Build Your Own City | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
June 2020

Build Your Own City

By Alejandra Salemi

For this ice breaker, we will be helping the students recognize the importance of belonging and community. It is often much easier to build spaces that cater to the masses or that allow for only some people to be comfortable while others are lacking. In this activity, they will be expected to take all of the group needs into consideration and build a community that is good for all of the team members. This can be an interesting way to explore how the Trinity is the perfect example of what beloved community looks like.

Set up: Split the group of kids into smaller teams of 3-5. This will work best if we make the teams as diverse as possible and split up any children who like to always work together or who are really good friends. Encourage them to try this one activity without their friend and then they can return and discuss what they each did after it is done. You will also need a couple of cans of play-dough or you can use any other material that allows the kids to “build” a city with (such as legos, building blocks, figurines, etc)

Instructions: You all have been hired by the city to help plan and build a brand-new community. You all have been given an unlimited budget and will be able to construct the new community however you’d like. However, you are only allowed to build (x) # of buildings (1 less than the number of students in the team; if it’s a team of 5, they can choose 4 buildings). Also, within your teams, you each need to make sure there is something everyone likes in this new community so that everyone feels like they belong, and their needs are met. Take the next 10 minutes to build your new community and we will share afterwards.

If you are meeting online, invite students to build with whatever they have or they can draw on a piece of paper. They can still collaborate on those structures in a breakout group or through group text/chat.

Once students are done ask them to share their cities and the reasoning behind them. If you want to go further ask them how this city might protect against different forms of injustice or be open to them because of the decisions they made.