Lycra Tubes

The Challenge

There are a variety of movements that combine teamwork, support, balance, and timing, using this unique piece of challenge equipment.  You can also use this prop for directing the focus of the groups, and during processing and debriefing sessions.

Typical Presentation, Storyline, and Metaphor

A variety of metaphors can be used with the Lycra Tube.  The Tube can represent the boundaries of the group, the limits of understanding, the norms of a society, a surface to bounce ideas off of, a support system, a wave of excitement, and a vehicle for trying something totally new.


Here is list of the many things that can be done in a lycra tube.



Have participants stand inside the Lycra Tube facing the center.  Slowly back up until the Lycra Tube is completely stretched tight.  At this point, participants can lean outward slightly and feel the support of the Lycra Tube.


Beginning with a moderately stretched Lycra Tube, have all participants sit on the Lycra Tube, with their legs extended towards the center of the circle, and the top of the Lycra Tube above the shoulders of each participant.  Each participant should now be able to lean backwards and be fully supported by the tube.  This is a great position for processing.  You can even create a “wave” motion by having a single participant lean backwards and then forward, followed by the person to their right, passing a wave around the circle.


With the Lycra Tube well stretched around the group, have participants hold the top of the tube, and pull the lycra to the top of their shoulders.  From this position, the group can now skip sideways to the left and the right.  This is a useful activity for teaching observation and empathy for other participants.  By watching others in the group, the speed of the movement can be tailored to the abilities of the group.  Encourage participants to move only as quickly as other members of the group are comfortable with.


With the group standing inside a very limp Lycra Tube, have a single participant back up, stretching the Lycra Tube in the process.  This participant will now roll to he right completely around the inside perimeter of the Lycra Tube, until they reach their original starting position.  The next person to the right then begins their journey.  Encourage participants to stand near the center of the tube, so that they do not contact the person rolling around the perimeter.  This activity has been known to make some participants dizzy.  Proceed with caution, and encourage participants to stay in control during their journey around the tube.


This activity is the same as Around the World except that all participants roll at the same time and in the same direction.  Encourage participants to keep adequate space between themselves to minimize contact during this activity.


4×4 Cross Over

No question about it, this is “the activity” to do in a Lycra Tube.  It is also the most energetic activity, and one that requires some appropriate safety considerations.

Begin with four participants of nearly the same weight in the Lycra Tube, equally spaced around the perimeter.  Assign two opposite participants to be partners for Group 1, and the other two opposite participants to be partners for Group 2.

Safety Tip:  Proceed through these next few steps at a walking pace, before attempting these same movements at a faster pace.  Also, ask participants to hold up their right hands about shoulder high, during each passing event.  This simple reminder really helps participants remember on which side they are to pass their partner.  Equal weight participants are encouraged, because this activity has been known to launch some light weight participants that were joined by heavyweights.

Begin by asking Group 1 partners to back up.  As they do, they pull the Lycra Tube tighter.  The Group 2 partners now walk forward, almost touching right hands, changing places with their partner, and then backing up.  As Group 2 partners back up, Group 1 partners come forward, almost touching right hands, changing places with their partners, and begin backing up.  Walk this section of the activity at least four times before speeding up the cross overs.  This cross over process continues indefinitely.  As each group backs up, the Lycra Tube gives a firm push forward to the other group.  The harder each group backs up, the stronger the push forward for the other group.

This particular activity requires an awareness of other group members, so that all participants are able to stay in control at all times.  It is critical that group partners remember on which side to cross with their partners.


This activity is similar to the 4×4 Cross Over, except that it requires six participants, working as two groups of three.  Every other person around the perimeter of the tube is a member of the same group.  Group A members push back against the Lycra Tube as Group B members move to the position of their next group member to the right.  Group B members now push back backwards as Group A members move to the position of their next group member to the right.  While not as energetic as the 4×4 Cross Over, this activity does require balance, grace, and timing.  Sometimes encouraging a group to select a song or chant helps to create a tempo or rhythm for the group to follow as each set of cross overs are made.


Here is an activity for small children.  With three or four adults acting as fence posts, the Lycra Tube is fully stretched.  Children now inside the Lycra Tube are said to be kernels of popcorn inside a frying pan.  As the temperature warms up, the kernels begin to pop, and the popcorn bounces around the inside of the Lycra Tube.  Explain to participants that they should bounce off the Lycra Tube, not other children!


The Lycra Tube can be a great place for processing and debriefing after another challenge activity.


If it happens to be a sunny day, and there are few trees in sight, the Lycra Tube can be used to provide shade for the group.  Just stretch the Lycra Tube into a large circle, and lift the top of the Lycra Tube over the heads of all participants by about 24 inches.  The stretch within the Lycra Tube will create a canopy that blocks the sun.


Pile the entire group into a Lycra Tube and send them off on a scavenger hunt.  They’ll need to stay inside the Lycra Tube for the whole event.  If they stop for a drink of water, they’ll need to work together.


Have three participants stretch the Lycra Tube into a large triangle.  With all the remaining participants, except one, facing one of the sides of the triangle.  From the center of the Lycra Tube, the remaining “unknown” person then presses only their face against the Lycra Tube, and the members of the group outside the Lycra Tube attempts to recognize this person, only by their facial imprint.  When guessed correctly, this participant joins the outside group, now standing with eyes closed, and taps the next person to participate.


Sometimes when you are leading a single group in a large area with many other groups nearby, it can be helpful to sue the Lycra Tube to block out some of the surroundings that can distract the group.  The Lycra Tube won’t block out much sound, but it can be used as a visual barrier, and allow the group to focus on the challenge confronting them, rather than the distractions coming from all directions.

Important Points

Always keep the Lycra Tube above the shoulders and below the hips of all participants.  Sometimes tubes have a tendency to bunch up, looking more like a rubber rope than a wide rubber band.  If this happens, stop the activity and resume again with the Lycra Tube spread fully open.

Lycra Tube activities are best supervised at all times.  You shouldn’t leave a Lycra Tube lying around for unsupervised play any more than you would a climbing rope or similar piece of challenge equipment.  It is a useful tool in the hands of a skilled facilitator, but can be a major risk if left for unsupervised activities.

Discussion and Debriefing Topics

Did you notice that any time you bounced against the Lycra Tube, it had an immediate effect on the rest of the group?  Were you able to upset the balance of the group with a single motion?  Were you able to stay in control as you traveled around the tube in round the World?  Was the Cross Over a challenge for you personally?  What could the Lycra Tube represent for you?


Lycra Tubes can be used to teach teamwork, cooperation, safety, balance, and coordination building activities.  They are especially useful for processing and debriefing sessions.  These props can be used for activities that range from quiet and reflective to fast moving and high energy.  Lycra Tubes are often used as a means of energizing a group.

Freeze Tag:

  • number off from 1-4 within your tube
  • 1’s start and tag the other ones
  • Once #1 is tagged they are frozen wherever they were tagged
  • After #1 is frozen #2 is now the tagger
  • And So on.
  • Game ends when all members of each group has been frozen

Blindfold Tag/Dark Construction:

  • With Tube they must create the best square or other shape while inside of the tube.
  • Once the group feels they have completed the activity they can take off their blindfolds
  • They must all stay inside of the tube.

Group Leader/Hamster Wheel

  • Every group member must be inside of the tube.
  • The Seam must move a full resolution around the circle.
  • Group is standing on tube

Tube Turnover

  • Turn the tube inside out

Blob Tag: Blob is in the tube, tag those that are around them. All blobbers must stay inside of the tube.

Capture the Flag/Safety/Shield

  • One person who is designated the flag (Stands stationary inside of the tube.)
  • 2 People are designated shields/blockers and must block other teams taggers
  • 1 person in group is the designated tagger. The goal is to touch the stationary person or flag on the other teams.
  • Each person must stay in their designated tube the entire time.


  • Lycra tube is laid out folded flat (like sides of tube together)
  • Place a bucket of water/rocks/etc. in middle of tube.
  • Group must transport/pick up bucket by only holding the ends of the lycra tube (The continuous sides)