The advantages of physical activity can range from helping you feel happier due to the release of serotonin, to improving brain health and memory due to the increase in blood flow and oxygen. So, don’t plan a retreat or conference with the intention of attendees sitting in a classroom listening to a guest speaker, or even you, for a majority of the time. Let’s plan to get up and move with a purpose.
Some ideas to help incorporate movement into the itinerary of an event are listed below:
- Ice Breakers – Be intentional about helping your attendees make connections and get that much needed physical movement.
- Begin each session or class with a 10 to 20-minute ice-breaker that requires movement.
- Examples of group ice-breakers
- ‘BINGO’ – ‘SHARE’ – ‘I LOVE’ game
- Preprinted cards with ‘bingo’ squares are given to each person, along with a pen/pencil for writing.
- Guests are instructed to move around the room collecting signatures for each of the squares on the card, according to what the square says. (Samples for squares: has a pet other than cat/dog, has travelled outside the US, fluent in 2 or more languages, etc)
- Encourage everyone to complete their card and return to their seat. Once everyone is finished have volunteers share something interesting they learned about another attendee.
- THIS/THAT Questions – finding others in your retreat group with similar interests/likes
- All guests line up or circle up, depending on group size.
- As questions are asked to choose one or another, guests step forward or backward depending on their individual response. If you have a really large group, sitting down or standing up may be a better option.
Questions can be customized to follow a theme or focus for your event. (Sample questions: cats or dogs, night owl or early bird, reading books or watching movies, winter or summer, etc.)
- FOUR CORNERS Questions
- Similar to THIS/THAT, but now guests move to a designated corner/area based on which of 4 responses they would choose. (Sample questions: Preferred movie type-comedy, romance, drama, horror; Favorite ice-cream – chocolate, strawberry, moose tracks, rocky road; Favorite fast food – Chick fil A, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, McDonalds)
- DRACT (Draw & Act)
- Pre-make 15 cards each for a ‘draw’ or ‘act’ clue and place all cards into a container. Try to think of clues that could apply to your event’s theme or focus. (Sample cards: Act – eating, sleeping, mother, baby, inviting a friend over; Draw – family, specific book, recreation activity, song title)
- Divide your group in half.
- Taking turns, someone from each group selects a card and is given 30 seconds to draw or act out the clue for their side to guess. If answer is not given within the 30 seconds the other group has 15 seconds to come up with the correct answer for the steal.
- Continue alternating draws until all cards are played and see which group ends up with the most correct responses.
- Walking Activities – Make use of the space around, whether inside or outside.
- Prayer Walk – customized stations for specific areas of prayer with visual reminders (i.e. – world map, picture of specific people or groups of people, posters with words written to represent strongholds / sins to overcome, mirror – don’t forget to pray for yourself)
- Reflection Walk – partner/small group walk and discuss specific ‘take-aways’ so far during the event
- Quiet Time/ Meditation Walk – encourage attendees to take a 15 to 20-minute individual walk around the facility/retreat center prior to heading to breakfast.
- Scavenger Hunt – send small groups out to find (and snap a picture of) various items on a list
- Dance or Human Video Presentations – Small groups are assigned songs to create a visual presentation of the lyrics/message within.
- Synchronized dances
- Story telling skits
- Simple Stretches – periodically take a break from sitting and organize a few fun and beneficial moving exercises to keep your attendees alert and engaged.
In James 1: 19-25 We are challenged to be doers of the word. So let’s incorporate this idea into retreat planning and take opportunity to encourage attendees to get up and move – be doers! Basically, it comes down to making your event/retreat as memorable as possible. There’s a saying that states we remember: 10% of what we read --- 20% of what we hear --- 30% of what we see --- 50% of what we see & hear --- 70% of what we discuss with others --- 80% of what we personally experience --- 95% of what we teach others.