One problem both new and seasoned Recreation Therapists and Activity Professionals deal with from time to time is finding new activity ideas. These days building your Recreation Therapy resources is easier than ever thanks to the amazing device you are probably looking at right now!
Yes, the internet and all its information sharing capabilities can actually be a positive thing (except maybe around election time). If a Recreation Therapist needs to be inspired by new ideas or just get the support of someone else in the profession, it is easily done with just a few clicks.
Of course, there are still “old school” ways to build up your resource library. We will also discuss those later in this article.
Online Recreation Therapy Resources
Let’s take a look at how to expand your resources online. As you know, the internet is filled with so much information that can’t be distilled into a simple blog post. This is a starting point for your quest to find new and exciting recreation therapy resources. (No affiliates here–just things I’ve used or found over the years).
Therapeutic Recreation Directory
You might consider this one the old standard. This is the site Google brings you first when you are searching for Recreation Therapy resources. I don’t think it has changed much since I was a young professional. Even the cover photo is the same.
Don’t let that sway you. The site includes a wealth of ideas for arts and crafts, wellness, experiential, and leisure education activities. If you haven’t checked out this site, it will be well worth your time.
Wilderdom.com Group Therapy Ideas
I stumbled upon this website while researching this article. Though it has a very simple design, it has a lot of great group therapy ideas.
Sure, it certainly won’t have any web designers wowing at the appearance. For the rest of us, it is functional, easy to use, and filled with great ideas for icebreakers, trust building, and self-awareness activities. The focus is generally mental health. Some ideas would definitely require higher functioning participants. Other activities wouldn’t be too hard to adapt to your participants’ needs.
The page’s Recreation Therapy Activity Index links back to…guess. Yep, the Therapeutic Recreation Directory.
Activity Connection provides senior planning activities for Recreation Therapists and other Activity Professionals. I never used this website before, and it seems to work best when you have a subscription. The website states payments are as low as 13.33 a month when purchasing a year’s subscription.
The reason I added Activity Connection to this list (even though I haven’t used it) was because it kept coming up in various forums and comments for those looking for recreation therapy resources for the elderly. Some professionals swear by it. I did get a chance to do a little preview of the site. I could see how it would be very valuable tool for planning monthly activities.
And, at the very least, you could print out free bingo cards! No subscribing or entering login information required.
I heard about Therapist Aid from a coworker a year or so ago. This website has some great worksheets, videos, and guides for mental health professionals. There are both free and paid items available.
Some of the worksheets helped me expand my leisure education curriculum. There are also plenty of resources for developing many key life skills.
The Activity Director Today
Another website I found while researching this article was the Activity Director’s Office. There is a lot of information to sift through both free and with a paid subscription. The content is mostly geared towards long term care, but that doesn’t mean you can’t adapt. I had a chance to read a couple inspiring articles and activity ideas.
The website seeks to provide encouragement and resources through “helpful web links, many useful downloads, and interactive correspondence among Activity Directors across the United States,” according to the purpose statement.
Recreation Therapy Blogs
Some dedicated RTs use their leisure time to create inspiring posts geared towards helping others in the profession. Let’s take a look at a few I found:
Recreation Therapy Ideas Blog
The Recreation Therapy Ideas Blog is exactly what the name suggests–tons of activity ideas for your recreation programming needs. The blog’s simple design and subject labels at the right of the page make it easy to find the type of resources you need.
Unfortunately, it appears this blog stopped updating in 2015. It’s a shame because there really are a lot of great ideas. Make sure you check it out sooner rather than later in case it someday ends up being one of those 404 Page Not Found websites.
This Recreation Therapy blog was created by Julie Lagosz in December of 2016. I’ve enjoyed many of the articles and ideas presented in her blog posts. One of my favorites, which may end of being one of yours, is How to Make A Good Living as a Recreation Therapist.
Change the Challenge
Another blog that has some great articles related to Recreation Therapy and empowering people with a variety of disabilities is Change the Challenge. The blog posts are infrequent, but usually very high quality.
The Real Recreation Therapist
Maybe you heard of this blog. Or it may sound strangely familiar. Could it be a shameless plug? After all, you’re reading it now.
If this is the first time you are visiting the Real Recreation Therapist Blog…Welcome! My intention is to create a wealth of resources, information, and inspiration for those using recreation to heal, rehabilitate, and transform lives. Take a look around after you read this article.
…And then there is Pinterest
If you’ve never used Pinterest to find activity ideas, worksheets, or other recreation therapy resources, you should do it (right after you finish this article, share it, and maybe comment, of course).
Be ready to be overwhelmed…in a good way. Once you get to the site, you could search for just about anything recreation related or otherwise. Unlike search engines, the results are displayed as little pictures–or pins. You click on the pin and it will take you to the original website.
If you create an account–and you should because it’s free–you could save those pins on your own board. Better yet, organize the pins so your craft ideas and group icebreakers don’t get jumbled together.
Discussing resources you could get from the internet is a massive task that couldn’t be condensed into a simple blog post. I am going to skim over this topic for the moment, but not without stressing how important it is for other Recreation Therapists to connect, share ideas, and support each other.
Facebook has a lot of groups dedicated to Activity Professionals and Recreation Therapists. If you use Facebook, a simple search on your home page can show you both public and private groups.
Of course, finding online forums doesn’t end with Facebook. If you know any great RT forums, feel free to comment at the end of this article.
“Old School” Resources
There is a whole world out there beyond the screen in front of you. Some of us older Recreation Therapists had to rely on different sources to build our Recreation Therapy resources. Here are some ideas:
There are plenty of books out there offering craft, activity, team building, leisure education, and other recreation therapy resources. This is probably another great topic for a future post.
If you want one helpful recommendation, check out Leisure Education series by Norma Stumbo. You won’t be disappointed.
I have a new book, Therapy Games for Teens, coming out September 2020. Find out how these simple, but powerful activities can help your participants.
Coworkers and Volunteers
You may never know your coworkers hidden talents and resources until you have a discussion with them. Too often, we think of our coworkers or volunteers as people we interact with for forty or so hours a week. They have lives beyond work just like you. See what they do with their leisure time.
Some may even be willing to share their skills to enhance your programming. Sure, you may have to buy them a coffee–or have someone approve overtime–but this is an excellent opportunity.
Why? It helps your participants see this worker in a new light. It may give the coworker a new inspiration to come to work. And it helps with your programming!
If you have a newsletter or bulletin board, encourage your coworkers to share their hidden talents. You never know what ideas it may inspire.
Church Groups and Service Organizations
Believe it or not, there are plenty people out there willing to help. You just have to ask. Depending on your community, these good-intentioned groups could diversify your programming. And it may not cost you anything!
Send an email or make a few calls to churches and organizations in your area. See if they are searching for service projects. From a choir singing to a small group teaching a new skill, being willing to reach out to others will surely build your recreation therapy resources.
Many schools, especially high schools, have groups willing to do service projects. How could these students help you out? The answer may be a call away.
The word count of this post keeps rising, and the ideas keep coming. I feel I should end it here. If a website or resource was not mentioned in this post, don’t think of it as an omission, but an opportunity for future posts. Let’s connect!
Hopefully these ideas help you get started.
Tell the Real Recreation Therapist Community
Comment below to share your knowledge with others.
Where are your favorite places to find recreation therapy resources?
Was there an obvious resource I failed to mention in this post?
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If you have a resource you feel is valuable to Recreation Therapists and other Activity Professionals please contact me so we can find a way to share.