Recommendations for “good team bonding activities?”

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“Dear PoPville,

Ever posted a thread/piece on good team bonding activities? Our office is trying to set something up for a group of about 15-20 people and we’re trying to brainstorm fun activities to do outside the office one afternoon.”

36 Comment

  • epric002

    i realize that this is pretty unhelpful, but IMO there are no “good” team bonding activities. they might be my least favorite thing ever. i’m an introvert though. (if this event isn’t mandatory, won’t take up personal time, and is paid for by the company, i will decrease my extreme hatred of it.)

    • My dislike of forced team building aside, please no ropes or adventure courses. As someone who is into the outdoors but with a (fairly common) fear of heights, this is just dread. Pick something that appeals to the young, old, active, sedentary, etc. Singling out people who are either not in shape or don’t want to swing upside down from the nearest vine just makes people feel less connected.

    • saf

      I am an extreme extrovert and I also hate those types of activities.

      That said, if you must do this, do it on company time and find something cool that relates to the field.

  • Look up “trapped in a room” with a zombie. We did this with 12 people and it was really fun. The objective is to solve a series of puzzles to find the key that opens the door, in 1 hour.

  • What perfect timing. We’re trying to organize a cooking class for our office. We’ve reached out to Culinarie, Hill’s Kitchen, and Just Simply…Cuisine. No luck in the short term. Don’t mean to hijack but if anyone has other suggestions…

  • I Dont Get It

    Spirit fingers!

  • I Dont Get It

    Our team took a group CPR class once.

  • My team recently went to ArtJamz in Dupont. It was fun, wine, beer, and painting for 2 hours. Was fun to get all messy with my coworkers!

  • how about happy hour? drinks always make coworkers closer!

    or, going to a Nats game together is always an option – tickets are usually pretty cheap too

  • cooking class

  • How about a ride on the X2?


  • If you have a small enough team that you can be sure there are no teetotalers or moral objectors, a cocktail class combines happy hour and cooking lesson. We did one at my old outfit near Philadelphia, and it was good fun times. And it was cheaper for the company than going out and buying two rounds plus appetizers.

  • skj84

    Maybe a Scavenger Hunt?

  • Rock climbing intro lesson. You learn how to literally support your teammate as they climb towards a goal. New skills. Exercise.

  • It’s far (though there may be a closer option) but Hemlock Overlook in Clifton, VA does a ropes course (through Adventure Links. I loved Hemlock as a kid (we went in elementary school and I did summer camp there twice) and they have a good ropes course.

    • Go Ape has a location in Rockville. Ziplines and rope courses. It’s too expensive for a family day out ($50+ for adults) but not too bad for a company day.

  • We always found the best teambuilding was drinks at a bar….especially when the boss is paying. We did have to do a road trip once where 10 of us were stuck in an RV…four hours there and back. DO NOT RECOMMEND. We wanted to kill each other by the end of the weekend.

  • we did “office olympics” once and it was actually really fun. Races in office chairs around the file cabinent, golf up and down stairs…I think we had at least 5 games. people got really into it.

  • Hemlock Overlook (team building events)


  • No need to get fancy. If someone (preferably boss or deputy) is willing to host, a simple offsite work day can be great. We try to do a breakfast and lunch potluck (everybody brings 2 dishes) about twice a year for our strategic planning. Always a ton of good food, mostly homemade. Super casual, lots of discussion, no huge stress on deliverables.

  • I would caution against anything that has a real physical component, like a ropes course or trapeze. People are very self-conscious about their bodies/abilities, and may have injuries or disabilities or fears they don’t want to address. But light physical activity is probably ok – we did bowling at Pinstripes a while ago, which was non-competitive and easy for folks of all ages/abilities. You could also try mini golf at H street country club.

    And disregarding my previous advice, laser tag could be fun! There are a couple places in VA.

  • An improv class, perhaps?

    Or you could volunteer somewhere as a group. Food & Friends has a great set-up for volunteer groups.

  • Put the money into something that you actually want to do as a group. These exercises are a waste of money and there’s no evidence that they do anything useful for an organization. Paying some one with dubious credentials and paying for a space. If you’re work group is not functioning well, this easily could be counterproductive.

  • Rockandroar

    My Company rented a room at the Verizon Center (our office is a couple of blocks away) and had us build bikes for kids. It was a lot more fun than it sounds. I’m not sure what company we used, but this one will give you an idea:

  • My preference for team building is actually volunteering. You accomplish something, and it also accomplishes team building without feeling as….trivial….as teambuilding usually does.

    If you want to look into that, I know that sorting donated food for food pantries works really well for team building.

  • Capital Rowing Club has a team building program designed for work group team building:
    It’s something different and gives you a chance to learn something new and be outside and on the river without having to tackle your fear of heights in front of your boss! Especially recommended for late spring/summer. Plus you can support a community organization and get to know the city from a completely different perspective.

  • Try TopGolf Alexandria! They do small events too!

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