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Trust falls. Show and tell. Three truths and a lie. If the mere mention of these common team-building games makes you yawn, you’re not alone.

If you ask most people for their honest opinion about team-building activities, you’ll hear plenty of negative responses. These activities can leave participants feeling lethargic, socially awkward, or even indignant. When team-building events go badly, they don’t give a team a newfound sense of camaraderie; they just leave everyone feeling bored. In certain scenarios, they can even lead to feelings of resentment.

Contrast these mundane activities with the excitement of snowmobiling at a scenic campsite, engaging in thrilling off-road races, scaling the side of a mountain, or seeing exotic animals. These experiences can provide plenty of opportunities to engage with peers.

This article will discuss four activities that are sure to maximize your team-building efforts. If you want to avoid negative feelings in your team and create a sense of true solidarity, consider trying one of the below extreme outdoor activities. These are excellent ways to generate excitement, provide bonding moments, and give every participant — regardless of their skills or interests — time to shine.

Cold-Weather Camping

Camping in cold climates presents countless opportunities for engagement and team bonding. Participating in any combination of the following events can appeal to different team members and promote communication:

snowmobile touring
Snowmobile Tour lead by guide | Image by skeeze from Pixabay

This is just a sample of the options your team has during cold-weather camping. There are plenty of other games you can host when the sun goes down, from fire building contests to cold-weather first aid training sessions. These can arm your team with more skills and help them build their sense of confidence as a group.

Preparation for cold-weather camping requires a number of additional considerations, just as any other season does. Planning should be a part of the team-building process. This includes bringing adequate supplies, meal planning, and more.

How Does This Activity Promote Team Bonding?

Throughout a camping trip, various challenges and opportunities will give team members reasons to communicate and work together. As you can see above, cold-weather camping provides countless options that allow participants to demonstrate their unique skill sets while working together for a common cause. This can give each member feelings of confidence and self-efficacy, as well as a sense of responsibility for the success of the overall team.

These are ideal feelings to strengthen the sense of solidarity within a team. If well-executed and facilitated, a winter camping trip can create long-lasting memories and team bonds.

Going Off-road

Whether your aim is to help your team engage in thrilling races, explore the countryside, or simply learn the basics of an all-terrain vehicle or motorcycle riding, taking your team-building experience off-road is a great way to drum up enthusiasm and help your group release some stress.

Inspect Vehicle and Equipment for Defects

Depending on where your team is located, you may be able to have them participate in desert or rock racing, mudding, or other activities. Alternatively, you can book times with off-road organizations or at trial courses for a more structured experience. You’ll want to choose an activity and location that matches the preferences of your group:

If available, you can rent equipment and vehicles at your off-roading destination, though there are many benefits to investing in some of your own. Being able to use an ATV ramp or motorcycle ramp and load up your own company off-road vehicles gives you much greater flexibility during team-building outings.

How Does This Activity Promote Team Bonding?

While off-roading is sometimes characterized as a one-note activity that appeals to a limited demographic, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The range of options when going off-road appeals to many different types of people, and mixing up your outing with a few different activities is a great way to appeal to your entire team. This variety can highlight the different capabilities of each member of your team while giving them an opportunity to bond in the great outdoors.

Rock Climbing

Whether you take your team to a mountain range or to a local gym with climbing walls, rock climbing is an exciting prospect. While it may seem like a fairly straightforward activity, there are plenty of climbing games to enjoy:

rock climbing
Rock climbing in the wilderness | Image by Lukas Prudil from Pixabay

How Does This Activity Promote Team Bonding?

Team-based rock climbing games require communication and trust — essential building blocks for any productive relationship. It is also exciting, particularly for participants who have never tried it before. Compared to the other activities in this list, this is one of the more affordable options, but that certainly doesn’t make it any less memorable for those involved.

Going on a Safari

The last extreme outdoor team-building activity we’ll discuss is the possibility of going on a safari. If this sounds too fantastical for your budget, note that a “safari” can take place anywhere from actual exotic destinations to your local zoo; indeed, some zoos, such as the world-famous San Diego Zoo, host events for team-building purposes. Regardless of your destination, there will be plenty to see and do for each member of your group. Activities include:

How Does This Activity Promote Team Bonding?

Safaris appeal to a wide range of people due to the fact that the natural world — particularly rare or endangered animals — is a highly appealing draw. Further, many safari activities can be enjoyed without necessarily exerting too much energy, which makes this a great choice if accessibility concerns for outdoor recreation may impact the success of your event. Safaris also allow participants to experience memorable moments and opportunities for bonding that few other activities can provide.

Tips for Successful Team-Building Activities

To maximize your chances of success in team-building events, there are some general best practices that you should follow: