Leaning Walk is an activity to build trust between partners
Benefits of the Leaning Walk Trust Building Activity
- Develops trust
- Enhances coordination
- Encourages co-operation
- No props needed
How To Play the Leaning Walk Trust Building Activity
This is an interactive activity, which can be used to easily move people from one area to another. Let’s try…
Have everyone partner up with somebody else in the group. When looking for someone to partner with, make sure they are about the same height as you. To demonstrate, have a volunteer come forward. Instruct the volunteer to come and stand next to you, facing sideways.
Both must now lean towards each other and connecting shoulder to shoulder. When looking at you, your bodies should form an upside V shape. To make the movement more challenging, they can move their feet further apart, leaning in even more.
The aim is to walk like this to another area without falling or disconnecting shoulders. This demonstration should only take a few seconds and then everyone else can have a go. Challenge pairs to see how far they can move their feet apart and lean over, while still feeling confident walking forward together.
Always warn the group not to push their boundaries, they must feel comfortable and confident in their walk together. Otherwise, there could be pairs falling to the ground or bumping heads. You can get everyone to swap partners or try one of the variations available.
Contextual Framing Ideas
Do you think it takes more work to keep a successful relationship going in the beginning or after a few years together? Whichever you think it is, relationships will always require trust in order to grow and last. As you learn to trust each other, the more you can rely on and lean on your partner and in return offer your support.
The following activity helps to demonstrate this in a fun way…
During this program, I have simply asked you to move over here or there for the next activity. Instead of doing it the easy way, let’s do something new and fun. Let’s see how well you can trust your partner…
Step-by-Step Instructions to facilitate the Leaning Walk Trust Building Activity
- Have groups form into pairs, who are similar in height.
- Ask them to stand side by side and lean towards each other, touching shoulder to shoulder.
- Have each pair move their feet further apart, only as far as they are comfortable with.
- Inform everyone that they must now remain in this ‘leaning’ position and walk to their next destination together.
- You can continue by swapping sides or partners.
Facilitators and Leaders Tips
This activity is just an unusual but fun way to move your group from one area to another. Not only that, but it also gives participants a chance to work together, develop trust and teamwork.
Since this activity does require a certain amount of concentration, make sure to introduce it at the right time during a program. The group also has to be aware of safety issues when participating.
There might be those who push the boundaries a bit too far, keep an eye out and ask them to return to a position both parties are comfortable with. You don’t really have to partner up with somebody else of a similar height, this is just so everybody can start out more comfortably.
Always ask the group to reflect on their experience, recognizing what it took to perform the task successfully. There are usually very good reasons why the task was successful or not, and these can always be related back to real life circumstances. For example, what if you could not rely on your co-workers for assistance.
Debriefing and Reflection Strategies
Here are some questions to ask the group, which will help them to process their experience of playing the game ‘Leaning Walk’
- What observations did you make as you walked together with your partner?
- Did the task become easier when both of you moved in together equally?
- Did you find it necessary to start out positively, in order to reach your destination together successfully?
- Give some ideas on how we can offer care and support to others as well as ourselves?
Variations of the Leaning Walk Trust Building Activity
- Turn around: Have pairs lean onto their partner’s shoulder but facing in opposite directions. In other words, one will be walking backwards.
- Swap Shoulders; have everyone swap sides and shoulders.
- Lean Back: Instruct pairs to lean back to back and walk in the same direction.
- Groups of 3: Here three people will walk together, one will stand straight in the middle, while the other two lean in on each side.