The activity is NOT the main thing
3 weeks ago I started my workshop at Temple Emanuel for kids at 4th and 5th grades. I see that as a great success, they participated, they thought and they were active! The sessions were planned to the smallest detail, and for those of you who know me, it is not something I usually do... But it was great NOT because it went according to plan, but because it DIDN'T.
I made sure to have a plan, and then I ignored it ( at least some of it). Each activity that they were exposed to was only a trigger to what I wanted to see. I wanted to see the interaction between the kids, I wanted to see the kids who are bored with it, the kids who try to destroy it, the kids who try to win and the kids who decide not to participate. And I got all of those options ( and more)!
When they were told that " the floor is Lava" and that they need to go across without touching the floor, I don't really care if they make it or not - they floor is not REALLY LAVE... I care to see who is leading the rest, who is craving for attention, who is being left out, who is being pushed away, and who is thinking creatively. Once the activity is done, it is time to rip the real value of that "lava".
There is a lot more to be done with them, this workshop has already produced some results mostly good ones). we have four more sessions to go and they will be pushed further and further out of their comfort zone!