Affordable Team Bonding Ideas

You spend 40 hours a week with your co-workers but how well do you really know each other?  Getting out of the office to socialize and build friendships could be just the thing you need to increase morale and productivity.  A custom team bonding event will bring people together by encouraging collaboration, teamwork and communication.  So, how do you do it when you are on a budget? Luckily, sunny San Diego has plenty of fun activities that won’t break the bank!

Build Your Own Mini Golf Course at a Park

Team building events on the golf course has always been popular for business networking but not everyone knows how to play golf and it can get expensive.  Instead, choose a local park that has open green space and split your employees into 9 teams.  Give each team a theme for their hole and provide an assortment of tubes, lumber, pipes or whimsical building materials (craft or dollar stores are great for inexpensive items).  Each team should have a set time to build their hole and then pick a representative to play the “course”. Prizes can be awarded at the end. An event with food is always better so consider providing light snacks or lunch after.

Potluck at the Beach

Affordable Team Bonding Ideas - So Diego

San Diego has over 70 miles of coastline and a potluck event at the beach is a great way to experience it!  Pick one of your local beaches and assign each department a different menu item to bring (appetizers, salad, main dish, dessert, etc.).   You could even turn it into a competition where co-workers get to vote on best dishes in each category and prizes are awarded to winners. You’ll want to provide a shade tent, folding table, plates, napkins, silverware and trash bags.  Ask attendees to bring their own chairs and/or beach blankets for seating. If you pick one of our many beaches with beach volleyball courts, you can set-up an informal tournament. Other games like bag toss, bocce ball and frisbee are inexpensive ways to provide entertainment and team bonding.  A party is always better with music so assign someone to bring a portable speaker and music playlist.  

Hike the Great Outdoors

Affordable Team Bonding Ideas - So Diego

San Diego may be famous for its sand, surf and tacos but it also features some truly stellar hiking trails.  There’s a trail for everyone spanning across the country from the deserts in the southeast to the beaches in the north, each one offers unique plant life, terrain, vistas and views.   When planning a hike for a group, keep in mind that not everyone is of the same athletic ability. You’ll want to find a trail that is 1.5 to 3 miles long and minimal difficulty. You’re doing this to be out in nature and the fresh air together and you want everyone to feel like they can participate.  Hiring a docent at one of the reserves such as Mission Trails or Torrey Pines State Park will give participants a brief history of the area as well as mini geology and biology lessons. Ask co-workers to pack their own lunches and enjoy a picnic together at a view location on the trail.

City Scavenger Hunt

Affordable Team Bonding Ideas - So Diego

Create a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood (or pick an area of San Diego you’d like to explore).  You can do this the old school way with paper clues or live up to the digital hype and download an app – there are a few that you can use for free or a small fee on the app stores.  Either way, have teams capture clues with photo pictures and award prizes for most clues found, fastest team, most creative photo, etc. Why not award prizes after the hunt over food and drinks at a local happy hour (we suggest arranging this ahead of time with a restaurant).  If this sounds overwhelming, consider hiring a local company like So Diego Tours to host the hunt for you and provide food and drinks – all for around $80 per person.

Sand Sculpting Competition

Affordable Team Bonding Ideas - So Diego

Everyone loves a beach day but not everyone wants to get in a bathing suit around other employees.  Instead, set-up a sand sculpting competition at your local beach.  Pick a theme and give each team a set of building tools (buckets, shovels, etc. from your local hardware store) and a time limit.  Pre-set a couple of co-workers to be judges (that aren’t part of the competition) and award prizes for different categories. The beach can get hot so providing a shade tent and bottled water is highly recommended.  You can provide lunch or ask coworkers to each bring something to share potluck style. Don’t forget to provide the plates, napkins, silverware and trash bags.

The Great Escape – Escape Rooms

Affordable Team Bonding Ideas - So Diego

San Diego has an assortment of venues to choose from, each offering a different type of puzzle or theme.  Escape rooms allow participants to improve their communication skills as they work together to interpret clues, problem solve and discover the mystery of the room.  Many venues offer discounted pricing for off-hour events or venue buy-outs – don’t be afraid to ask for a group discount. Prices range from $20 – $40 per person.

Experience San Diego on a Walking Tour

Affordable Team Bonding Ideas - So Diego

San Diego easily lends itself to the long leisurely stroll, be it tranquil Balboa Park, historic Gaslamp Quarter or one of the many small neighborhoods.  Pick a neighborhood and theme and put together a walking tour. You’ll want to arrange 3-5 stops and keep the distance to 1.5 miles or less. Make sure you check in advance with any planned venues, they’ll want the heads up you’ll be stopping by so they can prepare for you.  Not sure where to start? At So Diego Tours, we can arrange it all for you starting at $25 per person.  We specialize in historic tours, food tours and brewery tours, but have built relationships with venues throughout the city and can customize an experience just for you.