Virtual Team Building Events

Activity Description

Human Knot Activity

The exercise starts off with having everyone stand in a circle. Each person must then connect and hold hands with somebody opposite them, which will create a ‘Human Knot’. The aim of the exercise is to then untangle themselves, but nobody is allowed to break contact or let their hands go.


No Props 

Space Required:

Small space either Indoors or Outdoors.

Group Size:

8 to 12 ideally per team. You must have at least 4 participants to play.

Total Time: 20-25 minutes

  • 5 minutes to brief and set up
  • 15 minutes for challenge
  • 5 minutes to review and debrief

How to facilitate the Human Knot Activity

  • Get the group to form a circle.
  • Tell them to put their right hand up in the air, and then grab the hand of someone across the circle from them.
  • Then repeat this with the left hand, ensuring they grab a different person’s hand.
  • Check to make sure that everyone is holding the hands of two different people and they are not holding hands with someone on either side of them.
  • They must now try to untangle themselves to form a circle without breaking the chain of hands. Allocate a time limit to complete this challenge (generally 10 – 20 minutes).
  • If the chain of hands is broken at any point, they must then start over again.

Safety aspects when running Human Knot

  • This exercise should be done slowly preferably without a time limit, in order to prevent any injuries.
  • Inform participants not to pull and tug too much while trying to untangle themselves.

Suggested Learning Outcomes

  • Encourages team work and cooperation
  • Brings out leadership qualities
  • There is also an aspect of time management involved.

Human Knot Activity Guidance and Notes

When your group is more than 16 people, it is advisable to then create smaller teams, which will make the challenge a lot easier. The success rate for bigger groups who try this exercise is very low, as it is very difficult to untangle so many people.

You can make it more challenging for smaller groups, by adding a time limit. Inform participants to do this carefully and keep an eye on them. This variation is a good way to emphasize time management and the consequences of not following through. Another variation can include blindfolding participants or telling them to remain silent as they try to untangle themselves. By making the exercise a silent one, gives the quieter team members the opportunity to take the lead.

When the chain is broken, the group must start all over again, but instead of starting over, hand out other penalties instead. For example, if somebody breaks the chain, you can blindfold that person or silence them.

This exercise works better with an even number of participants, but if there is an odd one out, have them direct from the side lines. Let them keep an eye out for any problems and if they don’t seem to be participating enough, have them swap places with another team member within the circle.

Debrief and Review of the Human Knot Activity

Here are some questions to ask team members, which will help them to process their experience of playing Human Knot.

  • What were you thinking and feeling during the exercise?
  • Do you think you were successful as a team?
  • If you could rate your performance, what would it be out of 10?
  • Do you think everybody was fully participating?
  • Was there a leader that emerged in the group and how did they help?
  • Was there clear communication among the entire group?
  • If you had to do it over, would you do anything differently?
  • Was there a plan in place and did you set goals beforehand? Was there a time during the exercise when you had to change these plans?
  • Do you think it is important to review and reflect on your performance? Why?

Human Knot Activity

Basic Details
Property Type : Team Building
Listing Type : Placeholder
Activity Type : Team Building
Focus On : Build Trust, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Having Fun, Problem Solving
Outcome Based : Yes
Facilities : Indoor, Outdoor
Props Required : None
Duration : 16 - 25 minutes
Exertion Level : Low
Group Size : 1 - 8, 9 - 16, 17 - 30, 31+
Age : Children, Youth, Adults