Seeking Support – Activities and Games

Seeking Support

Blindfold Connection

Rationale

The objective of this activity is to have participants spend ten minutes in a situation where they must both trust and depend upon someone else and also be called upon to help another person.

Life skills resources for teachers and counsellors for primary school and high school children - social and emotional learning skills resources

Materials

  • Blindfolds

Procedure

Have participants form pairs. Explain that one person from each pair will be blindfolded and their partner must act as his/her eyes. The pair must go on a short walk around the room. After a few minutes, instruct participants to change places. Note it is best to use this activity only with participants you believe will consider each other’s safety.

Discussion Questions

  • How did it feel to be blindfolded and have to depend on someone else?
  • How did it feel to have someone else depend on you so they could safely walk around the room?
  • Do you think it is hard for people to reach out to others for help and support? Why or why not?
  • Is it hard for you to help others in difficult situations? Why or why not?

Three Magic Wishes

 Rationale

It helps us to seek support and connect with others when we understand that others also have difficulties. This is a ten minute activity to help participants share difficulties and develop empathy for each other.

Materials

Old lamp or lantern

Activity

Magic lampAsk participants if they are familiar with the story of Aladdin who found the magic lamp. When Aladdin rubbed the lamp, a genie appeared and granted him three wishes. Explain to participants that we are going to imagine that this is Aladdin’s magic lamp. Pass the lamp around the group and ask participants to share three wishes that could fix any areas of difficulty in their life.

Discussion Questions

  • What was it like to imagine you could be granted three wishes that would fix any problem?
  • Were any of your wishes realistic?
  • Is there any way you could help make the wishes come true?

I’m OK, You’re OK

Rationale

People who feel like they have failed, often struggle to ask others for support or help. This can happen because they feel embarrassed or don’t like admitting they were wrong. This activity is designed to help participants recognise that sometimes, no matter how hard you try in life, you fail. When you fail, you have to pull yourself together and move on.

Materials

  • A balloon (not blown up) and permanent marker for each participant
  • Cup, small box, basket or container
  • Small prizes such as sweets, stickers, balls, pencils etc. that participants would enjoy

Procedure

  1. Begin the group by asking participants to identify something they tried really hard to be successful at, but failed. It can be anything (sport, assignment, presentation, make a new friend etc.), as long they tried their best, but just couldn’t do it.
  2. Ask participants whether anyone told them to try again, or try harder or even said, “You didn’t try your best.” Discuss their feelings about those statements, knowing they did try their best.
  3. Ask participants to describe how they went about letting the person know they did try or how they felt when they tried again but failed.
  4. Hand each participant a balloon, have them write their name on it but not blow it up.
  5. Set up the container across the room at least 2 metres from the group. Place a prize in the container.
  6. Tell participants that if they can blow up the balloon (not tie it), let it deflate and have it land in the container, they can have the prize. Chances, of course, are very slim that this will happen.
  7. Give participants a few minutes to try to win the prize.
  8. Reassemble the group and ask them how badly they wanted the prize. Ask them if they tried to get their balloon to fall into the container. Ask if they had control over the balloon and its descent. Discuss.
  9. Explain to the group that sometimes, no matter what the incentive, we simply cannot do something that we really want to do – and that is OK!
  10. Discuss with participants the various ways to talk about this fact of life with parents, teachers, friends and anyone else who might be faulting them for their inability to do something.

Discussion Questions

  • Who puts the most pressure on you to keep trying at something you just cannot do?
  • Has this activity helped you to realise it is OK to fail sometimes?
  • How will you use what you have learned today?

 Your Wall Of Support

 Rationale

WallSocial support is one of the keys to helping prevent depression, substance abuse, aggression and early sexual activity. Social support helps raise self-esteem and self-confidence and can help develop empathy and kindness to others. It is important to help people develop a positive support group which could include families, school personnel, coaches and friends (in addition to the positive internal support people can give themselves).

Materials

  • Set of building blocks (enough for each girl to have at least four)
  • Coloured markers
  • Construction paper of different colours
  • Scissors, glue

Procedure

  1. Ask the group to build a ‘wall’ with the building blocks.
  2. Discuss the reasons why people build walls (for example, walls offer protection, provide support and keep areas separate).
  3. Explain that the walls they have built symbolise the protection and assistance that can be provided by their ‘wall of support’.
  4. Knock the wall down and give each participant an equal number of blocks (no more than four) to use to rebuilt the bottom layer of the wall.
  5. Ask each participant to place a block on the bottom or foundation layer of the wall. As they do so, ask them to name an adult they love and trust.
  6. Ask the participants to begin building the second layer of the wall. As they place their blocks in the second layer, ask them to name an adult who provides assistance and help. These adults could include coaches, teachers or school staff.
  7. For the third layer, ask participants to name friends as they place each block.
  8. For the fourth layer, ask participants to identify things that help promote positive thinking (for example sport, art, movies, games, the outdoors, group activities, relaxation, pets etc.)
  9. When the block wall is finished, give participants construction paper, scissors, glue and markers/felt pens. Ask them to create their own walls of support by cutting out different coloured ‘blocks’ of construction paper to be the layers for their own walls. The four different layers should include (1) the first layer – family or other close adults who provide love and trust (2) the second layer – other adults who provide assistance and support (3) the third layer – friends who provide trust and support (4) the fourth layer – items and activities that provide relief from stress and promote positive thinking.
  10. Encourage participants to share their walls of support with the group when they are finished.

Discussion Questions

  • When is it helpful to remember your wall of support?
  • Why do people sometimes feel they have no-one to depend on?
  • How will you use what you have learned today?

Family Feuds

Rationale

FamilyOur families can have both a very positive and a very negative impact upon our lives. There are things that both push and pull our families. The things that pull families together include family history, family culture, extended family relationships, family traditions, family stories. The things that push family members apart include family secrets, violence, hurtful words, lies and more. The push and pull in families can be a source both of great support and much frustration, sadness and anger. This activity helps participants explore their families and discover the pushes and pulls which make their family unique.

Materials

  • Two magnets for each participant

Procedure

  1. Show participants a set of magnets and explain how they can be attracted to each other and pull each other closer, but those same magnets can also push each other away when the opposite sides are used.
  2. Give a set of magnets to each participant and allow them time to play, watching how they attract and repel.
  3. Ask participants to describe the similarities they see between the magnets and family relationships. You could give examples of the types of things that push and pull families together and apart.
  4. Ask each participant to give an example of a way in which their family pulls itself together and a way in which it pushes itself apart.
  5. When everyone has had a turn, ask participants to think about and then share ways they can help keep their families strong, rather than pushing people’s buttons and keeping their families at a distance.

Discussion Questions

  • Why do you think family members hurt each other?
  • Why do you think it is hard for family members to talk to each other about problems?
  • How will you use what you have learned today?

PRAK Attack

 Rationale

Practising Random Acts of Kindness (PRAK) is a wonderful way to reach out to others and help prevent aggressive behaviour. When we concentrate on the needs of others, we become kinder and more caring. This activity helps people practice random acts of kindness for a week.

Materials

  • A cup and a copy of the PRAK Attack handout for each girl
  • An envelope for each participant
  • Scissors
  • Pencils/pens and felt pens/coloured markers

Procedure

  1. Explain what PRAK means and ask participants to share their thoughts about the phrase.
  2. Ask participants what kindness means to them and what are some examples of acts of kindness. Why is it important to be kind?
  3. Hand a copy of the PRAK attack handout to each participate and ask them to complete the activity.
  4. When everyone is finished, ask participants to share their proposed acts of kindness with the group.
  5. After sharing invite everyone to cut out their PRAK attacks and place them inside an envelope. Each day for the next week, they are to randomly take one PRAK attack from the envelope and put it into action. A PRAK attack becomes more special when you are able to perform it without telling anyone about it.
  6. Ask participants to observe the effects of their acts of kindness and to note how their acts of kindness affect themselves and others during the week.

Discussion Questions

  • What would school be like if everyone performed one act of kindness a day? How different would it be?
  • What act of kindness would you like to see someone perform?
  • How will you use what you have learned today?

Group Discussion On Seeking Support

The following questions can be used to support a group discussion on seeking support and reaching out for help when it is needed.

  1. Do you find it difficult to ask for help?
  2. What is the hardest subject for you to open up about?
  3. Talk about trusting people. Was there a time when someone betrayed your trust? When that happens, can you trust that person again?
  4. Talk about a friend you can always count on, no matter what.
  5. Is it important for friends to be dependable?
  6. Do you consider yourself a dependable friend?
  7. Whom do you share your closest secrets with? Is it difficult or easy for you to do so?
  8. Have you ever thought you could trust a friend, and then had them let you down? Discuss.
  9. When a friend confides in you, do you find it hard to keep the secret?
  10. What are examples of times when you should talk to a trusted adult about a problem that you or a friend is having.
  11. Have your parents shared with you some of the struggles they had growing up?
  12. How do you approach someone you want to talk to about an important issue?
  13. What are some inappropriate times to talk about something really important?
  14. Talk about feeling guilty and the need for reassurance when it comes to talking about your problems.
  15. Do you accept advice when it is given to you?
  16. What is the most difficult part of asking for help when you are having a problem?
  17. Sometimes you need advice and sometimes you just need someone to listen to you. How can you tell people what you need from them without offending them?