Masking tape

Exercise description
A grid of squares is drawn on the floor, 6 x 8 squares It can be made by using masking tape.
Each square should be big enough to allow a person to stand in it. This grid
is a “swamp”. Only some squares are safe to stand on and “won’t sink”.
Only the trainer has the blueprint of safe squares (see illustration). All the participants stand on one side of the

Peacebuilding Training Handbook

The following instructions are read out to them: “Your task is to get the whole group over to the other side of the swamp. Only some of these squares – “rocks” – are safe to stand on and won’t sink. You move in single steps and can only step on the
square that is touching the one you are already standing on, including those
positioned diagonally. There is only one safe path through the swamp. When you step onto the
wrong square you will hear a “splash!”, which means that you are sinking and have to start over. Those who manage to
go through the swamp remain on the other side of the it throughout the exercise. Only one person at a time can
go through the swamp.
You have 10 minutes to work out a strategy.
After that, all communication must stop and the group will have 20 minutes to get through the swamp.”

Suggested questions to evaluate the exercise:
How do you feel after this exercise? What was it like?
How did you agree on a strategy? Did you agree?

How much care did you take of others? Did you try to find a way to get everyone through the swamp?
What was it like for those who were left last?

Type of exercise:


45-90 min


Swamp exercise is a powerful exercise that can cause great frustration in a group, so it is important to monitor and support them in case of failure. Exercise is not a test of intelligence, nor is it a test of what a person is like, it serves to see the way of cooperation between oneself and others.