In the books 104 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, and Coping Skills and the book The wRECking Yard of Games and Activities you will find games and activities that cover all these topics.
On this page is a sample of the games found in the Self-Esteem chapter of each book.
You can also find these games along with activities from all the chapters in a PDF format by clicking on the Home or go to the Therapeutic Games page to find activities from all chapters posted together.
Same Letter, Different Name
(from the Self-Esteem Chapter of the book 104 Activities that Build:)
Ambitious, athletic, artistic and altruistic, - there are plenty more words that begin with “A” that create a positive description of people we know or even of ourselves. Thinking of new words from A to Z that are descriptive of the people we know is the purpose of this game, and with added competition it’s lots of fun. The best part, though, is getting to hear positive descriptive words about yourself at the end of this fast paced thinking game.
For group members to increase self-esteem by recognizing the positive traits that exist in each other.
People who could benefit from hearing positive comments about themselves in order to improve their own self-esteem. Group members should be familiar with each other.
4 to 20 participants
Pens or pencils
A timer or stopwatch
An envelope filled with the letters of the alphabet (written on small slips of paper)
Divide the group into two even teams and ask each team to write down on one piece of paper all the names of the people on their team and on the other team. Once all the names are written down, select a letter of the alphabet from the envelope. Inform the teams what letter was chosen and give them two minutes to work as a team to think of a positive word, or words beginning with the chosen letter that describes each person. For example, if the letter H was chosen and the names John, Amy, and Craig were on the list my team may come up with:
John - Hard worker
Amy - Honest, Humble
Craig - Handsome
Once the time limit is up bring the two teams together and ask them to each read their list to the group. For added fun and competition you may give each team a point for every word on their list that isn’t on the other team’s list.
Play as many rounds of this game as you have time for. You may want to make specific rules for the activity (i.e. you must think of at least one word for each person on the list). The discussion may be held at the end of the game or hold a short discussion after each round.
1. How do you feel about the words that were chosen to describe you?
2. Were you surprised by any of the words used to describe you? If so why?
3. Did anyone give any ideas for the a word that you would use to describe yourself ?
4. Is it easy or hard to think of positive words to describe others? Yourself? Why?
Don’t give a time limit; instead give bonus points to the team that thinks of a word to describe everyone on the list first.
With a large group don’t include your own team on your list, instead just think of words to describe the members of the other team, or break the group up into more than two teams.
Gift from the Heart
(from the Self-Esteem Chapter of the book "The wRECking Yard")
Giving and receiving gifts is often a very special and magical event. The giver expresses caring for the receiver by selecting something he or she feels would be appreciated. The receiver gets a token of affection and love. This activity is about giving your understanding of others to them and learning how others see you through the exchange of thoughtful gifts.
To build relations among group members through positive interactions and to increase self-esteem by receiving thoughtful gifts from others.
People with low self-esteem who could benefit from being thoughtful and nice towards others.
2 or more
Colored markers or crayons
Each member of the group chooses an imaginary gift to give to each person in the group. Each gift is drawn or described on a piece of paper to be given to the recipient. The gifts should be thought out so they represent the individuals who receive the gifts. The gifts may be deep and thoughtful such as “courage to face life’s difficulties”, for someone who has shared many deep problems with the group. Or the gifts may simply be something the receiver would enjoy, such as “a season ski pass to go skiing any time you want,” for someone who enjoys skiing. Once everyone has completed their gifts, let one person at a time give out his/her gifts to the others. When giving the gifts, the giver should explain what the gift is and why she or he chose to give that particular gift to the individual.
1. How did you decide what gifts to give?
2. What did you think about the gifts you got?
3. Do you think there was a good match between the people and the gifts they received?
If the group is large, assign each person a select number of group members to create a gift for, or break the large group into smaller group.