Time Machine
Primary Market
Health, Seniors Therapy
Character Focus
Leisure Education
Items Needed
1 Toobeez set, chairs (one per participant), 3 chairs for the Time Machine, chart paper with marker
The Activity Time
45 minutes


  • Identify childhood play interests and memories
  • Identify current recreationalinterests
  • Identify future recreational goals
  • Process recreational patterns throughout life
  • Process the value of recreation in life
Activity Focus
Leisure Education
Participants will share their past, current and future recreational interests and explore the value that recreation has had in their lives.
Time 15 minutes


  • 1 Toobeez Set
  • Chairs (one per participant)
  • 3 Chairsfor the Time Machine
  • Chart Paper with Marker


  • Build two squares from the 36”Toobeez and one square from the 24″ Toobeez (as pictured above).
  • Place one chair inside each square
  • Place the additional chairs in a circle around the squares for the observing participants
Activity Plan
Group Size: Small group or individual.
Time: 45 minutes

Safety Reminders

Appropriate caution is important to conduct activities in a safe manner. Be sure to review these reminders prior to beginning the activity, and share reminders with the group if necessary.
  • Remind participants of the risk of falling when stepping over the Toobeez on the floor. Physically assist participants when necessary.
  • The “Time Machine” Toobeez and chair can easily be removed to make the area accessible for people who use wheelchairs or walkers
  • Apply the “no discount” rule; all suggestions in the group are valued and are not put down, reduced or “discounted” in any way, as all group members’ comments are valued

Helpful Hints
Verbal prompts may be necessary to get participants started. This is a good leisure-education activity for leisure awareness or reminiscing. Older participants, even those with lower cognitive functioning, usually enjoy sharing childhood play memories

Activity Instructions

1. Have the participants sit in the chairs around the squares. Orient the participants to each other and open with a brief discussion of what constitutes “recreation.”

2. When the group is ready to begin the activity, share the following storyline.To determine if recreation is important in life, Dr. Ima Playful has invented a Time Machine to explore peoples’ past, present, and future recreational interests. You have been chosen to go into the Time Machine and share memories of play from childhood, your current recreational interests, and goals you have for the future. Let us go back in time, starting when you were young.3. Read the Activity Challenge Box below to the group
Activity Challenge:
Participants will share their past, current and future recreational interests and explore the value that recreation has had in their lives.4. Explain to the participants that the last chair (furthest back) represents the past, the middle chair represents the present, and the first chair represents the future. In the “past” chair, the participant should state his or her recreational interests from the past. Participants will then repeat this step for the “present” and “future” chairs.

5. Remind participants that only the person seated in the Time Machine shares, while the observing participants around the Time Machine listen.The observing participants may ask questions of the person in the Time Machine.

6. The therapist or activity professional may go first to model how to work through the Time Machine.

7. Each participant will then take a turn in the Time Machine to share their past, present and future recreational interests.

8. The therapist or activity professional may need to prompt the participants:

  • What are some of your earliest childhood memories?
  • What did you play during the summertime?
  • Can you remember a favorite birthday party?

9. The therapist can record each participant’s response on the chart paper to compose a group list of fun recreational memories and activities.

10. If your group is struggling, or if you feel your group would benefit from an additional challenge, present a variation provided below.

11. After the activity, move to the “Activity Discussion and Processing” section.
Here are the available Teambuilding Training Options.

Activity Variations

1. Share other topics.
Other topics could be explored such as past accomplishments, achieved goals or favorite family memories.

Time machine2. Create one box.
If you have participants with limited mobility, one box can be built. The participant can recall their past, present and future while remaining safely seated
in this box.
3. Play charades with the Toobeez.
Rather than talking, have the participants act out their favorite activities using the Toobeez. The observing participants outside of the Time Machine can guess the participant’s favorite past, present and future activities. The observing participants can also make objects out of the Toobeez to prompt more responses.

Activity Discussion and Processing

The effectiveness of the group process will often determine the outcome for the participant. These are only suggested questions to begin the discussion. Select the ones you feel will best benefit your group. Make sure to let everyone share their ideas, and remind participants that everyone’s feelings are important!

Base questions for Processing:

  • How did you feel when you first learned of the Time Machine?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • Has recreation had value or importance in your life?
  • Does all your recreation have to be productive?
  • What stage of life was the most fun for you?
  • What are the best things about your age now?
  • Have you enjoyed looking at your life through play?
Closing the Activity
Review the challenge of the group and summarize how the challenge was (or was not) achieved. Highlight the main contributions and resolve unfinished issues. Affirm their efforts for support and acceptance of each other’s feelings. End with the following quote:“Keeping in touch with childhood memories keeps us believing in life’s simplest pleasures like a rainy afternoon, a swing set, and a giant puddle to play in.” – Chris Ogden
Time Machine
Vicky Pitner is the author of the Toobeez Senior Therapy Activity Workbook and the upcoming Toobeez Recreational Activity Workbook. Recreation Services provides therapeutic recreation consulting, program development, staff and respite training, inclusion training, and workshops.
All Activities of Vicky Pitner, CTRS

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