Hello everyone! After being stuck at home for a while now, you may be running out of ideas to keep your kids entertained. So in my blog today, I want to provide 3 different therapeutic family activities that can be fun for the whole family to try! The activities focus on enhancing family interactions and open communication. Each activity was developed from Creative Family Therapy Techniques by Liana Lowenstein. I have made some changes and alterations to the activities so each can be done at home. If you have any questions or need any additional guidance, please reach out. Also, you can post photos of your family completing the activities if you would like!
*Family Scavenger Hunt
For this activity, you want to develop a list of items that can be found and collected around your home.
Here are some ideas for items to be collected during the scavenger hunt:
-Picture of someone important to your family
-Picture from a family vacation
-Something that helps with relaxing
-Souvenir from a trip
-Something homemade (like a craft)
-The biggest and smallest shows in your family
-Something that represents what your family does for fun
-Something that represents your family’s heritage or culture
-A family heirloom
-Something important to your family that money cannot buy
-Something that represents a problem or worry in your family
-Something that represents the love in your family
-Something that can help your family
Before starting the scavenger hunt, family members should decide if they will collect items together, each find their own items for the list, or divide the list.
After completing the scavenger hunt, your family should discuss what was collected and why certain items were chosen. This can lead to a discussion regarding happy memories, things that are important to family members, and can increase a family connection and bond. Here are some questions that can be used as well:
-Who made most of the decisions during the scavenger hunt?
-Who had the most fun collecting the items?
-Did anyone become upset during the scavenger hunt and, if so, how was this handled?
-How did your family work together during the scavenger hunt?
-What was your favorite item to collect?
-What was the hardest item to collect/find?
*Family Basketball Game
This activity focuses on increasing open communication between family members, engaging the family, and involving the family in a playful interaction. For this activity, you will need a basketball net and ball (or garbage can and crumpled paper) as well as the following questions on cardstock, index cards, or construction paper:
Happy face questions (Yellow):
-What is your favorite meal?
-What do you like to do for fun?
-When was the happiest moment of your life?
-What’s something that money can’t buy that brings you happiness?
-Tell about a time someone in your family did something nice for you.
-Tell about a time you and your family did something fun together.
-Name one kind or loving thing you do for someone in your family.
-Name someone outside your family whom you care about.
-What’s one of the best things that has happened in your family?
-Tell about a time your family was able to solve a problem.
-Tell about a family holiday or celebration you enjoy.
-What are you looking forwards to doing together as a family?
Sad face questions (Blue):
-What is your least favorite meal?
-What is something you really don’t like doing at home?
-Tell about a sad moment in your life.
-What’s one of your biggest worries?
-Tell about a time someone in your family made you angry.
-What would you say to someone when they felt upset?
-What is something you do that bugs others in your family?
-Tell about a time you did something that made someone in your family angry.
-What’s something sad or difficult your family has experienced?
-Tell about a problem your family is experiencing.
-When was the last time you cried and what happened that made you so upset?
-What is something you would like to change about your family?
Photocopy the happy face questions onto yellow cardstock and cut them into cards, or copy the questions onto yellow index cards or construction paper. Have your child/children draw a happy face on the other side. Photocopy the sad face questions onto blue cardstock and cut into cards, or onto blue index cards or construction paper. A sad face should be drawn on the other side. Family members can also make up a few of their own cards and questions to be included in the game.
Set up the basketball net (or garbage can). Place masking tape along the floor to create a “throw” line.
Family members take turns shooting a basket. If a player successfully throws the ball through the hoop, he/she picks a card from the happy face pile and answers the question. If a player misses the basket, he/she picks a card from the sad face pile and answers it. The game continues until all the questions have been answered, or until each family member has had a pre-chosen number of turns. If all of the questions are answered before the game is over, the pile of cards can be shuffled and re-used. Active discussion among family members during the game is encouraged to expand on feelings or issues disclosed by the family members.
Here are some questions that can be used after the game to facilitate discussions:
-What new information did you learn about your family?
-What was the most interesting or surprising response?
-Name something you liked about a family member’s response.
*Family Beach Ball Game
This is a fun activity for family members to increase open communication and gain greater insight into the family. All you need for this activity is a beach ball with 4-6 colors and the following questions:
-My family likes to…
-My family is proud of me when…
-I feel bad if my family…
-I let someone in my family make me feel…
-I wish my family…
-My happiest memory with my family is…
-I feel hurt when…
-I would not like to have…
-I’m expected to…
-Something funny that happened in my family was when…
-Someone in my family gets angry when…
-I feel disappointed when…
-I don’t like it when…
-When a person is sad, he/she should…
-I love to give…
-Once someone helped me…
-When something is hard for me I…
-I don’t like to…
-I would hate to lose…
-I like the way…
-Something I appreciate about my family is…
-I’m sad when…
-I get angry when..
-My mother and I like to…
-I just love to…
-I’m the kind of person who…
-My father thinks I…
-If someone loves you, they…
-At home I really like…
Family members can either sit in a circle (on the floor or in chairs) or can stand in a circle. Family members then toss the ball to one another. Whoever catches the ball notices the color his/her right thumb is on at the time of the catch and then answers a question found in the corresponding color category. After an individual responds, other family members can share their thoughts and/or feelings, or add additional information. Then the ball is tossed to the next person and the pattern is repeated.
Here are some follow up questions for processing the experience:
-Name something you liked about a family member’s response.
-If you could change a person’s response, how would you change it?
-Tell something new you learned about another family member.
-Who do you feel you know better since playing the game? Who would you still like to know more about?