Team Building and leadership expert michael cardus

Processing the Experience Using Mousetraps

  • A whole bunch of mouse traps. I prefer the Victor Metal Pedal
  • Sufficient space and location for the group
ObjectiveTeam Building Train the Trainer Michael Cardus

I am a fan using mouse traps for a variety of team building initiatives.

The value of team building becomes evident is in the processing and internalizing of what was learned. Utilizing an active reviewing method (as opposed to a passive process which is question & answer) supports teams in creating a connection with the team building activity to their work, lives, community, etc…


This team building activity is meant to be used as a processing after action method. You would have already guided the people through “High Stakes Communication” or “Traps to Break Worry” or “Trust trap sequence” or “Trap-u-facturing” or “Snap Pop!” or “Blind Trap Walk” or “Success Traps” or “Traps of Inquiry” or something to do with using the mouse traps in an activity. For more information about using mouse traps in a team building activity contact me

People are already familiar and comfortable with the mouse traps, and you have covered all the safety, challenge by choice, and risk factors.

Emotional Intelligence training Leadership Coaching Michael cardus
Instructions and Facilitator Script

Following an activity using the mouse traps as the central material ask people to un-snap the traps and listen to you. Generally, I say something like this;

Wow! each of you gained some valuable insights from that last activity. You were able to communicate, listen, plan and handle risk. By this point, all of you have a comfort level that did not exist before beginning our time together. Take a moment and reflect upon the action and what happened to increase your comfort with each other and the mouse traps.”

Allow the group about 1-2 minutes of silence and reflection;

“Now we are going to experience and determine how this can apply and enhance your organization, team and you when you leave here today. In a moment you are going to be involved in an active transfer using your mouse trap. Here is the logistics;

  • We are going to build a Tower Of Power! using the mouse traps.
  • Each person will load their trap.
  • We will take turns sharing what was gained and how we may use the lessons back in the office.

Here is how this will be done;

  • There is no defined order you may go whenever and as often as you like.
  • Each person must add one trap physically to the tower.
  • The traps will lie on their side with the metal parts (guts) facing in.
  • Two traps will be facing each other parallel.
  • Then two more traps will be stacked perpendicular to the two below, like stacking cards or jenga.
  • As each person adds their lesson and its application back to the office, they will place their trap into the stack.
  • We will continue stacking traps and experience learned until everyone has had a chance to share.
  • Following that, we will review what was gained and determine how to instill best the lessons learned from our time.
  • If the tower falls, that is alright we will being again.
  • Questions?

Once you have explained all that let the building begin!

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Facilitator Notes

It is not the activity that creates meaning and transfers to the organization, team, and person.

It is easy to stop the processing and lessons learned and just let the group build – DON’T DO THAT – this is a processing activity and having them share and talk about lessons and application is your work DO IT!

As the people are building the tower take small breaks for processing times and review what is happening, what is working and how this is enhancing the team and communication. Continually looking for moments of “A-Ha” and breakthroughs, point those out to the group and frame contextual questions around them.

Currently (with the groups I have led) 36 levels which are 72 traps is the tallest any group has built. If you facilitate a team that builds and processes higher, please send me a photo.

Potential Processing Questions

While this activity is in and of itself a processing activity, take some time when you are done to capture lessons learned and then facilitate the team to create action based goals for implementation, follow up, and success.

Idea From Sam Sikes

Contact Mike for an Experiential custom activity.

He is available to understand your team’s culture, language, objectives, and successes and create an activity, or series of activities, that will reflect your passion and dedication to improving your team and achieving your company’s goals.