You know that feeling when you’re laughing so hard you start crying? No matter what you do, you feel your eyes well up and the uncontrollable giggles escaping. Talk about an endorphin party! Laughing with your team is perhaps the best way to bond with each other. This is especially important if your team perhaps aren’t as close as anticipated; this is a sure-fire way to bring them together. There are so many activities to help with team building, from an escape room to paintballing (of which you can bring your own paintball sniper rifle if you think it will help you perform better). Even better, there is no need for a budget to host an outing or activity that will induce this great feeling. Whether you never have money allocated for team fun, or you blew through it already but your team needs a pick-me-up, try out one of these eight cheap team outings.
Okay, so this one is not an outing…but it might be my favorite on the list. Swift Kick did this for the “merry-making” part of our quarterly retreat one rainy evening. Like I mention in the linked post, I actually laughed so hard I cried when we read out loud the “Swift Kick Madlibs.” We still reference inside jokes that we created that night. And best of all, it cost $0!
There are a couple ways to create a memory-filled game night:
Have everyone bring their favorite board games.
Board games have made a comeback recently. Great strategy games have left Geek Creek and entered the Mainstream.
Or, just grab your favorite game and have fun! You’ll bond as a team no matter what you pick.
Make your own team-related games.
Just like we did on that retreat, it’s easy to create your own games. Charades is always a great option, and you can have someone make the prompts related to your team and work. Make your own Madlibs by deleting words out of your team’s core values, mission statement, and bios and see what happens.
Fuzzy socks and slippers optional, but encouraged!
Potluck picnic and outdoor games
You know when the weather warms up and everyone is both super motivated and also just want to go outside at the same time? Capitalize on that. Ask everyone to bring portable food, find a park, and bring a Frisbee. Those who can’t cook can bring paper plates and utensils. Throw in a bake-off if you want to encourage a little competition. Yum!
Host a Talent Show
Maybe your team is super creative and talented. Ask them to share their secret skills with the whole team. You might be in for a day of listening to a surprising alto singer while eating peach cobbler made from someone’s grandmother’s secret recipe. The possibilities are endless!
Dinner at someone’s home
Are you the boss? It could be super lovely to open your home to your team and host a little dinner party. Your team will get to know you on a personal level and it will feel good to serve them delicious food. Even if it’s frozen pizza, the change of setting will open up new avenues for getting to know each other.
Take a hike
Being in nature brings a plethora of benefits. It makes you happy and rejuvenates you. Offer your team a day of (easy) hiking through the nearest trail. The outdoors is a great place to facilitate conversation or allow quiet contemplation.
Arts and crafts
If your team likes to work with their hands and make pretty things, grab some old magazines and glue and see what you create! Coloring books work great too. Pipe cleaners, anyone? Multi-media projects? Whatever materials you have lying around your homes or office, take a break from the screens and get together to make art.
Watch a movie
Someone is sure to have a Netflix account on your team. Pick an old favorite or a movie nobody got to see, bring snacks, and settle in for some good cinema on your projector. Maybe you choose a movie relevant to your work. Or maybe you just all really like My Little Pony. No judgment here.
Livestream a big event
Whether it’s the Olympics, the World Cup, SpaceX launching a rocket, or a finale to a TV show you all watch, there’s nothing like sharing in the excitement of a big event together. Find it streaming online and put it up on the projector or big screen usually reserved for serious work. Share snacks, play bingo with squares related to the event and enjoy each other’s company.
All of these activities can be virtually free to do if everyone on the team is willing to bring what they have to share with everyone or put a little time into coordinating. Make sure you don’t force your team to cook for a potluck if it doesn’t interest them. Share this list and see which idea gets everyone excited. These activities and cheap team outings also can serve as exciting low-cost rewards for hitting a goal. In the end, your team will be more productive and better at working together if they are given permission to also have fun in each other’s company.
Let us know what you’ve done with your team in the past for cheap team outings and activities, or share your story about trying one of these ideas!