A team building activity that seems too simple in the beginning, Helium Stick is a great challenge for groups looking to build communication, discuss the importance of planning and encourage teamwork.
*Fun fact before you begin: This activity gets its name because the hula hoop, while resting on group members’ fingers, appears to float/move upward because the collective weight of everyone’s fingers holding it up is much more than that of the hula hoop. Often, the more the group members try to hold it level and get in sync, the more it appears to move upward.
Time: 15 – 30 minutes
Group Size: Any, broken into small groups of 4-10
Materials: One hula hoop per small group
If you are beginning with a large group of people, break them into smaller groups of about four to ten people each. Ask them to stand in a circle with their small group. Then ask them to point their index fingers and hold their arms out. Gently place a hula hoop on their index fingers and ask them to make the hula hoop level. (Some people may have to raise or lower their fingers to get it level.) Tell the group the goal is to lower the hula hoop to the ground using only their fingers and that they can’t take their fingers off of the hula hoop or hook them around it. If they let go of the hula hoop, they must start over. Each person’s fingers must be in contact with the hula hoop at all times.
Group members may find it difficult at first and have to start over several times until they complete the activity. The idea is that they have to create a strategy by which they can work together as a team to complete the task. Allow participants to try and complete the activity of lowering the hula hoop to the ground for about ten minutes. When the designated time is up, have everyone put down their hula hoops and come together to process the activity.
- What was your experience during this activity?
- Was this difficult? Why?
- What needed to happen to be successful in this activity? (Encourage a discussion around clear communication, creating a plan as a group, etc.)
- When do you come across other situations (at home, school or work) that are similar to this activity? What can you remember to help you navigate them?
If you don’t have a hula hoop ready to use you can use a stick, such as a broomstick without the head attached.