21 Company Summer Party Ideas: Team Building Fun in the Sun

Treat Your Team to a Great Summer Work Party

A company summer party is more than just a gathering. It’s a fantastic opportunity for your team to come together, unwind, and celebrate the hard work and achievements of the first half of the year. Whether you opt for exciting activities, delicious food, or acts of charity, a corporate summer party can boost employee morale, foster team spirit, and create lasting memories.

But where to start? To help you put together the perfect event for your team, here are 21 creative and fun summer work party ideas.

Benefits of Throwing a Summer Party for Employees

Of course, you need a good reason to plan a summer work party in the first place. Fortunately, even a small event can have a big impact on your colleagues.

  • Boost Employee Morale: A summer party provides a fun break from work, lifting spirits and energizing employees. That can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Enhance Team Cohesion: These events offer a relaxed setting for employees to interact and bond, fostering stronger relationships and improving teamwork and collaboration in the workplace.
  • Demonstrate Appreciation: Hosting a company summer party shows employees that the company values their hard work and contributions, which can enhance their sense of loyalty and commitment to the organization.
  • Strengthen Company Culture: A corporate summer party can reinforce the company’s values of work-life balance and employee well-being, promoting a positive and inclusive company culture.
  • Improve Communication: Informal settings like summer parties can break down barriers between employees at different levels and in different departments, leading to better communication and a more cohesive work environment.

21 Company Summer Party Ideas Sure to Up Employee Engagement

1. Beach Bonanza

Host a beach-themed party with sand, sun, and surf. Include games like beach volleyball and sandcastle building contests. You can offer tropical drinks and arrange a simple picnic lunch or an elaborate catered buffet to complete the vibe. If you hit the beach during the day, pack plenty of sunscreen. If you plan an evening event, or just don’t want to leave the beach till after sunset, bring blankets for the cooler temps.

2. Barbecue Bash

Organize a classic barbecue with burgers, hot dogs, and veggie options. Set up picnic tables with checkered tablecloths and provide a variety of sauces and toppings. To mix things up, you can encourage colleagues to bring their own favorite (or homemade) sauces, or go more potluck for sides and desserts. Round things out with games, such as cornhole, sack races, ladder ball, or bocce, then end the evening with s’mores around a fire pit.

3. Carnival Craze

For a larger event, or a company summer party that will include families, you can create your own carnival with game booths, a dunk tank, even a rented cotton candy machine. Hire entertainers, such as a magician or clown, to keep everyone amused (or at least bemused). Set up a photo booth with fun props, and offer classic carnival snacks like popcorn and funnel cake.

4. Team Building Scavenger Hunts

NYC group activities in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Few activities combine a good time with quick thinking, creative problem solving, and fast-paced communication the way team building scavenger hunts do. We should know—we’ve run them for more than 25 years here at Watson Adventures. One of the great benefits is that everyone on your team can contribute equally, because you don’t need any particular athletic skills, artistic talents, or prior knowledge. You all just put your heads together and have a fun day.

Our most popular types of team building scavenger hunts and games include:

5. Pool Party

Rent a local pool or a venue with a pool for a refreshing day in the water. Provide floaties, pool noodles, and water games to keep everyone entertained. Set up a shaded area with snacks and drinks for those who need a break.

6. Outdoor Movie Night

Set up a large screen and projector in a park or the office courtyard. Provide comfortable seating with blankets and lawn chairs, and offer popcorn, candy, and drinks for a true cinema experience. Whether you choose the film or films in advance or the night of, offer a mix of family-friendly and classic films to appeal to all ages.

7. Wine and Paint

Host a creative evening where employees can sip wine and paint canvases. Book an event at a sip-and-paint location, or if you have a space for it, you can hire a local artist to guide the session and provide all necessary supplies. If you go the latter route, offer a selection of wines, other alcohol, and of course non-alcoholic options, and provide light appetizers to enjoy while painting. Display the finished artwork in the office, and maybe offer a prize for best—and worst!—paintings.

8. Sports Tournament

Organize a friendly sports tournament with activities like soccer, basketball, or volleyball, or pickleball (we hear it’s all the rage). Set up teams and have a schedule of games throughout the day. Provide refreshments and snacks to keep everyone energized, and award trophies or medals to the winning teams.

9. Picnic in the Park

Boston Public Garden team-building Scavenger Hunt

Plan a relaxed picnic in a local park with blankets, baskets, and plenty of food. Offer a variety of picnic foods like sandwiches, salads, and fruit, and set up a dessert table with assorted snacks. And include activities like frisbee and badminton, or arrange the park-themed edition of our Classic Grab ‘n’ Go Scavenger Hunt, full of creative photo opportunities and other challenges.

10. Garden Party

For a slightly more flowery version of a picnic, host an elegant garden party with beautiful floral decorations and string lights. Offer a variety of teas, finger sandwiches, and pastries. Set up lawn games like croquet and bocce. Provide comfortable seating areas for relaxing conversations. And if your colleagues would enjoy it, encourage everyone to dress up a bit, particularly in white, to add a genteel feel to the day.

11. Trivia Game

Enjoy a wide array of trivia games just about anywhere—in the office, a rented ballroom or restaurant space, at home, or Zooming in from multiple places at once. And with audio and visual components, scavenger hunt rounds, and creative photo challenges, as well as many different themes, these aren’t run-of-the-mill pub-trivia games anyone could throw together.

12. Boat Cruise

If you feel like splashing out on a company summer party, rent a boat for a scenic cruise along a local river or lake. Offer refreshments and snacks on board, and play music for a lively atmosphere. Plan stops at points of interest or for swimming and snorkeling. Enjoy the sunset from the deck to end the day. Of course, you can also book a block of seats or a few tables on a river cruise or dinner cruise.

13. Farm-to-Table Dinner

Arrange a dinner at a local farm with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Plan for long tables to foster a communal dining experience, and you can hire a chef to prepare a multi-course meal featuring local produce. Consider finding a venue that will offer a farm tour, a cooking demonstration, or even goat yoga—we promise it’s a thing!—as part of the event.

14. Amusement Park Day

Take everyone to a nearby amusement park for a day of rides and games. Provide tickets and meal vouchers for each employee, or rent a space for mealtime. Plan a group photo at a central location in the park, and consider designing and printing fun souvenirs like hats or t-shirts with the company logo to commemorate the day.

15. Camping Trip

If your group is the outdoorsy type, organize a camping trip to a nearby national park or campsite. Provide tents, sleeping bags, and other necessary gear, and plan activities like hiking, fishing, and campfire storytelling. Offer a communal cookout with grilled foods and marshmallows for roasting.

Not feel quite so outdoorsy? Opt for a less involved day hike, or give glamping a try.

16. Food Truck Festival

Host a food truck festival at your office parking lot or a local park. Depending on the size of your event, recruit a variety of food trucks offering different cuisines and desserts. Set up picnic tables and seating areas for dining, and provide live music or a DJ for entertainment.

17. Golf Outing

Plan a golf outing at a local course, perhaps including a mini-golf option for non-golfers. Arrange for a group lesson or clinic for beginners. Offer refreshments and snacks at the clubhouse, and award prizes for the best scores and fun categories, such as “Longest Drive” or “Most Balls Lost to Water Hazards.”

18. Cultural Festival

Celebrate the diverse cultures within your company with a cultural festival. Encourage employees to share their heritage through food and music. Set up booths or decorate cubicles to represent different countries or regions, or offer traditional crafts and activities.

19. Zoo or Aquarium Visit

Scavenger hunters at zoo, with a rhinoceros statue

Organize a day trip to a local zoo or aquarium. Much like the amusement park idea, you should provide tickets and meal vouchers or a rented space. Plan group tours or special animal encounters. Offer educational talks or behind-the-scenes tours for added interest. Or plan a scavenger hunt! We offer scavenger hunts at dozens of zoos and aquariums around the country, or you can solve a murder at any aquarium on a special version of the Murder Mystery Mayhem Scavenger Hunt.

20. Charity Fun Run

Host a charity fun run or walk to promote fitness and community involvement. Choose a local charity to support and set up a registration area. Provide t-shirts, water stations, and post-race snacks, and offer prizes for the top finishers and best costumes. (Just, do a better job than they did on The Office that one time.)

21. Music Festival

Create a mini music festival with local bands or employee talent, with a mix of genres to appeal to diverse tastes. Set up a stage and seating area in a park or open space. Offer food and drink, and encourage employees to bring blankets and lawn chairs. For a smaller alternative, plan a karaoke event or take your group to a karaoke bar.

Find More Fun

Contact us to learn more and start planning your summer team building scavenger hunt or virtual scavenger hunt today.