help them (individuals with mental & emotional illness) reestablish constructive self-attitudes and restore self-confidence
and a sense of security." (O'Morrow, The Whys of Recreation
Activities for Psychiatric Patients, Therapeutic Recreation Journal,
3rd quarter, 1971).
Two truths One lie
Submitted by Tracie of Meridian Services on 10/11/11
Size of Group: Any
Equipment/Supplies Needed: People
Activity/Treatment Objective or Expected Outcome: Learn more about the people in the group and to break the ice in a tense group situation
Description of the Activity:The idea is to have everyone in the group think of two truths and one lie to tell the entire group. Each person take turns telling a two truths and a lie in any ordr they choose. Instruct individual not to be so obvious when telling the lie (like stopping to think about it too long). Then the entire group has to try and guess which of the three is a lie. You get to learn something new about people and at times people do laugh.
Pass the Face
Submitted by Amy Davis of National Ability Center on August
30, 2004 at 16:50:48
Objective: get the group relaxed
and allow them to feel ""silly"" with
Description: This game is just
like the game ""telephone"" but
instead of passing a word or phrase around you pass a facial
expression. Get the group in a circle. Have everyone close
their eyes except the person who wants to pass the ""face"".
The passer will tap the shoulder of the person next to her,
that person will open his eyes to receive the face. He will
then tap the shoulder of the person next to him and pass the
face along. Once you have passed the face you may keep your
eyes open to watch it move around the group. At the end, the
original passer receives the face from the last person in the
group and then shows what the original face was! This game
ALWAYS gets people laughing!
Newspaper in a Bag
Submitted by val ross on May 21, 2002
Equipment: bag filled with newspapers.
Objective: To stimulate imagination, curiosity and improvisation
and to help break ice in group
Description: Bag is passed around group. They
can guess what’s
inside. Before its revealed they are told that they may think
that its something very boring, however their challenge is
to make it into something exciting. Group leader can begin.
Newspaper can be crumpled, torn folded etc and transformed
into something such as a hat. Participants can mime the new
item and others in the group guess.
submitted by Amanda L. Boley on March 23, 2004
members learn the importance of paying attention when given
sit in a circle. One member is selected to be the listener.
A peer gives them instructions of something silly to do or say
and the member follows the directions. Then another peer gives
a direction to follow. The group member then completes the first
instruction and then the second instruction. This continues
until the member is unable to remember which direction is next.
Then another member is selected and so on.
submitted by Melissa Cook of Center for the Disabled on December
of lotions, massagers (vibrating, hand-held, wooden, etc.),
massage/sensory experience to help individuals become relaxed
and focused prior to participating in a structured group.
with the disabled population, I find many times that when entering
into a therapy session, they are quite hyper-sensitive and unfocused.
I find that these individuals need time to sit and relax and
become focused so that they can successfully participate in
a program. Prior to the structured activity, whether it be music,
dance, etc., having individuals sit in a circle and experiment
with a variety of lotions and/or massagers for relaxation. Working
1:1 with individuals giving them lotion to hands and arms while
explaining to them what they will soon be doing with the upcoming
activity. I find this relaxation/sensory period help individuals,
especially the disabled, to become more focused and ready to
participate in an activity as opposed to just jumping into movement,
instrument play, etc. This activity can also be used as a closing
to any session, allowing individuals to cool down and relax
Size of group:
6 to ? (if group size is smaller stand in single file)
FOCUS: relaxation, touch,
Description: Have the group form
a circle and face one direction. Instruct each person to place
their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them.
Each person then gives the person in front of them a shoulder
massage. Feedback to the massage giver (such as "that's
perfect") is encouraged. After a few minutes, the group
does an about-face so that they are now massaging the shoulders
of the person who just gave them a massage.
This can be a lead up activity
to discussions on relaxation, touch, and/or trust. This can
also be an end-of-group activity
Number of participants:
Supplies needed: large ball
Have patients arranged in a circle.
Give one patient the ball of yarn. Have him state his name,
and state what goal he/she wants to accomplish in rehab. While
they hold the end of the yarn with one hand, they then throw
the ball of yarn to another participant. That person then states
his/her name, states their goal and then holding the yarn in
one hand, the other hand throws the ball of yarn to another.
This continues until everyone has a piece of the yarn and a
While everyone is still holding
their yarn, the therapist will mention that it takes teamwork
to form this web. Then have 2-3 patients let go of their
the web falls apart. The therapist then mentions, that everyone
needs to work together, support and encourage one another
accomplish their goals.
Submitted by Kristen Pedersen CTRS,
Methodist Hospital, Merrillville,IN
This is a family favorite. It also
teaches connection making skills and can assist with the transfer
First the 'family'
1. The child comes up with three
things (real or abstract) that they want in their story e.g.
'Father Christmas', 'me' and 'a huge present'. You instantly
tell a story with these three things in it.
2. Each child (approximately 3!)
comes up with a 'thing' that really challenges the story-teller
e.g. 'the dirt in my finger-nail', 'spending £100 million in
a minute' and 'a really, really, really funny ending'. You do
your best! But when children get this 'clever' it's definitely
time to turn the tables (and let them enjoy story-telling)...
3. You come up with 3 'things'
for the child (or children) to tell you a story about.
Now the 'professional' version:
1. Ask each individual to choose
three different 'things' from the course that they want to remember
('things' they valued directly, or 'things' they valued indirectly
because of what they learned as a result). Ask each individual
to describe these three different things to a partner in a way
that brings out similarities or connections.
2. Ask each individual to choose
one high(ish) point from the course and one low(ish) point from
the course and then to imagine a situation six months ahead
when they are facing a problem and have a 'flashback' to the
course. Ask each individual to tell a story (to the group or
to a partner) which brings these three 'things' together into
one story. A more challenging variation is to ask each person
to write a 'future problem' on a piece of paper and put the
'problem' into a hat.
Each person in turn, draws a (random)
problem and incorporates it into a story with the high and low
points they have already chosen.
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