Blindfolded Obstacle Course

We always want people to communicate clearly and concisely both when working as a team and also when speaking over the radio or phone. But this is a skill that you have to practice and work at to become proficient. The more you practice, the more usual it is to communicate in this way. This activity is a great (and fun) way of putting these skills to the test with a blindfolded person directed around an obstacle course via speech.

In this activity, you need to set up an obstacle course for teams to go round. This can be as simple or crazy as you want to make it but don't forget to ensure that it is possible for someone who can't see to get around safely (so perhaps ease off getting them to do a flying leap across some chasm!). In the past, we've done all sorts including using chairs to define the route, got people to go through hoops and getting them to crawl under a web of loosely strung hazard tape. You'll need to have a number of facilitators around the course to keep an eye on things and try and pre-empt any accidents.

We've come up with two ways that you could run it. The first primarily tests communication skills between team members whereas the second way also tests radio communication skills.

1. Pairs
This method needs you to split the participants up into pairs where each pair will go round the course together. One member of the pair will be wearing the blindfold and the other will be able to see the course. The person who is able to see will stand at the edge of the course and call over instructions to their partner on where to go and how to get through the course. This version tests the skills of converting what you can see (and is obvious to you) into clear and understandable instructions.

2. Threes
The second method uses teams of three. Two of these three are in the room with the obstacle course. One of them is blind-folded as before and the other is not. The person who can see has a radio and is effectively the blindfolded person's communicator. The third member of the team is outside the room with a map of the obstacle course (which you will obviously need to have drawn up). This person radios the team in the room with instructions based upon the map. Ideally you want the person on the radio in the obstacle course room to not add any additional instructions based on what they can see (but they could ask questions back to the person with the map to clarify if they can see that there is an evident error).

Practical Tips:
  • Make sure you have enough people to facilitate to ensure the activity is safe as it's easy to get a bit carried away.
  • If you want everyone to have a go at the communicating bit you might need to made some amendments to the course and then re-run it with the team members swapped round.
  • You could time each team to add a competitive edge.
  • Don't forget that the map in method 2 needs to have enough information for good instructions to be made!

Have you tried this idea out? Let us know how it went or give us your top tips to make it work well! If you are logged in, your usename will be assigned to the comment.

By clicking submit, your are agreeing to the Scenario Library terms and conditions.