Debbie Cook, CTRS, CLP of New Hampshire
Hospital on February 10, 1999
Size of Group:
4 min, 20 max
Equipment: Boxes of markers,
one sheet (8.5 x 11)of paper and one paperclip per person
Objective: To increase participant's
self-esteem, to facilitate participants sharing positive feedback
Description: The paper you
use should be brightly colored and folded in threes (like a
tri- fold brochure). The first time I did this activity I used
paper samples I had gotten from PaperDirect and they were "fancy"-
they really jazzed up the project. Similar types of paper are
sold at office supply stores. Have the participants decorate
the front flap with their name in any manner they want. Then
have them open the brochure and read out categories to them
to list on the inside. Some examples are: my best feature, my
proudest moment, my favorite activity, something I'm good at,
etc. I usually have about 10. After they list them they should
provide an answer and I tell them that no one else will be looking
at these, so they can feel free to write anything, as long as
it is positive. When everyone is done, participants fold up
the brochure and paperclip it shut. Then everyone passes their
brochure to the person on their right. When you receive a brochure
from your neighbor you are to notice who it belongs to, turn
it over (never opening it)and write a comment about them on
I let people know that if they
don't know the person well, it can be a simple thing like "I
like your haircut" or it could be a very personal note
to someone you know well. These can be anonymous, or people
can sign their names. The brochures should be passed all around
the circle until everyone has signed each of them and participants
receive theirs back. At this point I have people spend 5 minutes
quietly and silently reading what people said about them. Then
we have a discussion about what it was like to read things others
had written about them, if anyone was surprised about what was
written, if anyone needs clarification about something they
can't read or don't understand. We also discuss if it was easy
or hard to compliment others, and if it was eady or had to receive
compliments. At the end of the discussion I encourage everyone
to keep their brochure and reread it when they are not feeling
good about themselves.
Special Candy Game
Target population: any
Min/max # of participants:
5 min no more than 15
Total # of sessions: can
be used as a warm up length of sessions up to 15 minutes
Staff requirements: recreation
leader facility requirements - room/outdoor space
Supplies required: 10 pieces
of small candy for each participant
Program objectives: to get
group to get to know each other and to have each member of the
group think about things that are special and unique about themselves
- they also find out things that they might have in common with
others in the group
- l have participants sit in a
- Give each person 10 pieces of
- Go around the circle and have
each person name one thing in their life that they think is
special or some talent or ability that they possess
- As each person says what they
want to say, the other members of the group throw that person
a piece of candy if that is not something that they have in
common with that individual
|Example: I say, "I can play the
piano." If you can also play the piano you do nothing,
but if you cannot play the piano you throw me a piece of
- You should try to encourage
the members of the group who are having a hard time thinking
of something, as there should hopefully always be something
to find in a persons life that is good
- The game should hopefully end
at a point where all members have the same amounts of candy
again or at least where everyone has some so that no one feels
left out - this up to the leader
Idea shared during an activity
workshop at the 1995 WVTRA Conference.
submitted by Carolyn
Equipment: Magazines, Scissors,
Glue, Construction paper, Markers, Pencils
- To promote increased self-esteem
- To identify positive personality
Description: Introduce the
group to advertisements. Talk about their purpose and the method
in which ads get the message across - visually and with words.
Ads promote the positive aspects of a product, the finer qualities.
Ads also persuade a person into buying the product. The individual's
task in this project is to come up with and advertisement persuading
some one to be their friend. Individuals should depict positive
aspects of themselves through pictures, words, or a combination
of the two.
If an individual has a difficult
time thinking of reasons someone would want to be their friend,
have them think of characteristics they look for in a friend.
At the end of the session have participants share advertisements
with one another. Let other participants confirm the positive
qualities of the presenter.
Size of group: 6 to ?
Focus: Self-esteem development
for two individuals involved in presenting the trick, stunts
Description: Two people
are secretly in cahoots with each other. One leaves the room.
The other invites the group to select one object that the person
who left the room will attempt to guess. When the individual
returns to the room, he will know what the object is.
How its done: When the individual
returns to the room, his partner asks him a series of questions.
"Is it the picture on the wall? Is it the rug? Is it her
blouse? Is it the (black) notebook? Is it his shoes?" The
"mind reader" knows its the notebook because it was
the object immediately following an object that is BLACK in
Group Involvement: Invite
the group to determine how the "mind reader" is doing
the trick. Suggest to them that its obvious that their is some
sort of communication between the partners. Encourage them to
determine how the partners are communicating with each other.
Group Discussion: this activity
can lead into discussion on leisure skills and its relationship
to self-esteem or a discussion on communication, including non-verbal
The Self-esteem Gauntlet
Size of Group:
8 to 40
Focus: self-esteem, positive
Description: form two lines
with participants facing each other. Have one person walk or
skip in between the two lines and "run" the gauntlet.
As the person walks through the line, others pat him on the
back, give them "high 5" or a hug, share kind words,
or smile at them. Encourage the person to go through the gauntlet
slowly and to listen to the words and gestures given to him.
Expected Outcome: good feelings
about self, feeling good at giving others compliments, increased
self-esteem, group cohesion.
The Challenge Game
Size of Group: 6 to 12
Focus: self-esteem, fun
Quick Description: a player
challenges another team to perform a stunt. If the opposing
team does not perform the stunt correctly, the his team earns
Discussion: discuss self-esteem
and how competencies in leisure activities enhances self-esteem.
Complete Description: Following
discussion, break the group into two teams. Separate and give
each team 10 minutes to think of one challenge per person. When
ready, the teams get back together and begin challenging each
- the challenger must clearly
communicate how they want the challenge duplicated
- the challenger must first demonstrate
the challenge to be duplicated by the opposing team (unless
it is a challenge in which everyone does together like running
- each member of the opposing
team can attempt to duplicate the challenge (in fact, each
team member should be encouraged to take a risk and try)
- mathematical challenges is permitted
as long as the numbers (and answers) haven't been pre-selected.
- asking opponents to solve trick
questions is not permitted.
Examples of Challenges:
- most baskets made with a wad
of paper into a trash can wins
- loudest whistle
- most sit-ups
- fastest reader of a paragraph
out of a book
- bend thumb back and have the
same thumb touch the forearm
Expected Outcome: laughter,
good feelings about self, knowledge that leisure skill development
enhances + self-esteem
Just The Way You Are
Submitted by Gretchen
Mahraun, RMT-BC of WBJ/ADATC
Group Size: 5-20
Equipment: recording of
Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are", cassette/CD player,
will receive a list of positive descriptions about themselves
from their peers.
- Listen to "Just The Way
You Are" while patients/clients follow along with printed
- Discuss the lyrics.
- Have each patient/client write
their name at the top of a piece of paper.
- Pass it to the person on their
- Have them write 2-3 positive
comments, descriptors of the person whose paper they have.
- Continue to pass papers until
each patient/client has their original paper back.
- Have the patients/clients read
their paper aloud.
Who Am I?
submitted by Anne
G. Ecklar, Dettmer Adolescent Residential Center
Size of Group:
Equipment: Large roll paper,
Objective: Improved self
esteem, Awareness of self and others, Socially appropriate feedback
Description: Residents lay
down on piece of paper that is equal to their body size.
They are encouraged to lay in position in which they are
most comfortable. Their body is outlined by staff member,
and resident then cuts out body. If group is large, members
are asked to identify the persons body. (They have not seen
each other being outlined)...Residents are then asked to write
their first name, and draw a picture or write a word that best
describes what they feel is their most positive attribute.
Residents then "make rounds" around the room, writing
something POSITIVE that they feel or know about that person.
Residents then have to write something positive that they like
about themselves on their "body", and then hang the
finished project on the outside of their door, to remind them
of their positive qualities every time they enter their rooms!
Staff is also encouraged to add to the positive feedback!
(I) Am Special Stickers
show clients they have to respect themselves before they can
Materials: Red stickers
and blue stickers or name tags.
Description: This exercise
may be divided into two exercises in one day or can be used
for several days or weeks.
Part I: Give each client a red
sticker and have them write their own name on the line over
the two words "is special." Example: Janet writes
"Janet is special." Each client makes a list of positive
traits which make him or her special and wears their own sticker
for at least one day. Each client stands up and gives one trait
which makes him/her unique.
Part II: Write each client's name
on a separate piece of paper and put each piece face down on
a table. Have each client draw a name. If they draw their own
name, put it back and draw again. Give each client a blue sticker
and have them write the name they drew on the line above the
words "is special." Example: Janet draws Marks's name.
She writes "Mark" on the line on the blue sticker.
Jane's sticker now says "Mark is special." Each client
makes a list of why the person whose name they drew is special.
Each client wears the sticker with their peer's name on it for
at least one day. Each client stands up and gives one trait
which makes the peer special.
Begin the contest by eliciting
smile categories from the participants. Write the smile categories
on the board as the participants suggest them. A few possibilities
- longest smile
- friendliest smile
- most teeth missing smile
- widest smile
- cutest smile
- most often seen smile
When the participants have agreed
on the categories for the contest, write each category on a
separate piece of paper and display the papers throughout the
room. Invite everyone to make nominations for each category
by writing names on the papers.
On the day of the official voting,
provide each client and staff with a ballot which you have made
by making a stencil with a line for each smile category. The
winners deserve special recognition. Make copies of the Smile
Award below and fill in the blanks for each winner.
For the Smile Category
Presented by _________
The Magic Box
Construct a "magic box"
which can be any kind of a box with a mirror placed to reflect
the face of anyone who looks inside. Begin the activity by asking
the group, "Who do you think is the most special person
in the whole world?" After allowing the client to respond
individually, continue: "I have a magic box with me today,
and each of you will have a chance to look inside and discover
the most important person in the world."
Give each client a chance to look
into the box after you ask them who they think they will see.
Some client may have to be coaxed, because they may not believe
what they see. Be ready with some of the following comments:
"Are you surprised?"
"How does it feel to see that
you are the special person?"
"You smiled so big -- are
you happy to see that you're the special person?"
Before rejoining the group, ask
each client to keep the special news a secret.
After all the client have had their
turns, ask the group who the most special person was. After
each client has had an opportunity to say "me," explain
that the box is valuable because it shows that each of them
is special. You might ask how it is possible for everyone to
be the special one. A discussion about each individual's uniqueness