Do you remember reading “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories as a kid? I totally remember having multiple fingers saving my place in those books so that I could flip back and forth, seeing how the story changed based on various choices.
If you’ve been following along lately and have been using these resources to teach your kids self-discipline, this object lesson will be a perfect activity for your family. It’s also great if you want to teach your kids that choices have consequences. Plus, it’s customizable!
I’ve done this activity a couple of different times with teen girls in my church youth group and it’s been fantastic. Think of a traditional make-your-own-ice-cream-sundae party. . . with a twist! (To give credit where credit is due, I heavily leaned on this post from Dirty Dishes, Messy Kisses as I was planning my own activity. I changed the questions to suit our purposes, but it provided a lot of great inspiration. Check it out!
If you have younger children, using this in conjunction with the What Should Danny Do? books would make this extra fun. (Those books are AMAZING!)
The first thing you need to do is think of realistic situations your kids are facing, or what you think might come up soon. Come up with about 5-8 different situations. You can make it about anything from following the commandments to eating sugar to cheating on a test. (I have a very simple template here, where you can type them up. To use it, go to “File”, then go to “Make a Copy”. Then you are free to edit it however you’d like.)
Then, come up with three different choices for each situation. You can do a “perfect child” choice, a mediocre choice and a ridiculously bad choice set, or really whatever you want to do to keep it meaningful, yet fun and light. Here’s an example of one that we did (It’s a more serious situation, but we had fun ones, too.) :
Now, here’s the fun part: assign an ice cream topping to every choice. Bad toppings for bad choices (sardines, minced garlic, soy sauce, etc), weird but not too gross toppings for ok choices (goldfish crackers, grated cheese), and delicious toppings for good choices (chocolate and caramel sauce, whipped cream, crushed Oreos, ect).
Make your self a secret key for choices and toppings and don’t let anyone see it. Print out enough copies of the situation worksheet for everyone.
Tell the kids that before they get to make their ice cream sundaes, that they get to do a quick “Choose Your Own Adventure” quiz first. Hand out the worksheets and have them fill them out.
Explain to your group that our life is like a bowl of ice cream- and we get to decide what to do with it. Every choice we make gives us good consequences or bad ones.
Now here’s where YOU have a decision to make: how much ice cream you want to waste!
Option A: You can have a pre-filled worksheet that you rigged with both good and bad answers and walk through the choices with your group- adding the appropriate toppings as you go. We called our sample girl “Sally So-So”. And boy, was her ice cream sundae disgusting! (My fellow Young Women leaders and I opted for this one the second time around.)
Sally So-So’s Concoction: Cheese-Its, Sardines, black beans, grated cheese, soy sauce, strawberry topping, caramel sauce, and chopped almonds. Yum!
Option B: Have the kids bring up their worksheets one at a time and build their sundae according to their choices. Watch them look horrified!
Then let them make a “real” sundae to enjoy. (The first time I did this activity, we asked each of them to take a bite of their “adventure sundae” before they made a real one. The girls started daring each other to eat more . . . and before we knew it, we had girls throwing up in the bathroom! That’s why we went with option A the second time around. 🙂
I love this activity because the kids are so fun to watch during this! It gives pretty immediate feedback as well- so it’s effective in helping the kids see cause and effect. I also love it because it gives you a chance to train your children on what to do if a difficult situation comes up. (such as the friend wanting you to keep a dangerous secret).
(Remember: I have a free template for the worksheets if you’d like to use it. To make it editable, click “File”, then “Make a Copy”.)