Tabletop Bridge

We love this Tabletop problem solving activity.  Perfect for small teams or groups with limited space or limited mobility.


  • For teams to create a free-standing bridge using custom-notched dowels.

Set Up

  • You will need one Bridge for every 5-6 participants.
  • Create an open space for play that is free of obstacles and debris.


  • Give each group one set of The Bridge pieces.
  • Instruct them to create a free-standing bridge that has four points of contact with the ground/table using only the custom-notched dowels.
  • If you have more than one group working on this task at a time, a natural element of competition will emerge.
  • Once groups have completed the task, debrief the experience.
  • You can combine two sets of The Bridge to make one larger Bridge. This can create excellent dialog and metaphor for working well with other groups/departments/teams, etc.  Build a bridge!


  • Teams have 20 min. to accomplish the task
  • Debrief: 10-20 minutes
Possible debriefing topics:
  • Bridges are built by people for people.
  • Bridge builders must work with and through others - they have to work in teams.  How do we bridge the gap between work teams?
  • Teams work effectively when relationships are good.
  • Relationships connect people - as do bridges.  Bridge builders have to create people bridges in order to create physical bridges.
  • The structure of our own personal bridges consists of our relationships and links with others.
  • Use this activity for those dealing with grief:  Rainbow Bridge, How to Bridge the gap between the living and those that have passed on.
  • Bridge builders understand that they have to be creative in bringing together the experience, understanding and disparate ideas and skills from different groups of people.
  • Builders of physical bridges depend on learning from practical experience - from finding out what works and what doesn't work.  When bridges fail people can get hurt.  How do we make sure we build a strong bridge?

See also our Floor model of this activity.