- A popular and engaging game involving communication and trust. The task is very flexible,
works for groups of various types and sizes, and can be adapted to youth, adults, corporate, etc.
- Select an appropriate area. Go outside, if possible.
Can be done inside, even
in rooms with fixed furniture (which can become objects to be avoided).
Distribute "mines" e.g., balls or other objects such as
bowling pins, cones, foam noodles, etc.
Establish a concentrating and caring tone for this activity. Trust
exercises require a serious atmosphere to help develop a genuine sense of trust and safety.
Participants operate in pairs. Consider how the pairs are formed -
it's a chance to work on relationships. One person is
blind-folded (or keeps eyes closed) and cannot talk (optional). The
other person can see and talk, but cannot enter the field or touch the
The challenge is for each blind-folded person to walk from one side of the field to the
other, avoiding the "mines", by listening to the verbal instructions of their
Allow participants a short period (e.g., 3 minutes) of planning time to
decide on their communication commands, then begin the activity.
Be wary of blindfolded people bumping into each other. The
instructor(s) can float around the playing area to help prevent collisions.
Decide on the penalty for hitting a "mine". It could be a restart
(serious consequence) or time penalty or simply a count of hits, but
It can help participants if you
suggest that they each develop a unique communication system. When
participants swap roles, give participants some review and planning time
to refine their communication method.
Allow participants to swap over and even have several attempts, until a
real, satisfied sense of skill and competence in being able to guide a
partner through the "minefield" develops.
The activity can be conducted one pair at a
time (e.g., in a therapeutic situation), or with all pairs at once (creates
a more demanding exercise due to the extra noise/confusion).
Can be conducted as a competitive task - e.g., which pair is the quickest or has the fewest hits?
The facilitator plays an important role in creating an optimal level of challenge, e.g., consider introducing
more items or removing items if it seems too easy or too hard. Also consider coaching
communication methods (e.g., for younger students, hint that they could
benefit from coming up with clear commands for stop, forward, left, right,
Be cautious about blind-folding
people - it can provoke trust and care issues and trigger
post-traumatic reactions. Minimize this risk by sequencing Mine
Field within a longer program involving other get-to-know-you and trust building
activities before Mine Field.
Minefield in a Circle: Blindfolded people start on the outside of a large rope circle, go into middle, get an
item ("treasure", e.g., a small ball or bean bag), then return to the outside; continue to see who can get the most objects
within a time period.
Some set ups for minefield get
very elaborate and metaphor-rich, e.g., hanging objects which metaphorically reflect the participants' background
and/or issues. For example, items which represent drugs, peer
pressure, talking with parents about the problem, etc. have been used in a family
adventure therapy program (Gillis & Simpson,
Participants can begin by trying to cross the field by themselves.
In a second round, participants can then ask someone else to help them
traverse the field by "talking" them through the field.
To increase the difficulty, you can have other people calling out. The
blindfolded person must concentrate on their partner's voice amidst all
the other voices that could distract them from the task.
Be aware that some participants may object to, or have previous traumatic
experience around the metaphor of explosive mines which have caused and
continue to cause much harm and suffering. It may be preferable to
rename the activity, for example, as an "obstacle course" or "navigation
course". Alternatively, the activity could be used to heighten
awareness about the effect of land mines on the lives of people in
countries such as Afghanistan and Nicaragua (see
UNICEF information on land
- How much did you trust your partner (out of 10) at the start?
- How much did you trust your partner (out of 10) at the end?
- What is the difference between going
alone and being guided by another?
- What ingredients are needed when trusting and working with someone
- What did your partner do to help you feel safe and secure?
- What could your partner have done to help make you feel more
- What communication strategies worked best?
- For some more ideas, download
Minefield in a Circle - Debrief (.doc)
- Objects are scattered in an indoor or outdoor place. In
pairs, one person verbally guides his/her partner, whose eyes are closed
or blindfolded, through the
- ~20 minutes to set up
- ~5-10 minutes to brief
- ~5 minutes planning/discussion
- ~15-30 minutes activity
- ~5-30 minutes debrief
- 2 to 30 is possible; works well with larger
groups e.g., 16 to 24.
Links to other descriptions of Mine Field