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Games and ideas with tree cross sections

A new year begins…
… idea for the first group session of the year

The idea was sent to Praxis-Jugendarbeit by Rainer Brunck, from the Community Deacon in Bad Bergzabern. Many thanks for your work.

Introducing the New Year with trees

  1. The welcome

    The kids are welcomed to the first group session of the year. You can make reference to the previous year as well as coming year. The main point which should be brought over is that „we“ want to experience things together and that we are all excited about what the year will bring. The evening will be centered around the cross sections of a tree.

  2. Meditation to the tree section

    (The devotion is made impressive by using the cross section of a large tree!) Everyone picks out a section of a tree or branch and studies and feels it for a while.

    • What do you notice? Each rind represents one year.
    • How old was your tree? Thicker rings show a good year and narrower rings show a poor year.
    • Can you see the good and poor years? How was the last year? Good or not so good?...Why?
    • We do not know if this year will be a good one or a poor one, but we do know that Jesus will accompany us through the year, whether good or poor: I am with you every day until the world ends!!!
  1. Creative part

    By using rubbing techniques, each disc was personally adapted. We let the kids write their names on them and used them as a register of attendance.

  2. Games in two teams

    • Target throwing in a bucket.

      Every player in the group receives 5 wooden discs and must throw them into a bucket. Which team will manage the most hits?

    • Disc rolling:

      A large target is drawn on the ground with chalk. Who can roll their disc closest to the centre of the target (50 points)? The further away, the less points are won... which team will win the most points in total?

    • Building a tower.

      Which team can build the highest tower with the discs?

    • Making a shape:

      Every member of the team receives 5 discs. The team must now make the discs into a recognisable shape e.g. a face, a house, a flower or a tree... Which team is first to make a shape?

    • Nabomberles:

      Everyone tries to shove their disc along the table and reach the edge of the table without it falling off. There are two points awarded for this. One point is awarded if they are within 30 cm and no points are awarded if it falls off. Which team will achieve the most points?

    • Wall throw:

      A line is drawn parallel to a wall at a distance of 20cm. Which team will land the most discs between the line and the wall? One point per hit

    • Throwing in the towel.

      The teams should throw their discs so that they land on a towel spread out on the ground. Who will land the most hits?

    • Tree section transport.

      The team players stand behind each other in a row and pass the disc through their legs or over their heads. Once it reaches the last player, he runs to the front of the line and starts again. The winners are the team players who are first to reach their original starting positions.


One large tree section for the meditation and enough (al least 100) little branch sections approx. 5-6cm in diameter, chalk, a table, buckets and a hand towel.

Alternatives for older youths:

Writing a letter to yourself

  • What do I wish for in the coming year?
  • What is important to me?
  • If a fairy granted me 3 wishes, what would they be?
  • What do I want to be able to say about my life when I am older?
  • What does God mean to me?
  • What would I never do?
  • Where is my favourite place?
  • Which song, film or picture moves me?
  • Which person means the most to me and why?
  • Send the letter in September...

Bidding for cross sections

Everyone receives 20 wooden discs, with which different words can be bid on: words which could be important for the coming year e.g.:

  • Health
  • Recognition at school
  • Joy
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Courage
  • Willingness to learn
  • Calmness
  • ...

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