Why blindfolds games for team building are so popular
Games using blindfolds have been a part of team building activities for many years. They are so popular for a variety of reasons:
Blindfolds can impel team members into working together more closely - for example in blindfolds leads, a blindfolded person has to rely upon a sighted person. This is good for developing the habit of closer working relationships.
Blindfolds make some team building activities more memorable - for example a meal out together can be fun, but include a blindfolds course with a mystery memory, and the team will be talking about it afterwards, hopefully for the right reasons.
Blindfolds can make activities harder- for example completing a jigsaw might by attainable but doing it where only the blindfolded person can touch the pieces will add a whole new dimension.
Wearing blindfolds can be fun - I wouldn't want to wear one all the time but when used for the right game it can add a dimension of fun for example a Blindfolded Grouping (see below) would be a bit of fun for a few minutes.
Blindfolds games safety
Safety should be the number one priority when using blindfolds games.
- Prior to any blindfolds games activity a site specific risk assessment should be carried out by a competent individual and approved by your health and safety officer.
- Blindfolds activities should be run by individuals with appropriate training and approved by your health and safety officer.
- Blindfolds activities should take place where there are no hazards such as hard objects or sharp corners.
- Blindfolds activities should take place on grass or other soft surfaces.
- During blindfolds activities no one should move quicker than slow walking pace.
- Appropriate number of trainers for the blindfolds activities that you are using should be in attendance at all times to ensure that rules are followed and that there are no hazards.
- Any other safety instructions that are appropriate to the blindfolds activity should be followed with care.
- Test them before you use them.
- Running the blindfolfds activity in a test environment is great for learning how to best present it and what pitfalls to avoid.
- For the blindfolds games this means a walk through with other trainers, then a test run on a group just to see how it works, then present it to a test group in real time, then if all has gone well, run it with a a client group.
Where to buy blindfolds
A selection of blindfold games for senior groups
Colour Blind is a team problem solving activity. Typically it takes about 30 minutes and works with groups of between 5 and 12. It can be bought as a kit.
The team is given a set of shapes with 2 of the set removed. By logical reasoning, communication and teamwork, the team have to work out the shape an colour of the two missing pieces. While they are doing the activity all of the group members are wearing blindfolds.
Great for developing team work and communication.
Team members are blindfolded and then presented with a set of shapes from which two have been removed.
The team have the task of identifying the shape and version of each of the two pieces that have been removed.
Works well with groups of 6-12 and takes about 30 minutes.
This one is all about trust and communication.
A blindfolded person is lead by a sighted person, at first across a level grass area, then around increasingly complex soft obstacles such as through a pattern of balls or round markers.
Leading can be with physical contact at first, progressing to voice leading only.
The sighted person is well placed to support the person and to watch out for their safety.
Typcially I would set aside 30 minutes for this activity with participants swapping roles about half way through.
Good as an ice breaker that also gets people into groups ready for team events.
Before the event work out who is going to be in which team.
When the event starts brief the group on what is coming, then give each of them a note of a noise they must make eg whistle for one team, baa-ing for another team etc.
Then ask them to put on blindfolds.
Then find the other team members making the same noise so that they can get together in their teams. Mayhem........
Blindfolds tent is great for developing communication. We also use blindfold tent as a point scoring project as part of a multi project activity.
Works well with groups of around 4 people, for larger groups use more tents.
Best to use a simple tent. Give the team plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the tent including putting it up once or twice. Then run a timed attempt, the start point being the tent in the bag.
The blindfolds bit comes in because only team members wearing blindfolds can touch the tent. Sighted team members can only direct others typically working 1:1 with the team members wearing blindfolds.
This one is all about problem solving, communication and teamwork.
Use a rope about 20m long with the ends joined to make a large loop. Blindfolds for each person. Work on an open grassed lawn with no obstacles / slopes.
Ask everyone to wear blindfolds then give the rope to one of the team members. Ask the team to put the rope on the ground in shape of the largest square possible. The team must wear blindfolds throughout.
Time should be about 30 minutes.
Team size should be about 4-10.
Blindfold games for younger groups
Blindfolds Robot Wars
Players work in pairs, a controller who is sighted and a robot who is blindfolded.
The robot is in the marked zone and scores points by picking up paper balls and then throwing them at the other robots in the zone.
The controller is outside the zone and directing their robot verbally as to where to find the paper balls and then which direction to throw them in.
3 minutes per round works well.
Blindfolds rope line
Make a line out of rope laid on a lawn, start with 5m but could work up to 10m.
Team members take it in turn to walk the line whilst blindfolded.
The aim being to walk the full length of the line without putting foot wrong.
Good to have people on either side to make sure that they don't fall over.
In a good sized room lay a number of light objects on the floor.
The group stand around the room and one person, the sentinel, is seated in the middle and wears a blindfolds.
Players take it in turns to retrieve objects from the floor without making a sound.
If the person wearing the blindfolds hears them, then they point them and say 'heard you' and that is the end of that persons turn.
The winner is the one who retrieved the most objects in a set time.
Blindfolds route re-trace
This one is a short fun game involving blindfolds.
Place a marker on a large grassed area.
Stand a player at the marker wearing a blindfolds. Then give them walking instructions along the lines of 2 steps forward, 5 right etc. When they get to the end of the trail give them the reverse instructions.
The goal is that they should finish as close to the start point as they can.
Work in pairs, one wearing blindfolds and the other sighted to give instructions and check for safety.
The second person shouldn't tell them how well they are doing until the instructions are finished.
Blindfolds Hide and Seek
This one works well with groups of around 10.
Mark out a zone on an area of grass, rough 10m x 10m.
One person stands stationary in the zone.
The rest of the group are blindfolded and have to find the person with the square.
A good progression of this activity is to allow the sighted person to move slowly whilst the rest of the group wearing blindfolds have to find them.
Typically this will require the blindfolded players to work together.
Circle of Silence (with Blindfolds)
Great with groups of around 10 to 20. Group to stand in an inward facing
circle with an arms length between each person. One person is given an
object that if jarred will make a noise, a large tin with a few marbles
in it works really well. The tin must be passed from one person to the
next as quietly as they can. One of the group wears a blindfold and asked
to stand in the middle of the circle. Their aim is to listen out for the
noise of the tin and marbles. If they hear it they should point to where
the noise comes from. Whoever made the noise takes the place of the person
in the middle of the group.
A marker is put on a clear space of grass. A person wears a blindfold
and is then given a route to follow away from the mark. At the end of
the route they are to retrace their steps. Then the blindfold is removed.
The closer they are to the start point the better. Progression in this
task is to make the route more complex for example start with 10 steps
forward. The next route may be 5 steps forward and 5 steps to the left
and so on. Works best with delegates working in pairs, one with blindfold
and one sighted to check they don't go to far off track and to be beside
them to give a steadying hand.
Blindfold Hide and Seek
Mark an area on grass with a rope. If there were 10 people in the group then the size of the area would be 15m square (ie 1 and a half times the number in the group). Up to 12 is a good group size. One of the group is sighted and hides in the square. The rest of the group wear blindfolds. The rest of the group must find the sighted person.
A good progression in this activity is to allow the sighted person to move. Typically this will need the blindfolded players to work together.
Team building activity, great for groups of around 4 people.
Use a simple tent. Give the group time to familiarise themselves with the tent and to put it up once or twice. Then put the tent in its bag and blindfold the whole group. Now the challenge is to put the tent up.
Works well as a competition between groups in which case the teams can be scored on time and how well the tent is put up.
Sheep and Shepherd
For a group of up to 12. Use a large open grass space free from any obstructions or hazards. Using rope laid on the ground mark out a pen. Select one team member to be the shepherd. Everyone else will take the role of sheep. The shepherd has to get the sheep in the pen. The shepherd is to stay in one place in the centre of the field and may only clap or whistle. The sheep wear blindfolds and are scattered around the field and may only make sheep noises. Before putting blindfolds in place give the team time to plan how they are going to use these sounds to achieve the task. Allow up to 30 minutes for the activity.
Blindfolds line up
Height order - For a group of up to 12. Blindfold everyone in the group then ask them to line up in height order.
Birthday order - Blindfold everyone, then same as above but in birthday order.
Alphabetic order - Blindfold everyone, then same as above but in order of first name. Afterwards it could be by surname.
Shoe size order - Blindfold everyone, then same as above but in order of shoe size.
Mark out a trail with rope. The trail should include areas of sensory interest such as over grass, over soft floor mats, under a crawl net. Blindfold all members of the group then ask them to follow the rope staying together as a group by holding the back of the coat of the person in front of them.
Use a large loop of rope, about 30m works well. A team of between 4 and 6 individuals should be asked to lay this loop on the ground in a specific shape such as a square or circle whilst all of them are blindfolded and in contact with the rope. For younger groups give them 20 minutes planning time and time for a couple of dry runs, all without blindfolds. For older groups just set them the task.
This works really well with squares, triangles are a bit harder. For older groups then using a longer rope and asking them to make two shapes with the same rope at the same time raises the level of challenge.
Lay a large number of soft objects to be avoided on a grassed area. Amongst them place some soft objects to be retrieved. The in each pair one person is blindfolded and must be guided by the other to retrieve the targets without touching any of the mines. Easiest if the person doing the guiding can touch the other persons hand. Harder if they may only talk to them, harder again if the person guiding is on the edge of the area.
Works well with groups of 10 and larger. Divide the group into subteams and give each sub team an animal type. Now ask every one to mingle together and then find their own space. Everyone should put blindfolds on at this point and on your signal to make the sound of their animal and find other people of the same type. Eventually everyone should end up with their own subteam. Can be used at the start of an event to form teams by giving everyone a piece of paper with their animal type written on it.
Basic - a leader calls out an object to be drawn, group members each have to draw that item while wearing blindfolds.
Complex - The leader is given a complex shape drawn with straight lines. They must communicate this shape to a drawer who is wearing a blindfold and get them to recreate the shape.
Blindfold 'what is it'
Get the group sitting on the floor. Blindfold them. Give a box of items to the group leader and ask them to describe one at a time until all objects are identified by the group. The leader may not say the name of the object.
Voice in the Dark
One team member is seated and blindfolded. Other group members, one at a time, say a short message to the person wearing the blindfold using a disguised voice. The aim of the person blindfolded is to gues would is talking.
Traditional blindfold games
And of course not forgetting the most traditional blindfold games:
One person wears a blindfold and must find other members of the group.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Using a large picture or outline drawing of a donkey, each group member takes turns to pin a tail made of string on the donkey while wearing a blindfold. Start the individual about 3 metres from the drawing.
Egg and Spoon Race with Blindfolds!
On grass, lay out a start and finish line with rope or tape. Contestants work in pairs, the person with the egg and spoon wearing the blindfold. The sighted person guides them down the course. Soft obstacles can make the game a bit harder.