Virtual Intern Event Ideas

Why Are Virtual Events Important for Intern Team Building?

Remote work is challenging for all of us. Without a barrage of emails and tasks it would be easy for many to forget the day, the month, even the year! While we all love our spaces and have adapted well to the new work-from-home challenges, we’re all looking for ways to shake up the dreariness of this routine.

I feel comfortable in sharing that I feel lonely and bored from time to time. Sometimes I feel disengaged, as if the dreary trudge of work and home life is missing the spark of what it used to have. That’s why we need some good old fashioned virtual team building.

Here we have a curated, beloved collection of fun event ideas to help employees and interns connect with one another, respect each other, and most of all work together with comfort and joy. Right now the biggest leg-up we have is one other, and we should celebrate our similarities and differences by regularly engaging in cooperative events!

The Importance of Hosting Events for Your Interns

Despite our challenges, we have ample opportunities to foster new, robust communities at a distance. These virtual events are more than simple fun team building activities, they are ways to grow our interpersonal relationships. Any of these events will add a great internship experience to your team! Here are some great ways to start some virtual employee engagement:

Seven Fun Virtual Internship Event Ideas

Gift Exchange 

Game Type: Real Time, Just for Fun, One-Off

Playtime: One Hour

Items Required: Video Conferencing Software/Website, Trello Board

This game follows a “White Elephant Style” gift exchange method for a thoughtful, entertaining time. Copy a handy Trello Board template here, then follow the Rules column (here’s the gist: each team member purchases an easily-shipped gift. Instead of announcing the gift, add a card to the board with a picture that gives a hint).

After the game starts, take turns by clicking through the cards to reveal the gifts (for example, a picture of a library could be a book, or a bundle of grapes could be a bottle of wine). Once you turn a card, claim that gift. Similar to White Elephant you’ll also have chances to “steal” someone else’s gift after it’s claimed. When the game is over, mail out the gift you contributed to the person who successfully got it!

Learning Circles

Game Type: Real Time, Practical but Fun, Everyday

Time: Half Hour to One Hour

Items Required: Video Conferencing Software/Website, Study Materials

We all yearn for new ways to expand our horizons while working remotely. This game helps escape isolation by making a point to connect with teammates on a more personal level. 

Choose a topic related to your work that you’re interested in—this can be anything from website development to leadership trends to marketing—and find your colleagues who share the common interest. Every month, gather via video conferencing to discuss a book, article, film, or have a short presentation about the topic. The best part about a learning circle is that you can extend this beyond your immediate team and even connect over topics that don’t specifically pertain to your work. Try seeking out subjects that flex the creative mind or help you bond with your teammates in a healthy way.

GIF (.gif) Battles

Game Type: Just for Fun, Everyday, Different

Playtime: Twenty to Thirty Minutes

Items Required: Video Conferencing Software/Website, Trello Board

Here is a great stand in for an all-out Nerf gun war. Copy this Trello Board template and invite all your teammates to join. This game is played in four rounds, each one of a different theme. Use or Google Images to search up some fun .gifs that fit the theme for that round, then attach the .gif to a card. Once all the .gifs are in, vote on a round’s best and most hilarious submission. The person who wins the most rounds will be crowned Ultimate GIF champion! Bask in the glory and make this fun game a regular routine.

Strength Finders

Game Type: Real Time, Fun but Practical, One-Off

Playtime: Thirty Minutes for Individual Prep, Sixty Minutes for Team

Items Required: Video Conferencing Software/Website

It’s time we go beyond our team’s surface level connections. Prepare each person for the session by taking an online strength finder assessment (the official one is $49 but there are free versions via Google). Join in on a group session and have each person share their top three strengths, their lowest strength, and something in the round that surprised them. Your team can talk over how their strengths contribute to the overall, and how everyone can make better use of them.

It goes without saying that this is a more vulnerable activity. This works better if there’s an umbrella of psychological safety among your teammates. While discussing everyone’s strengths, make sure to keep the conversation positive and affirming. If you do this then everyone will walk away with a deep, warm sense of belonging and a new understanding of each other and themselves.

Trivia or Game Night

Game Type: Real Time, Informative, Silly

Playtime: One Hour

Items Required: Video Conferencing Software/Website

Never has there been a bad time had with trivia or a good old fashioned game night. Set up a time that works with the rest of your team, and craft some questions or games in advance. Trivia can be as easy as using Trivial Pursuit or simply finding some categories and questions yourself to pose to your group. Separate your group into teams and offer some fun incentives or prizes for the winner. For game night, you can either play games for free online, play card games over Zoom or other conferencing software, or play some multiplayer games together via Steam!

Lunch n’ Learn

Game Type: Lunch!

Playtime: One Hour

Items Required: Video Conferencing Software/Website, Food

Here’s an easy team building activity that everyone universally loves: lunch. Give your interns a stipend to order some delivery from their favorite local restaurant and then have everyone meet up over a video conference call. These “Lunch ‘n Learns” are fantastic opportunities to share some personal stories, relax, hangout, discuss common interests and go above and beyond the scope of their intern responsibilities. If you want to keep things strictly professional, you can have everyone research some ideas ahead of time or present a theme for the week. You can poll topics and make sure this is successful by sending out notices far in advance.

Intern Talent Show

Game Type: Real Time, Silly, Show and Tell

Playtime: One Hour

Items Required: Video Conferencing Software/Website, A Good Mood

Here it is, your dose of silliness. Show off your team’s secret superpowers by unveiling who are the musicians, the comedians, the artists, the performers, the dancers, the poets, the puppeteers. Settle on a good date and time for this video call, create a Google Doc or Slack channel for sign-ups, arrange your acts and performers, and everything is set for your spectacular Zoom stage. Don’t let people sit this one out; give incentives for those who join!

Building up our virtual communities during remote internships is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be! Keep yourself positive with this creative arrangement of activities and feel free to put your own spin on all of these. Stay creative, and most of all stay together in your remoteness. You can create experiences your interns will never forget, and hopefully bring everyone together (for some team scavenger hunts!)  during this turbulent time. 

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