Building Relationships 2 – The Human Knot


This activity works best with between 8-15 people.  If there are too few it goes really quick.  If there are too many it simply takes too long or just doesn’t work.  You can split your class into groups and make it a race if you have a larger class.

Participants need to form a circle.  Then everyone needs to reach across the circle and lock hands with someone else, grabbing the hands of two different people.

Now tell students that they have to untangle themselves without breaking their grips.

This is a great trust-building exercise.  Most people don’t believe it’s possible at first but the vast majority of groups untangle themselves successfully.  In the end, all participants should be facing outwards, forming the original circle.

If participants get really stuck you can allow one unclasp and reclasp.

The sense of accomplishment when the knot is untangled is fantastic.

Obviously this activity brings out a lot of language related to body parts, prepositions of movement and place, directions, and imperatives.

Here’s a video of the activity being done (apologies for the religious theme):

Related Posts:

Building Relationships 1: Tank Game

Building Relationships 3:  Trust Falls

Building Relationships 4:  Circle of Trust


  • By Simon, April 8, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    We used to pay this when I was a kid and I didn’t know then that it’s supposed to be a trust-building activity. we just had a blast figuring out how to untie the knot. Great memories!

  • By Chaser Cruz, May 26, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

    It is a kind game that signifies the importance of camaraderie and how important the teamwork is. How to untie the knot is the main highlight of the game and it is a kind of game that you will cherish for you will able to learn lessons from it.

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