The Human Knot

Try to unravel the human knot with your team during this classic ice breaker activity.

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A step-by-step guide to play the game


Gather a group of players in a circle. The more, the merrier. Make sure the players stand close next to each other.


Once in the circle, the players reach out and hold hands with two different people in the circle, excluding the two people to either side of you. Each left hand should hold a left hand, and each right hand a right.


The players now communicate with the other players in your Human Knot to figure out where to begin untangling. If you are supervising younger children, you may need to encourage them to do this.


Some people may end up facing the inside of the circle, some the outside, but by the time you've finished untangling, you should have an unbroken circle of joined hands.


Play the game with a director. This is an excellent variation for smaller groups where you can rotate between players to have different people directing the Human Knot. To play this variation, one of the players should leave the room or turn away from other players as they get tangled together. Then, players can only move in the way they are instructed by the director.

Use the Human Knot to learn names. Ice breakers often help you to learn the names of those you are playing with. You can add this challenge to the Human Knot as well! All you need to do is add a rule that states players can only talk to other players by saying that player's name, first.

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