Minnesotans know how tough it can be to find fun things to do in the winter, and it’s especially hard if you are trying to plan winter corporate events. But winter team building is possible—it just takes a little creativity and willingness to go outside the box!
Below, we’ve outlined a few of our favorite winter team building activities and winter corporate outing ideas to help start the “snowball effect” of inspiration for your next event!
Why Plan a Winter Team Building Event?
Team building is an important part of developing a strong, supportive workplace culture, no matter the season. In the winter, planning a fun team building event can be especially effective, especially in this era of work-from-home and Zoom work culture. A winter corporate event can break up the monotony of the work week and give employees something to put on their calendar and look forward to!
Speaking of putting things on the calendar, it’s important to remember that even the smallest team building event has planning elements to consider. Don’t forget to:
- Establish the goals and objectives of your event
- Create a budget, even if it’s small
- Develop a master plan for the day’s events and applicable information
- Plan ways to keep your attendees engaged and excited
Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed health and safety to the forefront of everyone’s minds, especially when it comes to attending an event of any kind. Be sure to take all the appropriate precautions to limit the spread of germs during your winter team building, even if it is taking place outside.
The Benefits of Winter Team Building Activities
- Improved Mental Health: Especially during the long, dark slog to springtime, a communal activity focused on connection and having fun can be a huge boost to employee confidence and self esteem.
- Improved Physical Health: Taking part in activity of any kind can benefit physical health in much the same way as exercise. It can also reduce stress and anxiety, which can lead to better employee productivity.
- Improved Morale: A workforce that feels valued will circulate that feeling throughout the office or virtual workspace, creating a positive environment that is genuinely enjoyable to work within.
- Leadership Development: While taking part in team-based winter group games, employees will hone their leadership skills through effective communication and solution-finding.
- Creative Development: Winter is a great time to do some intentional flexing of those creative muscles to help keep the mind fresh. When employees are encouraged to play and be creative during winter corporate games, they will feel trusted to think outside the box and develop innovative ideas on behalf of their company.
Winter Team Building Activities
Earle Brown Heritage Center is an ideal venue for winter activities in Minnesota thanks to our beautiful, flexible indoor and outdoor spaces. Be sure to keep Earle Brown in mind as a perfect partner for your next corporate event as you scroll through our list of fun things to do in Minnesota in the winter:
Indoor Winter Team Building Ideas
If you’re looking for winter activities in Minneapolis-St. Paul, an indoor activity may be the most comfortable option. Indoor activities tend to provide much-needed winter amenities like heating, indoor plumbing and bathrooms, and warm beverages. There are also significantly more options for indoor activities, as they tend to operate year round and therefore have more general flexibility and availability.
Below are three of our favorite winter team outing ideas for indoor events. There’s a little something for everyone in this list, so consider the strengths and interests of your team members and find the option that best suits your needs!
Get the Adrenaline Flowing
According to Psychology Today, a rush of adrenaline can help make us feel alive and cultivate closeness between ourselves and those with whom we’re sharing the exciting experience. So why not bust up the employee winter blues by getting your adrenaline pumping? We love the locally-owned Tactical Urban Combat for an action-packed laser tag adventure for the whole team.
- Location: Tactical Urban Combat, Mall of America—Level 3 West, Bloomington, MN
- Duration: 2 hours (1 hour of laser tag, 1 hour of private party room access)
- Cost: $200 (Bring up to 12 players)
Sweeping & Stones
Learning a new skill or sport can effectively bring team members together, as they enjoy a shared experience and walk away with usable knowledge. At Frogtown Curling Club in St. Paul, you and your team can learn the basics of curling in a fun afternoon or evening session at their indoor arena. All you need is some warm clothing and rubber-soled shoes, and you’re ready to take to the ice!
- Location: Frogtown Curling Club, 743 Western Avenue North, Saint Paul, MN
- Duration: 3 hours
- Cost: Contact Frogtown Curling Club to learn more; note that during the COVID-19 crisis, Learn to Curl Group Experience may or may not be available for your desired date/time. Check with the club for availability.
Take Center Stage
If you have a team of extroverts just itching for some social time after all that work-from-home and distancing, karaoke is the team building activity for you! Karaoke Twin Cities will bring the sing-a-long magic (and necessary equipment with state-of-the-art tech) to a venue of your choice and can even provide a host to keep the good times rolling.
- Location: Karaoke Twin Cities delivers karaoke to the greater Twin Cities area. See their delivery map for more details.
- Duration: Up to you! Karaoke Twin Cities will pick up the equipment the morning after your event.
- Cost: $200 and up, depending on your venue and host preferences.
Outdoor Winter Team Building Ideas
Getting outside may not be the most enticing proposition deep into a Minnesotan winter, but that’s exactly why it’s important to do so! Outdoor activities can help beat the winter blues and keep employees happier and healthier overall. Luckily, there are just as many things to do in Minnesota in the winter as there are in the summer, thanks to our snowy hills, skating ponds and more.
Below are three of our favorite things to do outside in Minnesota for a corporate event or team building outing. Bundle up in your warmest clothes, strap on some boots, and grab your coworkers: It’s time to appreciate the great outdoors for a while!
Hit the Slopes
Is there anything better than hitting the slopes for an afternoon of skiing on a perfect winter day? We don’t think so! If you’re looking for things to do in Minneapolis in winter, consider looking just to the city’s southwest to the suburb of Bloomington. There you’ll find the Hyland Hills Ski Area, a downhill skiing and snowboarding park perfect for newbies and old pros alike. Hyland Hills offers a variety of packages for groups, including equipment rentals and lift tickets. You can even book a private group lesson for you and your team!
- Location: Hyland Hills Ski Area, 8800 Chalet Road, Bloomington, MN
- Duration: Passes are good for a full day of skiing/snowboarding. Park hours are weekdays from 9:30 AM-9 PM and weekends from 9 AM-9 PM. Group rates are not available before 4 PM on weekends.
- Cost: Cost is dependent upon group size and rental and lesson needs. Groups should consist of 20 or more people; smaller groups must pay the 20 participant minimum to receive the group rate. Contact HylandGroups@threeriversparks.org to determine a rate for your group.
Take to the Hills
Sledding is not just for kids! This outdoor activity can be a wonderful way to connect with your inner child and your coworkers. Throw on your snow pants, fill up a big Thermos with hot chocolate, and meet your team on the top of the tallest, snowiest hill you can find. There will be no shortage of laughs, and you can even incorporate some basic team-building games like igloo building, a snowman-building competition or human dog sled races!
- Location: Your nearest, hilliest park after a heavy snow will work out perfectly! Might we suggest the nearby Central Park, an Earle Brown neighbor here in Brooklyn Park? This park has a dedicated sledding hill as well as a warming house.
- Duration: However long you and your team can stand the cold!
- Cost: Free, or the cost of a few sleds if your team members do not provide their own.
Connect With Your Inner Caveman
We love this DIY winter team building idea that will really “light a fire” under your team! This is the Firestarter Team Challenge: Divide participants into teams and head outdoors. Give them the basic elements necessary to build a fire—think dry logs, sticks and kindling, and a fire starter of some kind, like a rod and steel fire starter or magnesium flint—and let them at it. The first team to get a real fire going wins! If you really want to up the difficulty level, try this challenge in an area where teams will have to gather the firewood and kindling themselves.
- Location: Any outdoor area where it is safe to start a small bonfire, where water and fire extinguishers are readily at hand, and where bonfires are not prohibited.
- Duration: 1 hour
- Cost: Free, or the cost of fire-starting materials.
More Team-Building Winter Activities in Minnesota
Of course, there are many more team outing ideas available to you in Minnesota and the Minneapolis-St.Paul area. If you’re still looking for the perfect winter team building activity for your crew, here are a few more indoor, outdoor and venue-flexible activities we love:
“Toxic Waste” Team Building Activity: This game can be played indoors or outdoors to great effect. Equipped with just two ropes, teams must figure out how to transport a bucket of “toxic waste” to the safe zone without spilling. The Toxic Waste team building game strengthens communication and teamwork in one addictively fun activity!
Enjoy a Virtual Comedy Show: Nothing brings people together like laughter! For a great indoor, don’t-even-need-to-leave-your-house team building activity, consider a group Zoom to watch a virtual comedy show from one of Minneapolis’s fantastic comedy clubs, like ComedySportz or Acme Comedy Club. As far as Minneapolis winter activities go, this one’s a hoot!
Do a Polar Plunge: Participate in a daring outdoor team activity while raising money for a good cause! Polar Plunge offers in-person and virtual (that is, DIY) plunges for you and your group to choose from. All the funds raised go to support Special Olympics Minnesota!
“The Perfect Square” Team Building Activity: Do some serious team building with little more than a rope! In this indoor or outdoor activity, the team has to form a perfect square using rope while blindfolded. And yes, it’s trickier than it sounds!
Enjoy a Private Wine Tasting: If you’d like to plan a team building event that focuses more on relaxation and enjoyment, Twin Cities Wine has just the ticket. They’ll conduct a private wine tasting for your group in the comfort of your own home, office or venue, like one of Minneapolis-St. Paul’s incredible restaurants. Twin Cities Wine will handle every detail and fully customize the tasting to your group and your interests. Cheers to that!
Host Your Winter Team Building Event at the Earle Brown Heritage Center
Ready to start planning your team-building winter wonderland? Earle Brown Heritage Center is happy to help! Whether you’re looking for the perfect indoor or outdoor venue for your corporate team building event or need more ideas to get you started, consider Earle Brown your winter event resource. Contact us today to get in touch with one of our talented, experienced event planners. We look forward to hosting you!