3 Outdoor Team-Building Exercises

In our most recent blog entry, we talked about the importance of team-building exercises, and why they are great to include at any corporate party.  Team-building exercises help to build bonds between co-workers, and can help your employees to discover their own strengths as well as work on curbing their weaknesses.  On top of that, they offer something fun to do, and can help break the ice and get everybody at the party involved.  Are you holding your next corporate party outdoors?  Here are a few fun corporate team-building exercises you can do outside.  Each of these games is easy to organize and learn, and your employees will have a great time testing their teamwork abilities.

Amoeba Race

This is a team racing game which can be played outdoors, and which requires groups to cooperate in order to succeed.  Each group forms a biological “cell” which includes two parts: a cell wall, and a nucleus.  The “cell wall” is formed by a number of team members facing outward in a circle, joined by their elbows.  The rest of the team gets inside the “cell” as the nucleus.  Both teams race each other and attempt to do so without breaking apart.  After the race, you can change it up by having different team members mix onto new teams and form new amoebas.  That way they can see how different it is to attempt to organize and pace themselves with different teammates.

Helium Stick

A helium stick is a long, thin rod which is very lightweight.  To do this exercise, you need two rows of employees facing each other.  Ask them to hold their arms out and point their index fingers.  Bring the helium stick over and lay it down on their fingers.  The stick needs to be horizontal, and everybody needs to be touching it.  The team must then lower the stick to the ground—the stick will seem to “float,” which makes this quite challenging.  Everyone must be in contact with the helium stick at all times, and nobody can grab the stick; it needs to simply rest on top of their fingers.  If the stick loses contact with anybody’s fingers, the task must be restarted.

At first, participants will believe this task to be deceptively easy.  But once they try, they will quickly discover the unusual behavior of the stick makes it hard to control.  Once they reach this point, they will need to stop and discuss strategy as a team until they come up with a method which works.

Interestingly enough, a helium stick does not really contain helium.  The stick appearing to float upwards is an illusion caused by the collective pressure of everybody’s fingers.  So if the team does not coordinate perfectly, the stick behaves in the opposite way intended.  That is why this exercise facilitates teamwork and communication so well.

Limited Senses Activities

You can do a number of fun activities simply by removing one of the senses of your participants.  Activities like this force teammates to rely on one another, which can help to build tactics as well as trust.  One example is a game where you set up an obstacle course, and team up members in pairs.  One person is blindfolded, and the other isn’t.  The person who can see has the task of guiding the blindfolded partner through the obstacle course safely.  This activity is very simple, but can be fun and interesting for participants.

Another more elaborate limited senses game involves handing out numbers to a series of participants.  You can skip numbers in the sequence to make things more interesting, for example: 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 15, 20.  Each participant must keep his or her number confidential.  Then you blindfold everybody, and tell them not to talk.  Their task is to arrange themselves in numerical order.  They can communicate in any other way that they choose (tapping, stomping, clapping, etc.).  Sometimes teams will figure out some numbers are missing.  Other times they will become fiercely frustrated.  If they do, or they give up, tell them some numbers are missing.  They will usually rally very fast and quickly solve the problem.

All of these fun team-building exercises are easy to set up and require minimal supplies.  Employees will easily understand them since the instructions are simple and easy to follow.  Each exercise here is fun and will cause plenty of laughter along the way—but each one also serves to foster relationships between co-workers and help employees to find their place on the company team.