a team. Do you lead, or are you a team player?
Part of the challenge is to actually get on and work out how to solve the problem given to you. In the early stages, help to encourage all members of your team to come up with ideas on how to solve the task given to you. If you pay attention and listen to what they say, you will be able to work out what strengths each member of the team has.
Taking part in team building activities and working as part of a team helps you to develop personal skills, leadership skills, team skills, communication skills and problem solving skills.
Outdoor Team Building Activities Ideas
Because I am getting a lot of interest in team building activities ideas, I have set up a complete website dedicated to team building. allabouttreambuilding.com contains an ever growing resource of ideas for team building activities. It has guides and advice on how to get the best from your team building.
Meanwhile, to help you with ideas for planning and organising your team building activities, I have organised the ideas into 10 categories:
- Team Building Ideas
- Ice Breaker Games
- Team Building Activities for Kids
- Team Building Activities for Teens
- Team Building Activities for Adults
- Team building activities for Work
- Leadership Skills
- Problem Solving Activities
- Physical Team Building Activities
- Quick Team Building Activities
You can discover more ideas on each of the team building topics at the end of this article. This is an ever expanding resource, so come back regularly to get the latest ideas.
Why Bother With Team Building Activities?
Life is full of challenges, and one the biggest challenges is to work with others in society. To get the best from your working life, you will need to work out how to work in a team. So, when those team building activities are thrown at you, rise to the challenge and show them what you've got.
Successful Team Building Activities and Games
Define the Purpose of the Team Building Activities
The team building challenge should have a clearly defined goal to strive for. To be worth doing, the goal should be challenging but achievable. If the goal seems too impossible, it stops being challenging and becomes demoralising.
Team building activities should be relevant to the team.
There needs to be some motivation for undertaking the challenge. A reward, a prize, the thrill of doing it (fun stuff and adventure), or the satisfaction from achievement and winning.
Fun should be a primary factor in all team building activities for teens and adults. These free fun teambuilding ideas are proven to develop teamwork. Some team building courses focus on taking people out of their comfort zone to see how they perform under stress. They end up alienating people who then disengage from the team building process.
A lot of people need an incentive or motivation to participate in a team building game. Some are shy, or just not outdoors people. Not everyone enjoys physical exercise, especially if it exposes your weaknesses.
Work to Your Strengths
These team building activities for teens will help teens to identify their strengths and also how they can improve. If there are problems in the team, then the team should be mentored to demonstrate how things could be done. Rather than point out mistakes and weaknesses, advice and guidance should be given. This should be done positively, and help to show how things should be done and how it is achieveable by working as a team.
Outdoor Team Building Activities Ideas
Team Building Ice Breakers
The aim of ice breakers is to enable team members to get to know each other better. Sometimes you may go away on team building days or team building weekends where you have never met anyone in your team before. This can be a bit daunting. Fear not, there is a simple way to do it.
- Actively Listen -
During the ice breaker, go up and introduce yourself and then encourage the other person to talk about themselves. Everyone loves talking about themselves. If you can ask the right questions, you will soon get to learn a little about what they like. You may find you have something in common. You could ask about music, TV, computers, hobbies, sports, or even what they think about team building ice breakers. Just make sure you listen to what they say, and don't criticise them.
As you talk, you may pick up on skills that they have that will help in your team building activities. Can they tie knots? Are they good at swimming? Can they do first aid? Are they fit? Are they clever?
Read the full list of Ice Breaker Games.
Ideas for Team Building Activities, Games and Challenges
Here are a few example ideas for some team building activities. If you want some more ideas, I have compiled a big list of over 50 tried and tested team building activities for teens.
There are a range of team building activities for teens that involve blindfolds. The challenge could involve every team member being blindfolded and having to complete a challenge, or for everyone apart from the team leader to be blindfolded and to have the team leader direct the rest of the team without physically helping them.
Blindfolded team building activities could include putting up a tent, cross an obstacle course, complete a maze, find something, or team herding. Team herding is where the team leader is the shepherd, and has to use voice commands alone to direct his blindfolded sheep from random places to get them inside a circle on the ground (the pen). The fastest team wins. To add confusion, get all teams to do it at the same time. The combined shouts of all of the team leaders can totally confuse everyone.
Drop of the team two miles from a landmark such as a church with a spire. They then have to find their way on foot without maps to the landmark. Make sure the team has a mobile phone.
Games played over a wide area, usually at night. The most common one is capture the flag. This is where a flag is placed in each team's base. The bases are located a good 500 metres apart. The teams have to guard their own base whilst sneaking in and taking the flag from the other base. Rules are similar to touch rugby in that there should be no rough stuff.
Water Barrel Swap
Tie a pulley to a tree branch and pass a rope through it. Tie a barrel to each end of the rope. Fill one barrel with water. Then fence off an area around the barrels. The challenge is to swap positions of the barrels without anyone touching the floor inside the fenced off area, or touch the barrels.
Create a swamp, and then the teams have to cross it without going in it. They can be provided with a variety of useful and unuseful equipment. Planks and bricks are commonly used. You can also get the teams to make a bridge.
Get Container from Fenced Area
Place a container inside a fenced off area. The teams are then given a range of equipment to reach and remove the container with it or the equipment touching the ground. Poles and ropes are the main bits of kit. If the canister is light, then the use of an elastic band and four pieces of string are a quick extraction solution.
Film Canister Retrieval from Tube Using Water
Mount a length of plastic drainpipe vertically. Seal off the bottom. Drop in a plastic film canister. The team then has to use their initiative to get the canister out. It will of course be too narrow to get your hand in, and the use of a stick will not work. The solution is to pour in water to make the canister float to the top of the drainpipe.
Carry Bucket of Water Along Rope Over Obstacle course
Make an obstacle course and string a rope along it. Then put the rope through the handle of a bucket of water. The team then has to work together to get the bucket along the length of rope over the obstacles without spilling any water.
Read the full list of obstacle course ideas.
As a team, get over a ten foot wall.
Using make up and a good bit of acting, you can set up a first aid practice incident.
Make sure you use life jackets for this one! Make a raft using materials given, and paddle across some still water such as a lake or canal. It is best not to do it on moving water as if someone falls in you may not be able to get to them. Take all necessary precautions. If you don't know what they are, ask a teambuilding expert.
Using materials given, make a bridge and cross with it.
One great way to get your team to work together is to go on a sailing team building day.
Orienteering and Geocaching
See how your team work in planning and strategy by getting them to run around a course finding markers on a map. You could use an orienteering approach, or use GPS and go Geocaching.
Want More Team Building Ideas?
This ever growing online team building activities resource will help you to develop your teamwork skills. Let me know about your team building successes and failures on the Active Outdoors Twitter page. Read my Team Building Ideas page for more ideas on team building activities, fun group activities and icebreaker activities.
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