Leadership Inspirations Activities

Human Knot

The group must untangle itself to form a circle

Duration

10-20 minutes

Team Stage

Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity

Materials

None

 

SUMMARY

The group must untangle itself to form a circle. To be successful they must trust each other and be creative problem solvers!

 

SET UP

  • This activity is best played with 10-15 people per group. If you have a larger group, break them up into smaller ones to play.
  • Safety: If someone has an injury to their back, shoulder/arm, or neck, they should not participate in this activity.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Have groups stand in a circle.
  • Everyone puts their right hand into the circle and takes the hand of someone across from them. Then they should extend their left hand in and take the left hand of someone across the circle from them (it should not be the person standing next to them).
  • If everyone has two able hands, it doesn’t matter if you have an odd or even number of people doing this activity everyone will end up holding hands (someone’s right hand may be left over from the first round, but they can grab a left hand).
  • Once everyone is tangled, the group may not let go of each other’s hands.
  • Their task is to untangle themselves so that they are standing back in a circle (some people may be facing different directions and that’s okay).
  • Facilitator Note: Once the group has untangled themselves, there are times when they may end up in two dissecting or even separate circles. If you don’t mind this result, it is great for debriefing! If you do want them to end up in one continuous circle, once everyone has taken two hands, you can check this by having one person (A) start by squeezing one hand connected to them (B), then B would squeeze C, C would squeeze D and so forth. If the squeeze makes it back to person A and has touched everyone, you have a continuous circle.

VARIATIONS

  • You can also give each participant a bandana. They should hold it in their right hands and then should take the bandana of someone else with their left hand. They must untangle themselves without letting go of the bandanas.
  • If you have groups that have played this activity before, you can make the activity more challenging by adding rules like no talking or certain people are blindfolded.

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Inclusion and Involvement

  • What does it mean to be inclusive or exclusive?
  • What did we do as a group that was inclusive? That was exclusive/not inclusive?
  • Why is inclusion and involvement important for our group?

Feedback

  • Why is feedback important? What kind of feedback is important?
  • What does constructive/effective feedback look like?
  • How did positive/negative/or no feedback affect your success?

Teambuilding

  • When has your group worked well together in the past? When have they not worked well together?
  • When has (something that happened in the activity) happened in the past with your group?
  • What habits or actions make a successful or effective team? What does your group do well as a team? What are your group’s opportunities for growth when working together?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?