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Trust Building Activities

Trust is a vital component of any team, organization, or youth program.  Here are some of our favorite activities to build trust between participants.  For more ideas on developing a safe environment for any group, please see our book Growing Together.  For the PDF version of the following activities, click here.



TITLE: Circle of Friends

IMPACT: Trust building; when you want your group to develop a feeling of physical and emotional safety with one another; when your group is working on questions of sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, or racial identity to help them used to get used to being close to people who look different

RISK: Moderate to high

GROUP SIZE: 10 to 15 people

TIME REQUIRED: 20 minutes



  • Start by telling the group to imagine themselves circled by warmth, love, safety, and concern. Tell them to all try to create that feeling.
  • Ask the group to stand shoulder to shoulder in a tight circle with one person – the faller – in the center. The first time around, you might want to be the faller if no one else volunteers. The faller gets into position – arms crossed over chest, legs straight, knees locked – and begins to lean slowly in any direction to the point of losing his balance. Before the faller leans too far out, the people in the circle redirect the faller toward another point in the circle. Read more


Diversity in Action, Project Adventure, used by permission.





TITLE: Touch the Can

IMPACT: Large group team builder, address personal boundary issues, work on group problem solving skills.

RISK: Moderate to high

GROUP SIZE: Up to 8. Larger groups should split into smaller groups.

TIME REQUIRED: 15-20 minutes.



  • Everyone in the group must touch the can simultaneously, and with one finger. For each group, one person must touch the can with their nose.
  • Now add one more person per group can only touch the can with a different body part (i.e. now everyone but two people will be touching the can with their finger, one person will be touching with their nose, and one person will be touching with a foot or an elbow, etc.). Keep going until everyone is touching the can with a different body part.





TITLE: Trust Box 

IMPACT: To build trust and support others

RISK: Medium - high

GROUP SIZE: 10 or more

TIME REQUIRED: 10 minutes, varies depending on group size



  • Clearly mark off a small playing area. The size will depend on the number of people in the group. Everyone in the group should be able to easily touch someone else when standing in the area.
  • Ask the participants to begin walking around the space. 
  • When someone feels ready, s/he says loudly and clearly “I’m falling”.
  •  Everyone else then rushes to catch the faller as s/he begins to lean back and fall. 
  • After one person goes, everyone should then resume moving through the space until the next person feels ready to fall.  Read more





TITLE: Trust Pinball

IMPACT: To build trust among a group of people. To have individuals take risks and be supported by their group. 

RISK: Medium-high

GROUP SIZE: 10 or more

TIME REQUIRED: 10-15 minutes or enough time for everyone to have a turn.



  • Ask the group to stand in a circle. This activity should be done in silence, except for any directions the facilitator may need to give.
  • To begin, the facilitator taps one person on the shoulder, who then closes his/her eyes tightly and walks blindly across the circle to the other side. The people on the other side of the circle stop the “blindfolded” person, turn the person around, and push the person lightly in another direction. (The people on the outside of the circle have their eyes open). This process is repeated with the same person a few times. Read more





TITLE: Trust Wave

IMPACT: Trust building; you can come back to this game when your group needs to work on their trust building skills

RISK: Moderate to high

GROUP SIZE: 10 or more

TIME REQUIRED: 30 minutes



  • Tell the group that sometimes it looks like all the doors are closed to us and everything is going against us. But once you gather some momentum, you’d be surprised by what can happen and how those barriers just disappear.
  • Divide your group equally in two and form two straight lines with each participant standing opposite someone from the other line. The lines should be just far enough apart so that when the participant’s arms are fully extended at shoulder height and in front of them, their hands reach to approximately the wrist of the person opposite. These two lines are the spotters.
  • The goal is for one player, the runner, to start about ten yards from the group and walk, or slowly jog, between the two lines of people. The players in the lines have their arms raised at shoulder height straight out in front of them, effectively forming a barrier to the approaching runner. Just before the runner reaches them, the spotters raise their arms up over their heads to allow the runner to pass and lower them as soon as the runner has gone by. Read more

Diversity in Action, Project Adventure, used by permission. 

The Food Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

Tax ID: 04-3262532


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