Untangle Me Time is a fun variation of one of the classic problem-solving exercise.
Benefits of Untangle Me Time Group Activity
- Encourages communication
- Promotes collaboration
- Focus on roles
Required Props for Untangle Me Time Group Activity
- Long rope (10+ metres) per group
How To Play Untangle Me Time Experiential Group Activity
This activity is a variation of the classic group theme called Human Knot
Ahead of the event, you need to create a large rope circly by tieing the ends of a long rope together (approximately 10+ metres). Now, lay this pile of rope on the ground in a way that it looks as if a few rope coils are sitting on top of one another.
Ask your group to gather around the rope and then to step forward and grab one section of rope with both hands. This exercise works better if you suggest to your group that they should grab a piece of the rope which lays furthest away from them, ie the arms of most people will cross one another.
Holding the rope, ask the group to stand up without letting go of the rope. If viewed from above, the rope should look heavily tangled and criss-crossed between your group’s many hands.
Now you can tell your group that its their task is to work together to untangle the rope so that it will form one large circle. Here are a few guidelines to ensure fair play:
- No one may let go of the rope at any time.
- Each person is allowed to slide their hand up or down the rope (but never let go.)
For the first timers, expect a few moans and groans at first, but soon enough, most groups work out what needs to be done. Participants will have to follow the rope wherever it goes, which includes stepping over or under other people and through rope ‘holes.’
The group has completed their task when the rope is fully untangled and is one large circle, with everyone facing the inside.
As with the original Human Knot you are highly recommended to invite your group to reflect on their process of solving the problem (or not) to explore problems of communication, collaboration, roles, decision-making and accountability.
Step-by-Step Instructions to facilitate Untangle Me Time Group Activity
- Before starting the activity, tie two ends of a long rope together to form large circle.
- Lay the rope on the ground so that it looks like a number of loops on top of one another.
- Ask the participants to stand around the rope.
- Ask each person to take one section of the rope opposite them with both hands.
- As people stand, the rope should appear heavily entangled between their hands.
- Instruct your participants to unravel the rope as best they can.
- Nobody is allowed to let go of the rope at any time, but may slide their hands along the rope if necessary.
- The task is complete once the rope is untangled and everyone is facing inside the circle.
Contextual Framing Ideas for Untangle Me Time Group Activity
Have you ever worked with a group when one or two group members stood off in the background not participating? Have you ever finished doing your part in an activity and then watched while other people struggled to finish theirs? In this activity, you will be challenged to remain focused and help your group finish even if you are done…
A circle has often been used as a symbol to represent community. We all have a connection to this community and a connected community is able to leverage its connections to solve problems. Working as a community, effective communication will be necessary for what you are about to encounter.
Debriefing Tips & Strategies of Untangle Me Time Group Activity
Here are a few sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this terrific problem-solving exercise:
- What helped the team to be successful in this activity?
- What was your group’s greatest challenge? How did you overcome those challenges?
- Did every person have an equal and valued role in the exercise? What was the impact?
- What do you think your group needs to work on the most now?
Variations of Untangle Me Time Experiential Group Activity
- Lesser Challenge: Allow individuals to grab a piece of the rope that is close to them, instead of reaching over the top of other people’s arms.
- Knot First Aid: Allow the group to untie the rope knot once only to break an impasse in their problem-solving abilities.
- Handicapped Challenge: As with many other initiatives, remove one or more faculties from your group, such as verbal communication (mute) or vision (blind) to ramp up the challenge.