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Go For It!

How to plan and execute an activity session

In this article you can find basic instructions how to create an activity session for any client group. These instructions may help in planning a short recreational session to add activity to any course or lesson. The article consists of three parts: planning, implementation and reporting.

An activity session carried out with the second graders at the Nummi Elementary School is used as an example.


Firstly, you need to assess the client group. You should know the needs of the clients, the level of their skills, the size of the group and the timeframe for the session.  You may get some ideas for the activities from the group. Before planning the actual exercises, you could decide on a theme. The theme may aid you to create a positive tension for the session. You must also consider the aims of the session.

Our group contacted the teacher in Nummi Elementary School and offered to facilitate an activity session for the class. During the correspondence the group found out the basic information about the group and their wishes for the theme. There were a few alternatives and the group decided on a space theme.

After deciding on the theme, the actual planning may take place. Source literature could be helpful in need of new ideas. The Internet offers a vast variety of options and tips. The plan should include a warm up, actual activities and a conclusion. While drawing up the actual plan you could also prepare for unexpected happenstances with variations and additional exercises.

Our group planned space themed activities for a group of 8-9 year-old pupils. For the warm up there were a few possibilities from which the group chose an easy and icebreaking name game. The group tested the game with a test person to assure that the level of the warm up and language was suitable. The group then thought of a few variations to raise or lower the level of the exercise if needed during the actual session.


In order to motivate the group beforehand you should let them know what to expect. It is important to go through the schedule of the session at the beginning. The instructor should have some knowledge about group dynamics and should sense the atmosphere to be able to react and to encourage the group.

The style of implementation depends greatly on the instructor’s personality and disposition.

The participants of the activity session were informed about the upcoming event the day before. When the pupils arrived at the classroom, the group had already arranged it to be suitable for the activities. The pupils gathered in a circle and the instructors introduced themselves and went through the schedule.

During the session the instructors took intuitively turns in leading while the other assisted the pupils. The group used their improvisational skills to react on upcoming situations.

At the end of the session you could ask the group for feedback. This might help you in reporting the session and improving forthcoming activities.

The group asked the pupils to go stand on a line to show if they had enjoyed the session. In one end there was an instructor with a happy face smiley card and in the other an instructor with a sad face smiley card. All pupils gathered in the happy face end of the line until they heard that the instructors were leaving. Then they rushed to the sad face smiley card holder, took hold of his legs and refused to let go.


The form of reporting depends on the assignment and/or on the status of the instructor. Usually, it includes the plans, source literature and references, the documentation of the actual session and the feedback. In conclusion you should also consider if the aims have been reached.

In their report, the group first evaluated their successes and mishaps. They evaluated the functioning of the project and that of the group. They included the correspondence with the teacher, their plans and some pictures documenting the activities in the report. The report also contained a feedback form from the teacher.



Implementation – toteutus
Recreational – virkistävä
To assess – arvioida
Correspondence – kirjeenvaihto
The source literature – lähdekirjallisuus
Vast – valtava
A happenstance – sattuma
Assure – varmistaa
A variation – muunnos
Beforehand – etukäteen
A schedule – aikataulu, suunnitelma
An atmosphere – tunnelma, ilmapiiri
To encourage – rohkaista, innostaa
Disposition – luonteenlaatu, temperamentti
Upcoming, forthcoming – tuleva
To gather – kokoontua

Text by Anna Frilund and Joonas Ruokamo

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