Helium Stick

A team-building icebreaker game for small groups

How To Play Helium Stick

Materials Needed

Long & light-weight pole

You can do this team building activity with a single group (maybe as an team growth activity for your small group) or as a bigger group team challenge.

You'll need a group with at least four or five people in it, and then one instructor.

Get the group members to line up in a line in pairs (one on either side). It doesn't matter if there is an odd number. Then get each person to face towards each other. Get each person to be staggered and place a hand in front of them with their index finger pointed out. Place the pole on top of all of the index fingers so it is resting evenly. Make sure all index fingers are touching the pole.

The aim of the activity is to get the group to completely lower the pole to the ground without anyone losing touch with it at any stage. This is why it is important to have a leader or instructor watching carefully to catch them out.

A common occurrence as the group begins the team building activity for the first time is that everyone will be so focussed on keeping their index finger touching the pole that the pole will actually start rising instead of lowering. Have a laugh with the group!

The secret is for the group to settle down and take it slowly.

If you're running this activity with multiple groups then you could do it as a race which could make things even funnier - just make sure you've got someone judging each group so there is no cheating.



Added by
on 11 October 2012


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I've played this game, having the kids stand in a circle around a hula-hoop instead of a stick. The important thing is that their finger must be pointed down and straight. You have to watch closely and keep them honest in that if anyone's finger breaks contact with the hula-hoop, they have to start over.

Posted by JD 5 years ago

This is best done if played with a tent pole. Those have more give and are more wobbly. It makes the game the desired level of difficult.

Posted by Naomi B 5 years ago

Did you have their index fingers face up or face down? It is important that they are face down (i.e. fingerprint facing down). If they are face up it is too easy to grip the pole.

Posted by Elijah 5 years ago

“People lower bar very easily. Not the desired result” You guys kill me! Do you realize what you’re saying? You’re like “This display of unity totally didn’t work. My team is so unified that I’m disappointed that they actually demonstrated it.” What a laugh!

Posted by Donnie 5 years ago

Not a very good event. People lower the bar very easily. Not the desired result.

Posted by David 5 years ago

This was a total flop with my group of high schoolers. Took about 7 seconds for all teams to lower their sticks to the floor. Kind of a bummer after taking 5 minutes to break into teams and explain the game...

Posted by Matt 5 years ago

I'd say you could use a broom stick (without the broom end on it) or a long piece of round wood from your local hardware store. Anything that works really!

Posted by Shorty 11 years ago

Sounds great, but what type of "pole" do you use?

Posted by Monique 11 years ago

Thanks, planning on trying it this week.

Posted by 11 years ago

I have played this game before as a team building exercise, the stick really does rise!! Great teamwork exercise.

Posted by Georgia 11 years ago

Apologies Kevin - 'group' should have said 'ground'. I've updated the description.

Posted by Shorty 11 years ago

Sorry, but I don't follow the "lower the pole to the group". Would you clarify that part of the game? Lower to the floor or to the point where there arms are down?

Posted by kevin 11 years ago

Seems like an interesting game!

Posted by Emilie 11 years ago
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