A great activity for everyone

Trust Course

An exciting and engaging trust-building game where partners take turns guiding each other through obstacle courses while blindfolded, promoting communication, attentiveness, and collaboration.

Trust Course
By Jon Zajac

What is Trust Course?

The Trust Course icebreaker is an engaging activity designed to foster trust and collaboration among new students, employees, or group members. Its primary purpose is to encourage participants to rely on each other by paying close attention to small details and following clear commands. This game can be set up in various locations, such as an office space or outdoor grassy area, with the use of natural or man-made objects as obstacles.

In a Trust Course icebreaker, individuals are paired up, and one partner is blindfolded while the other directs them through the course using thoughtful and carefully planned commands. The experience helps build trust between partners as they navigate the course successfully, relying solely on each other’s instructions. This activity can be adapted for various settings, such as classrooms or offices, by incorporating surrounding objects as part of the course. Overall, the Trust Course icebreaker is an effective and enjoyable way to promote teamwork and trust among new acquaintances in any group setting.

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Rules for Trust Course

  1. Partner everyone up in the group.
  2. Blindfold the player who will physically be doing the trust course without letting them see the setup prior.
  3. Select the roles for each round - director and blindfolded walker.
  4. If the course wasn’t already set up, create the trust course using safe objects like trees, branches, cones, stones, etc.
  5. Direct the blindfolded player to walk slowly throughout the course to prevent injuries.
  6. Give clear and concise commands to help the blindfolded player navigate the course without hitting any obstacles.
  7. The blindfolded player should listen carefully and only follow the directions given by their partner.
  8. If played in an office, classroom, or another setting, use surrounding objects like boxes, trashcans, brooms, pillows, erasers, and walls to create your course.
  9. To make the game more challenging, limit the amount of commands players can give each other.
  10. The course can be timed, so that players have to complete it in a certain amount of time or each partnership can be ranked based on time.

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Materials needed for Trust Course

  • Blindfolds: One blindfold per partnered player to limit their vision during the game.
  • Natural or Artificial Obstacles: Trees, branches, cones, stones, boxes, trashcans, brooms, pillows, erasers, and walls can be used as obstacles for players to navigate around while blindfolded.
  • Open Space: A safe outdoor location with grass or an indoor area free of breakable objects and hazards is ideal for setting up the trust course game.
  • Course Creation Materials (Optional): Additional materials like ropes, strings, or other items to create a custom course if natural or artificial obstacles are not available.
  • Timer (Optional): A stopwatch or timer device can be used to track time for competitive variations of the game.
  • Checkpoints (Optional): Small objects or challenges set up along the trust course, such as balloons to grab or actions to perform.

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Setting up for Trust Course

To set up for the Trust Course icebreaker activity, follow these steps:

  1. Decide if the course will be set up beforehand or if players will create their own course.
  2. If playing outside, use natural objects such as trees, branches, cones, and stones to form the course. If playing indoors, use surrounding objects like boxes, trashcans, brooms, pillows, and walls.
  3. Partner everyone up in the group.
  4. Within the partners, determine who will be blindfolded and who will give directions. These roles can be switched so both players get a turn.
  5. Blindfold the player who will physically be doing the trust course without letting them see the setup prior.

Remember, safety is paramount when setting up the course. Ensure that the course is free of any hazards and that players are not put in harm’s way.

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How to play Trust Course

  1. Set up the course: I start by setting up the course using objects in the environment like trees, branches, cones, and stones. I make sure to avoid using rope or objects that are easy to trip over to prevent injuries.
  2. Partner up: Next, I partner everyone up in the group. Within each pair, I select one person to be blindfolded and the other to give directions.
  3. Blindfold the player: I then blindfold the player who will physically be doing the trust course without letting them see the setup prior.
  4. Give clear commands: As the director, I direct the blindfolded player to walk slowly throughout the course and give them thoughtful commands to make it through the course successfully without hitting any obstacles.
  5. Listen carefully: The blindfolded player should listen carefully and only follow the directions given by their partner.
  6. Vary the game: To mix things up, I try variations like limiting the number of commands given, timing the course, having players crawl through the course, or setting up checkpoints for players to grab items or perform actions.

By following these instructions, we can create a fun and engaging Trust Course icebreaker that helps build trust and reliance between players.

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Benefits of Trust Course

  • Builds Trust: The Trust Course icebreaker helps players to build trust and reliance between each other as they navigate the course based solely on their partner’s commands.
  • Improves Communication: By giving and following directions, players enhance their communication skills and learn to convey instructions clearly and effectively.
  • Fosters Active Listening: The blindfolded player must listen carefully to their partner’s commands, promoting active listening and better understanding of verbal cues.
  • Encourages Teamwork: Partnering up and working together to complete the course fosters a sense of teamwork and collaboration among players.
  • Boosts Problem-Solving Skills: Creatively navigating obstacles on the course encourages players to think critically and solve problems together.
  • Enhances Patience and Self-Control: Walking slowly and following instructions require patience and self-control, which can be beneficial life skills.
  • Adaptable for Different Settings: The Trust Course icebreaker can be easily customized for various environments, such as classrooms, offices, or outdoor spaces, making it a versatile team-building activity.

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Skills built with Trust Course

  • Communication: Playing the Trust Course icebreaker requires clear and precise communication between partners. The partner giving directions must articulate their thoughts in a way that the blindfolded player can understand and follow.
  • Trust: As the name suggests, this game is designed to build trust between players. The blindfolded player must rely on their partner’s commands to navigate the course safely.
  • Attention to Detail: The partner giving directions must pay close attention to their surroundings and the position of their blindfolded partner in order to guide them through the course without accidents.
  • Problem Solving: Players are faced with navigating an obstacle course, which requires quick thinking and strategic planning.
  • Patience: The blindfolded player must move slowly and carefully throughout the course to avoid injury, requiring patience and self-control.
  • Empathy: By putting themselves in their partner’s shoes, players can develop empathy and understanding towards others.
  • Leadership: One partner takes on a leadership role by giving directions and making decisions, which can help build confidence and leadership skills.
  • Active Listening: The blindfolded player must actively listen to their partner’s commands and follow them exactly, which can improve listening skills and focus.
  • Creativity: Creating the trust course can require creativity and imagination, especially when setting up checkpoints or obstacles.
  • Teamwork: Partnering up with another person requires cooperation and collaboration, building teamwork skills that are valuable in many areas of life.

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Why I like Trust Course

As someone who enjoys bringing people together and fostering positive relationships, I appreciate the Trust Course icebreaker for its effectiveness in building trust and strengthening communication between individuals. By placing players in a position where they must rely on each other, this game creates a unique environment that encourages collaboration and connection.

I particularly enjoy the simplicity of setting up the Trust Course. With minimal resources, it can be adapted to various locations, making it an accessible and versatile icebreaker for different groups and settings. This adaptability also allows for creativity in course design, keeping the game fresh and engaging.

The trust-building aspect of this icebreaker is what truly sets it apart. By requiring one partner to navigate the course while blindfolded, players learn to listen attentively and communicate clearly with their partners. The added challenge of giving clear directions in a limited time or with a restricted number of commands makes the game even more exciting and rewarding.

Another reason I like the Trust Course is its potential for customization. From varying the mode of transportation (e.g., walking, crawling) to incorporating checkpoints or timed challenges, these variations keep the game interesting and cater to different group dynamics and preferences.

Lastly, the Trust Course icebreaker offers a safe space for individuals to practice trust and reliance on one another. The game’s structure allows players to develop their trust-building skills in a controlled environment, ultimately leading to stronger relationships both inside and outside the group setting.

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Tips for making Trust Course more inclusive

  • Use clear and simple language: When giving commands, speak in a way that is easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or complex phrases that may confuse the blindfolded player.
  • Consider accessibility needs: If any players have mobility issues or other disabilities, make accommodations as needed. For example, you could provide a chair to rest on during the game, or offer a simpler course for those who need it.
  • Encourage active listening: Emphasize the importance of paying attention to instructions and actively listening to one another. This can help build trust and communication skills among players.
  • Create a safe and welcoming environment: Make sure the space where the game is being played is free from hazards and distractions. Encourage positive interactions between players, and make it clear that everyone is welcome and valued in the group.
  • Provide options for participation: Offer different ways to participate in the game, such as allowing players to choose whether they want to be blindfolded or give directions. This can help accommodate different comfort levels and learning styles.
  • Be mindful of cultural differences: Be aware of cultural differences that may affect how players interact with one another. Avoid making assumptions about players’ backgrounds or experiences, and create a space where everyone feels respected and valued.

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Reflection questions for Trust Course

  1. What was your experience being the blindfolded walker? Understanding their feelings can give insight into how they handle trust and vulnerability in relationships.
  2. How did you feel giving commands as the director? This question can reveal their communication skills, confidence, and ability to empathize with others.
  3. What was the most challenging part of the Trust Course Game for you? Identifying difficulties helps facilitators tailor future activities to participants’ needs and growth areas.
  4. How did you overcome those challenges? This question encourages self-reflection on problem-solving strategies and resilience.
  5. Did you learn anything new about your partner through this activity? Strengthening relationships is a primary goal of icebreakers; discovering shared experiences or differences can foster better understanding among participants.
  6. How can you apply the lessons learned from this game to real-life situations? This question encourages transferring skills and insights gained during the activity to other contexts, enhancing personal growth and development.
  7. What strategies did you use to build trust with your partner? Understanding how participants establish trust can inform facilitators on effective techniques for team building and collaboration.
  8. How comfortable were you relying on your partner’s instructions? Why? This question explores participants’ openness to trusting others, which is crucial in forming strong bonds within a group.
  9. Did the game change your perspective on trust and communication? If so, how? This question gauges the impact of the activity on participants’ mindset and behavior, providing feedback for facilitators on the effectiveness of the icebreaker.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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