There is a certain satisfaction that comes with building something from the ground up. Whether it is baking a cake or building a company, creating something – from concept through design and into execution – exercises your mind in a left-right-left march toward completion. It’s like boot camp for your brain. In our Playhouse Challenge™ workshop, your group will cooperatively imagine, design, and build custom playhouses to be donated in your organization’s name to nonprofit youth programs, children’s hospitals, or low-income housing in the local community. Past participants have described it as a sort of Habitat for Humanity experience, except that we bring the project to you, and the houses are completed before you walk out the door. We combine this “concept-to-completion” building exercise with keynote addresses, team building activities, and a mix-match of ice-breakers to get your team thinking, well, like a team. Your group will discover the joy of building something real. You will find that the gifts your team take away are as significant as those they leave behind.

How It Works During this Philanthropic Team Building, we bring in all the supplies and materials for your group to design, build, and showcase one playhouse for every ten to fifteen participants. Participants are divided into specific roles including Chief Marketing Officer, Quality Assurance Manager, Building Manager, Architecture/Design Manager, Procurement Manager, etc. Then it is about managing process, time, teamwork, and results. Odyssey facilitators set up the context of the exercise beforehand and follow through with a debrief afterward to overlay team and leadership developmental content, allowing participants to practice and integrate these values into their roles and responsibilities.

Why It Works You want an intense project that highlights what can happen when you are all firing on all cylinders – making measurements, swinging hammers, puzzling together the pieces…and doing something good for someone else. It’s a great way to maximize only 2-4 hours without the transportation time and costs of leaving the hotel/venue.

Business Application The Playhouse Challenge is about seeing each other in a new context where the values of trust and collaboration are built, literally.

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Program Process


We will help you identify the specific business goals and organizational values that The Playhouse Challenge will deliver upon. This is done in a pre-program call between Odyssey Teams’ Lead Facilitator and key meeting stakeholders/organizers from your team.

At the Program:

Phase I – Opening/Introduction. – Designed to set a powerful context for participation, engagement and application related to the specific organizational values and individual behaviors as identified.

Introviews™ – e.g. Last thing you built with a hammer was…; what is the most important structural element to a house? Why? What similarities to your business?

Instructional review and safety briefing.

Assign roles: Team Lead, Safety Guru, Procurement and Cleanup, Design, Quality, and Sage.

Establish timeline.

Phase II – Get Busy. – Building begins.

Phase III – Finish Building. – Clean-up begins, preparations to present finished house.

Phase IV – Surprise Guests. – Surprise visit by representatives from agency/shelter, etc.. The Neighborhood Stroll (teams parade around to view/celebrate all Playhouses with guests).

Phase V – Debrief/Transference. – ‘Sages’report out on observations of their teams related to: Collaboration and teamwork, quality, sense of purpose, on-time delivery, and more related to the main objectives of the session. The larger group is invited to add additional observations time-permitting.

Phase VI – Tipping Points™. – Tipping Points are original quotes and lessons authored by the attendees at the end of the program and are fed back to the entire group over time for enhanced program benefits/shelf life.

Phase VII – Close.

The Why of Our Work: Playhouse Challenge

The Playhouse Challenge was inspired by our original service project ‘Habitat for Hounds'(soon to be resurrected). We just love the chaos of this program. With hammers pounding, people running around for supplies, and insane creativity that blossoms within the last 30 minutes of the build. It is astounding to see teams all start with the same supplies, but each end up with such unique Playhouses.

What kid doesn’t love a good Playhouse? The younger kids love receiving them as much as we love building them. There are so many metaphors for building a good house and building a good team/business. It’s a lot of fun listening to the ‘Sages’ (participants designated to make observations and extract lessons from the experience) at the conclusion of the program.

Impact so far:

While we have not been keeping actual records of the number of Playhouses built in the Playhouse Challenge, we estimate over 200 going to shelters, schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA’s, and more from coast-to-coast.

Other FAQ's

How many Playhouses will we build? One playhouse for every TEN participants.

What is the duration of the Playhouse Project? Ideally, four hours, though it has been done in less time. If you have limited time, it is possible to pre-fab the houses a bit more to save time.

Indoors or Out? The ideal venue set-up is to start the session indoors to set context, give instructions, etc., then build and finish outside – weather permitting. We have done the program indoors (additional cost may be required to cover floors)

How big are the Playhouses?
56 inches long, 37 inches wide and 60 inches tall.


I couldn’t be more pleased with the training team you assembled, the content and how the material was received by the participants.
– Christine Stout, Premier Retail Network

More Testimonials

DIY Playhouse Challenge Teambuilding kit COMING SOON

We are close to releasing the Playhouse Challenge in a self-facilitated DIY kit. Let us know if you’d like this option for an upcoming event. We may have it ready by then!

It's Powerful Stuff.