Mouse Trap Trust Sequence

Type of Activity: Trust building - HIGH RISK

Props Needed: 1 mousetrap for each pair of people

Objective: Learn about trust, support, and coaching by setting and unsetting mousetraps.

Set Up: Inspect your mousetrap for wear and tear and set them somewhere out of sight until you want people to get them.  It is a good idea to have a few more traps than necessary in case any break.

Process: Everyone find a partner and sit next to each other.  Say “hello” to your partner and then one of you needs to come and get a mousetrap and return to your seat.

We will be going through a 4-stage process using the mousetrap.  (Explain to the group the true and false hazards of mousetraps on bodies.  Also show and tell how to set a mousetrap.)

Stage 1: Set or Load the Trap (Approximately 3 minutes)  Partners should teach and coach each other to set the trap.  Everyone should have an opportunity to set a trap.

Stage 2: Set or Load the Trap Blindly (Approximately 3 minutes)  Partners should teach and coach each other to set the trap while the ‘setter’ has his eyes closed and the partner coaches verbally and visually.

Stage 3: Unset the Trap (Approximately 2 minutes)  One person holds his hand flat with fingers together and places his hand over the top of a loaded trap.  Then, when he is ready, he lifts his hand quickly.

Stage 4: Unset the Trap Blindly (approximately 4 minutes)  One person sets the trap, lays it on a table or floor, and coaches verbally while the partner sets a trap as directed above, except that his eyes are closed the whole time.

Stage 5: If you think the group is ready for it introduce Mouse Trap Minefield to the group. See the Mousetrap Minefield writeup, also in this section.

Debriefing Topics:

  • How does this activity build trust?
  • What changes have you noticed since you finished the stages?
  • How did you overcome any anxieties?
  • How well did you coach your partner?

Facilitator Notes: It is often a good idea to ask the group for a show of hands who has ever set a mousetrap.  It will give you an idea of what kind of pace to go through the steps.  If a majority of people has experience setting traps, you can spend less time on stages 1-3 and more on stage 4.

Some pairs usually finish a stage before everyone else.  Feel free to challenge them to set a trap with one hand (no fair using a leg or table to stabilize the trap.)

As a joke, I often say, “And for Stage 6 you ill need to unset the trap using your tongue…..I call it ‘outh.’.”


For more resources see: Raptor

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