A great activity for everyone

Trust Walk

Experience Trust and Teamwork Through a Blindfolded Obstacle Course Adventure

Trust Walk
By Jon Zajac

What is Trust Walk?

The Trust Walk is an engaging icebreaker that encourages team members to build trust through effective communication and reliance on one another. In this activity, participants are paired up, with one member designated as the “guide” and the other blindfolded. The guide’s responsibility is to navigate their partner around various obstacles using only verbal cues, without physically touching them. This experience helps the guide develop leadership skills and understand the importance of ensuring another individual’s safety. Meanwhile, the blindfolded participant learns to trust their partner while relying on their guidance in an unfamiliar environment. By reflecting on the activity, participants can draw connections between building trust and working together in various scenarios, such as classrooms or sports teams. The Trust Walk is an ideal icebreaker for outdoor settings with small obstacles and is suitable for ages 14 and up, accommodating both small, medium, and large groups.

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Rules for Trust Walk

  1. The game requires a spacious outdoor setting with minor obstacles.
  2. Participants must form pairs, with one partner acting as the guide and the other as the blindfolded participant.
  3. The guide is responsible for their partner’s safety and should not touch them during the activity.
  4. The guide must use only verbal cues to navigate their partner around obstacles.
  5. The blindfolded participant must rely solely on the guide’s instructions to avoid obstacles.
  6. The activity is suitable for ages 14 and up.
  7. Safety is the top priority, and the game should not be played in dangerous environments with steep ledges or sharp objects.

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Materials needed for Trust Walk

  • Blindfolds: Participants will use these to cover their eyes during the activity.
  • Props for obstacles: Small objects like cones, balls, or hoops can be used to create minor obstacles on the course. Get creative with what you have on hand!
  • Open space: A large field, park, or wooded area is ideal for this activity. Make sure it’s safe and free of any major hazards.

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Setting up for Trust Walk

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

  1. Find a suitable location: Look for a large, safe area with some natural obstacles such as trees, branches, or small hills. Avoid dangerous environments with steep ledges or sharp protruding objects. You can also prepare additional artificial obstacles if desired.
  2. Scout the area: Carefully examine the chosen location and identify any potential hazards. Make sure the area is free from harmful obstacles and safe for participants to navigate.
  3. Choose a start point: Select a nearby location where participants will gather and form pairs. This could be a meeting spot, a parking lot, or a cleared space adjacent to the field with obstacles.
  4. Determine the path: Plan a route through the obstacle course for the blindfolded partners to follow. Make sure the path is clear of any major hazards and adjust as needed.
  5. Set up a meeting point: Identify a spot where the guide and blindfolded partner can regroup after completing the activity. This could be a specific tree, bench, or marker that is easily visible and accessible.
  6. Prepare any necessary equipment: While materials are not part of this description, you may need to gather items such as blindfolds, markers, or cones to help guide participants through the course. Make sure all equipment is in good working order and readily available for use.
  7. Provide clear instructions: Develop a set of guidelines and rules for the activity, including how to form pairs, navigate the course, and ensure safety throughout the exercise. Consider creating a handout or visual aid to help participants understand the process.

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How to play Trust Walk

  1. Find a safe and spacious area: I scouted out a large area with enough space to set up minor obstacles. I made sure the location was safe and free from any dangerous elements such as sharp objects or steep ledges. Large fields, parks, or wooded areas are great options.
  2. Prepare the participants: I asked the participants to form pairs and assigned one person in each pair to be the guide (navigator) and the other to be blindfolded. I then spun the blindfolded partner around a few times to disorient them.
  3. Guide the participants to the obstacle course: While ensuring that the guide does not touch their partner, I verbally guided the pair to the obstacle course. The guide was responsible for navigating their partner around any obstacles using clear verbal cues.
  4. Encourage reflection: After completing the activity, I asked participants to reflect on their experience and share what they learned. Some sample questions I used include:
    • What was it like to be the “guide,” being fully responsible for the safety of your partner?
    • What do you think was the purpose of this team building activity?
    • Did you have any difficulty trusting your partner while blindfolded? Why or why not?
    • Why is trusting your teammates important?
    • How did it feel when you and your teammate successfully trusted each other to accomplish something challenging?
    • How does this relate to the current scenario of the participants, such as class, a sports team, or employees working together on a project?

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Benefits of Trust Walk

  • Builds Trust: The Trust Walk icebreaker is designed to help participants build trust in their teammates. By relying on their partner’s instructions to navigate through obstacles, they learn to trust each other’s abilities and intentions.
  • Promotes Communication: Effective communication is key to success in the Trust Walk. The guide must clearly convey instructions to their blindfolded partner, who must also ask for clarification if needed. This helps improve overall communication skills.
  • Encourages Leadership: The Trust Walk provides an opportunity for participants to step up as leaders and take responsibility for someone else’s safety. They learn to make decisions, give clear instructions, and guide others through challenges.
  • Fosters Teamwork: By working together to overcome obstacles, participants develop a sense of unity and teamwork. They learn to rely on each other’s strengths and support one another during difficult situations.
  • Enhances Problem-Solving Skills: The Trust Walk requires participants to think critically and solve problems in real-time. They must navigate around obstacles while considering their partner’s safety, which helps enhance their problem-solving skills.
  • Increases Empathy and Understanding: By experiencing the Trust Walk from both perspectives (guide and blindfolded), participants gain a better understanding of each other’s challenges and develop empathy towards one another.
  • Boosts Confidence: Successfully completing the Trust Walk can boost participants’ confidence in their abilities to work together and overcome challenges. This newfound confidence can translate to other areas of their lives, such as school or work.

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Skills built with Trust Walk

  • Communication skills: The Trust Walk icebreaker requires the guide to effectively communicate with their blindfolded partner using clear and precise language to help them navigate around obstacles.
  • Trust building: By relying on their partner’s instructions, the blindfolded participant learns to trust their teammate’s ability to keep them safe and help them accomplish the activity.
  • Leadership skills: The guide is responsible for their partner’s safety and must make decisions that will ensure their partner’s well-being while navigating the obstacles.
  • Teamwork: Both partners must work together and rely on each other to successfully complete the activity, building a sense of camaraderie and cooperation.
  • Problem-solving skills: The Trust Walk requires participants to think critically and find solutions to navigate around obstacles while working together.
  • Empathy and understanding: The blindfolded participant gains a better understanding of what it feels like to rely on someone else, while the guide learns about the responsibility of caring for another individual’s well-being.
  • Resilience: Completing the Trust Walk activity can boost participants’ confidence in their ability to overcome challenges and work through difficult situations.

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Why I like Trust Walk

As someone who enjoys teambuilding activities, I find the Trust Walk icebreaker to be highly effective and engaging. The activity promotes trust, communication, and leadership skills among participants, which are essential for any successful team.

One of the things I like most about the Trust Walk is that it creates a tangible experience of reliance and dependence on others. By blindfolding oneself, one must fully rely on their partner’s guidance and instructions, fostering trust in the process. This experience can be quite powerful, as it highlights the importance of relying on team members to overcome challenges.

Additionally, I appreciate that the Trust Walk encourages participants to step out of their comfort zones. The activity requires a certain level of vulnerability and trust, which can be uncomfortable for some individuals. However, by pushing themselves in this way, participants can develop greater self-awareness and confidence in their abilities to navigate uncertain situations.

Furthermore, the Trust Walk provides an excellent opportunity for reflection and discussion. By asking thoughtful questions about the experience, facilitators can encourage participants to consider the importance of trust and communication in team settings. This reflective component allows participants to deepen their understanding of the activity’s purpose and relevance to their own lives.

Overall, I believe that the Trust Walk is an effective teambuilding icebreaker that promotes trust, communication, and leadership skills among participants. Its tangible experience of reliance, encouragement to step out of one’s comfort zone, and reflective component make it a valuable activity for any team looking to strengthen their relationships and collaborative abilities.

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Tips for making Trust Walk more inclusive

  • Provide blindfolds with different colors or patterns. This simple step can help participants who are colorblind or visually impaired to still take part in the activity. It’s essential to ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities, feels included and has an opportunity to build trust with their partner.

  • Use various types of verbal cues during the activity. Keep in mind that not all participants may understand complex instructions or have English as their first language. Using simple and clear language will help everyone comprehend the guidance they receive from their partners, allowing them to navigate the obstacles safely.

  • Offer a choice between nonverbal and verbal communication. Some participants might feel more comfortable using gestures or touch instead of verbal cues when guiding their partner. Providing this option can help those who struggle with verbal communication, hearing difficulties, or language barriers to fully participate in the activity.

  • Include a diverse range of obstacles. Set up obstacles at different heights, distances, and textures to accommodate participants with various physical abilities. For example, you could use soft cushions for those with mobility issues or low vision, while still incorporating more challenging obstacles for other participants.

  • Encourage the use of assistive devices. If any participant uses a cane or other assistive device in their daily life, allow them to bring it along during the Trust Walk activity. This will help ensure their safety and comfort as they navigate through the obstacle course.

  • Provide clear instructions for reflection time. Offer written versions of the reflection questions in large font or using a text-to-speech tool to accommodate participants with visual impairments. Additionally, encourage everyone to share their thoughts and feelings openly, fostering an inclusive and supportive environment where all voices are heard.

  • Consider cultural sensitivity when choosing props. When selecting obstacles, be mindful of any cultural sensitivities or biases that might unintentionally exclude or offend certain participants. For instance, avoid using religious symbols or items associated with specific cultures as part of the activity.

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Reflection questions for Trust Walk

  1. Question: What did you find most challenging about completing the Trust Walk activity? This question can help participants reflect on the specific obstacles they encountered during the activity and how they overcame them. It can also help facilitate a discussion about problem-solving and perseverance.

  2. Question: How did you communicate with your partner throughout the Trust Walk activity? This question can prompt participants to think about the effectiveness of their communication skills and how they can improve them in future team-building activities or group projects.

  3. Question: What strategies did you use to build trust with your partner during the Trust Walk activity? This question can help participants reflect on the importance of trust in teamwork and how they can actively work to establish it with their colleagues or classmates.

  4. Question: How did completing the Trust Walk activity make you feel about working in a team? This question can encourage participants to think about the benefits and challenges of collaborative work, as well as their own strengths and weaknesses as team members.

  5. Question: What insights did you gain from being either the guide or the blindfolded partner during the Trust Walk activity? This question can prompt participants to reflect on the different perspectives and responsibilities involved in teamwork, and how they can contribute to a successful group dynamic.

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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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