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Self-expression: Activities for Recreation Therapy

Bumper Stickers
submitted by Jennifer Hilinski of Girard Medical Center on July 28, 2001

Size: no more than 10

Equipment: butcher paper, construction paper (cut in half long-ways, glue, markers, crayons, pastels, paint

Objective: For clients to express themselves in a fun/safe manner

Description: Begin discussion around the use of bumper stickers by people to express themselves (or get to know each other). Hopefully, the discussion will yield that bumper stickers may state (among many other things)somewhere where a person has visited, their values, political opinions, musical preferences, where they went to school, etc. After discussing for about 10 mins, have clients work on their own bumper stickers (with the construction paper that has been cut long-ways, and using the markers, crayons, etc). For larger groups, I have them do 1-2 stickers, for smaller groups 3-4 stickers.

Once the group has finished working on their individual stickers, I bring out the piece of butcher paper that has the back of a large car sketched on it. They then discuss why they put particular messages, etc on their "stickers", and place them on the car. (If the group feels comfortable around each other, you can use the activity @ this point as a cooperative task, having them decide which bumper stickers they want on their communtiy car.)

Complete activity by discussing how we express ourselves, and why we choose to express particular things, while not expressing others. If it becomes a more cooperative activity, you can process how/why some clients' bumper stickers did/did not get represented on the back of the car, etc.

Famous Quotes

submitted by Maria Nadelstumph, CTRS of Assisted Living

Size: 6-12

Equipment: Book of famous quotes, large paper or poster board, pencils and paper(Depending on population adapted materials may be needed)

Objective: Promotes socialization, creative self-expression, increased self-esteem. The expected outcome is for everyone to submit or verbalize their own individual saying or quote. Writing the individual's saying creatively and displaying it publicly upon request has shown to be affect enhancing for the elderly population ( A sense of accomplishment and individuality.

Description: Select word from Dictionary of Quotes to have a theme for the group. Example may be "imagination". Copy a selection of quotes under "imagination" on individual pieces of paper.

(Remember to assess the needs of your population). For the frail elderly, writing in bold, large print and having magnifying glasses handy is effective~(Allowing the elderly to read their own quote aloud with minimal assist is effective in maintaining their level of physical and cognitive functioning)

Distribute a quote to everyone in the group. Take turns reading the quotes aloud and discuss each one (Usually transforms into some deep reminiscence discussions).

Towards the end discuss the power of creative expression/writing and tell everyone that we can all be creative. Have everyone either verbalize to the therapist or write independently in their own words "What imagination means to them".

Use nice decorative paper to write each individual quote make a banner (could be another art group the day before) with the word IMAGINATION.  Hang banner and individual quotes in common area so the staff, families, and residents can admire their work.

(Make sure you have permission to hang the resident's name on the walls due to confidentiality issues).

Example of a quote on IMAGINATION:

"Seeing with my mind's eye" By: John Doe


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