The scissors

This simulation exercise lets the players experience that contradictory messages can be hidden under communication.

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DutchThis game was automatically translated from Dutch. View in original language.

Everything you need to play this game

  • Scissors
  • Seats

A step-by-step guide to play the game


All players stand in a circle.


You give them the explanation.

  1. The players must pass the scissors crossed or uncrossed to their left neighbor.
  2. Hereby they say aloud: "I pass the scissors crossed (or uncrossed)."
  3. As a game leader you will indicate whether the player has passed on the scissors correctly or incorrectly. (This feedback is crucial.)

The aim of the game is for the players to find out how to correctly pass on the scissors.

The code: The players will pay close attention to the scissors: are they passed open (crossed) or closed (uncrossed)? But it is not about the scissors, but about how the players keep their legs or feet.

  • If they have their legs crossed, then they must say "I pass the scissors crossed".
  • If they have their legs next to each other, then they must say "I pass the scissors uncrossed."


Start as a game leader by passing on the scissors.

Pay attention:

In the beginning this will cause some frustration. At some point some will understand and others will not. This can be a threat because some feel excluded. Feel free to encourage each other non-verbally.


Hold a discussion afterwards.

Pay attention to the frustrations that were there. Accept these feelings and show that these feelings have an effect on behavior.

Example questions are:

  • How did you discover the code?
  • Did you need to discover the code?
  • How did you feel when you couldn't find out the code?
  • Have you ever experienced this feeling before?
  • How did you react then?

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