Activity Source: International Association of Teamwork Facilitators
Challenge: The group must create assigned geometric shapes.
Group Size: 6 - 10
Age Range: elementary – adult
Intensity: Mental=2, Physical=1
Time: 5 – 10 minutes (without debrief)
Space: Minimal – Medium -- Lots
Set Up Time: 60 seconds
Props: Two shoestrings
Setup / Preparation
- Tie 2 shoestrings together to form a circle.
- All group members hold onto the circle with both hands.
- The group is then asked to form an equilateral triangle (all sides equal).
- No one may use verbal communication during this activity.
- Everyone must hold onto the shoestring circle with both hands for the entire activity. Letting go of the shoestring circle, even for a moment is not permitted.
- One variation of this activity requires the participants to close their eyes. Some people ask me if it’s OK to use blindfolds. I’m not an advocate of using blindfolds. If someone feels the need to take a peek, so be it. I would rather the person feel secure in the knowledge that they can be instantly reassured by opening their eyes.
- Younger people (under age 10) will likely have a challenging time making a triangle with no verbal communication and their eyes open.
I few years back I suggested this activity to a friend who was leading a teambuilding event for a group of 20 college students who were preparing to travel to South America to do a large and challenging service project. My friend said the group was working well together and needed a challenge that would bring out leadership issues when things didn’t go as planned. My friend presented the group with this interesting twist - - she had the group stand behind a “start” line and then placed a loop (made out of 100 feet of small diameter rope) fifty feet beyond the start line. The 100 feet of loop was piled up. The group was then asked to travel out as a group to form a perfect square out of the rope with this stipulation…once the group crossed the start line, they must keep their eyes closed. The group worked well to make a plan and they all agreed on it and then stepped out toward the rope together, with eyes closed. While they were headed toward the rope, the facilitator moved it to an entirely different location. The group reached the point where they thought the rope should be, and yet it wasn’t there. The group became frustrated. After much effort, they made a second plan to find the rope (all with eyes closed). They eventually found the rope and then had to make the geometric shape. During the debrief, the group discussed how the activity was a good lesson for them in preparation for their trip. They knew they would encounter challenges that would test the group regardless of how much planning they would do ahead of time. They discussed a plan of action for how they would react to such situations during the trip.
- For the second shape, ask the group to form an equilateral triangle. They can talk, but they can’t open their eyes. They must hold on to the Group Loop with both hands throughout. The group can open their eyes once they are in agreement as to whether they have made the shape successfully.
- If you have a large group, divide into teams of 12 people each then give each group their own Group Loop
- Use a 100-foot section of rope with LOTS of people holding on trying to form a geometric shape. This variation is best done after the small groups have had success forming shapes. Make sure you tie a VERY SECURE knot.
The above teambuilding game description was provided by the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators.
The IATF has members in 34 countries and represents a dynamic community of supervisors, managers, coaches, trainers, facilitators, and educators who are actively working to grow and leverage the most important energy source of our time - - the power of inspired teamwork.
The IATF provides free teambuilding games, free and engaging leadership development TeleSeminars, free and interactive interviews with team development thought leaders (authors, speakers, etc.), webinars, group and one-on-one coaching, workshops, presentations, books, and multimedia training materials.
We love what the IATF is doing and we urge you to visit the site and access all their great resources. Just click on the following link: http://www.IATFconnect.com
Submitted by: Jennifer Arns