Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Activity 3: Hot Chocolate River

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Two six-foot ropes or tape (the "riverbanks")
  • 10 sheets of paper, felt, carpet squares, or paper plates (the "marshmallows")

Preparation for Activity

  • Choose a location with plenty of space-either outside or a large open room. Lay two ropes on the ground parallel to each other with about seven giant steps in between.

Description of Activity

Gather the group on one side of a rope. Explain that in front of them is a hot chocolate river that is too hot to swim across, too deep to walk across, and too wide to jump across. The challenge is to get everyone across the river by using the marshmallows that you provide for them. Give the group two "marshmallows" to begin with. Tell them that the other challenge is that the river's current is so strong that the marshmallows will float away if someone is not holding them down with a hand, foot, or other part of their body. If anyone touches or falls into the hot chocolate river, they have to start over. Tell them that every time they get another person across the river, you will give them another marshmallow.

Leave the group to work and reason together to get everyone across the river, keeping an eye on them to make sure that they remember the rules-marshmallows must have a hand/foot/body part on them at all times, and anyone who touches the hot chocolate must go back.

When everyone has made it across the river, congratulate them on overcoming the challenge. Lead a discussion using the following reflection questions:

  • How did communication go for the group?
  • How did you use reason to solve the challenge and get everyone across?
  • Whose reasoning did the group listen to or give authority to? Did everyone contribute to the reasoning process?
  • How was the process overall?

Including All Participants

This activity may be difficult for participants with limited mobility. Consider adapting it so that there are bigger "marshmallows" or choose not to use this activity if all participants cannot participate.