How to Plan an Engaging Activity in Less Than 10 Minutes

“You give birth to that on which you fix your mind.”  —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I love mind mapping. I use a simplified version of Tony Buzan’s Mind Maps I learned in a creativity workshop.

Creating a Plan for Your Activity

Although you can use this technique for any type of activity, I’ll demonstrate the process through planning my workshop: Prayer: It’s Aliiive! The workshop was based on two short stories from my book, Crumbled, Tumbled, Humbled—Saved.

Prayer Beads

Step 1. (Five minutes.) I sat comfortably with a piece of paper, a pen, and highlighters in different colors. In the center of the paper, I wrote Prayer Workshop and circled it. I fixed my mind on what an engaging workshop might look like.

Then I let my mind go wild. All over the paper, I wrote words or phrases that came to mind. I didn’t judge or cross out any jottings.

Like for popcorn, when ideas popped less frequently and finally stopped, I went to Step 2.

Step 2. (Two minutes.) I perused my jottings. I saw connections among various items. Usually three to five groups are identified. I recognized four in my workshop list.

I highlighted the items belonging to each group with a different color.

  • simple & fun
  • handouts
  • base on 2 stories and quotes on prayer
  • story 1= Praise God!
  • story 2 = Trinkets
  • prayer beads
  • dramatic readings
  • quotes on prayer
  • quotes by popular Christians
  • quotes profound and personal
  • scripture on handout: 1 Samuel 12:23
  • decorate room with life-sized trinkets
  • lesson through activities
  • craft-store beads in shapes of story’s trinkets
  • intro about how stories came about
  • rainbow-colored prayer-chain cord
  • divide into groups to discuss quotes
  • books available to purchase
  • token to take home as reminder
  • handout to record bead shapes & people they represent for receiving prayer
  • one hour

Quote on Prayer

Step 3. (Three minutes.) I assigned descriptive headings to the groups. On the back of my paper, I made a table with the headings across the top. I placed the unique, color-coded jottings in their respective columns. My plan was complete.

General Workshop Setup  Dramatic Reading Quotes on Prayer Participants Make Prayer Chains for Praying for Family & Friends
Simple & fun Dramatic readings of 2 stories on prayer Quotes by popular Christians Prayer beads on cord represent family members and friends
One hour Story 1= Praise God! Quotes profound and personal Craft-store beads in shapes of story’s trinkets (animals, stars, harts, etc.)
Lesson through activities Story 2 = Trinkets Divide into groups to discuss quotes Rainbow-colored prayer-chain cord like in story
Base on 2 stories and quotes on prayer Decorate room with life-sized trinkets –stuffed animals, etc. Handout of quotes Handout to record bead shapes and people they represent  for receiving prayer
Intro: how stories came about Quotes posted around room Scripture on handout: 1 Samuel 12:23
Token to take home as reminder
Handouts
Books (containing the 2 stories) available to purchase

Sometimes items will fit under multiple headings, adding something different to each group. Also, more items may be added (see two not highlighted).

What is your favorite brainstorming method?

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