05 Jan

Fun Winter Team Building Activities

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Revamp Your Team Spirit with Fun Winter Team Building Activities

Winter’s colder temperatures and shorter days can negatively impact people’s moods and productivity. Fortunately, this time of year offers unique team building and family bonding opportunities. So, you may be able to brighten people’s spirits and share some fun with the right group activities.

From snow sculpture contests to virtual escape rooms, your group can participate in countless hobbies and games this winter. Plus, remote activities make it easy to play with friends, coworkers, and family members around the world.

Whatever you choose, your winter team building activities should entertain everyone in your group while challenging their skills, collaboration, and perspectives.

The Magic of Winter: Creating a Unique Team Bonding Atmosphere

Winter is known for its holidays, sports seasons, and gorgeous layers of snow. It’s also a great time to get together and play games with the important people in your life.

Though winter is a beautiful season, it can contribute to depression, anxiety, and decreased motivation, thanks to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Fortunately, corporate team building activities can help boost employee engagement and productivity amid the winter blues. Teams of friends and families can carve out times for fun while also improving their teamwork and communication skills. 

Holiday and winter-themed team building activities help your group focus on the most positive aspects of the season. For instance, you can participate in outdoor winter sports or join in on nostalgic holiday crafts. In doing so, you can combat SAD symptoms, improve communication, and make lasting memories with your team. 

Innovative Winter-Themed Team Building Activities

Fun winter team building activities should incorporate everyone for a shared sense of unity — which can be tough if you aren’t physically together. Fortunately, increased hybrid work technology makes it easier to celebrate with remote workplaces.

The following activities are specialized for the winter season, including both in-person and virtual options.

Virtual Winter Wonderland Tour

Digital scenic tours let you and your group explore unique locations in a shared experience — even when you’re apart. Virtual winter wonderland tours are especially great activities for remote teams, letting coworkers bond and “escape” without driving anywhere. 

Various virtual winter wonderland options are available online. You can explore scenic tours of snow-laden landscapes or take part in kid-focused scavenger hunts. Take some time to consider the best virtual tours based on your group’s interests and capabilities. 

Many interactive virtual tours let each person take their time on what interests them the most. For instance, tours offered by museums and other education-based services include information about certain landscapes, plants, and cultures. Your teammates may have fun sharing the different details they discover. 

Alternatively, video winter wonderland tours are easier to share on Zoom, Discord, and other social platforms. You won’t be able to interact with these tours, but everyone should enjoy sharing the same experience. Plus, if anyone on your team has a virtual reality (VR) headset, you may be able to look for even more immersive virtual tours.

Escapely’s Virtual Escape Room

While escape rooms were all the buzz in the 2010s, at-home and virtual escape rooms have grown arguably more popular in the 2020s. They don’t actually lock you anywhere, but these puzzle-solving activities are still perfect for team building and creative problem-solving. Plus, you can play with people across the globe. 

Escapely’s virtual escape rooms combine logic, math, and other types of puzzles in fun, immersive scenarios. Smaller groups can work together to escape the same virtual room under a time limit. Alternatively, larger parties with up to 600 participants can split into smaller, tournament-style teams for extra competition. 

Rather than scattering across a physical room, most of your clues and puzzles will be right in front of you — which can make them even more challenging to spot. These virtual winter activities encourage teams to collaborate and think critically together. Even if you don’t “escape” on time, solving at least a few puzzles together can be rewarding and fun. 

“Escape the Ice Palace” is Escapely’s most popular winter-themed escape room with two seasonal options. The story asks your team to journey into a dark ice palace and reverse a sorcerer’s hex. To do so, you must solve his puzzles, discover his clues, and reveal the counterspell to bring back summer. Alternatively, the festive-themed storyline asks you to save the holidays instead.

You can also choose from the following virtual escape rooms:

  • Destination Unknown
  • Double, Double, Puzzle and Trouble
  • Whodunnit: Can You Crack the Case?
  • Escape the Desert Island
  • Escape the Basement

Various university programs use escape rooms as educational learning strategies because they promote knowledge and reasoning skills in time-sensitive situations. This also makes them beneficial team building activities for remote coworkers. Teams can work together to solve problems on a deadline without the usual stress of the workplace. Plus, an Escapely consultant can help customize your experience for your group’s interests. 

Online Holiday Card Design Contest

Crafting activities are a hallmark holiday tradition for many people. Unfortunately, knitted scarves, paper snowflakes, and baked goods aren’t easy to share between remote coworkers or long-distance family members. On the other hand, Christmas and holiday cards are easier to create and share between virtual teams.

A card-designing contest is a fun way to stir up friendly competition while letting each person show off their creative skills. Unlike physical crafting projects, digital cards don’t rely on the supplies people have at home. Instead, each person will have to use their phone, computer, and skills to make the best cards. Then, they can print their cards, send them digitally, or post them online when they’re done. 

As with any artistic-themed contest, you should set designated rules beforehand. One of the best options is to let everyone vote anonymously on their favorite cards. You can also set judging criteria such as originality and design to consider each person’s project equally.

Interactive Virtual Winter Games

Virtual activities such as video games and murder mystery puzzles give you endless options for team building fun. Your best winter-themed activities likely depend on your group. For instance, families with younger kids may enjoy basic interactive games, including digital painting, snowman designing, and word puzzles. Groups of adult friends and colleagues may enjoy multiplayer games that get everyone involved. 

Zoom, Discord, Google, and Twitch let you easily share video game screens and other activities with your group. Remote games, such as Jackbox and Among Us, became wildly popular during the 2020 COVID-19 shutdowns, including in workplaces. Many similar-style games have overtaken much of this market, letting people play from their phones and computers in the same challenges. 

Take some time to research the most fun and age-appropriate games for your group, and ask your teammates for suggestions. Depending on your party’s interests, you may also consider the following winter team building games:

  • Virtual winter scavenger hunts
  • Murder mystery parties
  • Seasonal-themed trivia
  • Seasonal-themed Pictionary or “Drawful”
  • Minecraft with snowy biome seeds

Online Hot Cocoa Mix-Off

A hot cocoa mix-off can be a great winter team building warm-up — both figuratively and literally. While you can’t try each other’s hot cocoa recipes during virtual events, you can still incorporate some fun into this activity. 

Encourage your team ahead of time to prepare their most creative hot cocoa ingredients possible. Some people may make white chocolate hot cocoa, while others may mix cereal marshmallows into their drinks. Teammates can then share and discuss their creative recipes with one another. As a result, you can get people talking and sharing their skills as a team. 

Outdoor Winter Activities

Depending on your interests and where you live, winter is one of the best seasons for having fun outdoors. Even if it’s bitter cold out, bundling up for the following winter team building activities can promote collaboration, communication, and fun. 

Snow Sculpture Competition

A friendly snow sculpture competition is a great way to let your teammates show off and combine their skills, especially if you’re in an artistic group. Snow sculptures don’t have to be anything specific — you can make snowmen, forts, figures, or almost anything else you can imagine. 

Most snow sculpture competitions are group-based with casual rules, making them great opportunities to practice teamwork and creativity. The possibilities are endless as long as you have enough snow to work with. So, your team will likely come up with lots of different ideas. 

If you want to make your activity more competitive, you should determine your rules beforehand. For instance, you may designate specific categories for judging sculptures, such as design, durability, and creativity. Then, decide if your competition will have set judges or if everyone will vote. Establishing these rules early will keep your competition fun and fair for everyone. 

Winter Sports Tournament

A casual winter sports tournament is a creative way to make sure everyone has fun. Certain games and physical sports may not interest your entire group. However, mixing in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities gives each person a chance to show their skills. 

When setting up your tournament, plan all activities and rules in advance. Consider asking for game suggestions to make the winter sports tournament a diverse blend of everyone’s interests. Then, establish a cohesive points system between different sports to give participants equal chances to win. 

The following winter team building activities may be perfect for your tournament:

  • Disc golf
  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • Flag football
  • Video game contest
  • Gift-wrapping contest
  • Paper snowflake contest
  • Snowball rolling contest
  • Snowman building contest
  • Snow angel contest
  • Snowmobiling
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding

Winter Survival Challenge

These team building activities send you into the winter elements and challenge your most primal instincts. Winter survival challenges ask participants to head into the woods or another uninhabited location and stay there for a set amount of time. 

You can usually bring tents, lighters, and other tools, but the goal is to survive off of minimum essentials. Participants should still pack their phones for emergency contact reasons. However, you should encourage them to use their phones minimally to save their batteries and remain present with their teammates. 

Large-scale winter survival challenges can last 48 hours or longer in harsh conditions. However, you should aim for something simpler if you’re competing with families, friends, or business groups. For instance, you can make it an hour-long challenge or play until the last group gives up.

Encourage everyone to stay in pairs or groups for safety and team building. Through the challenge, teammates may gain trust and learn to support and rely on one another. Plus, being away from your usual distractions can help you focus more on your communication and listening skills. 

Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can lead to frostbite, hypothermia, and other health and safety concerns. So, be sensitive about who you compete in winter survival challenges with, and don’t go out in dangerous temperatures. Always discuss safety precautions and signs of frostbite with your team beforehand, and don’t push anyone into situations they aren’t comfortable with. 

Indoor Winter Activities

Whether it’s freezing cold or you simply need a break from the wind, you should always plan a few indoor activities for your winter team events. Even though they’re done inside, the following team building activities have fun winter themes that will keep your group engaged and entertained. Your team may even want to keep some of these fun activities around for the spring, summer, and fall. 

Themed Quiz Night

Trivia is a fun way to encourage teammates to show off their skills and compete in smaller groups. While they’re guaranteed to learn something educational, teammates should also learn about each other, including shared interests, hobbies, and backgrounds. 

The Internet is filled with various types of trivia games, including Kahoot!, Sporcle, and Balderdash. These competitive games can help promote knowledge sharing and group bonding. However, you can also use physical trivia cards or online questions if you’re playing in person. Alternatively, virtual teams can designate a trivia host who prepares and reads the questions.

Winter-themed trivia questions make the activity more topical and engaging. However, you should search for multiple types of wintertime categories to appeal to different people’s interests. Consider the following winter trivia categories:

  • Winter sports
  • Winter fashion
  • Winter-themed literature
  • Hot drinks
  • Nature
  • Holiday traditions
  • Holiday movies
  • Holiday music

Winter Crafts Challenge

Do-it-yourself (DIY) craft challenges encourage teams to use their hands in group and individual projects, accessing skills and processes they may not normally use. Depending on the activities you choose, these challenges can promote collaboration, creativity, and interpersonal skills. Even individual projects can help teammates bond and gain respect for each other’s abilities. 

In-person teams may enjoy making the following winter DIY crafts:

  • Holiday ornaments
  • Paper snowflakes
  • Popsicle stick snowflakes
  • Cottonball snowmen
  • Homemade snowglobes
  • Homemade wreaths
  • Greeting cards and postcards
  • Snowy landscape paintings
  • Mugs, plates, and other pottery items
  • Sugar cookies

Holiday Movie Marathon

Regular movie nights can be great winter team building activities. They let you bond over shared experiences and hear new perspectives from different stories. The winter season is an especially great time to catch up on holiday classics, such as Love Actually, It’s a Wonderful Life, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas

When planning your holiday movie marathon, consider splitting it up into scheduled movie nights. Weekly or monthly events let people plan for each gathering, so you can usually attract more attendees. Alternatively, you can play all of your movies back-to-back as a traditional marathon, though you normally need the whole day to pull these events off. 

Ask others on your team what movies they’re most interested in, as people likely prefer holiday movies from different time periods, genres, and cultures. Diversifying your marathon to your team’s interests guarantees you get everyone engaged. 

You should also consider picking holiday movies no one has seen yet, such as new, independent, and international films. Doing so can make the experience fresh and unique for everyone, creating a sense of team unity. 

Customizing Winter-Themed Team Building Activities for Work

Winter team building activities for work can improve your soft skills, employee engagement, and company culture. However, you may need to tailor some activities and games to your company’s values and goals. Even though you’re all adults, inappropriate or unprofessional activities can hurt your company brand and send the wrong messages. So, research how appropriate certain games, movies, and activities are to avoid any surprises later. 

When putting together events, consider how to make activities fair and fun for everyone. For instance, avoid video games or sports that only certain employees are skilled at and search for a diversity of trivia questions. Prioritize activities that fit your event’s goal, including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. 

If you’re playing with a larger group, search for virtual activities that accept lots of participants. Up to 600 people can compete in Escapely’s virtual escape rooms, making it a great choice for larger business groups. 

Embrace the Season: Why You Should Plan Your Winter Team Building Now

Winter team building activities let you and your group make the most of the year’s coldest months. Whether you compete in outdoor games or virtual puzzles, your group activities should encourage collaboration, communication, and team bonding. 

The most fun team building events take a bit of planning. Start looking for fun games that interest your team by exploring Escapely’s virtual team building activities

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