With a new school year or other kind of transition time, it is nice to spend some time building community and making sure all of the youth and adults in your program know one another. Building community is an important step in making sure your environment is emotionally safe and that everyone feels like they belong. The Staff Practices section of ClubPrograms.org is the new home of the YD Toolbox, and has a ton of ideas for games that build community, get youth talking to each other, and that bring up the energy and FUN!
Today on ClubX we are sharing a creative get-to-know-you activity that will take a little longer than most community builders. You can use it as your main activity in a program session, and it is best suited for youth ages 7 and older. In this activity, youth will create a flag that represents who they are. You’ll need art supplies such as pencils, markers, crayons, or whatever else you’d like to use, and copies of a flag template or blank paper if you want youth to fill the entire page with their flag. Here are a couple of template options:
Explain that flags are used to symbolize a country, state, or even social causes. If you have access to a projector, consider showing some examples of flags. Then explain that in this activity, youth will create flags that represent or symbolize who they are, and some of what makes them unique. This will help everyone learn more about each other. Consider creating your own sample flag prior to the session as a model. Give examples of what youth could add to their flags, including:
- a basketball or soccer ball for youth who love sports
- their favorite book
- an outline of a country or a flag representing where they live or cultural affiliation
- their family
- sneakers as a representation of a sneakerhead hobby
- animals that they love or that they feel like represent them
This activity is open to whatever types of images they want to include. If youth are unsure, help them to brainstorm what they could draw. After 15-20 minutes, bring youth back to the main group and ask or volunteers to share their flags and explain their symbols. If you have a large group, consider breaking youth into smaller groups so that everyone gets a chance to share. (You can find grouping strategies on Club Programs!) Thank youth for their participation and consider displaying their flags so everyone can admire them.
Variations: You could use a Coat of Arms instead of a flag and link to a lesson on Medieval history. You could also turn this into a tech activity by having youth create their flags on Powerpoint or Canva.