human knot

What it is: An old classic, and one of my favorites—when played with people I knew well. Otherwise…well, let’s just call it a get-to-know-you game.

Best for: Big group of 10 to like 18 players.

What you need: A bunch of people.

How to play: Have everyone stand in a circle, shoulder to shoulder. Tell everyone to put their right hand in the middle and then grab someone else’s hand (preferably with no peeking). Repeat with everyone’s left hand. Now you should have a big mob of people—a knot, if you will—and everyone should be holding on to two other people’s hands. The task? Untangle the knot! It will involve teamwork, communication, stepping over arms, twisting around, and probably lots of flexibility. The only rule is that no one may break a hand hold. Once the knot is untangled, you should have a big circle, or maybe two separate smaller circles, or maybe two circles that interlock. Either way, the knot is untangled. Ta da!

Variations: Playing in the pool can be extra fun because the weightlessness makes it easier to duck around and through the knot. Just make sure that everyone can reach the bottom! I’ve also played with a “doctor”—one person who isn’t part of the knot but who walks around and directs everyone on how to untangle it.


  1. We used to play this during recess when I was in elementary school. We called it Doctor Quack Quack; after untangling the knot the doctor would have to catch someone to be the next It.

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