Communication maze: Take two

This version of the communication maze activity can be used when space is not limited or if there is a small 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. “Communication maze: Take one” explained how to use the activity when space is limited or in large groups. In this article, I’ll explain how to use the activity when space is not limited or with smaller groups.

This activity does not require many supplies, as you will only need:

  • Blindfolds
  • Flat, safe area for groups to walk around blindfolded.

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. This pairing allows for the concept of youth and adult partnerships to be experienced and for everyone to feel vulnerable and rely on each other no matter their age.

Have the duos stand next to each other, spread around the space so that each group has a bit of open space around them and give each couple a blindfold. Once you get them into pairs, will 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, ask the directory or leader to maneuver the other person around without touching them. As the facilitator, you will give them some sort of direction such as, “Direct your partner across the room through the chairs and desks to end up on the other side.”

Once this has been done successfully, have the director or leader take their partner around the outside of the room without using any words. For example, they can only use clapping, snapping, stomping, etc. Don’t give them ideas, but let each group figure out what works best for them to get their partner around the room.

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 using both variations, have them switch partners and do the same thing. If time is an issue, only do the second version without words. Ask questions such as:

  • What tools did your director or leader use that you find successful? Why?
  • What tools did you find unsuccessful?
  • Were the messages clear? When they were not clear. How did you go about making them clearer?
  • 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.

If you have a group with a strong sense of trust, you can expand your maze by taking them into the hallway or into tougher areas while always keeping safety in mind.

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.

Did you find this article useful?