This past semester, I took a class called Social Recreation Leadership. In this class, we learned how to lead different activities for different age groups. My professor has taught this class for 25 years, and these are his guidelines for leading activities. This is the fourth out of five posts about guidelines to leading activities.
These guidelines are not intended to work in all situations. Guideline application requires leadership. You must decide what activities to use in different conditions. Leaders must be alert to potential problems and adjust quickly. Maximum fun and participation in a safe environment is the goal.
- Age groups:
- Young adults
- Mixed – all/any of the ages
- Children: the younger the group, the more important the control. This is especially important with children and teenagers. Control keeps the activity safe and usually makes it more fun. The degree of control becomes a judgment call of the activity leader based on the group age and ability
- Teenagers and Young Adults: These groups generally go for the outrageous, “off the wall,” high-energy activities. Making it safe is the challenge. From young adults and older, generally reduce control.
- Adults and Seniors: As people get older, they enjoy lower-energy activities and entertainment.
- Mixed age group: Generally you are trying to provide a bonding opportunity for mixed age groups. This category can be the most challenging depending on the age range. The wider the range, the greater the challenge. Example: toddlers to grandparents
- Ways to Plan for Mixed Age Groups
- Plan for the younger ages and invite the older ages to join in and help. Example: daddy/daughter dance.
- Find activities that all ages can enjoy. This is difficult, but there are some.
- Use group contests, songs, and skits which involve families or mixed age groups.
- Involve the younger ages in an activity that entertains the rest of the group. Example: have younger participants do a dance onstage while the older participants cheer them on.
- Gear activities to the abilities and interest of the seniors and invite all others to join in the fun.
Factors to Consider before Beginning
- Type of groups
- How many
- Mixed ages and genders
- Mixing genders can be difficult because this can change the whole dynamic of the group
- Who is going to do what? Divide responsibilities based on talent and personality.
- Provide written instructions to those helping/staff
- Time length