How to Plan Successful Activities for Youth Groups
People usually remember 10 percent of what they hear, 50 percent of what they see, and 90 percent of what they do. For this reason, successful activity planning stresses learning by doing, which means that the children do the work themselves. It is difficult for young people to sit still. They need to be active; they must move. Learning by doing harnesses their energy and their need to be involved.
When planning activities for children, remember the younger the child, the shorter the attention span, especially if they have been in school all day. Emphasize activities that would be in a doing mode rather than a sitting quiet mode. Include projects that require activity especially repetitive physical activity. Plan lots of activities so you move quickly from one subject or activity to another. Activities should range from 3 to 8 minutes for this age.
There are many methods of teaching children. The least receptive method is the lecture method where children are only listening and not participating in their learning. As seeing and doing are added, the effectiveness is increased. Combinations of teaching methods are the best where more than one of our senses is being used.
Choose subjects and teaching methods so that the children will have fun while they are learning and doing. Keep the activities light and informal. Competitive activities can be fun, but make sure everyone involved can expect to be a winner and be part of the group. Input by children into what they will be doing heightens their participation and enthusiasm.
Now make a plan. Its best to job down a few simple thoughts, so you can be sure you are prepared for the activity.
For more information contact your local County Extension Office.