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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Co-operative / therapeutic games

Various requests have been received for co-operative games, therapeutic games, life skills games, etc. Lower down in this page there are also replies about "ice breakers"

I don't know about books but this website is an excellent resource.

Neil Hosler

You can order some good social skills and anger management games and books from Research Press. Their website address is

New Society Publishers also have some good books. Their web site is: One of their books: I've Got A Volcano in my Tummy is about the best anger management workbook I have ever seen. It is designed for use with children but the handouts/activities work just as well with adults who did not have opportunities to learn these skills as children.

Residential settings also are great environments for exploring the games, activities, and challenge by choice philosophy of Project Adventure, P.O. Box 100 Hamilton, MA 01936, (978) 468-7981 (978) 468-7605. Web site:

The Rediscovery Process (outdoor games and activities based on native traditions is also great). The book is: Henley, Thom (1989) Rediscovery: Ancient Pathways New Directions Canada and US: Lone Pine Publishing.

If you can get involved in a Rediscovery or Project Adventure training program – all the better. Similarly, Camping Associations such as: The Ontario Camping Association and American Camping Association also run great training programs, and – in my experience – all camp activities can easily be adapted to residential treatment centre settings by people who have a therapeutic background.
I also like the following books for their comprehensive combination of skill building, cross-cultural respect, and promotion of cooperative interactions through games and cooperative activities:

Khalsa, Siri Nam (1996) Group exercises for enhancing social skills & self-esteem. Professional Resource Press
Orlick, Terry (1978, republished in 1995) The cooperative sports & games book. New York: Pantheon Books
Orlick, Terry (1982, republished in 1995) The second cooperative sports & games book. New York: Pantheon Books

One of the original social skills training programs was: Walker, Hill et al (1983) The Walker Social Skills Curriculum: The Accepts Program, Texas: Pro Ed Resources. Walker has lots of other resources out on anger management, aggression replacement training, and adolescent social skills.

Two books that are designed for use in schools are:
Gibbs, J. (1995) Tribes: A new way of learning and being together. California: CenterSource Systems
Sapon-Shevin, Mara. (1998) Because We Can Change the World : A Practical Guide to Building Cooperative Inclusive Classroom Communities. Prentice Hall.
Both of these books are about creating cooperative learning environments.

Linda Hill

Have you tried Creative Interventions for Troubled Youth, a book by Liana Lowenstein? It has a number of good ideas.
Patti MacKenna

Jessica Kingsley Publishers do a very good series of therapeutic games called Lifegames. They are a London-based publisher, but they have a USA address as well: 1900 Frost Road, Suite 101, Bristol, PA 19007, USA.

If you're concerned about sexual behaviour, you might consider: Let’s talk about touching: a therapeutic game, by Toni Cavanagh Johnson, [South Pasadena, CA], 1992. This can be ordered direct from its creator, Toni Cavanagh Johnson.

Eggert, Leona L; Anger management for youth: stemming aggression and violence, National education service, Bloomington, IN, 1994; ISBN 1879639297. This is not exactly a game, but contains many useful exercises and worksheets.

Two UK games that have a good reputation are: The Essence: a board game for young people, by Margrie, Kez; Tagg, Jocelyne; Lundie-brown, Jack. BREAD youth project, Bristol and district health authority, Bristol, 1994

The grapevine game: the sex education board game, National youth agency, National youth agency, Leicester, 1994

Alan MacQuarrie

There is a catalog that includes many such resources. One is Childswork/Childsplay, 135 Dupont Street, P.O. Box 760, Plainview, NY 11803-0760. Or call 1-800-962-1141, fax 1-800-262-1886. Web at:

Jerry Beker

I have two great sources for you. I teach CYW at a Community College and I find these sources to be of great value in a wide variety of settings.

1. 104 Activities that Build: Self Esteem, Team Work, Communication, Anger Management, Self Discovery, Coping Skills.

2. The Wrecking Yard of Games and Activities.

Both books are written by Alanna Jones, CTRS. She is from from the States and has also been very helpful/available through e-mail. The books are published by Idyll Arbor, Inc., but I have been successful with directly ordering both books directly from the author via e-mail. The books cost $24.00 (U.S.) and again, are well worth it. I've been getting really good feed back from students and placement supervisors alike.

Andrew Buntin

A good book on this topic is Activities for Adolescents in Therapy by Susan Dennison, Charles Thomas, 1988. The activities are various (not particularly games) and for a group therapy context.

Karen Vanderven

Here are some relevant titles:

Dearling, Alan, Armstrong, Howie, & Neville, Jerry: The new youth games book, Russell House, Lyme Regis, 1994 – 1898924007
Smith, Alan: Creative outdoor work with young people, Russell House, Lyme Regis, 1994 – 1898924252
Dearling, Alan, & Amstrong, Howie: World youth games, Russell House, Lyme Regis, 1995 – 1898924503
Marl, Katie: The Accessible games book, Jessica Kingsley, London, 1996 – 1853028304
Cooper, Geoff: Outdoors with young people: a leader's guide to outdoor activities, the environment and sustainability Russell House, Lyme Regis, 1998 – 1898924244

Alan Macquarrie

There are SO many books and resources for teamwork activities and for building experiential education into your work with youth. If you want to look for books, look for anything written by Karl Rohnke, go to the Project Adventure or Adventureworks websites and you can find a lot of resources.

Stephanie Estabrook

Connecting Kids: Exploring diversity together contains over 400 cooperative games, creative activities, and experiences in nature that are organized according to 20 skills for connecting with others.
It is available through Building Bridges Consulting (see below) or through the publisher:

There are lots of inclusive leadership training and team building activities as well as a list of other resources, including adventure programming.

Building Bridges Consulting Web Site: Toll free Ph/Fax: 1-888-746-1529 (USA/Canada) or call 1-250-746-1529. TTY 1-250-746-1539
Linda Hill

Cowstails and Cobras and Silver Bullets and Silver Bullets & More Silver Bullets are excellent game and teamwork manuals put out by Karl Ronke. Also look up the Canadian Camping Association on the net as they have an excellent resource library in which you can purchase these and more. Ropes Online is a good resource as well.

Neil Hosler

For some ideas on group games and activities, pick up a Scouting Handbook, or a book called John Sweets Pioneering. It has some really good projects for building teamwork in youth. There also some really good game suggestions in both books, and you can find some additional books on games and teamwork/building through your local Scouting group.

Claude Balesdent

...and replies about "ice breakers"

Well, a game we played in a class of mine might work. You make 4 equal-sized paper squares and cut them up into various pieces. Mix up all the pieces and mark each set with a letter (not the sets that make squares, but the mixed sets). Put each set into an envelope. Sit four people down at a table. Give each of them an envelope and tell them they need to make 4 equal-sized squares witht their pieces. They are not allowed to speak, point, nudge or grab other's pieces. The idea is to see how long it takes for people to start sharing. Time them. You may want to have some people who watch to make sure they aren't cheating. In my class we discussed the different ways people began sharing and how long it took.

Hope this makes sense.

Fred Anderson

Talk to local Brownie or Girl Guide leaders, a Tupperware leader or the local Boys and Girls Club. You could also try the Options for Youth as they run groups for adolescents.

Hope this helps.


I refer you to a group of books from Project Adventure. They are wonderful. They are:

Islands of Healing
Silver Bullets
Cowstails and Cobras

I have also used Bag of Tricks (Rohnke, Karl), and The Cooperative Sports and Games Book (Orlick, Terry).

Hope this helps!

Jeff Glass

A fun active game is called have you ever....

Have group stand in a circle, each standing on some sort of marker, I've used paper, frizbees or even pie plates. Everyone gets a spot except one, usually the game leader to start with.
The game leader stands in the middle and say a statement of truth (keep it appropriate of course) like "have you ever been canoeing?" If anyone has done what the person says they have to run across to the opposite side of the circle and find an open spot to occupy while everyone is moving.

The game leader also tries to find an open spot while all this goes on so someone always ends up being "it" your can learn alot just through the questions and who moves as to the like and dislikes of the group. It's active, silly and fun and thats what icebreakers are all about.

Neil Hosler

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