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Designing Challenging and Engaging Activities for Kids (of all ages!) In Two Parts – Part II

If you’ve read Part I, you’re ready to dig into designing the activities.

Now the next step is to design the activity itself, keeping the above information in mind. When I am designing an activity, I think about the various ways to get kids excited about the topic. Can I show a video? Is there something they can touch/see/hear/experience as a way to introduce a new idea? Is there an older participant who can be the ‘expert’ and share what they already know about the topic?

Then, as I flesh the idea out, I try to incorporate at least two different learning styles (based on Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences) to ensure that I am creating learning opportunities for all participants. Each time I do a lesson, I try to challenge myself to find at another learning style I can use to introduce the idea, therefor eventually reaching all of the learner’s dominant style.

As you are developing the activity, ask yourself: would I want to do this? If the answer is “no”, then it’s pretty simple, do something else.

Lastly, try to think about some of the logistics that make or break an activity, including (but not limited to):

  • What resources do I have/do I need? What equipment might I need and whom do I have to ask to borrow it?

  • Will I need to rearrange the room? Do I have to find a different space?

  • What time of day am I doing this activity?

  • What is the MINIMUM/MAXIMUM number of participants I need for this to be successful?

  • How can I include more experienced participants in leadership roles?

  • How can I create a showcase for participants to ‘show’ off what they’ve learned?

  • What do I need to do next to keep the learning going or going deeper?

Some tools you may want to use as you are planning your activity include:

  • Lesson plan template

  • Icebreaker/other resources

  • Survey or evaluation

  • Pre/post survey

  • Camera or video to document the process

Be sure to read about Part one, which describes the 3 elements of challenging & engaging activities.

Contact me if you’d like a sample lesson plan/workshop template.

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