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

Alternate Activity 1: Telling a Story through Art

Part of Families

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Drawing paper, pencils, markers, pastels, and/or crayons

Description of Activity

In this activity, participants use graphic representation to create a story about a family and work. Participants may use serial illustrations, like a comic strip, or one large drawing. Introduce the activity by telling participants: "We have been talking about viewing families through the jobs they accomplish. Many of the jobs are recurring jobs that people do alone; one person takes out the trash, one person goes to school, and so on. In this activity, you will tell a story through your drawings about a family that works together on one job. The story may have whatever focus you choose. It can illustrate what family members do to create a Thanksgiving Day meal. Who peels the potatoes? Who vacuums? Who keeps the cats away from the turkey? Who watches the football games? You may reflect on your own family, another family, or a fantasy family. Your stories may be poignant or funny. Be creative!"

If participants need more ideas, suggest large jobs that a family could do together, such as:

  • Spring cleaning or preparing for a visit from grandparents
  • Holding a garage sale
  • Yard work
  • Moving day
  • Decorating for the holidays
  • Back-to-school preparation
  • Bringing home a new baby
  • Bringing home a new pet

Often youth enjoy working on the floor or in other relaxing spaces. Provide background music if you wish.

When they have completed their work, gather participants in a circle or around a table. Invite each to show and talk about what she/he represented and to describe the family that inspired his/her work. Encourage informal sharing and questioning. Close the discussion by sharing reflections on the use of drawing media to represent families. How is this exercise similar to and different from photographing families?