The team-building game Human Spider Web, also called Human Knot, challenges participants to work together to solve a problem. Like other team-building activities, individuals do not win or lose; success comes through group cooperation. The ideal team size for this activity is eight to 16 participants, with groups broken into even numbers. Break larger groups into multiple teams.
Ask each participant to form a circle and join right hands with another person in the group. Participants must choose someone who is not standing next to them. They then repeat this step with their left hand, choosing a different person not standing next to them. Instruct players to untangle themselves without letting go of hands. To make the game more challenging or to temper take-charge personalities, prohibit speaking for select individuals or use props such as blindfolds.
Participants will use methods such as twisting, untwisting and stepping over each other to untie the web. Often the web is untied in a way that leaves some people facing outward from the circle and others inward. This is an acceptable solution. Sometimes, a group will hit on a solution very quickly. If this happens, start the activity over from the beginning. If the activity proves too hard, allow the group to choose one switch in hand clasps.
The facilitator may need to participate if there is an odd number of individuals. In this case, she should not offer guidance but should just follow the suggestions of others. If the facilitator is not needed in the circle, she should stay within earshot of the group to observe group dynamics, strategies, communication and conflicts. What the facilitator observes will help her formulate appropriate processing and debriefing questions to ask the group after they complete the challenge.
Possible processing and debriefing questions include: What made the task easier or more difficult? What strategies did you use? How did you decide which tactics were working and which ones were not? Did anyone stand out as a leader? What roles emerged? How does this activity apply to your group outside the team-building environment?
Spider Web requires participants to be in close proximity of each other, which may make some individuals uncomfortable. If the members of your group do not know each other well, consider preliminary warm-up activities to build up to Spider Web. For those who already know each other well, this activity can serve as a warm-up for more difficult team challenges.
Linda Basilicato has been writing food and lifestyle articles since 2005 for newspapers and online publications such as eHow.com. She graduated magna cum laude from Stony Brook University in New York and also holds a Master of Arts in philosophy from the University of Montana.