15 New Ideas for Virtual Events, Ice Breakers, and Other Teambuilding Activities
From lip-sync battles and paint nights to scavenger hunts and even juggling classes, here are some creative add-ons for your next virtual event or 9 a.m. team meeting.
As we're all quickly learning, full days of Zoom calls and webinars can easily get a bit old. While many event producers are launching their own advanced virtual platforms—including interactive, avatar-based systems—attendees still crave creative ways to connect with each other, de-stress, and, most importantly, have fun.
Read on for some of our favorite new teambuilding activities, ice breakers, and entertainment options that can be added to your next virtual gathering. The best part? These eclectic, web-based offerings are available worldwide.
For some friendly competition:
New York-based scavenger hunt company Watson Adventures has debuted three virtual games appropriate for teambuilding and group morale-boosting. Attendees use video conferencing to connect with a live "hunt host" who facilitates the 60-minute game. Options include a trivia game with visual puzzles, a scavenger hunt, and more; a murder-mystery experience where small teams work together to solve puzzles and find a killer; and "Escape to the Museum," which has brain teasers about artwork and artifacts in museums around the country. Corporate rates begin at $750.Photo: Courtesy of Coco Events
Entertainment company Coco Events in New York has launched "Game of Phones," a trivia-based game show that groups can play on their phones or web browsers. The experience can be fully personalized with branding, background images, and custom questions, and can accommodate as many as 1,000 people. There's also an option for live voting and polls, which can be used to get instant feedback on everything from an important company decision to judging the winner of a live talent contest.
C3 Events and Total Events, based in Quebec, have teamed up to create a series of activities for remote teams and virtual events. Options include the 30-minute "Daily Kick-Off," an upbeat, creative challenge where attendees shoot motivational photos and videos in their own homes, as well as a bar-style virtual trivia game. The companies also offer a "Virtual Day Off," where attendees work with other remote players to navigate a virtual board game. The platform has a live scoreboard and multi-media challenges, and also allows for inter-team messaging, feedback, and data capture.
For a charitable component:
Goodhang, a new initiative from experience design studio Jack Strategy, allows groups to host virtual happy hours, book clubs, and more—while also supporting local bars and restaurants. Groups choose a time to connect on Zoom and then select a venue to support from Goodhang's list of partners. Guests at the virtual event can choose to donate or buy a gift card as their "tab." Donations are optional, and 100 percent of the money directly goes to the venue. The service has partnered with bars and restaurants throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley, plus Chicago, San Francisco and Oakland, and Washington, D.C.
Entire Productions, an event and entertainment production company based in San Francisco, has a variety of new virtual offerings, including performances from musicians and artists, virtual clue-solving and trivia games, live-streamed wellness classes, workshops led by Broadway performers and improv comedians, and more. The company also hosts a CSR-focused workshop where groups build a hand for someone who cannot afford a prosthetic device; Entire Productions can ship a kit to each participant that includes all supplies and tools to build one hand. Video facilitation and a debrief can be added.
Corporate Event Interactive in Chicago is offering several remote programs, including motivational sessions, trivia games, and scavenger hunts around attendees' neighborhoods. The company can also facilitate "iQuiz for a Cause," a virtual game designed to give back to a select charitable organization. Each team chooses a local charity or cause, such as providing meals to hospital workers, and then completes a series of trivia questions, visual puzzles, riddles, and more. Corporate Event Interactive can coordinate donations with the charity and also serve as an emcee, coordinate a live leaderboard, and more. The company recommends a minimum of 25 people, with six to eight on each team.
For groups to embrace their creative sides:
Yaymaker, which typically hosts in-person arts and crafts events in 10 cities across North America, has begun offering virtual paint nights for private parties and corporate groups. Events are led by an expert host who interacts with the guests and held on an online streaming platform; each guest will need acrylic paint, paintbrushes, and a 15- by 12-inch canvas. (Materials can be ordered and shipped directly through Yaymaker's website if needed.) Yaymaker can also host kid-focused virtual painting events.
Hidden Door Experiences, an Australia-based teambuilding company, has launched a "remote lip-sync battle" option. Groups choose a song (Hidden Door can provide a list of suggestions), and the company creates an online workspace with instructions for recording and uploading the videos. Hidden Door then edits the footage into a fun, shareable video. The experience is available around the world for groups as large as 200 people.
For unique entertainment:
Digital Deception—a tech-focused, two-man magic and mentalist act—has launched a virtual stage show dubbed "Alakazoom." Magicians Doug McKenzie and Ryan Oakes stream live from their Brooklyn-based studios and use cell phones, text messages, and digital imagery to create a series of tricks and illusions. The show is fully interactive and customizable, and the team is available for meeting kick-offs, session breaks, or interstitial moments throughout a webinar.
Las Vegas-based host, emcee, and keynote speaker Jeff Civillico is holding virtual juggling workshops for companies and associations. Attendees follow along by using three pairs of balled-up socks—and are also encouraged to get their families involved. The 30- to 60-minute live workshop can be customized and hosted on a company’s own platform or on Civillico’s Zoom account. Civillico is also holding family-focused juggling workshops on Zoom every Tuesday; the workshops are free with registration.Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Civillico
For a memorable ice breaker:
Wildly Different in Orlando offers a variety of remote teambuilding options, including ice breaker games where guests complete getting-to-know-you challenges, like taking a photo with something personal in their office, or recording a video about a place they can't wait to travel. Wildly Different then puts the videos and pictures together in a shareable sizzle reel. The company also offers downloadable digital escape rooms, trivia and murder-mystery games, and a remote team exercise called "the pitch," where groups work together to build an ad campaign, billboard, and more for a fictional new product or service.
For stress relief:
Play With a Purpose, a teambuilding company with offices in Orlando and Las Vegas, offers a variety of virtual activities, including 20-minute guided group meditation designed to reduce anxiety, promote emotional health, and lengthen attention spans. Hosts can choose between 15 different guided journeys. The company can also facilitate philanthropy-focused challenges, such as a group project that creates artwork for local hospitals and first responders.
Toronto-based tech start-up Retreatify has launched an online portal for virtual activities and workshops. Options range from 30-minute art-based exercises designed to boost creativity, to hourlong play-focused workshops, to a virtual mixology class. There are also customizable classes focused on self-improvement, ranging from five-minute team energizers that focus on engaging the body and calming the mind, to a two-hour workshop on using mindfulness to increase productivity.
Mobile rage room Smash—a product of Spokane, Washington-based experience design company Blender—is offering a unique stress-relief option via video. Event attendees can submit a list of their fears, anxieties, and other stressors, and the Smash team writes the words down on a plate—and then videotapes themselves smashing it. Videos are then sent to the person who requested it.
For a fun keepsake:
Seattle-based photo booth company The SnapBar has recently launched a browser-based, virtual photo booth for brands and remote teams planning virtual events, conferences, and parties. The experience can be fully branded with a custom start screen, color scheme, URL, overlays, stickers, and more; there's also an optional AI background removal software that allows for branded or themed backgrounds. Photo: Courtesy of The SnapBar