Almost a year ago, I published a post entitled 15 Unique Activities that Build Team Spirit. I think it’s time to update that list. I have come across a number of very creative ideas since then, and brainstormed for a few more. Enjoy these and seriously consider using some of these to boost your team’s morale!
Some of these activities are ones you can hire out from specific companies. For those, I will also give you some ideas of how you could do something very similar on your own (and for probably a lot cheaper!)
[*Disclaimer: I draw a pretty hard line between team morale-boosters and team building activities. These activities definitely fall in the team morale booster category (nothing wrong with that); however, if you are looking to really build your team, check out my posts on Choosing Team Building Activities (3-part series). Click here to start reading those.]
Also, I’d love to hear from you if you use them, or if you know of more creative ideas, please let me know in the comments below.
1. Cook a meal together
There are certain companies that will specifically set up this kind of event for your team. As a team, you prepare a gourmet meal together and then dive into the goodness. Here are a couple:
Or, you could do something similar on your own. If you wanted to do something like this and don’t have a huge budget, contact your local community college to see if you could hire one of their instructors in the continuing education department to help you out.
2. Laser Tag
This is similar to paintball, only way less messy (and painful). You can divide larger teams into smaller teams and have a laser tag tournament, or divide into two teams and compete until the last person is standing.
If you don’t have a laser tag facility in your area, consider you can buy some equipment from a local toy store and host your own laser tag party!
3. Drum Circle
I’ve never done one of these, but they look like a lot of fun. There are specific companies that you can hire to participate in an event like this. Here are some:
If there’s not a company that does offer this in your area, contact your local school district to see if there’s a drum or percussion instructor that would be willing to donate (or let you rent for cheap) some equipment and have them teach a short lesson on percussion.
4. City scavenger hunt
Here’s another fun way to get your team moving, solving problems, and working together. Try a scavenger hunt around your city. Several companies offer these activities; unfortunately, unless you live in a larger city, these companies might not be available.
Never fear! You could put together one of your own. Grab a team to help organize the event. Go to local hot spots and leave clues for your team to find. Make it your own Amazing Race – corporate style! Here’s an article to help you plan your own scavenger hunt.
5. Murder mystery
Most major cities have specific venues that offer this kind of event. It’s not necessarily for teams, but it would be a fun event to go to together. Most of these include dinner, plus the murder mystery event.
Or, host your own murder mystery! You can buy a kit for a fraction of the cost that it would take to take your team to a hosted event. You might even consider getting some food catered in to make it a dinner party as well.
6. Dinner Theater
How about a team activity with a twist? Host a dinner theater for a local school or charitable organization. There’s nothing like drama to create some drama! Use your team as the planners, servers, and entertainers.
Have the planners on the team take care of the logistics. Have the outgoing ones do the skits and music pieces and emcee the event. Have your exec leaders serve the kids. Everyone participates and watch how your team responds!
7. Night on the town
Get dressed up with your team and go out for a night on the town. Go to dinner. Do some dancing. Go to the theater or orchestra.
If you don’t have the budget for the above, have everyone bring their bikes and go visit some local venues. Many cities host free concerts in the park during the summer. Meet at a specific location with your team and ride to the concert together.
8. Whitewater rafting
If you live fairly close to a river, take your team white water rafting. This isn’t a cheap option, but it’s a blast, and I highly recommend it. Plus, there are a lot of team building lessons you can learn from white water rafting.
9. Rock Climbing
There’s a couple of ways to take a group rock climbing. The first option is to go to a climbing gym. Usually a day pass per person is around $10, but you would also have to go through a belay class (which would probably increase the cost) so that your team knows the in’s and out’s of belaying each other. Contact your local climbing gym for prices and rental fees. You might ask about group rates or what it would cost to rent the whole facility for a few hours.
The other option is to go outdoors. You definitely need an experienced guide for this option, and it will cost quite a bit more money. I enjoy outdoor climbing better, but your organization may not have the budget for it.
If you don’t live near any rivers, this might be a more feasible option. Kayaking can be done on lakes, oceans, or rivers. If you live near a lake that has a marina, you can contact them to see if they rent kayaks or canoes and have enough for your team. Most places rent by the hour, half day, or full day.
Variation: Tie your kayaks or canoes together (or in pairs) for an extra challenge and to learn to work together as a team.
I’m an outdoor enthusiast. I used to work in camps teaching outdoor education classes like orienteering. The concept is pretty simple, but can be challenging to do as a team. You would need some topo maps (short for topographic maps) of your area and some compasses (or smart phones with compasses on them).
This would take a little bit of planning, but you could start each team in a different location, and they try to find their way to the same location. The first team to make it to the spot wins!
12. Fire and shelter building
Bust out your inner Bear Grylls! Divide into teams and head to the woods (or a remote location) and challenge your teams to build a fire and put up a shelter. You would need an adventurous team to be able to do this and for your group to enjoy it. But, it could be a lot of fun.
Before tackling this adventure, you might want to have your team go through some outdoor education classes on these subjects. Contact a local camp or your local Boy Scout Troop to see if there are any available classes.
13. Bigger and better
This is a game I’ve played in youth group growing up, but it would be a fun variation on the scavenger hunt above. Divide into teams and every team must go to houses (or you could go to businesses) and ask for a donated item. Each time you go to the next location, you ask for something “bigger or better” to trade with them.
You could also combine this with #14 below and try to get the biggest and best thing to donate to charity by the end of the contest. You give teams a certain amount of time, and everyone meets back at the office to show what they have been given. You can give the winner a special trophy or certificate, and then present the items to charity as a team.
14. Raise funds (or donations) for charity
Here’s one where you actually make money (well, for someone else). Divide your group into teams (you pick the size, but probably no more than 8 per team).
The challenge: raise as much money (or donations) as you can for charity in 4 hours. The other half of the day will be spent collecting the donations and presenting everything to the charity of choice.
15. Deliver donations
Every year in my city, there is an organization that gives away coats and presents to families around Christmas. A ton of volunteers are needed to pack up the donated items and deliver them to families.
Consider spending a day or half-day with your team helping with a local charity. It could be serving the homeless, or it could be packing food for food-insufficient kids. Find a local charity and get involved. You might even consider doing this on a regular basis. It gets everyone to stop thinking about themselves and thinking about and serving others.
BONUS: Host a Minute to Win It Challenge at work.
You’ve heard of the game show. This would take a bit of planning, but imagine the fun that your team would have. Get on YouTube and search for Minute to Win It games to get an idea of how to play them, as well as supplies that you would need. Host an afternoon Minute to Win It Challenge at work, play in teams (as opposed to individuals) and crown a winner in the end.
What other creative ideas do you have for boosting team spirit? What have you done? Let me know in the comments below!
[photo credit: alga38 / 123RF Stock Photo]