Human Knot


To work together, see the big picture, and think about the connection between individuals in the group as students participate in the activity.

Author: Urban EdVenture Faculty

Print30-45 minutes

Students will work together to accomplish their goal of progressing from a “tangled mess” to an untangled circle(s). 


If you have a larger group (over 12) or a new group you may want to use bandannas or short ropes to connect the students rather than simply holding hands. This gives the students a little extra physical space.


Debrief as a group or have students quietly reflect on the experience through writing about the following questions:

  • How were you challenged in this activity?
  • What made this activity difficult?
  • During the activity, what are some skills you needed to be successful as a group?
  • If given the chance, how would you approach this challenge differently?
  • How did you take care of each other in this activity?


  1. Arrange group members in a circle, standing shoulder to shoulder.

  2. Have everyone raise their right hand and grab the hand of someone across the circle from them. They should not hold the hand of anyone next to them.

  3. Then have everyone put their left hand up in the air and grab the hand of a different person.

  4. Check to make sure that everyone is holding the hands of two different people and double check that they are not holding hands with someone directly next to them. At this point the group should be all knotted up.

  5. Explain to the group that their goal is to untangle themselves without breaking the chain. If group members break the chain they need to start over.

  6. The group should end up in one large circle (or two small circles) at the end of the activity. 

  7. Safety Note: Students can get carried away in this activity when they focus on completing the challenge and not on caring for the members of the group. Rather than participating, you may need to be on the outside watching the group and ensuring no one’s arms or other body parts get awkwardly turned.