Benefits of Safe Shoes Experiential Group Activity
- Encourages creativity and teamwork
- Active and physically challenging
- Improves critical thinking
- No props needed
How to Play Safe Shoes Experiential Group Activity
Set out a play area by marking off two spaces, which should be about 5 to 10 meters from each other. Since this is a physical activity, the distance should not be more than 10 meters, as this could get a bit difficult.
Gather everybody to one side in one of the two spaces set out. This is a safe space; the group now has a mission to complete. They must try and move from where they are to the opposite ‘safe area’, which is 5 to 10 meters away. The catch is, the area in-between is a pit of poisonous snakes. You can come up with some other dangerous pit or hazardous crossing.
The group can only rely on their own problem-solving skills, as well as a pair of imaginary ‘magic shoes’. Nobody can enter the pit unless they want to be completely covered in poisonous writhing snakes. The only way each person can cross over the pit to the other side is to put on the ‘magic or repellent shoes’. They can then safely cross over to the other side.
This seems a bit too easy, and you would be correct, as there is a catch. The ‘shoes’ can only be worn by a member of the group once and they can only move in one direction.
In order to successfully get all team members across the pit, the group must communicate and work together. The solution does involve members ‘piggybacking’ other members across the pit. It is very important to keep an eye out for those who seem unsteady or are trying something too risky. Observe and stop any movement that you see, which may become a problem.
Contextual Framing Ideas for Safe Shoes Interactive Group Game
This problem is one of those times when you don’t have much to work with in order to solve it. The group will have to work together and come up with a plan, using both critical-thinking and getting physically involved.
This challenge may seem simple enough, but as you progress you might find it more difficult than you thought. In reality, I would rather not ever have to face a pit full of snakes, but if faced with a similar situation, I wouldn’t mind having a pair of ‘repellent shoes’. Unfortunately, there are no shoes like this… or just maybe…?
Step-by-Step Instructions for Safe Shoes Group Activity
- Mark off two areas about 5 to 10 meters apart, these are your ‘safe areas’.
- Have the group gathered on one side, within a ‘safe area’
- The challenge is to move all members of the group over to the other side or ‘Safe area’. They must do this without getting caught in the ‘snake pit’ or another hazardous pit in-between.
- To help the group they are given a pair of ‘magic shoes’. When a person puts these on, they can safely cross the pit to the other side.
- The shoes can only be used once by each person, and they can only move in one direction.
- Give the group time to strategize and come up with a plan.
- Provide a time limit for the group, or you can also simply give the group as many attempts needed in order to complete the challenge.
Facilitators and Leaders Tips
Always consider the sequence of activities when offering these types of programs. Be aware of the group’s abilities as well as their needs. In this case, there should be at least a couple of people who are capable of carrying somebody over a short distance. If you think there is nobody in the group who can do this, then consider another activity.
Before you begin, lay down some rules concerning the shoes. Inform the group that only one member can wear the shoes at a time. This eliminates any other ideas that might crop up, such as two people wearing one shoe and hopping across on one leg. Also, the most obvious solution of throwing the shoes back over the pit is ruled out.
The activity does require quite a bit of physical activity, but it also lends itself to those clever thinkers in the group. To start, allow a number of trial attempts, which may lead to success or failure. In this time, the group can plan before you officially begin the activity.
In a situation, where the group seems to be stuck, you can offer them two choices.
- Have the group start over from the beginning or
- End the activity and move straight into a debrief period where you can discuss their experience and what they learned from it.
Some of the points you can bring up during this period include:
- Successful planning
- How to communicate clearly
- Problem-solving skills
Debriefing and Reflection Strategies
Here are some questions, which can help the group process their experience of playing the game ‘Safe Shoes’
- Where did your group start having problems? What do you think happened?
- Was the activity challenging?
- Did your group come up with successful solutions?
- As a member of the group, did you feel like you contributed?
- What would you change if you were to do this activity over again?
Variations of Safe Shoes Activity
- Many shoes: Ask the group how many ‘safe shoes’ would be needed in order to get everybody over the pit to the other side. This is taking into account that each person can only ever carry one other member across.
- Less Active: ‘River Crossing’ another activity is a lot less physical but is still challenging and has limited resources.