Instead of ending a program with an evaluation, make it the next-to-last activity so you can use a more engaging interactive activity that will maintain learning excitement and energy.
These activities reinforce the social connections that the participants have made with each other.
- Write personal notes.
This activity works well with a multiple-day training program when the participants have a number of opportunities to work together in different situations. This activity must also be set up at the beginning of the session.
It begins as an art project. Give the participants colorful markers and something to draw on. It might be a light-colored cloth bag, a large paper bag, a flip chart page or a piece of paper. Ask them to draw pictures or write words that describe what is important in their lives. (One option is to have them trace a hand and write or draw something for each finger). If they have a motto or saying that speaks to them, they can also write that down.
The participants will use what they have drawn or written to introduce themselves to the rest of the group. Make sure that they put their name on their project, because other people will be writing on it later.
At the end of each day, have the participants trade their projects and then write something to the owner of the project. It helps to give them a sentence to finish, such as: “What I learned about you is….,” “I hope that we will both remember…., or ” “Thank you for….” Ask them to sign what they write.
There will be a lot of laughter when they pass the projects back and read what was written on their own.
This is a great closing activity that, used every day during a multi-day program, provides continuity and reinforces social connections.
- Create a celebration circle.
Have the participants stand in a circle and then use one or more of the following variations:
Express gratitude. Let them take turns walking over to participants to thank them in specific terms for what they did to enrich their learning.
Blow bubbles or bat balloons. Hand out small containers of bubbles with wands and have the participants blow bubbles (or give them balloons to blow up and bat around) while an upbeat song plays in the background (“Celebration” by Kool and the Gang is a great one).
Each of these closing activities will generate energy, joy and connection so the training will end on a high note.
What other activities do you use to reinforce participants’ social connections at the end of a training program?
May your learning be sweet,
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