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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Coping Skills Freeze Tag



Coping skills freeze tag is great for people to identify coping skills that they can use and when they can use them. Peers listening to each other's coping skills can also help give new ideas.



How To Play:
Designate one player as 'it' with the other players scattered throughout the playing area. The person who is it tags the other players. When a player is tagged, (s)he freezes. To be unfrozen, the player has to name a coping skill and be unfrozen by getting a high-5 from another peer who is not frozen.
I like to make a rule that people cannot repeat coping skills so that they have to think of more.
With younger groups, you may need to talk about what coping skills are beforehand and have older kids give examples so everyone understands.

Discussion:
Coping Skills: ask each participant what their favorite coping skill is and when they can use it

Please Share Your Thoughts and Ideas:
What are things you would discuss with this game?
What are some other ways that you like to play tag?

Other Variations on Playing Tag:
Triangle Tag
Animal Tag
Freeze-Tag Toss
Spot Tag  

Image Credit: http://www.forthoodsentinel.com/images/photos/15751_tn.jpg

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Origami Easter Eggs

At our facility this year, we are not allowed to use plastic eggs for the Easter egg hunt so we got a  creative and made origami Easter eggs with the patients for group! We will hide these Easter morning and have an Easter egg hunt!!!


Materials
  • 5 pieces of origami paper for each patient
Instructions
Have the patients pick a partner and sit at a table next to each other. Tell everyone to raise the hand they write with and then put it behind their backs. Give them the instruction page on this blog. During this activity, they can only use their non-dominant hand and work with their partner. Each partnership will make 10 origami eggs.

*Watch the patients closely, if they are anything like the patients at my facility they will try to switch hands or use both.






Discussion
*This activity spurred a long discussion. Many of the patients tried to cheat, some became frustrated and yelled at their partner, and one partnership worked really well together.
Importance of Instructions/Rules: we talked about the importance of rules on the unit and why we have them on the unit and in life
Communication: how to communicate effectively (tone, accusatory language, etc.)
Teamwork: ways to work with others
Listening
Frustration Tolerance/Management
Importance of Practice: talk about how things get easier with time and have patients give an example of something in the past that became easier with time or a goal they are currently working towards and how they are going to be patient with themselves

Please Share
How would you wrap this activity up with a group?
What other Easter crafts do you do with your patients?

More Easter Activities
Easter Banners
Easter Puppet Bunnies
Easter Bags

Image Credit
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7YeEglrSi9k/TqcGq8DeyQI/AAAAAAAAAQ8/TVK7LjGNAW0/s1600/egg.gif


Easter Banners

Materials
  • Butcher Paper
  • Paint 
  • Paint Brushes
  • Cups of water and napkins (to clean paint brushes)
Instructions
Tell the patients that they are going to make an Easter Banner to decorate their unit. Give them the supplies and have them talk about how they are going to decorate it. Let the patients drive this activity and just watch for anything inappropriate. All of my groups loved this!

Discussion
Teamwork: what did they do to work together? Did a leader come out among them?
Communication: where there any problems with communication? How did they clear these up?
Expressing self with others: how can we express ourselves but still be part of a team?

Please Share
What are other ways that you would do this activity?
How would you discuss this activity?
What other Easter activities have you done with patients?

More Easter Activities
Origami Easter Eggs
Easter Puppet Bunnies
Easter Bags

Easter Puppet Bunnies


Materials
  • Brown bag for each patient
  • 3 sheets of construction paper for each patient
  • Glue
  • Scissors
Instructions
Give each patient a brown bag and three pieces of construction paper (I let them choose their colors). Two of the pieces of paper will be used to cut out the eyes, ears, feet, nose, teeth, and whiskers for the bunny. These will be glued on the front side of the bag (where the flap folds over-put the face on the flap). One piece of paper will be balled and glued on the back side of the bag to be the tail.

If you have more paper, they can make a carrot and put it in the bunny's mouth.

Discussion
Problem solving: give the patients the materials and tell them what the end product needs to be but do not give the middle instructions.
Importance of Rules: give the patients step-by-step instructions and talk about the importance of rules.

Please Share
How would you discuss this activity?
What do you do to celebrate Easter?

More Easter Activities
Origami Easter Eggs
Easter Banners
Easter Bags

Easter Bags

This is such a fun and beautiful holiday! I love celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

At my work, we do not celebrate religious holidays though so we focused more on secular celebrating of Easter. We made Easter bags!

Equipment
  • One brown bag for each person
  • Paint and paint brushes - this can also be done with markers/crayons/colored pencils
  • Napkins and cups of water (to clean the paint brushes with)
  • One paper plate for each person
Instructions
Each patient received a paint brush, plate, and brown bag. To start with, I filled each person's plate with three colors of their choosing. Patients could request more paint after everyone had received paint. Then the patients began painting. The only direction I gave them for painting was that these were their Easter bags. One patient made a beautiful picture of the cross on the hill, another painted "Happy Easter", more psychotic patients just did scribbles of paint, etc. The children, adolescents, and adults all enjoyed this activity.


Discussion
Family rituals: we talked about the different rituals each patient had with this holiday and how family rituals are so important to keep members of the family close.
Self-expression: expressing ourselves on our regular basis and the benefits thereof.
Relaxation: the importance of participating in relaxing activities and activities that relax us.

Stuffing the bags
After the group, I collected the bags and stuffed them with candy and different activity pages. The patients will receive their bags Easter morning!

Activity Pages Links (these pages all print well)
Coloring Pages
  •  http://www.coloring.ws/t.asp?t=http://www.coloring.ws/easter/easter3.gif
  • http://www.crayola.com/services/printService.aspx?i=5a02a505-b083-4b0b-8a7b-27a128ef626e
  • http://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/print/easter-egg-wreath-coloring-page/
  • http://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/print/easter-eggs-coloring-page/
  • http://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/print/easter-lilies-coloring-page/
Color By Number
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/bunny-maths-facts-colouring-page
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/chicken-maths-facts-colouring-page
Drawing
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/chick-symmetry-worksheet
  •  http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-egg-symmetry-worksheet
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/rabbit-symmetry-worksheet
Color By Coordinate
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-bunny-coordinates
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-chick-coordinates
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-egg-coordinates
Mazes
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-bunny-maze
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-egg-maze
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-maze-1
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-maze-2
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-maze-3
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-path-puzzle
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/rabbit-maze-2
Word Sudoku
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-word-sudoku-easy-1
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-word-sudoku-easy-2
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-word-sudoku-medium-1
  • http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/easter-word-sudoku-medium-2 
Word Scramble
  • http://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/print/easter-scramble-coloring-page/
Please Share
What activities have you done to celebrate Easter?
What activity pages have you used?

More Easter Activities
Origami Easter Eggs
Easter Banners
Easter Puppet Bunnies

Image Credit
https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRkFSmCDioyKOJy2PpClTIf1uUNk7TZ6_uS3av0OdhsRKbtHLNg

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Group Juggling


Equipment: one ball for each person in the group


Objectives
First, ask your group who can demonstrate juggling (There is usually at least one person who can juggle). Ask, “Who can juggle the most balls?” Two or three balls are usually the limit.
Now have everyone (usually best with 8-12 people) stand in a circle about arm’s length apart.
Ask the participants to throw the ball to someone in the circle that is not standing next to them. each person catches the ball only once except it must start and end with the same person. tell them you are creating a pattern; they need to remember to whom they threw the ball and who threw it to them.
After the ball has made it around the group once, send in more balls until there are two less than the number of people in the group, or until they start dropping a lot. Try it two or three times. Ask them to be more efficient each time.

Discussion
How much more can a group accomplish than an individual?
What happens to the process when one person drops a ball? How does the group compensate?
Whose responsibility is it?
What does it take for a team to be successful?

Variations
Use stuffed animals instead of ball and use the story of Noah’s Arc and tell them water is coming in and we must juggle the animals to keep them from falling in the water.

 Image Credit:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Group Sit




Equipment: a rope tied in a circle

How to Play:
Put the rope on the ground. Have the participants grab the rope and pick it up to waist level. (You can have the rope tangled and tell them to untangle it at this point if you want to make it more challenging). Tell the participants to walk back until the rope is tight and to spread out evenly on the rope. Now, they are to sit down together as a team without ever moving their feet.

Discussion:
Discuss the importance of every member of the team
Teamwork
Communication
Feeling of Accomplishment
Enduring (not giving up even when it seems impossible)
Problem Solving
If someone stepped up to be a leader during the task, talk about leadership skills
If the group became frustrated, talk about healthy ways to deal with frustrations

Please Share:
What variations have you seen done with this activity?
How would you discuss this with your group?

Image Credit: http://hative.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/team-building/12-team-building.jpg

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spot Tag


Spot tag is a funny game for the participants to break the ice, laugh with each other, and work on important skills. They quickly realize how hard running is while trying to hold their leg, ankle, arm, head, etc.

How To Play:
Designate one player as 'it' with the other players scattered throughout the playing area. The person who is it has a ball (that is soft) that he throws to tag the other players. When a player is tagged by the ball, he has to cover the spot where he was tagged with one hand (but is still allowed to be chased) and continues running around. When tagged a second time, the player uses his other hand to cover the spot where he was tagged (but he is still allowed to be chased). When tagged a third time, he/she switches places with the person who is 'it'.

Once the ball hits the ground, it is considered "dead" so if it bounces and hits someone, that does not count. Also, only the person who is it can pick the ball up. No other player can pick it up.

Discussion:
Anger management: talk about how our anger can hinder us and how we can learn to control it
Depression: similar to anger, talk about how depression can hinder us and how we can improve our mood
Laughter: talk about the importance of laughter and enjoying ourselves
Exercise: talk about the importance of exercise and how it can improve our mood and is good for us

Please Share Your Thoughts and Ideas:
What are things you would discuss with this game?
What are some other ways that you like to play tag?

Other Variations on Playing Tag:
Triangle Tag
Animal Tag
Freeze-Tag Toss 
Coping Skills Freeze Tag 

Image Credit:
https://aames3.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/kids-running_300.jpg

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lava River


Objective: participants work together to move entire group across simulated “lava river”

Emphasis
·      Develop cohesion and teamwork
·      Enhance communication skills
·      Stimulate care and concern for others through individual and group responsibility
·      Identify or improve leadership potential
·      Establish support systems

Materials
·      A large open area, a hallway or gymnasium floor
·      One block, brick or rock for each participant (various sizes of cut 2”x4” work very well. Pick up scrap lumber, different shaped wood from a construction site or a piece of paper if you are really low on budget/time)

Instructions
·      Mark a start and finish line on the field
·      Give each participant one block. Explain the only place a team member can step is on the blocks
·      Team members lay down the blocks one at a time in a line toward the finish point, with team members standing on the blocks. It will be necessary to share blocks in order that an extra block is made available
·      Pass the extra block to the front team member who places it on the ground in front of him
·      Repeat this process until all have crossed the “lava river”

Variations
·      Have each member choose a block that represents them. then allow each member to share with the group the attributes that the block possesses that are similar to the individual. Do not give any instructions as to how to complete the task. Remind them the block represents themselves and others and they need to learn and practice using themselves and others as a support system
·      Teach social responsibility by establishing the rule that if one team member steps off the blocks or has some other miscue where the floor is touched, the entire team must return to the beginning to start the exercise again
·      Divide large groups into competing teams and challenge each other to the finish line, or race against set time
·      Give an extra block to the group, or take one block away
·      Blindfold a member of the group to increase care and responsibility for one another
·      Individuals must step on the blocks and not skate across the area on them
·      Do not give specific instructions, but tell group to figure out possibilities
The group must get everyone through an electric tunnel. No one can touch any of the interior or exterior sides of the tunnel or anything that is touching those sides. The group is provided with some “insulated blocks.” Location should be any open area where a tunnel can be improvised out of boxes, etc. or an area where a tunnel area

Image credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Ybv1aH9Toug/UemfRyJGP-I/AAAAAAAAALw/SNr2IqC9A2w/s1600/IMG_3220.JPG

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mine Field



Equipment: blindfolds, variety of obstacles, boundaries

Rules
·      Put numerous obstacles on the ground in a path about 10-15 feet wide and 25 feet long. Natural obstacles are fine, but make sure it is safe.
·      Several people are blindfolded and expected to make it to the end of the dangerous minefield without touching any of the objects or “mines.”
·      Other people are appointed to lead them through safely with only verbal commands.
·      If the blindfolded participant touches a mine they must start over.

Variations
·      Appoint someone to give them false information or distractions.
·      If they step on a mine, have them switch with their partner.
·      Mine Field II: the first partner is blind, deaf, and mute. The second partner can see but is deaf, mute, and cannot use their legs. The partners must go together through the field (Partner one ends up carrying partner two. They will have to create a way to communicate with one another non-verbally).

Discussion
·      Why was it difficult for the person to make it through the mine field?
·      What methods of communication did you use to help your partner?
·      How is the communication in this game like that in your family?
·      Why was it important to rely on your partner? How is this like life? 
·   How can the mines in this activity be like the boundaries in life?

Image Credit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_QtUvcCue86U/TJdK6W8h2kI/AAAAAAAAC84/mmOB1nEXANg/s320/19.Crossing.Mine.Field.jpg

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Blanket Names


Equipment: a tarp or blanket

Objectives
·      Divide the participants into two group
·      Place the tarp hanging in-between the two groups
·      The groups will send one of their team members up to the tarp
·      When the tarp is dropped the two people at the tarp have to say the other’s name
·      The first one to get it right “wins” the other person to their team
·      The team with the most players at the end of five minutes wins

Variations
If everyone already knows each others names, then give them positive nicknames. This gives an added twist to relationships, and every time they joke around about the nicknames they remember their experience.

Discussion
Having fun: Why is it important to have fun and laugh?
Importance of others-knowing names and such
Cognitive maintenance

Photo credit: