Today was Take Our Children To Work Day here at the office. Last year's event was so well-received that over 250 kids signed up to come in today at three different locations. I was roped into volunteering to work for TOCTWD last year, and I had a sufficiently good time that I signed up again this year. Naturally, since I was now an experienced hand at this, I was made a group leader. Ah, the fruits of success.
TOCTWD is divided into group activities in the morning and free time with regular tours of the building (which means the server room and the help desk in our case) in the afternoon. I was assigned to oversee a group of eight- to ten-year-olds. We had some "learning exercises" disguised as games for them. First, we played the Telephone Game as a demonstration of communication skills. The first time through, the kids had to pass along the story they were told without asking any questions or repeat recitations. As you might imagine, the end result bore no resemblance to the starting point. When we allowed them to ask questions and do repeats, they did much better.
The second game was a beach ball relay, in which two people must carry a beach ball across the room, around a chair, and back, then pass it off to the next pair in line, all without using their hands. This went over very well, and the kids really got into it. We wound up doing it twice, and again you could see a difference, as the kids had figured out the best way to keep the ball pinned between each other as they moved.
Unfortunately, the beach ball relay game took less time than we had budgeted for, so us three volunteers had about 30 minutes to fill and 19 fidgety kids to keep entertained. There were a few minor skirmishes and a fair amount of yelling and running about, but overall they were pretty well behaved.
Last year I'd worked with the 11 to 13 year old group. Both groups were fun, and I'm not sure if I'd have a preference for next year. I just know I'll volunteer again.Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 24, 2002 to See, I do have a life!