Playhouse Build-a-thon Challenge: an exciting team building opportunity

A team of red t-shirt-clad CUMIS employees pose at the end of their three-day team building activity.

On June 5th, Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga hosted our second annual Playhouse Build-A-Thon. This event began last year as an opportunity for a team building experience with one of our amazing sponsors, CUMIS Insurance. For three consecutive days, five very excited teams (each made up of five wonderful CUMIS employees) came out to participate in an event filled with teamwork, creativity, some friendly competition and even a few surprises along the way!

About the playhouse build

The teams arrived to the build site at CUMIS each morning to get prepared for the day ahead- donning hard hats, steel toe boots, safety glasses, and a smile! After a safety lesson and a rundown of the days schedule, it was time to get building. Alongside their team lead, an experienced worker from Habitat for Humanity, the teams worked as a unit to construct their playhouses.

A Habitat Playhouse Build-a-Thon sign outside the team building event in Burlington.

Typically, teams used the morning portion of the day for sawing, sanding, and constructing the frame of the house. The latter half of the day was reserved for decorating and design: painting, accessorizing, and adding special personalized touches that would further accentuate the theme of their house. The sunshine, fun music pumping through the speakers, and delicious food made for a wonderful day of team building for all who participated. And the final result? Beautiful, imaginatively themed playhouses that any kid would dream of having.

On Thursday the 7th, the final day of the challenge, the event culminated with a judging and awards ceremony to celebrate the hard work and incredible products the participants created. A panel of esteemed judges from both CUMIS and Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga examined all of the playhouses and scored them on various criteria including creativity, relevance to the theme and quality of the build.

The winning playhouse, a red and yellow house built to resemble a garage.

The big winner was a house entitled Street Dreams. This garage themed playhouse boasted a steering wheel, a gas pump (with competitive prices!) and even a carwash at the back to fulfill the dreams of any little car enthusiast. Second place was awarded to Go Wild, a jungle-themed paradise featuring trees, animals and safari gear. A playhouse called There’s No Place Like Space won third spot. With a rocketship door, shining stars made from glow in the dark paint and high-tech control board, this playhouse is perfect for any future astronaut.

Meet our special guests

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Habitat for Humanity event without some fun, laughs and exciting surprises. The Burlington Fire Department graciously came by for a visit and our Build-a-thon participants loved getting the opportunity chat with the firefighters.

CUMIS employees and Walter Gretzky pose in front of the red-brick Canada playhouse.

On Thursday we were visited by the amazing Walter Gretzky. Our teams were very excited to take photos with Mr. Gretzky and hear his thoughts on their projects. Walter Gretzky even signed the front of his favourite playhouse- which, unsurprisingly, was a “Team Canada” themed house.

Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault and two CUMIS employees pose with the winning Street Team playhouse.

We were also very lucky to be paid a visit by Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault of Cityline. Leigh-Ann, a talented DIY and design guru, paid a visit to the teams to offer her support and words of wisdom! The teams were very excited to have the chance to chat with Leigh-Ann, get some pointers on their projects and show off all of their hard work. Leigh-Ann also took part in the judging portion of the day bringing her expertise to evaluate the final products and, of course, help choose our winners.

“I have to say the playhouse designs this year are really top-notch, and it would be hard to pick just one because really when you look at each one individually, it’s all about those little hidden details that at first glance you didn’t notice, and then the second time you look at it it has a car for a doorknob for example. So those are the details that really make each one so unique, so special and so valuable beyond the dollars. It’s all, you can really see the thought process, the love and care that’s gone into the designs and brought the teams together to have these amazing creations.

– Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, DIY expert and Cityline personality

The playhouses

Interested in owning one of these amazing playhouses for yourself? Following the competition, the playhouses were shipped to our ReStore locations in Mississauga, Burlington and Milton. Here, they will be sold to some lucky families. The proceeds from items and furniture sold in our ReStores cover all of the overhead costs of Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, which in turn ensures that 100% of donations to the organization fund home building projects for families.

The second-place playhouse, a jungle green with orange accents, plastic ferns in the front and a lizard cut out of wood on the roof.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these imaginative playhouses and supporting Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, you can do so by calling or popping by one of the above ReStore locations. You’ll want to act quickly though, as they tend to fly off our shelves!


“There is some incredible work out here and I just want to thank all of you. I’m so impressed by it, and I do understand the value of your time. When you give up your time, that’s the most valuable gift to our organization. So what you’ve done today is help us generate more revenue, more awareness to help the lives of more families in our community.”

– John Gerrard, CEO of Habitat HM

Team building experiences

Following the excitement of the Playhouse Build-a-thon with CUMIS, we are really looking forward to our next playhouse event with Genworth. This Build-a-thon will take place at the end of June and is sure to bring out a new crop of exciting competition and wonderful, creative playhouses. If you’re interested in participating in a team building experience for your corporation, Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga has a variety of options that will promote teamwork while challenging and motivating your group.

Habitat and CUMIS staff pose with the third-place playhouse, painted blue with a spaceship on the front.

Your group can join us for an Adopt-A-Day experience on a Habitat build site, where you can flex your muscles to build something greater than yourselves. You can also spend a half or full day in our ReVive Centre upcycling items to be sold in our ReStores, or work in the ReStore itself spending time organizing and merchandising a variety of items.

Any of these team building experiences is a wonderful way for your team to donate time and effort, make a contribution to your community and leave feeling motivated and inspired. For more information, visit our team build website to explore the many ways your group can get involved!

By Laura Belford