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Group Size: 1 to 50+
Time Needed: 5 minutes plus time for discussion
Goal: To provide a communication building activity
Audience: Couples, Parents, Children, Teens
Special Considerations: This activity is especially powerful for couples. Co-facilitators can practice and complete this activity as a demonstration.
Resources Needed: Two pieces of decorative ribbon, each about 24 inches long, per couple; any width of ribbon can work, but about a one-inch width works best.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Divide group into pairs.
  2. Have each couple stand side-by-side, arms touching.
  3. Go around the room and gently tie the touching arms together with one of the ribbons.
  4. Give one person in each couple the other ribbon.
  5. Explain that when you say “Go!” their task is to use their free hands to tie the ribbon into a knot. The only rule is that they cannot talk during the entire exercise.
  6. If couples tie the knot too easily, ask them to continue on and make a bow.
  7. Optional: let couples struggle tying the knot/making the bow without talking for a few minutes. Then tell them to continue with the same exercise, except allow them to talk this time.

Tips for Discussion and Processing

Couples often have a great deal of nonverbal communication between them. This is a great activity to demonstrate the power of that type of communication. When you allow couples to do the exercise without talking and then with talking, you can use this to have a discussion about the importance of two-way communication and listening

Note: These activities can be modified to reflect a variety of skills.