How To Play Human Knot

Human Knot is a game that is frequently played as an ice-breaker or team-building exercise. The idea behind Human Knot is that several people must work together toward a single goal - untangling the knot. Through this process, they will learn how to cooperate as a team, and hopefully have fun in the process. In order to play Human Knot, the group should be made up of about ten people. Human Knot can be played with fewer or more people, but the number should not go below five or above twenty. The smaller the number of people, the easier it is to untangle the knot, making the exercise less effective as a team-builder. Alternately, a very large number of people make the knot very difficult to untangle, and the exercise may become frustrating, rather than fun. Human Knot does not require any props.

Important: Human Knot involves a great deal of touching and close proximity. Make sure that all participants are comfortable with this before beginning the game.

Here's how to play:

  1. All participants in the Human Knot game should stand in a tight circle, and put one hand in the center. There should be a large tangle of hands, in which no one can tell which hand belongs to whom, and each person should grab another hand.
  2. Once everyone has grabbed a hand, participants should put their other hand into the circle, and grab another hand.
  3. When everyone is holding two hands, each person should find out who they are holding hands with. If this is being played as an ice-breaker, everyone should introduce themselves to the two other people. Make sure that each person is holding hands with two different people, or the Human Knot cannot be untangled!
  4. Untangle the Human Knot! Step over and under each other's arms, crawl through each other's legs, and whatever else it takes to untangle the knot. The only rule is that participants must hold onto the two other individuals' hands until the Human Knot has been untangled - anything else goes!

At the end of the Human Knot game, all participants should be standing in a circle (or possibly two linked circles). It does not matter if everyone is facing the same direction, as long as they are still holding hands with the same two people. This game should take about fifteen to twenty minutes.


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