Family Totem Pole
~ From the book “104 Activities That Build:” ~
A totem pole is a tall woodcarving consisting of animal heads and/or bodies and is used to tell Native American stories or legends. A family totem pole can be created to tell the story of a family in a fun and unique way.
For people to explore feelings, perceptions, and relationships that they have with their family members.
People who need to share about their family life with the group or with a counselor but who have a difficult time talking about family dynamics and family situations.
- 1 or more
- Construction Paper
- Tape Colored markers
- Optional: Cardboard tube (i.e. toilet paper roll, paper towel roll or wrapping paper tube)
- Optional: Goggle eyes, felt, fabric, puff balls, pipe cleaners, or anything else that can be used to create animal faces.
Ask the group if they know what a totem pole is and explain how each totem pole tells a unique story. Explain to the group that they are to create their own unique totem poles about their families. Each person chooses a different animal to represent each family member and places the animal on the pole wherever they think that family member should be in their own story. For example, one pole may have a lion for a brother who is good looking, athletic and everything seems to come easy for him, and who also happens to be known for being quite lazy. Each totem pole must include at least three people and each person must put him/herself on the totem pole s/he is creating. Emphasize that a family can be whoever they feel is their family is at the time. For some it may be a foster family, grandparents, a special relative, or even a group home.
Give each person a cardboard tube or create one by rolling construction paper long ways into a tube and taping it. Supply the group with all the animal face creation supplies that you have gathered that can be used to create animal faces. Instruct them to create animals out of the materials and to glue them onto their totem pole. Allow quite a bit of time for this activity and people will do a really good job and be proud of their totem poles when they are finished with them. Allow for sharing time at the end so that each person may explain his/her special family totem pole to the group.
Discuss each totem pole after it has been explained to the group. You may allow group members to ask questions or use this time to discuss family relations that are occurring in each separate family.
Create the totem poles out of modeling clay or play dough.
~ From the book “The wRECking Yard of games and activities” ~
Throughout our lives we will wear many different “hats” as we take on many different roles. By recognizing what hats we have to wear and the roles that others think we have, we can learn more about ourselves and become aware of how we fit into the big picture.
This activity lets group members choose a hat for themselves to represent how they are feeling today. Then they get to create a hat for someone else to show how they perceive that person.
For people to share feelings of self-perception to the group and for each individual to learn how s/he is perceived by a peer.
Group members who are familiar with each other.
- 2 or more
- Newspaper or butcher paper
- Colored markers
Each person is assigned another member of the group and is instructed to make a paper hat for that person. Each participant makes a hat for him/herself and for the individual to whom s/he has been assigned. The hats should be colored in a way to create a type of hat which symbolically represents the person it is for (i.e. colored like a ski cap for someone who is “warm to all those around him/her” or a chef’s hat for someone who “takes all the small things in life and brings them together to make great things”). Encourage people to be creative.
When the hats are finished, hold a “ceremony” in which everyone has a chance to explain their own hats and to present the other hat to the individual for whom it was created. This activity should be done with a group of participants that have been together long enough to know each other well.
- What do you think about the hat that was created for you?
- How did you decide what kind of hat to create for yourself?
- How many different hats do you wear in your life?
- Do you have any hats that you wear in your life that you would like to change? If so, what are they and why do you wish to change them?