Position each group to stand within a designated safe area.
Nominate a second safe area located about 15 metres away.
Challenge each group to move between the two areas while using no more than four anatomical points of simultaneous contact with the ground at all times.
Allow ample time for planning and problem-solving before the first attempt.
If more points of contact are made with the ground than permitted, the group starts over.
Continue play until all groups have traversed the area ‘safely.’
How To Play Narrative
Set up your space with a this-is-where-you-are, and a this-is-where-you-need-to-get-to scenario, with something like 15 metres (50′) between the two areas. Then divide your group into small teams of seven people.
Starting from within one safe area, explain that each group of seven needs to transport their clan from this space to the other safe space while using no more than four anatomical points of simultaneous contact with the ground.
A point of contact can be a foot, a hand, an elbow, etc, but there can only be four parts touching the ground at any point in time, aka the four pointer.
To illustrate, and to connect with your practical intellect, imagine a group with four feet already on the ground. To progress forward, one person will need to lift their foot, and then perhaps allow another person to put their foot (or hand or whatever) down onto the ground, to allow their group to progress forward.
Take note, that one part of a naturally-occurring solution is to hoist people onto shoulders and backs. This is okay provided the group can demonstrate a high degree of safety-consciousness throughout the journey.
Enjoy the crazy ideas and contorted positions which are invariably explored as the activity progresses.
As a physically-challenging, team event, there is always value to be found at the conclusion of the exercise to reflect on the process and performance of your groups. See the Reflection tab for some useful starting points.
Practical Leadership Tips
Given the physical nature of the Four Pointer, carefully consider your sequence of activities leading up to this challenge. As people will often be elevated off the ground to help their team succeed, you are well-advised to introduce the skills of effective spotting to keep people safe.
The number of people per group is not critical. Simply adjust the number of points which may touch the ground according to the number of people in your group. Always err on the side of challenge. For example, a group of five people may only use three points of contact on the ground at any point in time. Or, in the case of young people, you may choose many more points of contact than for adults.
The penalty for touching into an area with more points than stipulated is up to you. Either count the number of infringements or start over.
A useful discussion point at the conclusion of this exercise may be around the level of attention afforded to safety during the exercise, and by this I mean emotional as much as physical safety. Especially in the context that this activity is often done with several groups at the same time, a spirit of competition may cloud some group’s better judgements regarding ‘safety.’
Three Pointer: Form teams of five people, permitting only three points of contact.
All Together: Challenge your entire group to cross the area as one wholly-connected unit, using only a mutually-agreed number of points of contact with the ground.
Optional Cargo: Challenge your group to cross the area while also carrying a bulky object, eg a chair, small table, etc.
You Might Also Like...
Tin Can Pass
Dextrous group initiative that builds team skills.
Powerful & enjoyable trust-building activity for groups.
Useful Framing Ideas
When I think of monsters, I always think of large creatures with googly eyes, four arms and exceptionally large feet. Your monsters may vary, but in any case, this next exercise will invite your group to create a suitably ugly monster which is so big, it comes with four legs…
One of the all-time classic scenarios of group initiatives is to invite a group to solve a problem with a limited number of resources. This is one of those problems, and the resources I will be limiting are your legs…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this physically-challenging, group initiative:
Other than physical prowess, what other challenges did you encounter in this exercise?
What words would you use to describe your group’s problem-solving process?
How did you group attend to physical, emotional and mental safety?
How did your group support one another?
Did a sense of competition influence your performance in any way?
The inspiration for Four Pointer, and many more physically challenging group initiatives, was sourced from the following publication: