Here is our list of the best group retreat activities.
Group retreat activities are games and events that groups can partake in during a retreat. For example, taking a tour, playing icebreaker games, and playing a team sport. These exercises aim to achieve the retreat’s objectives, including boosting attendees’ morale, team building, and motivating the group.
These ideas are similar to company retreat locations, virtual retreat best practices, executive retreat ideas, and conference entertainment.
This list includes:
- team retreat activities for adults
- fun team retreat ideas
- retreat games for adults
- staff retreat activities
Let’s get to it!
List of group retreat activities
The activities you choose for your retreat will go a long way in determining how much fun attendees have. From sharing lunch to taking a cruise, here are the most unique retreat activities and games for groups.
1. Play Icebreaker Games
Icebreaker games are one of the best group games for retreats. Group members can open up and feel comfortable among themselves by playing these games. There is an endless list of icebreakers, which include:
- Two truths and one lie: A player will make three statements. Two are true, while one is a lie. Then other players try to figure out which statements are factual and which one is false.
- No Smiling Challenge: One group member says things or acts to make other members laugh. Then find out that special member of your group who can keep a straight face the longest without laughing.
- Charades: Group members take turns to describe an action or phrase with just gestures. Then the players guess what the described action or word is.
- Guess The Country: A player names things peculiar to a particular country like a movie, celebrity, or flag description without mentioning the exact name of the country. Then players compete to be the first to make a correct guess of the described country
Breaking the ice at the start of a retreat will go a long way to make the event successful. You can also check out other fun icebreaker games for large groups.
2. Tell Jokes
Telling jokes is a simple and entertaining activity you can do at a retreat. You can gather the group together, ask the members to channel their inner comedians, and tell jokes. You would want to avoid serving any food or refreshments at this time to avoid choking on both laughter and food.
An interesting idea is to turn the joke-telling into a game called ‘Try Not To Laugh.’ In this game, the designated comedian will tell jokes and do funny acts to make other attendees laugh. The first person to laugh leaves the game.
For inspiration, here is a collection of icebreaker jokes.
3. Take a Tour
Tours are great group retreat activities that expand your group members’ knowledge about different places. During the period when you are planning for a retreat, find a place that intrigues the group.
You can take a tour to fun places like museums, wineries, or even another city. First, decide if the tour will be outside the country or locally. Then, either book a facilitated tour or design a self-guided tour. Many destinations of interest offer complimentary or low-cost tours, and there are also apps that provide free guides. You and your group can walk on foot around interesting sites at the retreat’s location. Be sure to take plenty of pictures!
4. Go on a Group Cruise
A cruise ship is a great location for your team to enjoy a fabulous retreat. Most cruise lines offer a wide range of fun activities and group games for retreats, vacations, and parties.
- Fitness classes
- Shore excursions
- Skydiving simulators
- Scavenger hunt
- Sports courts
- Water rides and slides
- Dance classes
If you plan to have your group retreat on a cruise ship, then you may not have to go through much stress planning entertainment. You can check with the cruise line you want to book and look through the services they offer, then pick activities your group would love. Also, decide if you would pre-book the services or book while onboard.
Many cruise lines offer corporate rates and retreat packages, so be sure to inquire about these options when booking.
5. Take a Group Class
Taking a group class can get your team to bond during a retreat. The first step you should take is to decide the activity to learn. For instance, list a series of classes and ask your team member to vote on the preferred courses, or offer a variety of tutorials in different timeslots. Then connect with an expert host or a coach who will guide the lesson.
Some fun classes you can take include:
- Mixology class
- Fitness class
- Sketching class
- Dance class
- Cooking class
Many retreat centers offer educational activities. If not, then you can find a third-party provider. Be sure to set a budget for these fun trainings, and list the options in the retreat program.
6. Go Hiking
Hiking gives teams a chance to spend time together while promoting fitness. Some tips for organizing a group hike include:
- Know the length of the route before you start hiking. It is a great idea to familiarize yourself with the road and get a map.
- Ensure that you have prepared all the necessary gear, including food, water, shoes with good traction, and trekking poles.
- Check the weather forecast to be adequately prepared for the weather condition.
- Go along with a first aid kit. It is an added advantage if you go along with a hiker who can perform CPR.
Hiking is a great outdoor activity that connects you to your natural environment. You do not have to make hiking competitive. You can inform your team that the purpose of the activity is just to have the group enjoy a walk together.
Check out more outdoor team building ideas.
7. Share a Team Lunch
A simple yet fun activity you can do on a group retreat is to share a lunch. You may decide to have a fancy lunch outdoors in a buffet style. The lunch can also be as simple as snacks accompanied by refreshing drinks.
During lunch, the group can discuss some work issues. It is pretty common to have the critical problems in a company simply solved over lunch. However, the discussion does not have to be too formal.
Be sure to plan the menu according to the diet of the attendees. You should ask the group members if any of them has food allergies. You can follow up the lunch with fun activities like icebreakers, a dance session, or other activities on your to-do list. Also, playing some background music while having lunch can help brighten up the mood.
For menu inspiration, check out this list of conference food ideas.
8. Play a Team Sport
Team sports are great retreat games for large groups. The sporting activities help keep your team members fit while developing a strong team spirit.
To play a team sport, first choose the game. Many sports, including football, volleyball, and handball, are great for teams. Then, find a suitable venue in your retreat location. You can use an open space like a local park. For sports like volleyball, the beach will be a good location. Next, divide the group into smaller teams and provide all the necessary gear for the sport you choose.
Team sport is an excellent option for group retreats as participants can destress and have fun while keeping fit.
9. Host a Welcome Party
One of the ways you can make attendees come out of their shells during a retreat is to host a welcome get-together party. To host this party, decide whether or not the party will have a theme. Then plan the menu and other activities to entertain the attendees. Some fun themes include:
- Halloween-themed party
- Bring back the 80s
- Arabian nights
- Wizard theme
- Pirate theme
- Anything but cups
- Beach party
- Pun party
- Ice cream social
- Blacklight party
Just every other retreat activity, you should plan properly for the event. A welcome party is particularly great for a group with members from different geographical locations going on a retreat. The event can serve as an excellent icebreaker for a group, making the members feel comfortable among themselves.
Here are more work party ideas.
10. Do Karaoke
Karaoke is one of the entertaining team building retreat activities to add to your group’s plan. First, you need to rent and set up a karaoke machine. You can also rent a karaoke venue like a club or private lounge without going through the stress of setting up the machine. Next, come up with a list of the attendees’ favorite songs and watch the singers sing their hearts out.
You can add to the party’s fun by giving participants fun titles like the best singer, the worst singer, the seat warmer, and the best duet. Also, add refreshments, including cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages for attendees who do not take alcohol.
11. Play Team Retreat Bingo
Bingo makes an excellent choice of retreat games for large groups. To play this, you need to prepare a Bingo card. You can download a card online with prompts that suit the group’s choice, print out the cards and distribute them to the players.
Here is a template we made for your game:
Alternatively, you can make your custom bingo cards with a free icebreaker Bingo card generator. Players mark ‘x’ in any box containing a prompt they can relate to or an action they have performed, depending on the theme of the bingo card. The first player to complete the entire board or an entire row vertically, horizontally, and diagonally wins. You can award a prize to the winner.
12. Host a Special Guest
Hosting a respected guest to address the group is an excellent way to motivate team members. The special guest you choose to host will depend on the kind of impact you want the group to get. For instance, you can invite a motivational speaker for positive thinking and some form of encouragement.
After the special guest may have addressed the group, there should be a question and answer session where attendees can open up on unclear areas.
Check out this list of virtual keynote speakers for inspiration.
13. Play One-Word Story
One-word story is an interesting game for groups in a retreat. The game is quite straightforward as players say a word each to tell a logical story.
To play One-word story, have the players sit around in a circle. Select the player who will start the game first. The player who starts the game first will say a word. Then other players will take turns saying a word. The arrangement of each word chronologically should form a meaningful story.
If you want to make the game even more challenging, then make a rule that the story must fall within a particular theme or subject matter. Also, you can place a time limit on how long a player can say a word. A player who exceeds the time limit leaves the game.
14. Go Camping
Camping offers you a fun location and activity for a retreat. Before going to camp as a group, you have to plan well. The group should decide on the type of experience. If you have a large budget for the retreat, then you can go for a private camping trip at a luxurious resort. However, if your group is on a tight budget, then you can camp on a public or dispersed campground.
Once you have sorted out the campground to use and made reservations when necessary, you should also plan for the menu throughout the trip. You may not have to worry about bringing so much food if the booked campground has restaurants for guests.
Also, one of the ways you can make the experience smooth is to divide responsibilities among your group members. For instance, assign members to the fire pit, food, and clean-up teams.
You can set up a campfire to spice things up. Have your group members set up a fire pit. Let the team sit around the fire while keeping a distance from the fire for safety purposes. Then enjoy planned or spontaneously-decided activities and games with your group around the fire.
Here are ways to do virtual campfires.
15. Go Fishing
Fishing is a unique activity to engage in on a retreat, especially if many of your group members are fond of the pastime.
It is essential to decide and be familiar with the destination. Do your research on the kind of fishing you are doing, which can affect your choice of gear. Also, find out if you will need a license to fish in the location of choice.
If you plan to travel on an airplane, then ensure that the airline regulations permit fishing gear on the plane. Then, prepare the needed equipment like fishing rods, boots, hooks, and bait. If no one in your group is well-versed in fishing, then you can hire a local expert angler to guide your group.
16. Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
The classic Rock Paper Scissors game is one of the fun group retreat activities to add to your to-do list on your retreat. Since the game is quite popular, most of your retreat attendees will be familiar with the rules.
A player can make three signs: rock, paper, and scissors. A tightened fist represents a rock sign. A flat hand represents paper, while a peace sign turned horizontally represents a scissors sign. The rules of the game are:
- Rock smashes scissors – If player one makes a rock sign and player two makes scissors sign, then player one wins
- Scissors cuts paper – If player two makes a scissors sign while player one makes a paper sign, then player two wins
- Paper covers rock – if player one makes a paper sign and player two makes a rock sign, then player one wins
To play Rock Paper Scissors:
- Give chronological numbers to the players. For instance, if there are 25 players, then each player will take a number between 1 and 25.
- Then the players with the first two numbers will start the game. The players will call ‘rock paper scissors shoot’ simultaneously. On saying ‘shoot,’ both players must make a sign at the same time.
- The winner of a round then plays with the next group member. For instance, if player one beats player two, then player one will proceed to play with player three.
The game continues until a final winner emerges.
Pro Tip: Although Rock Paper Scissors is a zero-point game, you can customize yours to be different. For each round won, a player gets a point. The player with the highest points wins the game and deserves the winning prize.
Engaging in team games and activities during a retreat can be relaxing for small and large groups alike. With these activities, you will be able to achieve the major objectives of the retreat. The most important thing is to plan the exercises well. You can designate the planning to a committee in your group to make the entire retreat easier.
Feel free to check out these lists of corporate retreat locations, company offsite ideas and team building exercises.
We also have a list of the best energizer games for large groups.