People Management
7 min.

23 Low-Cost Team Building Activities to Try With Your Team

Véronique Forest
Last updated on 6 Dec. 2023
Published on 22 Jul. 2020
Employees playing frisbee in a park during a team building activity

Team building activities are a staple of numerous workplaces, with some even dedicating a considerable portion of their budget to them. And employees love them.

Table of contents

Here at Agendrix, we see team building activities as essential to team cohesion. Accordingly, we have a dedicated committee charged with planning events. Of course, this contributes to team motivation and creates a stimulating work environment, but to be honest, we mostly do it to have fun with our colleagues.

Successful team building activities don’t have to be expensive.

With that in mind, I have compiled 23 ideas for low-cost, easy-to-plan team building activities. I hope some of them will resonate with you, regardless of your team’s size and preferences.

  1. Specialized class
  2. Treasure hunt
  3. Photo rally
  4. Board game night
  5. Homemade escape room
  6. Search and find
  7. Hike
  8. The park
  9. Office Olympics
  10. Skating rink
  11. Picnic at the park
  12. Potluck
  13. Poker night
  14. Themed day
  15. Movie night
  16. Happy hour
  17. Videogame night
  18. Day at the beach
  19. Creating a fresco
  20. Cook-off
  21. Improv night
  22. Karaoke
  23. Volunteering

To Rack Your Team’s Brains

1. A Specialized Class

It’s simple: leverage your employees’ strengths and knowledge by having one of them share their passion with everybody else. The class could be on forest survival, cooking, juggling, knitting, wild plant identification, or anything else of which an employee might be an enthusiast.

This idea is great for highlighting your employees’ hidden talents and getting to know them better.

2. A Treasure Hunt

Pick a theme, come up with a series of clues and set your employees on a treasure hunt. If your budget allows it, you can even offer a prize for the winning team.

This idea might seem a little tacky at first, but you can make it more interesting by adding an extra challenge. For example, half of the participants could be blindfolded.

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3. A Photo Rally

Set up a photo rally in your neighbourhood. List some challenges to overcome for points, with each team providing photographic evidence of their successes. Award bonus points for the funniest photos, the greatest costumes or the best team spirit.

Introverted participants can act as photographers while your more extroverted people have fun doing the challenges. There is no reason to leave a colleague out for this team building activity. This will also likely get you some good photos to share on your social networks.

4. A Board Game Night

Invite your colleagues to a board game night in your employee lounge or cafeteria, or even at home. Ask everyone to bring their favorite games and choose which ones to try first. May the best player win!

Provide snacks and beverages if your budget allows it. Make it so everyone has a good time.

5. A Homemade Escape Room

Escape rooms are all the rage right now. But did you know creating one at work for a team building activity is relatively easy? While it no doubt requires a little more organization on your part, I guarantee your team will have a lot of fun going through it.

Pinterest is full of ideas. Find some that inspire you and create your own scenario. Bonus points if you base it on your workplace.

6. Search and Find

But what if your team can’t get together? Plan a remote “Search and find” activity with Google Maps. How does it work? Come up with a list of quests, i.e., things for the participants to find with the Streetview tool. Screenshots are then emailed to the organizers as evidence of success. Award bonus points (or even custom crystal trophies) for the funniest photos, the greatest costumes, or the best team spirit.

During one of our team building activities, the whole team was on Zoom and we shared our screenshots in a Slack conversation. Let me tell you: the hour we spent doing this flew by, and many participants couldn’t stop laughing!

To Stretch Your Team’s Legs

7. A Hike

With the right trail, this activity is sure to please both athletes and dabblers. Everyone can go at their own pace while taking in the scenery. It’s also a great way to reduce your team’s stress.

There are plenty of free hiking spots across the world. A quick Google search will show you the ones closest to you. Our favorite hiking spot close to our office is Mount Orford.

8. The Park

Pick a park with amenities (soccer fields, volleyball courts, resting areas and so on) and ask your staff to bring games: balls, frisbees, spikeball sets, slacklines, etc.

Those less athletically inclined can simply soak up the sun or, better yet, be the referees for those who play sports. If your budget allows it, bring a few drinks or buy Mr. Freezes for everyone.

9. Office Olympics

Remember the small-scale Olympic games you participated in back in school? You know, events such as the long jump, shot putting, tug of war and so on? Adapt the concept to your workplace and organize your own sporting challenges. If you want to have team activities, you can also plan a relay race.

You can even make it a competition by offering prizes. Who knows, this might become a tradition!

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10. The Skating Rink

Nothing quite beats the outdoor skating rink to enjoy winter. Go to a nearby park to play hockey or just skate around. Bring some hot chocolate if your budget allows it.

To Have a Great Time with Your Colleagues

11. A Picnic at the Park

Team building activities don’t always have to be complicated or even structured. Simply take advantage of a clear summer day by relaxing with your team at a nearby park. This will let you forge bonds with your employees and get to know them better.

12. A Potluck

Plan a team meal where everyone brings a dish to share. This simple activity lets everyone have a good time.

But why not spice things up by creating original rules? Forbid people from talking about work; if they do, make them wear a funny hat until someone else breaks the rule.

13. A Poker Night

Poker lovers will enjoy this activity, and you don’t have to play with money (although a small amount does make things more interesting). Be creative. You can use cookies as chips, for example.

14. A Themed Day

Organize a few themed days throughout the year and encourage employees to dress up according to the theme, be it the 80s, farm animals or superheroes, for instance.

If your workplace is more conservative, you can go for a more discreet theme: the funniest socks, for instance.

15. A Movie Night

Since most workplaces have the facilities needed to show movies, you can likely put on a movie night for your team. Otherwise, you can always do it at someone’s place. And why not supply the popcorn?

You can also organize an outing to the movie theatre with your team, where everyone is free to come—and pay for their ticket—or not.

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16. A Happy Hour

How about a little happy hour between colleagues in your employee lounge or at a volunteer’s place? You could even provide a few beverages and snacks.

This team building activity can easily be combined with others in this list.

17. A Videogame Night

Don’t sweat it. Just invite over colleagues who like video games for an evening at your house. You can even break out classics such as Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros.

18. A Day at the Beach

Nothing beats a day at the beach to recharge your batteries. You can relax, play volleyball, swim and so on. Everyone will find something to like.

To Flex Your Team’s Creative Muscle

19. Creating a Fresco

A bit of paint, brushes and a big canvas are all you need to let your employees unleash their artistic talents. You can even make it a contest.

20. A Cook-Off

Challenge your team by making them cook their best dish. Pick a theme or let your employees choose. The winner is decided by a vote by ballot. As an added bonus, everyone will get to enjoy good home-cooked meals.

21. An Improv night

Do you have a rather large team of extroverts who are ready to try new activities? Why not put on an improv night? Consult the official website of the Canadian Improv Games to help you set things up. Adapt the rules to your situation. Be creative; after all, you’re there to have fun.

22. A Karaoke Night

Have karaoke aficionados on your team? Organize a karaoke night between colleagues. You can even assign songs in advance to let people prepare for their performance (costumes strongly recommended). Leave your pride at the door and enjoy yourself!

To Help Your Community

23. Volunteering

You can also have fun while helping people. Why not organize volunteering team building activities? Contact organizations close to your office and offer your help.

Picking up trash in a nearby park or wooded area is also an option.

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