Human Knot


What is the Human Knot?

The Human Knot (also known as the Human Knot Game or Human Knot Activity) is a popular game where people learn to work together.  This game is great icebreaker for a team of new people or as a get to know you activity.


Starting in a circle, participants connect hands with two others people in the group to form the human knot. As a team they must then try to unravel the “human knot” by untangling themselves without breaking the chain of hands.

Equipment Required: None
Space Required: Small. Indoors or outdoors.
Group Size: 8 to 12 ideally. You must have at least 4 participants to play.

Total Time: 20-30 minutes

  • 5 minutes to brief and set up
  • 10-20 minutes to achieve outcome
  • 5 minutes to review and debrief

Human Knot Team Building Instructions

  1. Get the group to form a circle.
  2. Tell them to put their right hand up in the air, and then grab the hand of someone across the circle from them.
  3. Then repeat this with the left hand, ensuring they grab a different persons hand.
  4. Check to make sure that everyone is holding the hands of two different people and  they are not holding hands with someone either side of them.
  5.  That they must now try to untangle themselves to form a circle without breaking the chain of hands. Allocate a specific time to complete this challenge (generally ten to twenty minutes)
  6. Get participants to take their time in order to limit injuries. Ask the group not to tug or pull on each other and spot participants as they pass over other participants. Monitor throughout the challenge and stop them if you need to.
  7. If the chain of hands is broken at any point, they must then start over again.

Link to Human Knot Video Tutorial

Suggested Learning Outcomes

  • Leadership
  • Cooperation
  • Time management

Human Knot is featured in our eBook, The Team Building Activity Book. The book provides an easy to use, step-by-step guide to teaching team building with full descriptions for over 30 team building challenges including: printable challenger briefs, ready to use programmes and access to exclusive member downloads. Download it now.

The Team Building Activity Book





  1. Has anyone had trouble unraveling the knot? Maybe we should put any hand in, instead of right hand, then left hand, to help unravel the knot.

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