by Lisa Grimaldi | July 01, 2004


Getting groups to bond away from the meeting room is easier said than done. Many team-building activities require expensive equipment or accoutrements; others might be too complicated or too athletic for the whole group.
     Following is a roundup of simple, creative ideas that anyone can handle, gleaned from leading team-building and special-event firms, as well as from hotels and resorts. Best of all, they’re easy on the budget.


Just Desserts
Source: Interlaken Inn Resort & Conference Center, Lakeville, Conn., and Operation Explore, a Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based team-building firm
Needs: Compass, map and clues for each team; a large table set with multiple desserts
Setting: Outdoors
Group size: 30 or more
Rules: Following a main course of lunch or dinner, teams are given a brief lesson in orienteering and sent off to find a secret enclave on the property where dessert will be served. To reach the site, teams must sort through a series of complex clues, solve riddles, read a map and use a compass as they explore the terrain in and around the hotel. When they get to the final destination, they’re rewarded with a spread of delicious sweets.

World Wine Web
Grand Hyatt Seattle
Needs: The hotel’s sommelier or other wine expert; wines from around the world, prepoured into glasses; a display map showing the countries that produced the wines; pens and pads; crackers and cheese
Setting: Indoors or outdoors
Group size: 12 or more
Rules: Participants sample at least a half-dozen wines and try to match them to their country of origin on the map. The sommelier gives background on the wines, reveals their origin and rewards the winning team or teams with bottles.