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Active Warm-up Activities for Recreation Therapy Groups

"Activities of a socially infectious nature, where stress is placed on cooperative, rather than the competitive, aspects of some recreation activities, can be used to attract patients' attention and to sustain their interaction. Very simple games played in a small group may serve to encourage participation by making the patient feel an integral and necessary part of the activity." (O'Morrow, The Whys of Recreation Activities for Psychiatric Patients, Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 3rd quarter, 1971).

bulletRock Paper Scissor Congo Line
submitted by Matt Hunter of TR Student on June 29, 2009

Size of Group: 10+

Equipment: Large enough area for everyone to walk around in, another option is to have some background music.

Objective: Competition, Team Support, Socialization, and having Fun

Description: Each participant will start off with a partner in the group and they will go head to head in a Rock, Paper, Scissor match. The competitor who lost the match will then join onto the back of the winner and the winner will go searching for another competitor to try and beat with the cheering support of their new partner behind them. After that match the competitor who lost, once again joins the back of the winners Congo line to support the leader of the line and this will continue until it comes down to the final two competitor to determine the ULTIMATE Rock, Paper, Scissor competitor


Have You Ever?
submitted by Jessica Hohenberger

Size: 5+

Equipment: None

Objective: Ice Breaker, energy burner, appropriate social interactions

Description: Procedure: Arrange group into a large circle with one person in the middle. The leader will prompt with the phrase Have you ever ? The person in the middle will finish the phrase. Example: Have you ever had candy bars for breakfast? Each of the people in the circle that has done what the person in the middle has said (had candy bars for breakfast) will quickly exchange places with someone else that has also done it. Whoever is left in the middle will finish the phrase the next

time. The game has no real end so you can play 2 or 20 times, it s up to you!

Zip, Zap, Zoom
submitted by Laurie P. on January 21, 2001

Size: 6min. to 15 max.

Equipment: large room, and chairs

Objective: To allow patients the opportunity to socialize and get to know one another. To enhance cognitive skills.

Description: 1. First you have to set up chairs in a circle. Leaving one less chair so one person will always be in the middle.(example= musical chairs)

2. The leader will start off in the circle to get the game started. Explain that "Zap" is the person to the left of them and "Zip" is the person to the right of them. "Zoom" is when everyone gets up and switches chairs. (this will always leave one person in the middle) THey may not sit in the chair to either side of them they have to completely change spots.

3. The person who is in the middle of the circle points to one person at a time and either says, ZIP, Zap or Zoom. The person they say that too must know the persons name on both the right and left side of them. So they will have to socialize and ask each other's name in order not to get in the middle. If they do not know the persons name then they go in the middle. ( 5 sec. hesitation rule depending on population)

4. The person in the middle may also say Zoom to get out of the middle. everyone will switch chairs and there will be a new leader in the middle.

5. Safety should be discussed first. Make sure that patients aren't hurting one another getting to a chair.

--patients will love this warm-up game :) have fun !

Research Game

Group Size: 10 to 100

Objective: Warm-up, to break group up into two teams, for fun

Description: Indicate to the group that you are conducting research to determine.... (make up something). Invite everyone in the group to the center of the room. Say, "If you are more like a Cadillac, go to the right of the room. If you are more like a Volkswagen, go the left of the room."

Once the group is separated, invite everyone to look around to see who has shared interests and to look across the room to see who has different thoughts. Have the group re-join in the center of the room and repeat the activity with two different items.

Soap Opera--cartoons
Racing Car--antique car
Lucy--------Charlie Brown

Make up your own opposing pairs.

For groups that are not mobile, invite the group to stand or sit... raise hand or lower hand.

Quick Link

Size of Group: 10 to ?

Focus: energizer, socialization, fun

Description: As the group leader shouts out "get into groups of fours," everyone quickly joins in a group of four. At any time, even before the group of four is formed, the leader shouts out another instruction. Examples: everyone with same color shoes, everyone with same color eyes, groups of five, people born in the same month, people with same Zodiac sign, form a letter Z with groups of 3 people.

Expected Outcome: group cohesion, laughter, + feelings

Send activity ideas to be posted here to Charlie Dixon.

Activities & Tx pages sponsored by compuTR and maintained by Charles Dixon
If reprinting ideas from these pages, please give credit.


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