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Therapeutic Recreation Activities

The following article suggests some useful recreation activities, aimed at reducing stress and building confidence and self-esteem of the participants. Read on...
PsycholoGenie Staff
Recreational therapy is a treatment which is used for patients with mental or physical illnesses, so that they can improve upon their health, become emotionally stronger, get an opportunity to socialize with other people and have a fun time, in spite of being ill. Recreational therapy, which incorporates a variety of enjoyable activities, such as dance, art and crafts, games, amongst others, is a fun way to heal, build confidence and develop motor and reasoning skills of the patients.

Interesting Therapeutic Recreation Activities

Daily Skills
Activities that teach the participants some daily skills, such as how to cook, maintain personal hygiene, and how to keep their room organized, can prove to be very useful and hence should be incorporated into the recreational therapy program. Conducting cooking classes for the participants, giving them step by step instructions/live demonstrations on how to keep themselves groomed, all these activities are very useful as they teach the participants how to live a healthy, organized life, on their own.

Self-Esteem
Games that build the patient's self-esteem are another must have. An easy example of this is to keep an art and craft activity, wherein each of the participants makes a scrapbook on his life. The participants are instructed to write their name on the cover of the book and decorate it with colors, paints and stickers. Thereafter, on every page, they write or draw something that depicts their life. The participants can write/design/decorate one page every day. Once the scrapbook is complete, the participants get to show it to others in the group.

Relaxation
As people with illnesses are often stressed out due to the pain and discomfort they might be going through, a relaxation activity can do wonders for them. To undertake such activities, get a CD which has relaxation music. Make all the participants sit cross-legged in a room, on the floor. Lower the lights and ask them to close their eyes. Light a lava lamp in the middle of the room, or a few scented candles. Play some soothing music on a CD player and ask the participants to simply relax, listen to the music and not think about anything else. Undertake this activity for fifteen minutes every day. It will have a very calming effect on the participants.

New Learning
The participants should be encouraged to take up a hobby and learn something new. Gardening, dancing, knitting, anything that involves fresh challenges for the participants and makes them learn how to overcome obstacles, is a good activity. Gardening particularly is a great option, as it will keep the participants in the midst of nature and fresh air, thus improving their physical and mental health, in the process.

Socialization
To improve the socialization skills of the participants, conduct this "spinning a yarn" game. For this, take yarns of different colors, cut them into varied lengths and then tie them together. After this, roll the yarn and make a ball. Make the participants sit in a circle and give one of them this ball of yarn. This person now has to start telling a story and while he is at it, he has to unravel the yarn from the ball. As soon as the next color in the ball of yarn appears, the next participant takes over and starts telling the story from where the last one has left. Likewise, the ball keeps on passing hands and the story keeps on extending. This is a fun way for the participants to synchronize their thought processes and become closer in the process.

Talents
One of the best activities for kids is to organize some fun events for them, from time to time. Conducting a talent show, in which the kids get to showcase any hidden talent they might have, be it singing, dancing, acting, etc. is a good idea. Planning some fun events every other day, for a week, can be great too. For instance, you can have a whistling contest on one day and a joke day on another, wherein everyone has to tell five or more jokes to the others in the group. A week-long event of such days can indeed be very relaxing for all! Planning a Hollywood night, where everyone comes dressed as their favorite star, complete with red carpet and photographers, is an excellent idea for a fun event for adults.

Recreational activities, such as the ones mentioned above, have a positive effect on a person's mind. As researches have shown that patients who are optimistic and positive about their recovery, are more likely to overcome their illness, recreation therapy programs can indeed prove to be beneficial, when undertaken side by side with the medical treatment.
Dancing lesson with kids
cooking class Chef and student