Paper Cranes


  • Time

    20-60 mins
  • Group size

  • Location

  • Level

    3 (out of 5)

This is a versatile creative challenge that can be used in different contexts: from drawing reflections on individual / group processes or collaboration, to building a uniting, rewarding and magical experience with large or small groups.

For their team connect at a deeper level, Tom Goulooze had the idea of creating this exercise at a WeTransfer Offsite.


Depending on the space & group size we recommend splitting the group into smaller sub-groups (around 6 people per group).

Each group should have a table to sit on with materials ready i.e in a small goodie bag (see picture below).

To create the collective art piece at the end, prepare a space to hang strings of paper cranes (see video below).

As facilitator you can lead the group through the exercise using a prompt that emphasizes the beauty & effort that the team members are making.

Storytelling: You can use the following narrative:

“There is a Japanese legend that says that if you fold a 1000 paper cranes, you will be granted a wish to come true. Today, we’re going to try to make our wishes come true together, by folding as many paper cranes as possible.”

In this first phase of the exercise people are looking into what their wishes are. Those can relate to their life, work and the world. Let people think individually for a moment and then give them approx. 8 minutes to share in their groups (or in pairs).

If you could have 3 wishes for the year, what would they be?”

Option: let people write down their wishes on the origami paper that they will fold in the next step.

Next, the groups will go into the challenge of folding the origami paper cranes.

  1. Ask the group to look at the instructions on their table. Prepare a written step-by-step folding guide and/or a video tutorial accessible though a QR code.

  2. Give a goal number of paper cranes to be folded by the group in a limited period of time (from 10 to 1000 depending on your group size). For the WeTransfer Team Offsite we asked for 1000 cranes folded by 300 people in 30min.

  3. Encourage that each group help each other out to make the time frame.

  4. When the timeframe is over, ask them to review their work and take a moment to acknowledge their accomplishment.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 Challenge tweak idea: If the group is very small, instead of making many paper cranes they could make one bigger crane together, with one huge piece of paper.

Once the folding is done, summarize what you have done together.

  1. Create a moment to celebrate and congratulate the great folding work that everyone has done. This is a good moment to circle back to the previously started storyline (i.e. succeeded in creating 1000 cranes, which symbolizes that all their wishes will come true)

  2. Explain that you will be moving on to creating the display of the cranes by hanging them to the piece of string. For this all groups should tie their cranes on the pieces of strings they have left in their material bag. (Let them attached multiple cranes on each string).

  3. Once ready, they can come to the front/middle to hang up their cranes, shaping the collective piece of art. Use some music to balance the energy in the room; this is a powerful moment.

  4. Land with describing this beautiful piece of work and hoping wishes will come true. This moment can be emphasised with i.e. a poem, story or piece of inspiration about the power of coming together and collaboration.

Materials // Remarks

You can tweak and facilitate this exercise with different crafts materials.

We used:

  • Material bag: Origami paper, strings (to hang) & scissors (optional: pens)

  • Origami folding instructions for each group, printed on paper and/or accessible via QR code on their phone.


Add a reflection moment to dig deeper into their individual and group experiences; landing on aspects like team work, leadership, giving good instructions and/or clear communication.

Questions could include:

  • “How did you feel going through this experience?

  • "Did your feelings evolve?”

  • “What did you observe in terms of group dynamics?”

👀 Looking for a memorable team experience? Our mischievous experience designers can help you design and host your next team offsite or workshop. Reach out here.


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