We are well into the summer months. For many people that means long days and relaxing nights; vacations, summer sun, gatherings with friends. At work, summer can be the perfect time to give everyone a bit of a break. These months present an ideal time for unique team building or corporate events. In summer, the world is your oyster! There’s so much to do and everyone is ready to have some fun.
Why is summer such a good time for team outings?
- For many people, summer means relaxation. That’s because the environment around us has a big effect on our emotions, and sunshine can play a huge role in how we feel on a daily basis. One study showed that 87% of people felt happier in the spring and summer. Plan team events during these months if you want attendees to be generally happier, more relaxed, and more refreshed.
- Summer is a great time to recharge for the whole year. The timing of summer means it’s right in that mid-year lull when people can start to feel worn out. The excitement and energy of a new year and new goals starts to wear off, and the realities of day-to-day life have set in. A summer activity can be the perfect way to get everyone recharged and refreshed heading into the second part of the year.
- You’ll have your pick of activities. One of the best things about planning team events in the summer is how many options you have. From outdoor activities like field days to baseball games or beach meetups, you aren’t limited by indoor options. You can get a lot more creative when planning team events.
So what are the best options for summer team building events? Let’s dive in!
33 Summer team-building activities
1. Field day
If field day was one of your favorite days in school, you’ll love this activity. Set up several outdoor activities including old-school ones like three-legged races or relays. Get creative and put fun twists on the old field day games. If you don’t have time to set this up or make sure it runs smoothly, you can hire some support.
2. Company picnic
Company picnics have been around forever, and for good reason. Whether you include employees only or invite families, these events are a great way to enjoy beautiful surroundings as well as your colleagues. Most times, it’s easiest to rent a space and have the event catered, but you can also try a potluck style event or set up your own arrangement in an outside space at your company. Try adding some fun games, activities for children (if invited) and refreshing drinks for a lovely experience for all. Explore more company picnic ideas in our past post.
3. Beach get together
What’s more fun than a day at the beach? Whether you want to spread out blankets and chairs to relax, play a rousing game of beach volleyball, or put together an organized activity, you can’t go wrong with the beach on a beautiful day. Get creative and plan team building activities for the day. Try bringing along a scavenger hunt (include things like one round stone, 2 colored shells, write your name in the sand and take a photo, etc).
4. Team kite flying
“Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height!” Gather your crew and provide a selection of kites for a fun day of activity. The great thing about this event is it’s nearly free (kites are inexpensive) and can be done anywhere there is an open space. Try a nearby field or park, or even the back of your building if you have room.
5. Building blocks
Creating something together is a great way to build camaraderie and bond. Come up with a project that your team can work on together outdoors. Maybe you want to add a garden to your space, or build a new deck off of your office. What kinds of projects would benefit the company as a whole? Give it some thought and get everyone moving! Make sure to include roles that don’t require physical labor, so that everyone can be involved regardless of physical limitations. For example, you may need someone in charge of budgeting or sourcing materials. If you are looking for quicker team building activities, gain some inspiration from our blog.
6. Go-kart racing
Most cities have outdoor parks that include activities like water slides or go-kart racing. Racing is a fun way to bring out everyone’s competitive side and use up some energy at the same time! It’s also a handy option because many places let you pick a package where you get a certain number of races along with food and drink. It can be pretty simple to coordinate!
7. Memorial Day observance
If you’re in the US, no doubt you’re familiar with Memorial Day. It’s a very special day and if you have a desire to honor its meaning, you can do so with your whole team. Consider going to a parade or attending a ceremony to honor fallen soldiers. You could also attend a veteran grave ceremony and pick out flowers or create a patriotic sidewalk mural for all to see. It’s sure to give your team the warm fuzzies to do something a little more meaningful.
8. Outdoor cleanup
Speaking of warm and fuzzy, how great does it feel to give back to your community? Look for opportunities to make the world around you a better place by coordinating a litter clean up, improving playgrounds, or scrubbing graffiti in your city. If you contact your city officials, they should be able to point you to some volunteer organizations that can coordinate group activities in nearby community gardens, parks, or schools. Another nice thing is there is no limit to the people who can participate, so these options are great for large groups. You can also explore some other team building activities for large groups.
9. Management cookout
How often do you get waited on by your manager? If the answer is “never” then a senior cookout could be fun. You can do this on the cheap and in almost any location as well. The idea is that management are the ones cooking and providing the food. Set up a few grills for burgers and dogs and get some yummy side dishes. Have employees go up to food stations to be served by their managers. Include an ice cream cart or build-your-own sundaes at the end for some extra goodwill.
10. Volunteer activities
Helping others doesn’t have to be limited to cleaning things up (like we mentioned in number 8). You can coordinate all kinds of outdoor events that are great for the community including a field day with Big Brothers Big Sisters or putting on an outdoor lunch with your local soup kitchen. There are countless opportunities to give back and your employees will feel rewarded and refreshed to get out and help out.
This activity is sure to draw a lot of laughs. Not only is paddle-boarding a good way to get out on the water, it’s a ton of fun and many people haven’t tried it before. If you are near a body of water, there may be a company who rents paddle-boards or other water toys like kayaks. Put together a group outing and go explore.
12. Paddle-board yoga
If your team is particularly water-savvy and already comfortable with a paddle board, try putting together a paddle-board yoga class. Many lakeside communities have instructors who offer yoga classes along with the supplies. Paddle-board yoga is the ultimate in balance and concentration, so it’s a really healthy activity along with a lot of fun. Do some research and see if you can find either a paddle board rental company or independent yoga instructor and ask if they offer this. Tip: Remind everyone how to dress for such a class. You can go with a swimsuit or comfortable t-shirt and shorts, but the important thing is to know you may end up in the water at some point! No cell phones in pockets!
13. Outdoor movie
Many cities offer night-time movies in local parks, and they’re always a hit. Choose a classic movie like Jaws or Hook, and set up an outdoor projector along with several blankets, pillows, and even a popcorn machine. Invite everyone to bring their families and make it a kid-friendly affair. One note: this activity really only works after dark, so you need to make sure your team is comfortable using personal time to attend a work outing. It might make sense to make this the evening portion of an overnight retreat, for example.
14. Obstacle course
Kids aren’t the only ones who love those inflatable bouncy-house obstacle courses! They’re all the rage at kid-centered events, but adults enjoy them too. If you don’t want to go to the trouble (or expense) of renting one of these inflatables, set up your own obstacle course. Use everyday materials like traffic cones, soccer balls, and chalk to set up a variety of stations with challenges people must complete. It can get even more interactive if you make it a relay where teams are pitted against each other. If you’re already planning a field day (mentioned above) maybe this can be the cornerstone event!
Getting out into nature is good for almost everyone. Depending on the physical health of your team and your location, hiking could be the perfect way to get people out in the fresh air and having new conversations. Look for local hiking hot-spots like popular trails or national parks. Just remember that everyone has different physical capabilities, so you don’t want to plan anything too strenuous which could stress someone out or intimidate them. Bonus points for supplying plenty of water and snacks! If you have arranged everything in advance, you can even set up a picnic at the end of the hike as a final treat.
This is another one that is somewhat location-dependent, but if you have a local fishing spot, give it a try! You’ll need to obtain the proper fishing poles, lures, bait, etc. so it’s best to have someone experienced help to plan the outing. Another option if you’re by a larger body of water is to arrange a charter. Deep sea fishing is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people, and employees are sure to remember the company who provided it to them.
17. Scavenger hunt
Short on budget? Look no further than a homemade scavenger hunt that can be completed outdoors. Whether you want to gather everyone outside your own office or go to a local park or beach, you can put together a list of items that can be found outside and let everyone go. First person (or team) who completes the scavenger hunt wins. Of course, having a prize always ups the ante and makes things a bit more competitive!
Paintball venues have become more popular in recent years. If you have a really active and competitive team, this is a great way for them to get down and dirty! Simply perform an online search in your city to see if paintballing is an option. Just ensure everyone follows the correct safety precautions.
19. Water balloon battle
Another low-budget, almost free idea involves a ton of water balloons. Set up a “war zone” outside with buckets of water balloons stationed in various places. Create teams and have at it! Note: you may want to use the silicone reusable balloons if you want to save on clean up time.
20. Amusement park
What bonds people together like terror? Or excitement, depending on how you view roller coasters. If you are in an area with an amusement park, organize a day where your team can go together and do all the things: ride fun rides, see silly shows, eat hot dogs and cotton candy…you get the idea. Be a kid again and everyone is sure to have lots of laughs and a memorable day.
21. River tubing
Do you live near a famous river? If so, chances are they offer tubing in the summer. Some places allow you to rent tubes and bring your own cooler and simply float. Others have a guide that can take your entire group down the river safely. It’s important to keep in mind the physical limitations of your group and that they will be getting wet (so swimsuits are probably required). You never know someone’s comfort level with these elements.
22. National park visit
Getting to visit a national park is a real treat, and there are so many of them in the US. There are over 400 of them, and you can browse this list of national parks. Whether you want to make a quick afternoon visit, do a day-long hike, or camp overnight, there’s something for everyone and national parks offer a great chance to learn something new.
23. Mini golf
The kid in you will have a blast going putt-putt golfing! This one is pretty straightforward and should be simple to plan. It’s an easy activity to tack onto a longer retreat, too.
24. Horseback riding
Visit a stable and get to know some horses! Whether people want to ride, or just visit and possibly feed them, horses have a very relaxing presence that is soothing to many people. Horse farms also tend to be out in the country where there’s lots of greenery and fresh air - it’s a great way to feel at one with nature. Plus you can learn new things!
25. Guided cycling
Many people enjoy riding bikes. If you know your teammates do, why not organize a bicycle tour in your area? You can guide it yourself or hire a company or individual to plan a really cool (and safe) route. Do a Google search for your area, or stop into your local bike shop and have a conversation with the workers there. They can probably point you in the right direction.
26. Pickleball tournament
Pickleball is having a moment. Many clubs throughout the country have started pickleball leagues or tournaments, and it’s a fun game that almost anyone can play. Try renting some space for your own tournament or see about getting your team some light-hearted lessons.
27. Team mural
If you have some blank walls on your building (and you have permission to spruce them up), why not create a mural as a group? Many cities have started mural festivals or other efforts to jazz up the walls facing sidewalks. You can have your team plan and design the mural, or give them some idea. Have everyone pitch in getting supplies, taping off the design, painting, and cleaning up. You can be as creative as you want to be, the point is you’re doing something together. And you’ll have a memento as part of your company history forever - that’s pretty cool!
28. Winery or brewery
Sometimes the simplest activity is the best. If your town has some cool breweries, simply reserve a table after your next meeting. Or, take things a step further and do a winery tour with your team. This tends to be a more social outing, but still a great way to enjoy some sunshine. Note: make sure the venue you choose has no-alcohol options as well.
29. Rock climbing
Feeling adventurous? Find a rock climbing studio and set up a group lesson or session. Rock climbing requires that team members build trust and support each other, so it can be a powerful activity for bonding and creating stronger relationships. This is a good option for teams that are normally virtual and need some encouragement in getting to know each other better. Try adding it as the active portion of your next all-company retreat.
30. Disc golf or frisbee
A lot of local parks offer disc golf courses, which can be a lot of fun. If you don’t have a specific course nearby, just grab some frisbees from your local dollar store. These options are great for people who want to enjoy the outdoors but are on a strict budget. Simply grab some equipment and pack a cooler with snacks and drinks. The rest is up to nature!
31. Batting cages
Have an all-star team? Let them prove it by showing off their baseball skills. Find your local batting cages and have a few drinks and a few laughs. Simply call your local batting cage and reserve some time. Many fun centers offer batting cages along with go-karting, mini golf, and other activities, so you can make an entire outing in one venue.
32. Cornhole tournament
If you’re in the midwest, chances are you grew up playing cornhole (or “bags” as many people call it). To play the game, you’ll require a set of 2 cornhole boards and 8 bean bags. You can find simple tutorials on YouTube with tips for how to play. If you want to create a tournament, say for your whole department, then you’ll need several sets and plenty of space for everyone to play alongside each other. Just be aware: people tend to get really competitive with this game. It’s best for teams who already have a great rapport.
33. Pool day
This is another pretty simple one. Have a pool available nearby? Set up a day with plenty of refreshments, towels, and sunscreen available. All that’s needed is sunshine! Look for rentals in your area or consider making arrangements with a local hotel.
Organizing summer team-building retreats
Summer is an ideal time to plan a team building retreat, so what are you waiting for? There’s no better time to plan some amazing outdoor team building activities as well as enjoy everyone in a relaxed and happy mindset.
Your staff will love the opportunity to get to know their colleagues better, have a little fun, and enjoy some healthy sunshine too. If you only have time for a one-day retreat, that’s great - certainly better than not planning one. However, if you want to really make an impact, consider a 2-3 day retreat with a mix of professional development and fun activities. These are the kind of events that can make a big difference in work relationships and productivity, as well as reward and re-energize staff.
If you’ve held off planning because you’re not sure where to start or you don’t have time, Surf Office can help. We can support you in planning and executing memorable company events that build team spirit.