When teaching the importance of leisure, it is imperative our participants learn the benefits gained from their free time decisions. This leisure education activity uses a hands-on approach to explore the benefits of popular free time activities. By using discussion and creative expression this leisure education activity has two major benefits:
The participants increase awareness regarding benefits of their leisure choices.
By displaying the finished advertisements in a prominent location, you highlight the importance of recreation programming in your facility.
This activity is best suited for higher functioning participants with the intellectual ability to realize how leisure benefits them. Also, they should be physically and cognitively able to create an advertisement from a blank piece of paper. Provide whatever adaptations needed–extra help to adaptive equipment–to help your clients complete this leisure education activity.
Need Areas Addressed
Leisure awareness, self-expression, motor skills, decision making, creativity, self awareness, and leisure alternatives are some need areas addressed by this activity.
Supplies and Materials
At the very least, this leisure education activity requires paper and pencils. To make it more interesting, use art materials like colored pencils, markers, old magazines, glue, construction paper, and paint.
For the discussion prior to the activity, consider having a dry erase board or easel with paper and markers.
Finally, consider a place to hang the participants’ finished advertisements. A bulletin board works well. Consider high traffic areas where participants, staff, families, and others could see the value of recreation.
- Begin the group with a discussion about how every decision someone makes benefits them. Use simple examples like brushing teeth (benefits include: nice smile, good breath, healthy teeth, etc). Have the participants name benefits they get from a few simple activities.
- Talk about how one’s leisure time is all about choices. Have the participants name a positive leisure activity. Then, have them brainstorm the potential benefits gained from the activity. Write the benefits on a dry erase board so they are clearly visible.
- Next have the participants come up with a leisure activity that is not so positive (for example, eating too many sweets, doing drugs, watching too much television). Like the previous step, list the benefits they get from choosing this activity.
- Discuss how one creates change in their life by finding a positive leisure activity that gives them the same benefits as a negative one. For example, in a drug rehab setting, have the clients suggest ways they could find positive leisure activities achieve the same benefits of using drugs. This discussion will vary based on your population.
- Have your participants create an advertisement for a positive leisure activity. Allow them to draw, clip magazine pictures, paint, or whatever you find appropriate. Tell them they must name at least three benefits of the selected activity in the advertisement.
- During the creative period, provide assistance and discussion as necessary. For example, if a participant is having trouble finding multiple benefits for a selected activity, open up the discussion to the group.
- Have each participant share their work and discuss the benefits of the activity they selected.
- Hang the advertisements in a prominent location to showcase the importance of positive leisure and recreation programming in everyone’s life.
Here is an example I quickly made on the computer:
Use art materials that are appropriate for your clients.
Cater the discussions to your participants’ situations. For example, doing this activity in a drug rehab would be a lot different than a supportive living environment.
For those who work in settings where they feel the role of Recreation Therapy is undervalued, showcasing the participants’ work on a bulletin board is a great way to stress the importance of recreation in everyone’s life.
Have fun with this activity. Make it a contest and have the participants vote for the best advertisement. Or, instead of having a bulletin board full of advertisements, feature one a week at a prominent location or newsletter.
Here are some questions to debrief this leisure education activity:
Was it difficult to figure out benefits of your favorite activity?
What did you learn while doing this activity?
If someone chose a similar activity, what benefits were different?
How could being aware of the benefits of leisure activities help with your free time decisions in the future?
What not so positive activities could your replace based on the benefits you get from them?
Talk about a peer’s advertisement you found interesting.
This leisure education activity has the potential to change the way participants view everyday recreation in their lives. Making the actual advertisements is a fun way the participants can use creative expression in a learning activity. The group discussion, however, is just as important as the activity for the clients to get the way their leisure choices could benefit their lives.
Tell the Real Recreation Therapist
What creative ways to you teach leisure in your programming?
How do you highlight the importance of recreation in your facility?
What are some of your favorite creative expression activities?
Comment below to join in TRRT’s community discussion.