Approximate Running Time: 20-30 minutes

Minimum Group Size: 6 participants

Maximum Group Size: Varying, depending on space and facilitators available. Participants will be divided into groups of 6-8 participants.

Age/ Level: Participants must be able to safely, calmly, and responsibly carry each other for a distance of approximately 12 feet. Recommended for grades 3 and up.

Space Required: An open space approximately 15 feet wide, and long enough for all participants to stand in their groups of 6-8 participants. at one end of the space (leaving the middle clear).



  • At least four cones/ pilons to mark the “river of lava”
  • One pair of “magic boots” per team. These may be overbooties (like hospital overboots that surgeons wear), or two pieces of foam or paper that participants can slide on and move accross the floor on the “river of lava”


Set-up: A “river of lava”, approximately 10 feet wide, should be set up across the middle of the room. This can be defined by two ropes, or a series of cones/ pilons. At the beginning of the activity all participants will stand in lines with their groups of 6-8 people at one end of the river.



The objective of this activity is for the groups to collaborate, strategize, and communicate effectively to move all team members to the opposite side of the “river of lava”, with only one person wearing the magic boots at a time.


Facilitator Guidelines:

Inform the participants that, within their teams of 6-8 people, each person may only make one trip across the river using the magic boots, and the boots may not be thrown across the river. If anyone touches the lava the entire group must start over again.

In order to transfer the boots to the next person, the wearer must tap their feet together (or clap) and say “Boop! Boop!”


Facilitation Variations:

The facilitator may wish to provide a list of roles for each team (such as team leader, mediator, speaker, etc). If the facilitator notices that one or more people per team are taking over, they may cause a “lava accident” and inform those people that they have lost their voices in the “accident”.





General Debrief Questions:

  • Did you make lots of plans before trying to cross the river, or did you start trying right away? Was that helpful?
  • Did one person take the lead? Why do you think that happened?
  • How did your group make use of your different strengths to complete the challenge?


Notes , Safety Concerns:

  • Participants will have to carry each other across the river–two at a time. Do not tell them this, as they will need to determine a strategy on their own. Watch them carefully to make sure they are being safe