Helium stick (aka magic cane, magic stick, lighter than air, Let go my ego) is a very simple, but powerful activity that helps a group to explore what to do when things don’t go quite as well as intended! It is an excellent icebreaker in teamwork / teambuilding events and can be set-up and run anywhere there is space for a team to stand together. The effect produced is for a stick to rise into the air when the group is actually trying to lower it, and the rich discussions that follow this short task can lead into a wide number of areas including leadership, individual performance, communication, goal setting, project management, culture and compliance. The full facilitator guide supplied suggests some alternative and unusual uses for Helium Stick.
Two groups of participants form a line and face each other, holding their arms out with index (first) finger and thumb raised, ready to receive the long stick horizontally across their fingers. Once the facilitator places the helium stick on their index finger tips, the task is to lower the stick to the ground, while keeping it horizontal. The rule is that all index fingers must always touch the stick and no other parts of the body or items can be used to achieve the task. If the facilitator enforces the rule that everyone must main contact with the stick it will move up and typically cause a great deal of hilarity (or cause frustration) amongst the participants. They will then need to readjust to come up with a new solution to achieve what initially appeared to be a simple task.