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We facilitated this team event in Toronto Ontario Canada and used it as a substitute for an outdoor activity when a snowstorm hit the area without warning. When you are considering holding a team building event, always consider having a couple of activities that can be moved either indoors or outside if circumstances throw you a curve at the last minute. This one was easily adapted to an indoor space ….even a hallway if that is all that is available.

LIFELINE Team Building Game Toronto


Objective:   For a group of people to work together to problem-solve and to be resourceful when given a challenging task.

Group Size: 

  • 5 or more


  • Depending on number of participants


  • Something to mark the area – even masking tape if indoors
  • (Optional) to increase difficulty, place “stepping stones” in a challenging pattern that must be used by each person as they cross the “River.” In Toronto, we were able to get some paper plates from the snack bar and used those for stepping stones.
  • If you are outside, create an area that is a “fast-moving” river by marking off an area on the ground at least 20 feet across (make it bigger distance for larger groups).


  • Ask for one or two volunteers from the group to go to the other side of the “River.”
  • Once the team members are across the river tell the rest of the group that their friends have become stranded on the far side of the river after their boat tipped over and the group must create a lifeline so that they can pull their comrades to safety.
  • The group must make a chain of items that are tied together out of anything they can find (clothes, shoelaces, tree branches, etc.).
  • Once the group makes a chain, they must be able to hold onto one end and throw the other end to their stranded teammates.
  • The lifeline must make it all the way to the other side when thrown.  If it goes into the river, it must be reeled in and thrown again.
  • Once the lifeline reaches the other side, the teammates may be pulled to safety one at a time.

Debrief Discussions:

  • Did everyone contribute to the lifeline?  Why or why not?
  • Could one person have made the lifeline?  Why or why not?
  • Would you want to be across a real river and be depending on this group to throw you a lifeline?  Why or why not?
  • If this was a real river, how would trust be a factor?

By Pat Thornton, President, Change Resources Group Inc., a Toronto based team building company.  If you enjoyed this article, why not get our free newsletter?  Every month, you’ll receive one email that’s packed full of information about talent retention and tips for employee engagement.  Each issue will also include a FREE team building activity that you can use.  Join us at

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