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A fun group challenge to learn about cooperation and solving a problem together.

Time: 20 minutes,  Materials:  Lots of small pieces of paper, marker pens,  Related tools: Trust games


Take a look at the layout of the room then write on separate pieces of paper four different instructions on how to arrange the chairs in the room, one instruction for each piece of paper, for example:

  • Stack all the chairs in front of the windows
  • Arrange the chairs in rows facing the flipchart
  • Stack the chairs in fours against the far wall
  • Arrange the chairs in a circle

Produce enough slips of paper for participants to have one each. Make sure they are folded.


Announce to the group that we’re going to play a game. Don’t tell them the name of the game! Say you will hand each person a folded slip of paper. Ask them to read it silently, fold it back and not share what is written on it with anyone.

Make sure everyone has understood, then give out the slips of paper. When everyone is ready, invite them to do what it says on their paper.

The result will be chaos! Some will realise that others are trying to do the same thing as them and others are undoing it. Let it run for a while to see if there is any attempt at cooperation or resolving the problem. Observe closely so you can feed back what you have seen.

When you feel it is the right time, call a halt and bring the group back together.


Ask the participants:

  • How was that? How do you feel?
  • What happened there?
  • What could you have done differently?
  • Why do you think we asked you to do this activity?
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