Helium Stick

Make a point about teamwork and cooperation -- instantly!

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Every great workplace is a sum of its parts. How each unique individual works with their colleagues plays a crucial role in their personal development, as well as in the team’s success. But how do you help teams become more cohesive?

Enter the simple yet powerful tool: the Helium Stick! This Helium Stick game offers your team a fun and innovative lesson on working together, even when faced with a challenge. If you’re looking for a simple but effective way to help your team come together and find solutions cooperatively, this is a great game to quickly achieve those results.


  • 10-foot-long Helium Stick folds to 12 inches for easy transportation and assembly.
  • Perfect for small teams of 8 to 12, but can be done with 6 to 14.
  • Complete this simple and fun activity in less than 30 minutes.
    • 5 minute briefing and set up
    • 10-15 minutes of active problem-solving (until success)
    • 10 minutes discussion
  • Easily paired with other games and exercises from Trainers Warehouse to make for a team-building day to strengthen employee communication, collaboration, and relationships.


  • Line up in two rows which face each other.
  • Introduce the Helium Stick game.
  • Ask participants to point their index fingers and hold their arms out.
  • Lay the stick down on their fingers. Get the group to adjust their finger heights until the Helium Stick is horizontal and everyone's index fingers are touching the stick. Explain that the challenge is to lower the Helium Stick to the ground.
  • The catch: Each person's fingers must be in contact with the Helium Stick at all times. Pinching or grabbing the pole is not allowed - it must rest on top of fingers.
  • Reiterate to the group that if anyone's finger is caught not touching the Helium Stick, the task will be restarted. Let the task begin....
  • Warning: Particularly in the early stages, the Helium Stick has a habit of mysteriously 'floating' up rather than coming down, causing much laughter. A bit of clever humoring can help - e.g., act surprised and ask what they are doing raising the Helium Stick instead of lowering it! For added drama, jump up and pull it down!


The stick does not contain helium. The secret is that the collective upwards pressure created by everyone's fingers tends to be greater than the weight of the Helium Stick. As a result, the more a group tries, the more the stick tends to 'float' upwards.


As your group begins their challenge in the Helium Stick game, see how individuals react when the rod starts moving in the exactly opposite direction than they intended. What do they do? You may find that players start blaming each other. The more the stick rises, the more they point fingers and accuse one another by asking, “What are YOU doing?”

This observation can lead to an important learning point: that they won't find solutions without shifting from telling to asking and without assuming responsibility for and ownership of the results. For instance, they might ask: Why is this happening to US? What can WE do differently? How can WE come up with another strategy?


  • What was the initial reaction of the group?
  • How well did the group cope with this challenge?
  • What skills did it take to be successful as a group?
  • What creative solutions were suggested and how were they received?
  • What would an outside observer have seen as the strengths and weaknesses of the group?

NOTE: to download the Helium Stick Facilitation Notes, refresh this webpage (or visit the page in an "incognito window"). Then, enter your info in the pop-up.

Helium Stick

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