This page can help you have fun
and learn with your mentee.
If you have mentoring ideas that we can share on this page, please email them to us at:
5 Minute Chocolate Cake for Two
OK, this is a neat recipe that you can use for a mentoring activity and treat. What you need PER CAKE (plus a microwave, probably found in the teacher’s lounge – mentors allowed in, not students):
- 4 Tablespoons flour
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa
- 1 Egg
- 3 Tablespoons milk
- 3 Tablespoons oil
- 3 Tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
- A small splash of vanilla extract
- 1 Large coffee mug (microwave safe)
Add the dry ingredients to the mug. Mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil. Mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla. Mix. Microwave the mug for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t worry. Allow to cool. Tip onto plate or eat from mug.
Simple Bird Feeders
It’s simple and fun. You need:
- 1 large pinecone
- Peanut butter
Attach the yarn to the pinecone near the top. Leave one end of the yarn free to tie to a branch. Smear the peanut butter in the pinecone’s crevices. Drizzle the birdseed all over the peanut butter. Let your mentee take it home or hang the birdfeeder outside on school grounds and revisit with your mentee next week to see how hungry the birds have been. You might even get to see some birds in action!
PB & J with a twist...
Have a laugh while demonstrating the importance of communicating clearly. You need: PB&J, bread, plates, a butter knife, and paper towels (for cleanup). You say: “Tell me how to make a peanut and butter sandwich. I will follow your instructions EXACTLY.” If he says, “Put some PB on the knife,” use your finger to scoop a tiny amount of PB onto the knife. If he says, “Put the jelly on the bread,” flip the same piece of bread over and use the opposite side. When your sandwich is finally finished (yum?), explain how this exercise reminds us that everyone sees things differently and we should be careful when communicating with others. Even though things may be clear to the speaker, sometimes the listener can misunderstand. In essence, choose your words with care and check for understand-ing when speaking with others. Goes in reverse, too.
Build a Volcano
This exciting activity will put some pep in your mentoring session.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- white vinegar
- a plastic pop bottle
- 1/3 Cup dish washing liquid
- red food coloring
- duct tape or masking tape
- a piece of cardboard roughly 9 x 12 inches
- aluminum foil
- baking soda
- paper towel
1. Pour about ½ cup of white vinegar into the bottle
2. Add 1/3 cup of dishwashing liquid
3. Add a few drops of red food coloring
4. Make sure the bottom of the bottle is dry. Tape down the bottle in the center of the cardboard.
5. Ball up newspapers, and tape them around the bottle to build up a mountain-like shape. The mouth of the bottle should be slightly higher than the newspaper.
6. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the bottle and the newspaper. Smooth it down.
7. Use your finger to poke through the foil into the mouth of the bottle. The bottle mouth should be completely open.
FOR THE ERUPTION: (OUTSIDE school buildings please!)
1. Wrap one tablespoon of baking soda in a paper towel.
2. Put the baking soda packet into the bottle and stand back!
WHAT’S GOING ON?
The baking soda and vinegar create carbon dioxide gas in the bottle. As the gas expands, there is suddenly not enough room in the bottle. The only place for the gas to go is out through the mouth of the bottle.
Just as with a real volcano, the expanding gas in a confined space was powerful enough to cause an eruption. As the gas blows out, it forces some of the bottle’s contents to flow like lava down a mountainside.
Have fun and something sweet. You will need:
- 2 large Ziploc bags, 1 paper plate
- 1 lb. powdered sugar
- ½ Cup cocoa
- 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Place all the ingredients in one bag. Knead the bag until fully mixed, up to 10-15 minutes. Remove fudge from bag and spread on paper plate. Place plate into second bag and give to your mentee to bring home.
Thanks to Joyce and Carol for this idea!
Tools and Technique
Hammering a nail can be fun. Using tools and getting tips on safe technique is something that many of our mentees would enjoy. These skills may come in handy at home and save somebody from injury. Some supply sugestions:
1 or 2 wood blocks
hammer and nails
screws and screw driver
2 pairs of safety goggles
Allow your mentee to pound some nails into the block. You may want to get the nail started. Show your mentee how. Watch out for thumbs! For screws, you may want to drill pilot holes before your mentoring session. Teacher your mentee what each tool does and how it words. Always use proper technique and safety measures.
You may consider working up to a construction project of some kind, like a bird house or bird feeder.
Get your mentee moving. Bring a stopwatch because timing is a very important element of this activity. Set up a course outdoors or in the gym with obstacles or activities to be completed (like cross the monkey bars, make one basketball shot, to ten jump ropes, etc.). Then time your mentee and see if they can beat their previous time. Your mentee can get exercise and practice important motor skills. They can time you too!
Finally, your mentee might enjoy drawing the course after he/she is finished running it.
Make a Smoothie
This fun activity will teach your mentee how to make a nutritious snack. Necessary items: Blender or food processor, fruit (like bananas and strawberries, but up into small pieces and preferrably frozen), juice (orange or lemonade), cups, and spoons. Combine and blend fruit and small amount of juice. Add more juice for desired consistency. For recipes, do an Internet search for smoothie recipe.
Mentoring moments: Teach your mentee how to use a blender. Let him or her pick out the fruit and add the ingredients. Collaborate and cleanup together.
See www.smoothieweb.com for more.
The GrandAM newsletter can be your publishing venue. Submit stories, poems, pictures, or explain your favorite mentoring activity. Send stuff to:
Grand Area Mentoring
264 South 400 East
Moab, UT 84532
Help your mentee develop a green thumb! Soak dry lima beans in water overnight. The next day, place some beans between layers of damp paper towels. Tuck the bundles into plastic bags and seal them, leaving a little bit of air in the bags. Tape them on a sunny window. After two or three days, you should see roots spreading through the edge of the paper towels. Soon after, the seed casings will open, sprouting green shoots.
Bring your seedling and materials (4-inch pot with soil) to your mentoring session. Your mentee can poke his or her finger an inch into the soil and place a seedgling in each hole. Cover with a light layer of soil. Saod the soil and have your mentee take the pot home to put in a windowsill. If they remember to water it, they can watch it grow!
This is a fun and active idea that will get you and your mentee moving about campus or the community.
"You're kidding, right? That game takes forever!"
Keep track of your earnings and acquisitions by writing the details down in your mentoring log before the session is over. Students love working with money, and it's good for math skills too.
No Bake Cookies
Use the following recipe to make a batch of no bake cookies with your mentee. Your student will learn gratification and patience by following the instructions and being rewarded with a tasty treat to whare with his or her family
NO BAKE COOKIES:
Begin by mixing the following ingredients thoroughly:
1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup organge juice concentrate
1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
Then choose one of the following steps:
a) OR's: 2 Cups rolled oats, 1-1/2 cups raisins. Mix. Shape into balls, then flatten. Makes 3 dozen medium cookies.
b) Crispy Balls: 4 cups crispy rice cereal. Mix. Shape into small balls. Makes 4 dozen.
c) Raising Clusters: 1/4 cup cocoa, 4 cups raisins. Mix. Shape into small balls. Makes 4 dozen.
Kids can practice their spatial savvy with this seven-piece Chinese puzzle. Click on the link below:
KThere's a hint option, which will keep the motivation up if you or your mentee get stuck. This is a great visual puzzle with learning potential. Have fun!
Write an adventure story together. You are the scribe and provide guidance as the story unfolds. Let your mentee choose the main character and what tasks must be completed. When finished, illustrate the tale and staple to create a book for other mentors and students to read.
Read. This may seem like a generic idea, but often mentors forget that an entire library of information and fun is available at each school site. Also, you can visit the public library and bring in a special book that you enjoy and is new to your mentee. Read alternating pages together, or simply read aloud to your mentee. Showing your enthusiasm for reading and imagination will imbue this academic but fun activity with deep value.
As you travel or spend time with family, send a postcard to your mentee. Make sure you have his or her address; call GrandAM if you don’t have your mentee’s mailing address already. Send a note and include a few photos. If you want to be contacted in reply, include a postage-paid, self-addressed postcard that your mentee can send.
Design your dream home. Sketch the outside and landscape. Draw up the floor plan. Include all the amenities and qualities that would make it ideal. How many floors? Would it include a pool? How about an indoor bowling alley or arcade? Post your dream home sketch and floor plan in the mentoring room or take it with you.
Make a family tree of your mentee’s relatives. This can help you understand the people that he or she talks about, or it may help to open up a conversation about your mentee’s life.
Explore your mentee’s heritage. An interesting exercise made easier by the Internet, you can research the ethnic origin of your mentee’s last name. First names can also hold some interesting meanings and histories. Help your student build an appreciation for history and culture by introducing him or her to the nuance of namesakes and etymology.
Soap Carving (Thanks, Melinda!):
Use popsicle sticks to carve a bar of soap. It can be something that you bring with you in a small bag and work on a little each meeting.
Trade-Off Story Telling (Thanks, Melinda!):
Share the process of story telling. Use a voice recorder or write down the tale line by line. One person comes up with a line, and the other person creates the next. As the mentor, you can take an active lead role, making it more of an Ad-Libs style format where you ask for character names and key actions. With older kids, allow them to do more of the narrative. With younger kids, illustrate the tale when finished.
Jump Ropes & Hoola Hoops (Thanks, Melinda!):
The name says it all. 5-6th grade girls often dig these activities.
Bookmark and Valentine Gifts (Thanks, Melinda!):
At your mentoring session, talk with your mentee about youngsters that don't get many gifts or valentines. Explain that together you can create cards, bookmarks, dreamcatchers, and other crafts that can be given to younger children that would really appreciate such offerings. This is a great way to foster compassion and generosity in students and can open their eyes to the needs of others.
Picture Exchange (Thanks, Melinda!):
Draw a picture while away from each other between meetings. When you are meeting next time, you can exchange pictures and take the artwork home.
Many students love to complete word finds, those grids of letters with embedded words that must be discovered within. With the Internet, you can create word finds using some websites. Simply do an internet search for "word find," and you can view several sites that will ask for a list of words and then create the grids for you.
Start with Google: http://www.google.com/
This can be particularly rewarding if you submit words that are of significance to your mentee. Enter in family member names, their favorite subjects, activities that you both enjoy, animals, objects, or other things that he or she is interested in.
Check out this website:
There are heaps of fun, educational games and activities to do with your mentee. To work in some media literacy, try the “Ad Decoder.” You might want to view the site before your mentoring session, so you can guide your mentee to some cool activities.
Teach For America:
Teach for America is a government-sponsored organization dedicated to closing the educational achievement gap between all students in the United States. They provide a education institute to their new teachers, and the forms found below come from their materials. Though the ideas, links, and activities might not all apply directly to mentoring, you can tailor these recommendations to your mentoring goals.
Show and Tell:
Show-and-Tell. A throwback to preschool days, show-and-tell can still be a great activity for all ages. Talk with your mentee about bringing an important or revealing object to your next session. Call to remind him or her the day before. Share the stories behind your items – who, what, when, where, why?
Do you know where Eritrea is? How about Djibouti? They're neighbors on the continent of Africa. Do you know where Africa is? From continents to countries, you and your mentee can test your geogaphy knowledge with this fun game from National Geographic:
You can also check out the following website with much more on geography for kids. Fun and educational, this site will show your mentee that there is a whole lot more out there to discover.
Good luck in your explorations!
Motivating for College:
This website will take you and your mentee through the process of thinking about college. It has resources, recommendations, and interactive features to help your mentee understand that college IS an option.
Most appropriate for middle and high school students, KnowHow2Go can open eyes to a future that many of our students don't understand.
Take turns telling each other about a family member who made a difference in your life and how. Make thank you cards together so you can each thank that person for making a difference.
The Student Collage:
Bring in construction paper, scissors, glue, and magazines with lots of pictures. Ask your mentee to create a collage about him or herself, and you can do the same. Talk about the pictures, words, and symbols you have each included and how/why they represent you. Either stick the images on the piece of construction paper or draw the shape of a person, fit things into the silhouette, and cut it out.
Learning For Life "Activity Book":
Available in all mentoring rooms, this dynnamic book will give you ideas for incorporating all kinds of fun stuff into your mentoring sessions. In it, you will find things like:
- Homemade games
- Physical fitness activities
- Arts and crafts
- Skits and constumes
- tricks and puzzles
- and many more...!
Gumdrops and Toothpicks (Thanks, Wendy!):
Get your mentee's creative mind working on construction, design, and shapes by setting him or her loose on a set of toothpicks and gumdrops. Build animals, structures(houses, bridges, sky scrapers, etc.), people, and whatever comes to mind. Praise your mentee for the work and creativity. Eat the gumdrops to celebrate!
Paint/Culture (Thanks, Wendy!):
Paint faces or designs onto flat rocks collected prior to mentoring session. Use paint or permanent markers to make your own pictographs on sandstone rocks. For a chart of Native American symbols and meanings, visit the GrandAM office.
Books: the keys to knowledge and learning.
Mentors can come to the GrandAM office to check out books from the mentor library to share with their mentees or just enjoy on their own. Topics cover such things as effective mentoring strategies, activities, working with troubled youth, stealing, and more.
For a worksheet that you can use with your mentee, click the link below:
Success Indicators Quotes Worksheet (Look quotes up online!)
We recommend that you have your mentee complete only one line per mentoring session. Feel free to extend discussions about each topic and answer some of these questions:
- How does this success indicator apply to becoming an adult?
- Why is thinking about these indicators important?
- Can you think of a famous person that embodies one of these indicators?
- Can you think of a famous person that should learn one of the success indicators so they can be more successful?
- In which area do you think you do best?
- Where could you improve?
Bring in a magazine that your mentee will enjoy. Ask what kind of magazine they like, what topics interest them. Read articles together and maybe even write a letter to the editor together about one of the articles.
Exchange favorite recipes; bring in finished products for next session.
Build a model airplane, car, or other item.
Geography and Travel:
Bring in photos from a trip you've taken. This is a great opportunity to discuss things like landscape features, biomes, weather, climate, travel, history, pre-history, geological processes (erosion, volcanic activity, mountain building, etc.), culture, and so many other things. Tell your mentee about what you did, the people you met, the food you ate, how you got around, and what you learned. Your trips can be virtual field trips for students if you have the photos and stories to share with them.
Open and try a new game available in the mentoring room.
Ask the PE teacher at your school if there is some equipment you can use such as badminton rackets, scoop tossers, koosh tennis rackets, jump ropes, hoola hoops, balls, or balance beams.
Bring some self-addressed, stamped envelopes to give to your mentee so he/she can write to you or send photos over the summer. You can take your mentees address too (call the GrandAM office if you need it) and send him or her cool correspondence from your warm summer.
Write up a worksheet (No, most kids don’t mind doing interesting worksheets!) that asks your mentee to think about what they’d like to accomplish this year. Depending on your mentee, leave the questions open ended, or give him or her options. Put in some fun questions. See the sample below for ideas!
As you move through the year, you can revisit this worksheet and discuss what kind of progress is being made. You should try to help your mentee create realistic goals and reach them.
Bring in a digital or disposable camera. Instruct your mentee how to take photos and together look up photography techniques on the internet. Download to a laptop, print, or develop photos for the next session, where you can discuss and arrange pictures into an album or slideshow.
Photo Journal: Use this worksheet to prompt your mentee.
Follow the instructions. Try to draw the learning out of the experience, and encourage your mentee to think about what they'd like the photos to look like.
Geography, Writing, Fun:
Flat Stanley: This is a super fun activity to do with students up to fourth or fifth grade. Below find the steps:
1. Come to the GrandAM office and check out our Flat Stanley book.
2. Read Flat Stanley with your mentee.
5. Send Flat Stanley to a reliable friend.
6. Recieve letters and postcards from everyone that Stanley sees. Track his trip on a map and learn about the areas he visits. Keep a binder with all correspondance. If Stanley goes to people who quickly respond, you get to enjoy mail every week or every second week.
Puzzles, Crosswords, Mazes:
Go to a bookstore and pick up a puzzle book or magazine appropriate for your mentee's age and grade level. Some students love to work on word-finds, and you can draw learning out of the experience by discussing the vocabulary and themes.
Classic Mentoring Ideas:
These lists will have what you're looking for. Click the two links below to view PDFs of mentoing ideas provided by mentoring support organizations.