Facilitator Guide for Playdates

  1. Collect the “Items needed” for each activity planned for the session.
  2. Arrive early
    • Arrange the room for optimum group play, given the activities of the day.
    • Be sure and greet people individual as they arrive! If you’re having fun, the others probably will too.
    • (Remember, some of the participants will be coming out of struggle and sorrow. They need a breathable space.)
  3. The Session
    • Remember: All things casual! Above all, be authentic. Be “real.”
    • An opening Prayer is optional. Keep it simple. Prayer can be playful, too!
    • A brief Welcome can be good. Perhaps your group needs to “catch up” with each other before you move into activities. Or perhaps your group needs an ice-breaker. (A list of possible ice-breakers is provided in the packet.) Or perhaps your group just wants to launch right into play. Choose what works for you and the other participants.
    • Introduce the First Activity: Hand out the “Participant Guide” for this session. Briefly explain the Activity.
    • While the group is doing the activity (you may choose to participate or choose to sit out and be available to the participants during the activity), Observe the Group with active listening skills. Let yourself see (without judging!) what’s going on in the room. Can you encourage participation? Can you help someone resist “explain-itis”? Can you offer questions that might usher the participants into a creative, shame-free space? Celebrate what you see. Focus on the playful energy in the room.
    • Be aware of the Time. Bring the first activity to a close when appropriate. Introduce the Second Activity (if using).
    • When the agreed-upon time for ending the session is nearing, bring the group back together for a short Closing Moment. Reread the biblical text upon which (either the first or the second) Activity was based. A moment of silence can be helpful. Perhaps allow for someone in the group to sum up the experience of the session’s play.
    • Close the session with a simple Prayer.
  4. Be sure to Clean Up your ‘play area.’
    • Collect all the “toys” (markers, paper, tape, whatever the group used).
    • Reset the room’s arrangement, if necessary.

For More Information:

Short “flash essays” are available here.

These provide some help understanding the character and potency of Play as a mode of both spiritual and intellectual formation

The essays present a general context for understanding how play strengthens our creative intellect, our knowledge of both ourselves and each other, and our ability to engage the biblical texts at a deep level of honest encounter.

Question or Suggestions? Email Dr. Wiles at playdates@virginiawiles.com.

If you wish to book a Skype session or private webinar between Dr. Wiles (Virginia) and your “playgroup”—please contact her at playdates@virginiawiles.com