Games for Change: Group Activities with Creative Spiritual Concepts on the Side

ISBN: 978-1-885473-50-9
SIZE: 8.5 x 11
PRICE $27.95

“We believe in celebration of diversity, not merely tolerance.  But sometimes tolerance is where we begin.  Out of education, we learn tolerance; from tolerance, we learn appreciation and acceptance.  When acceptance of diversity is practiced, then celebration of diversity is possible.”

Games for Change contains activities designed to spark discussion, insight, and skill application.  The authors broaden the scope of activities by inserting optional “spiritual insights,” “going deeper,” and “going wider” sections that delve into the world’s many religions.  All the necessary components are incorporated—activity objectives, essential props, specifications of group and space sizes required, clear directions, and suggested processing questions.

Games for Change is sure to be a useful tool regardless of your environment.  Adventure or experiential education is a powerful way to reach young people.  We find that games are a great way to share some of life’s most important lessons in a way that is open and fun.

“Fun has a sacred dimension.” Adriana Diaz


“This book is full of great activities that can be used in many different areas. I, myself plan to use it with my 5th graders, summer church camps, and Sunday school classes. The ideas are fantastic for helping groups stretch and grow in their concepts of self, cooperation, diversity, acceptance, and spiritual growth. In a time when we want students to be team players, and value the gifts of others, this book provides a complete guide for doing just that!! I can't wait to do my first activity.”
Connie Baird, Social Studies Implementor, Saginaw Township Community Schools

“Finally, a book for group leaders that brings meaningfulness to the activities. Young people (of all ages) find meaning and internalize only that which touches their hearts and souls. The openness, candor and sense of humor of the authors is refreshing.”
Linda Sangster, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

“Games for Change is a delightful book that does just that: invite young people to change and become better people. The creative activities in this book encourage young people to grow spiritually and to grow closer together in their group. It’s an invaluable resource, particularly since it’s a rare gem. The thought-provoking activities and questions challenge young people to dig deeper into their beliefs, values, and attitudes, and the broad interfaith perspective show how we’re more alike than different. I highly recommend this book.”
Jolene Roehlkepartain, Author/Co-Author of 26 books, Consultant, and National Speaker on Youth, Children, and Family Issues

“Games for Change is a resource every trainer, educator, and person involved in creating environments of teamwork can embrace. The activities are well thought, presented, and the ease of use is incredible. It is my deepest hope that you will find these activities helpful in your own organizations, as we all strive to be advocates for change.”
Poul Wilson, Coordinator, The Children’s Peace Pavilion

Excerpt from the Book

Cause & Effect

This activity is a great way for your group to see how every action has a reaction. We suggest starting out on a humorous note and moving into more serious topics depending upon the development and maturity of your group. Lisa once facilitated this with 90 sixth graders at once. It was amazing to see the creativity and ability to tackle some serious issues in a fun way.

Objectives: Listening skills, creativity, and understanding cause and effect

• 3” x 5” cards with the following statements (see template):
1. My shirt has a hole in it.
2. My shirt has a hole in it because a hawk landed on my shoulder.
3. A hawk landed on my shoulder because I was standing in a field.
4. I was standing in a field because my dogs ran away.

Procedure: Gather the group into a circle. Ask for four volunteers to introduce the game. Without any front loading (instructions leading into the game), hand the four volunteers the index cards and ask them to read their statements in numerical order.

Once all four statements have been read, ask them to repeat the sequence. Then ask one of the four to add to the story in the same manner as the sequence.
If the fifth statement is done correctly, the phrase “my dogs ran away because…” should be repeated and then another phrase added to finish the statement. Then point to another in the group of four and continue until each has created a new statement. (If the fifth statement is not stated correctly, ask another person in the group to try to follow the sequence.)
Once the group has completed the additional statements, talk to the larger group about the relationship between cause and effect. Discuss how every action has a reaction. Like a pebble being thrown into still water, the ripples are the reaction to the action.

Ask four new volunteers to begin a new series. Here are some starting suggestions:
• My shoes fell off the top of the car.
• There is a hole in the tent.
• The baby is crying.
• The room full of people fell silent.
• Our group leader is proud.

Processing Questions:
1. Tell about a time when your actions caused reactions. What was that like?
2. Did you enjoy the challenge of creating a reaction in the story?
3. What’s the difference between reacting and responding?
4. What did you find most challenging in this game?
5. How does listening impact this game?

Spiritual Insight: Our spiritual lives are impacted by the choices we make every moment of every day. Sometimes we move through life without a plan or clear direction. We drift from choice to choice.

What would be the result of becoming intentional in our choice to seek God every day?
How would choosing to seek truth, knowledge and the divine in our daily life impact our other life choices? How would it change us? How would it change our priorities?
What does intentional spiritual growth look like?

Going Deeper: The following is an adapted informal Jewish prayer that is said before studying the Torah.

“I seek truth from the depth of my being. I do not want to be limited by my own narrow-minded conception of what it should look like. I will open myself to this journey of learning with one condition: Whatever is true should enter my life and take root. Whatever is false should pass through and leave no impression. I trust that it will be so. I embrace truth and deflect falsehood.”

In its original form, the prayer is addressed to the Divine Source of all knowledge. Deep within the Judaic faith is the search for truth and knowledge. Judaism has a rich tradition of being intentional in study. The prayer above is meant to enhance the learning and direct it to a particular end. The prayer expresses what you hope to accomplish through your search and empowers that desire.

How are you being intentional in your search for truth and knowledge?
Does being intentional in your journey seem comfortable or awkward?
How do you determine what is truth and what is not?
How do the choices you make in life affect your spiritual growth?
How can this kind of prayer enhance your study of the divine?

Going Wider: In the Going Deeper section we highlighted a Jewish tradition. We encourage you to examine other world religions for their views and practices on choice and accountability.

Here are some ideas:
• Destiny, Karma, predestination, fate, kismet - all of these words designate the future as something that has a design. The fact that we humans don’t know that design is not a hinderance, it is a blessing. To let go and not worry about what will happen is to grab hold of freedom.

Transcendental philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said destiny is “whatever limits us.”

The mystical text, The Cloud of Unknowing by St. John of the Cross, states, “We must forget what we believe we know is true in order to really know.”

How does this information affect your decision making process?
How are knowledge and accountability linked?
How do you make choices? What do you consider?
Share your own beliefs about choice and accountability.

• John Lennon’s song “God,” lists the things he no longer believes in. Things that actually limited his beliefs. “I don’t believe in magic, I-Ching, Bible, tarot, Hitler, Jesus, Kennedy, Buddha, mantra, Gita, Yoga, Kings, Elvis, Zimmerman...” He even names the Beatles as a belief that limited him.

Make your own personal list of past beliefs that you no longer make a part of your life. “I don’t believe in...” Try to list the really intimate and self-defeating ones. End your list by naming what you do believe in.
This idea is taken from Shaving the Inside of Your Skull by Mel Ash

Table of Contents

About this Book
How to Use Games for Change
Presenting and Processing
Section One: Activities
20 Things I Love To Do
Body Parts
Cause & Effect
Companions on the Journey
Conga Line
Cooperative Drawing
Cooperative Puzzles
Depending on You
Face to Face/Back to Back
Herding Kittens
Holy Mackerel
If Ever...
Inner Compass
Peaceable World
Santicky, Fanticky, Lim Po Po
Shoe Holler
Stepping Stones
Tin Pan, Bang, Bang!
Turning Over A New Leaf
You Are on the Other Side
Section Two – The Labyrinth
Problem Solving Walk
Affirmation Walk
Celebration Dance
Letting Go Walk
Falling Apart: A Walk for Difficult Times
Section Three – Contact
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