Objects are scattered in an indoor or outdoor place. In pairs, one person verbally guides his/her partner, a blindfolded person, through the minefield.
Select an appropriate area. Go outside, if possible. Can be done inside, even in rooms with fixed furniture (which can become objects to be avoided).
Distribute "mines" e.g., balls or other objects such as bowling pins, cones, foam noodles, etc.
Establish a concentrating and caring tone for this activity. Trust exercises require a serious atmosphere to help develop a genuine sense of trust and safety.
Participants operate in pairs. Consider how the pairs are formed - it is a chance to work on relationships.
One person is blindfolded (or keeps eyes closed) and cannot talk (optimal). The other person can see and talk, but cannot enter the field or touch the person. The challenge is for each blindfolded person to walk from one side of the field to the other, avoiding the "mines", by listening to the verbal instructions of their partners.
Allow participants a short period (e.g., 3 minutes) of planning time to decide on their communication commands, then begin the activity. It can help participants if you suggest that they each develop a unique communication system.
Be wary of blindfolded people bumping into each other. The instructor(s) can float around the playing area to help prevent collisions.
Decide on a penalty for hitting a "mine". It could be a restart (serious consequence), time penalty, or simply a count of hits, but without penalty.
At the end of the course, participants swap roles. Give participants some review and planning time to refine their communication method.
Allow participants to swap over and even have several attempts, until a real, satisfied sense of skill and competence in being able to guide a partner through the "minefield" develops.
The activity can be conducted one pair at a time (e.g., in a therapeutic situation), or with all pairs at once (creates a more demanding exercise due to the extra noise/confusion). Can be conducted as competitive tasks - e.g., which pair is the quickest or has the fewest hits?
The facilitator plays an important role in creating an optimal level of challenge, e.g., consider introducing more items or removing items if it seems too easy or too hard. Also consider coaching participants with communication methods (e.g., for younger students, hint that they could benefit from coming up with clear commands for stop, forward, left, right, etc.).
Be cautious about blind-folding people - it can provoke trust and care issues and trigger post-traumatic reactions. Minimize this risk by sequencing Mine Field within a longer program involving other get-to-know-you and trust building activities before Mine Field.
Submitted by: Kim Buchanan