“15 Awesome Mutual Activity Ideas,” New Era, October 2015, 24–27
All those blank squares on the monthly planning calendar can feel mighty daunting, can’t they? “What do we want to do for Mutual this month?” Fret no more! Great ideas can be found everywhere (including a treasure trove of ideas at lds.org/youth/activities).
In case you’re in a slump, here’s a collection of tried-and-proven activities to get the creative ball rolling.
A staple for youth groups everywhere, the ever-popular “heart attack” is a sneaky service activity that’ll always be in style. Seriously, what’s not to love? Here’s the rundown: choose somebody you think could use a pick-me-up, cut a bunch of paper hearts, decorate and write nice notes on them, and then tape the hearts to the front door/garage/locker of the person you’ve chosen. Virtually guaranteed to brighten someone’s day! For added cardiovascular benefit, add a doorbell-ditch component and count it as preparation for missionary fitness requirements.
Glow-in-the-dark stuff can make just about anything better. Even ice cream. (Try eating a bowl of ice cream in a dark room with a glow-spoon. You’ll become a believer.) Glow-in-the-dark activities are a hit, especially during those months of the year when the sun sets earlier but you can still head outside. Here are a couple of options:
Dinner. Have the young men serve the young women dinner (or vice versa) in a dark room with glow-in-the-dark or LED-lit dishes.
Volleyball. Using packing tape, wrap a volleyball in glow sticks (the long, skinny, cheap kind so they won’t hurt) and give everybody glow bracelets and necklaces. You can string some on the net too. Works great indoors or outdoors.
Ultimate Frisbee®. When it’s dark outside, give opposing teams specific glow stick colors to wear so they can identify teammates. Then play a game of ultimate Frisbee with glow sticks strapped to the outside of a flying disc (or use an LED Frisbee).
Capture the flag. ’Nuff said.
A youth group in Missouri, USA, decided to put their culinary prowess to the test on this tasty activity. All youth were separated into groups. Then each team was given a cake, some decorating supplies, and the task of decorating the cake to depict a specific scene from the Book of Mormon. In the end, before eating the cakes, everybody had to guess the scene on each cake. “The Spirit was so strong and we were having fun,” said one of the young women. “We all got along and helped each other out.”
Want to know what it’s like to be an auto mechanic? a nurse? a teacher? You might be surprised how many working professionals are happy to come and talk about their jobs if you ask.
Some tabletop games are too fun to play only small scale. Occasionally, bigger IS better! Here are a few field-tested, youth-approved examples.
Human foosball. Line up lanes for players. Give them ropes, PVC pipes, or pool noodles to hold, face them in the proper directions, toss in a rubber ball, and let the hilarity and chaos commence.
Human Hungry Hungry Hippos®. One gymnasium floor in North Carolina, USA, had never been so busy. The youth there worked out a game where each team would wheel out one of their teammates on a skateboard (representing the hippo). In the middle of the gym were balloons (i.e., the marbles) and each young man or young woman could make a single swipe with a laundry basket to collect as many balloons as possible before being pulled back by a rope. Awesome!
Human Clue®. Costumes, actual rooms, and being in character the whole time? Yes, please.
A group of youth in London, England, decided to interview local members and learn about their lives. “I really enjoyed going to visit an elderly member of our ward who was in World War II,” said one of the youth. “It helped me see this brother in a different light as I realized some of what he had been through and what made him who he is.”
If making the same recipe as everybody else isn’t how you roll, consider trying what a youth group from Georgia, USA, pulled off with great success. They split into teams and were each given a bag of groceries with five ingredients. Each team headed to a local ward member’s home to prepare the meal with those ingredients in any wildly creative manner they chose. After the groups finished, the bishopric judged the food by taste, visual appeal, and so forth.
A group of young women in Talca, Chile, have developed a special closeness with the widows in their area by spending time visiting with them. Sometimes a simple visit is the best service you can offer. Just about anybody can benefit from a friendly face.
Instead of hitting the town for a photo scavenger hunt in search of restaurant napkins or red umbrellas, consider looking for specific acts of service you can cross off a list (such as raking leaves or washing windows).
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, one group of young men and young women have found that playing fútbol (soccer) and other sports is a great way to do missionary work in their area as they invite people to attend. “He passes, she shoots … goooooal!”
Hollowing out a pumpkin or watermelon for easy carving in 20 seconds flat with a power drill and attachment is only one of limitless possibilities open to you as you become more familiar with tools. Try having a tool night where somebody knowledgeable demonstrates how to use various tools. You could carve up a ton of pumpkins or watermelons (search for “pumpkin gutter” online) while learning to use a drill, learn to handle a reciprocating saw (which comes in handy for trimming Christmas trees), or practice using just about any kind of tool for practical skills. These skills will serve you a lifetime.
A missionary can thrive for weeks at a time on nothing but a bag of rice and a few beans thrown in for good measure. Which works great if that’s the only food you enjoy. For the rest of us, it helps to have a few easy and healthy recipes at the ready. Try out a new recipe once in a while with your Mutual group and you’ll be armed and ready for college/a mission/the universe. You could also have missionaries teach you what they cooked on their mission. See lds.org/go/recipe10NE for details. (But seriously. You should also learn to love rice.)
A ward in Hawaii, USA, put on a play about family history. The youth and their families all took part in the production, which included sharing testimonies about the importance of temple work. You could put on a play covering any gospel topic, from dating to missionary work to Book of Mormon stories.
People trade baseball cards and lunch snacks all the time. Why not trade skills? Every young man and young woman in your area has unique skills to teach. Changing tires, swinging a golf club, making a mean pizza crust, researching family history and more are all skills that can be passed on to the rest of the group.
Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are amazing—unless the batteries die or your GPS doesn’t work at the location you’re exploring. The need for understanding how to use a compass is still alive and well. Try out a crash course in compass orienteering (even better if it’s a treasure hunt!) and you’ll be better prepared for a lifetime of adventure.
These represent only a fraction of the awesome ideas out there that you can plan for Mutual. Ask around for ideas, spend a little time researching (for example, page 20 in this issue), and before you know it you’ll find yourself wishing there were MORE blank squares on your calendar to fill.