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Gridlocked people

First suggested by 22nd Bromley Scout Troop
Work together while you’re distanced to crack this life-size people puzzle.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Hoops, cones or other markers

Before you begin

  • Make sure you’ve risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-19 safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here
  • This game works for eight players. If you have more people, they’ll have to take it in turns to swap in and add their opinions from the sidelines. 


Safety checklist

Use the Safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity.  Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include: 

  • Set up a hand washing station that you can use throughout the session. Everyone should wash their hands before and after they use equipment.
  • Remind everyone to stay socially distanced when moving around in the game.
  • Ensure hands are cleaned before using any equipment and again straight afterward.
  • Only one person should touch the hoops to lay them out at the start. Clean equipment between different users. 

Play the game

  1. The person leading the game should lay out nine hula hoops in a three by three grid on the ground. Make sure each hoop is at least two metres away from the next.
  2. Eight people should move onto the grid and stand in a hoop. There should be one empty spot left in the grid – to start off with, make sure this space is in a corner.
  1. The person leading the game should choose a player standing in a corner and explain that the first challenge is to move them into the empty space while following the rules: only one person can move at a time and people can only move if they're next to (not diagonally across from) the empty space. 
  2. Everyone should work together to move one by one until the chosen player is in the right corner. 
  3. The person leading the activity should set a new challenge, for example, moving an entire row of people from one side to the other (keeping them in the right order), rearranging everyone in order of height or age, or numbering people and asking them to get in order. 


This activity needed everyone to play their part in solving a problem. How did people work together to move around? People could think about how they waited their turn or let someone else move before them. Did people always agree on the best way to solve the problem? How did people decide what to do? Maybe they learned from their first challenge or tried a few different techniques. 


Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.