Communication maze: Take one

This version of the communication maze activity can be used when space is limited or if there is a large group.

Whether you are looking for a fun icebreaker, nonverbal communication tool, verbal communication tool, youth-adult partnership activity or teambuilding, the communication maze activity will work for you. The communication maze activity can be used in two different ways. This article will explain how it can be used when space is limited or in large groups. See "Communication maze: Take two" for directions on how to use the activity in a larger space or with a smaller group.

This activity does require a few supplies, such as:

  • Pencils or pens
  • Copies of any simple maze printed on paper (one per participant)
  • Blindfolds
  • Flat table surface

To get started, put all of your participants into teams of two. There are a bunch of fun ways to do this, but if this is a group of youth and adults, it is really beneficial to place one adult and one youth together. Have the duos sit next to each other and give each couple a blindfold and pen.

Once you get them into pairs, ask them to choose a director or leader and the other person will take on the role of receiving the directions. Once they have signified who is the director or leader, have the director place the blindfold on themselves. This changes the dynamics of the duo right from the start since the true director will be the one who didn’t place themselves into this position.

Once all of the blindfolds are in place, pass out the mazes and place them face down. Tell the group they may turn over the maze when you say go. The new director may place the blindfolded individual’s hand at the start, but after that they can no longer touch the paper, pen or individual in any way. They will then direct the blindfolded person through the maze as fast and efficiently as they can and raise their hand once finished. Do not give any other directions.

During the process, observe each couple and what tools they are choosing to use to guide their partner through the maze. After the groups have completed the maze, have them look at their results and debrief. Ask questions such as:

  • What tools did your director use that you found successful? Why?
  • What tools did you find unsuccessful?
  • Did you feel safe when working through this maze?
  • Did you trust your partner that they were guiding you in the right direction?

Continue with the series of questions in the direction that makes sense for the goals you were striving to achieve.

Once the process is finished, you can have the two switch and see how they do. Hand out a new maze (it can be the same maze, but if it is handed out after the blindfolds are in place, they will not know). You can also implement other variations such as place the two across from each other instead of seated side-by-side, have one director for two blindfolded participants, switch up your groups, etc.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, citizenship and service and global and cultural education programs, read our 2016 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H have positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the MSU Extension website.

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