By: Madelyn Falk, Teen Tastic Program Lead- GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago

Our Teen Tastic program is a wonderful place for participants to practice social skills, make friends, and have tons of fun! This Spring, we did so many great activities including setting goals, dance parties, and so much more!

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Goal Setting: At our first session of 2023, participants were asked to set some personal goals for the new year by filling out a “Goal Setting Worksheet”. Some questions included “I am really good at…”, “This year, I am going to get even better at…”, and “During Teen Tastic, I hope to accomplish…” This activity fostered personal reflection and self advocacy.

Team-Bonding: When reflecting on their goals for 2023, many of our participants said they wanted to make more friends at Teen Tastic. To do so, our participants did a few team-bonding and small-group activities like making Marshmallow Spaghetti Towers and playing Debate. It was a great way for everyone to get to know each other a little bit better!

“Wave, Fist Pump, or Hug?”: This game includes one individual practicing going up to their friend and asking for consent to give them a wave, fist pump, or hug. The game encourages participants to be respectful of personal space and boundaries, and emphasizes that it’s ok to say no when we’re feeling uncomfortable.

Musical Jeopardy: Our group includes many fans of music! Our participants loved playing musical jeopardy on the playhouse projector, where teams were asked to “Name that Song”, “Name that Singer”, “Finish the Lyrics”, and “Name that Movie Soundtrack”.

Freeze Dance: A fan favorite activity of this year has been Freeze Dance. Participants were asked to make a Teen Tastic playlist full of their favorite songs, so we could jam out to their favorite tunes. When the music started grooving, so did we, and we had a blast! 

Game Night: Another fan favorite activity was our Game Night! Participants split up into teams to play Giant Jenga, Pictionary, and Bag Toss. The teams rotated through the three games while trying to earn a certain number of points. Our teams were super successful and came up with really fun team names!

Fleece Blankets: In the spirit of giving back, our participants made fleece blankets to donate to a local animal shelter. Tying knots to create the blankets practiced fine motor skills, and our discussion encouraged participants to volunteer and make a difference in their communities. The blankets were donated to The Anti-Cruelty Society.

Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy: Last but not least, our participants were visited by the lovely dog and handler teams from Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy. Participants were able to give treats, play games, and walk around the playhouse with our new furry friends, and practiced valuable skills like taking turns and compassion.

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