Shoe Find

Type of Activity: Problem Solving

Props Needed: None

Set Up: Need a nice open area. Plays well with 12 to 25 or more for 20 to 25 minutes. (This one was on the borderline of prop and prop-less, but since you don’t have to bring anything….we decided to add it.)

Process: Everyone picks a partner (a group of 3 can work). Without further explanation have them visually examine the shoes of their partner(s). One partner is to become the “communicator”, the other partner is to become the “extractor.”  Inside a designated area (like the inside of a big circle made by the group) have the extractor leave one or both of her shoes – leave both if you have more time to play. Both partners then retreat back to the big circle some distance away from the shoes. Before play begins you’ll want to thoroughly mix up the pile of shoes.

The communicator remains sighted but must remain behind the designated circle area. The “extractor” closes her eyes and keeps them closed.  By voice commands, the communicator directs the extractor back to the area where the extractor must extract her own shoe(s) and then return to the designated line. Once all the extractors have found their own shoes they switch roles with the communicators – the communicators now become the extractors.

Variation: Another fun shoe activity: Have everyone toss their shoes into a big pile then each participant takes one right and one left shoe – not their own shoe or a matching pair. Holding the left shoe in their right hand and the right shoe in their left hand, participants match up shoes so they end up in one large circle of paired shoes. At this point all the participants set the shoes down and everyone goes to their shoes to reunite – don’t forget to meet everyone you stand next to. This can be done a few times to randomly meet other participants.

Debriefing Topics:

  • What strategies did you use?
  • What specifics were you looking for when examining the shoes?
  • How did you communicate with your partners?

For original write up purchase "The Empty Bag.”  

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