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.
- 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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