This idea is to follow the Survivor theme of the famous TV reality show. Below are ideas to follow this theme:
- Tribes – a young adult who has graduated from High School and has experienced divorce in their family. They would be in charge of a tribe of about 5 to 6 teens. These tribes would do all the activities together against the other tribes and hold Tribal Counsel sessions together to answer the questions after the teaching.
- Bandannas/T-shirts – Each tribe has a different color bandana or t-shirt per person to decorate with fabric paint their tribe name and mascot.
- Tribal Names – Each tribe comes up with a tribe name and mascot. They will make a poster or sign and be referred to this name throughout the weekend.
- Challenges – All the mixers and activities turn into Tribal Challenges instead. Each tribe competes against each other for the Immunity Idol.
- Immunity Idol – a homemade “idol” that gets passed around to the winning tribes of the tribal challenges.
- Room Decorations – Each tribe is decorated by an umbrella table with grass skirts around it making it look like a tiki hut. Room can be decorated in an island style with palm trees, bamboo, straw hats, beach stuff, etc.
- Survivor Ceremony – A ceremony at the end of the weekend to award the winning Tribe who has won the most Tribal Challenges and possessing the Immunity Idol the most.
- Rule – No one ever gets kicked off or voted out of any tribe!!
Paper Mache 5 big stones and label them each stage to be used during Sessions one, two, three, and eleven. Label each stone – Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, and Acceptance. At the time in each session when you talk about the stage and read the statements have someone hold up their stone and read the statements.
Find 3 volunteers who would be willing to play Paula, Randy and Simon from the famous TV show called American Idol. The biggest difference is that the teens do not perform individually or sing, they work together as a team or tribe and perform a skit. Hand out one of the attached skits to each group and have them role play their skit in front of Paula, Randy and Simon. At the end of their skits have Paula, Randy and Simon do their thing. You can score for individuality, creativity, being able to communicate their point, usefulness of all people, best acting, and best use of props.
- Absolutely no negative remarks
- No slamming anyone or making fun of anyone
- Positive remarks but funny
A great idea to promote opening conversation and encourage breaking the ice. A great ice breaker idea. Go to www.catch32ball.com to order a Thumb Ball. I have used the Ice Breaker, Who Are You, and Emotion Mania balls.
Big D Bingo
This is a great mixer. Make copies and hand them out and give everyone a set amount of time or award the person with the first Bingo.
Incorporate a worship time sometime during the event. Using any "I Worship" DVD’s makes this easier.
Dear Distant Dad video – by Vision Video
May be purchased at www.visionvideo.com. Product #501069D. The cost is $15.99.
When Mom and Dad Break Up video – Alan Thicke
Have a person play a Game Host and be in charge of all the mixers and activities. We called him “Guy Smiley” and he came in only at game time. The more they play up the game host personality the funnier it is.
Movie and Pizza
During the Event before Lights Out order pizza, pop popcorn, and put in a movie. Play the movie on a big screen or a wall. We have played “Facing the Giants” and “Yours, Mine and Ours”. They can bring out their blankets and pillows and lay on the carpet.
At the time of handing out the 3-month goals (in session 11) give each teen an envelope. Have everyone pre-address their envelopes and put their goals in them. Collect them and mail them out to them as a reminder in 3 months.
Download 3-Month Goals worksheet
At the beginning of a session pass around a roll of toilet paper and ask every teen to take some and pass it around. When the toilet paper roll has made it around tell everyone they need to share something for every section of tp they took.
- Favorite memories
- Feelings over the last week
- Changes you’ve experienced
- Positive statements about the person on your left
- Something about you
Playing Card Mixer – (was card game)
Pick a card, any card and have each person say something that happened during the week for each number on their card. If they drew a red card it needs to be positive things, a black card means negative things.
Download the Playing Card Mixer sheet
Purity and Marriage Talk
Take an extra week and split up the guys and gals and have a special week talking about purity. Discuss these extra vulnerability items that comes in these situations:
- Filling an empty hole from an absent father or mother role in your life
- Extra freedom that comes when your parent is dating as well
- No good role models-parents living together with boyfriend/girlfriend
- Too much time home alone (too much idol time usually means trouble)
- Looking for love and acceptance
Comfort Zone area
Emphasize your room as an area where they are free to share their feelings without fear of shame, ridicule, or judgment. This is a place where everyone can feel comfortable sharing their hopes, fears, struggles and victories.
Scripture Puzzle Race
This is another activity for the Stepping Stones in Healing or the Slippery Slope. Write up the following scriptures on tag board and cut out each word like a puzzle piece. Do this for all 5 scriptures. Divide in 5 groups or 5 tribes and hand out each puzzle and have a race to see who can assemble their puzzle first. When done, read the scriptures out loud and have them guess which stage it pertains to.
- Denial – Romans 15:3
- Anger – Ephesians 4:26-27
- Depression – Proverbs 3:5-6
- Bargaining – Phillipians 4:11
- Acceptance - Deuteronomy 28:2
Take it to the Cross
Bring in a cross with a nail on each side and have everyone write their sins and hurts on a card and have a ceremony to place their cards on the cross and leave them there. Quiet music should be played for this activity as well.
Stepping Stones DVD
An alphabetical list of feelings words. Could be used for Feelings Alphabet and Get Off My Back Mixer.
Download the Feelings Words list
Blue Fish TV DVD
This is an excellent way to start each night. They are short 1 to 2 minute video clips that explain the evenings topic in teen terms. Because of copywrite laws I could not include it in the curriculum price so send me an e-mail and I will send you out a DVD with 12 video clips on it. You can also goto www.bluefishtv.com and search under children of divorce to download them yourself.
A great exercise to show teens that any situation always has 2 sides. It all depends on how you look at it. Use this example as a way to demonstrate that. You can use it during the Blame Game or in conjunction with learning how to adapt to changes.
Download Optical Illusions example
Possible songs to use during Jesus Bags, Hurts Band Aids Don’t Cover, and Letters to God, Mom and Dad.
- East to West from Casting Crowns
- Praise You in This Storm from Casting Crowns
Tape an 11x14 piece of paper in the middle of each table for teens to jot their feelings down on during the night. It works as a nice way for them to “doodle” with application.
Download the Feelings Poster sheet.
Skits can always be a creative way of telling a story. I have attached 4 here for you to consider. These are also the ones we used for American Idol. The kids did a very good job and were very resourceful. Feel free to use any of the attached skits or create some of your own. Teens or the leaders could act them out. These skits can be used with American Idol as well.
Download the scenario ideas sheet.
Invite a different teen each week to play Vanna for the Wheel of Fortune games.
Big D Candy
If your group is having a difficult time opening up and sharing or if you just want to promote sharing, do this before each session. Cut up the attached questions and string a piece of ribbon through it. Purchase candy bars or the larger sized candy (like M&M’s, Mike-n-Ikes, Nerd Ropes etc.) and punch a hole in them and wrap a ribbon around it and attach a question and put them in a bowl. Encourage 2 or 3 teens to come up at the beginning of every session to come up front and pick out a candy bar or candy. They need to read the question and answer it before being able to keep the candy and sit back down. This is a great way to get the teens to share more comfortably in the group.
Download the Big D Candy idea sheet.
Big D Quotes
Sometimes it is helpful for other teens to hear what other teens their age are saying about their parents divorce. Copy the attached quotes on card stock and post them on the walls around the room. These can stay up the entire weekend or 12 weeks.
Add a 13th week for the sole purpose of a Graduation Party to celebrate completing the class and toast to their futures. This is a great way to send off your teens.
It is a great idea to have a box for teens to put questions in and have a panel who sits up front and fields all the questions that have been collected. This is an easier way for teens to get answers to some of their more difficult or thought provoking questions. Make sure the panel includes all different relationships. The panel should consist of:
- Mom who is separated or divorced and living in a single parent home
- Dad who is separated or divorced and living in a single parent home
- A teen who is living in a single parent home
- A mom living in a step family
- A dad living in a step family
- A Step mom
- A step dad
- A teen living in a blended family home
- submitted by: Kristen T. Heaney
More Than a Shadow
Get an overhead projector and some thin white paper. Have each kid, one at a time, stand between the projector and paper and a leader traces their outline from about shoulders up. Then as you’re doing that, have everyone list positive comments about the person to be written on the same paper. Write comments in the inside of the shadow.
- submitted by: Kristen T. Heaney
Not My Fault Demonstration
Bring an easy kids puzzle (15 pcs or so) with some similar looking pieces from another puzzle mixed in. Have a volunteer attempt to do the puzzle. He/She will obviously have a hard time completing the puzzle. Push them along by saying, “Come on, this is a little kid’s puzzle, you should be done by now” etc. After awhile has passed stop the volunteer and say, “OK wait…It’s not your fault! It’s my fault that you can’t do the puzzle because I switched the pieces on you.” Some of the pieces are from a different puzzle and they don’t fit. It’s not your fault. We’re like the volunteer because it’s not our fault that the pieces of our lives don’t seem to fit. Our divorced family doesn’t fit the mold of what a “normal family” looks like. It can be frustrating to arrange the pieces of your life after divorce…but it’s important to remember that divorce is not your fault. Just like our volunteer didn’t do anything wrong, kids cannot do anything to make their parents divorce. Divorce is a choice by parents, because of parents, not because of the kids. Have each kid around the tables say aloud – “It’s Not My Fault”.
- submitted by: Kristen T. Heaney
Fire, Water and Ice
You will need matches, 2 pitchers of water, a block of ice, and a tarp for under the table. Start this activity by telling the kids that after the demonstration they will be able to come up and touch some of the props you will be using, but while you are talking they will be expected to sit and listen. Tell them that if you want to know how to respond to anger in a healthy way, you have to know the difference between fire, water and ice.
- FIRE – Explain to them as you strike a match, “When you are feeling intense feelings of anger, you’re too “hot” to process the anger and should wait until you “cool down”. Reacting to anger while you are still on “fire” usually gets you into trouble.
- WATER – As you pour water gently from one pitcher to another and back again, say, “You want to wait until you have cooled down to “water”. Water has enough force to create electricity when it is controlled properly and, over time, can carve through mountains with a gentle stream. The water still has great power and effect, but it is not too intense. If we manage our anger like water, we will be able to respond in a healthy way.
- ICE – This ice is difficult to break through. Even if there was something in the center of it, we would have trouble picking through to find it. This ice is like how our hearts can turn if we hold on to our anger for too long with out expressing it. Anger that we don’t face, turns our hearts as cold as ice and is very unhealthy for us.
When we are angry at someone or about something, we sometimes can react like the fire…too quickly, before we’ve thought it through. Or sometimes, we wait too long and just stuff our anger and become like blocks of ice. But, with God’s help, we can be like the water – people who express our anger in healthy ways and continue to flow into the healthy people God created us to be. Are you Fire, Water, or Ice today? How will you choose to handle your anger – like Fire, Water or Ice?
- submitted by: Kristen T. Heaney
Prepare a box where they can leave anonymous questions to be answered each week.
Blindfolded Shoe Shuffle
Have kids in chairs in a circle take off their shoes. Blindfold them all and put all the shoes mixed up in the middle. On “go” have them try to find and put on their shoes and sit back in a chair. The last person to get back to their chair is out and rounds of game continue until there is one winner. Perhaps you can have a small prize for the winner. Shoes do not have to be tied or buckles, but must be fully on foot. Nugget of Truth – just like our shoes – our emotions can feel all mixed up during a divorce. And just like our goal in the game was to sort out the shoes, our goal at The Big D is to help you sort out your feelings.
- submitted by: Kristen T. Heaney
Build Me Up Notecard
Pass around a note card to each teen. Have them write something positive about the person on their right. At the end of the session take time for them to share their cards with each other.
Scripture Search Game
“What Did You Say?”
Hand out a 3x5 card to each person. Have them write down what it is they would like to say to someone but cannot get the courage to say. Have them write it down the way they would like to say it and practice it for at least a week. Then when the time comes it should be easier fro them to say it.
Out of Your Comfort Zone exercise
Have everyone fold their arms across their chests. Then tell them to cross their arms the opposite way – with the other arm on top. Help them recognize how uncomfortable it is. Nugget of Truth - explain to them that in the same way we get comfortable with the way we live our lives when our lives change it can feel very uncomfortable and that it is very normal.
Give each teen an inflated balloon. Tell them to try to balance it on one finger. Your finger must have contact with the balloon at all times (you can’t tap it to keep it in the air). Who can do it the longest? Nugget of Truth – it will be very difficult to keep the balloon balanced on your finger. Just like how difficult it is to keep your emotions balanced throughout all these changes. No one expects you to get it right every time – neither does God. But by doing you best, it’ll come easier each time.
-submitted by Kristen Heaney