Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families

Activity 2: Drawing Our Families

Part of Families

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Materials for drawing, including paper, pencils, pastels, crayons, markers
  • CD player and background music (optional)

Description of Activity

Introduce this activity by saying, "A step in exploring families in our congregation is for us to think about our own families. Today we are going to engage in some activities about our own families." Invite participants to create visual descriptions of their families in drawings. Explain that their drawings will not be "objective," but they will reflect the creators' points of view at the moment. Emphasize that participants should not worry about drawing well or accurately.

In their drawings, participants can define their families and include as many people as they wish. Encourage participants to have fun with this exercise-to be fluid, fanciful, and abstract in their drawings, if they choose. If a participant objects, be sensitive to his/her discomfort. Offer the option to draw a fantasy family as an alternative.

Sometimes groups want more direction for this exercise. Use the following prompts as needed:

  • Can you show how family members are connected to each other in your drawings?
  • Can you capture expression or emotion?
  • Will your drawing be realistic or interpretive?
  • If beings from another planet were visiting, what would your family drawing tell them about families?

Note: For some groups, the process of drawing families will be quick and perfunctory. Other groups may enjoy a longer process. Provide background music and an array of drawing materials as you see fit for your group.

After a period of time, invite participants to share their drawings and describe their families any way they wish. Sharing can happen in pairs, small groups, or the large group. Consider asking participants their preference, saying, "Shall we share in small groups or as a large group?" If participants share in small groups or in pairs, offer the option to come together afterward for some large group sharing that will focus more on themes rather than on individuals.

Encourage participants to talk about the process of creating the drawing as well as the drawing itself. Be open to all discussion, and be careful not to push individuals to say more than they wish

Wrap up the activity with a closing discussion. The goal of the activity is for participants to explore their own families as part of a broader process of learning about families in general. Use the following prompts to facilitate discussion, as you choose:

  • What was difficult or enjoyable about this activity?
  • Remember a time when you used to draw pictures of your family-perhaps when you were younger. How did today's exercise feel different or the same?
  • Did the exercise make you think differently about your family?
  • What did you learn about families?