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Building Planning Skills & Organizational Skills in Students

Activities & Free Resources for Improving Organizational Skills

Helping your student develop and improve their planning skills plays a crucial role in their growth as young adults. Building organizational skills can help teens better understand the importance of time management, as well as teach them how to properly plan for the future. As part of our commitment to helping today’s generation of teens and students grow into the leaders of the future, we have created the following activities for helping them understand how to develop planning skills.

Each activity listed below is designed to improve planning skills by placing your child or student in a situation where those skills will be vital for completing the task at hand. These activities for building organizational skills are part of our collection of 52 Leadership Ideas. To view more activities like these, we invite you to visit our online store today and download the complete 52 Leadership Ideas PDF.

Event Planning

Choose an event that would normally be planned by an adult. It is preferable that the event be something on the calendar each year. Instead of planning it yourself, ask your young person to do all the preparation. For instance, if you have a pet, let your young person make arrangements for pet care while you are out of town. If you don’t, perhaps you can allow your young person to plan their own birthday party, given parameters of time, budget, and number of people who can attend. Depending on their age, check on them periodically, to make sure they stay on track and get answers to their questions. Allow them to follow through all the way to the completion of the event. When it is over, discuss what happened.


Cash for Clothes

At the beginning of a new semester of school, sit down with your young person and discuss how much money you might normally spend on clothes for them. Once you arrive at a figure, tell them things will be different this semester. Give them the sum of money you agreed upon, and tell them they can have control of their clothes budget. They can get whatever they want, but that’s all the money they will receive for the semester.

Talk about how they must assess their needs, and plan on distributing the money between what they want and what they need. The decision, however, is completely up to them. If they choose to “shoot their wad” on a nice coat, that’s fine. They will just have to wear the same shirt and pants the rest of the semester.

Discuss the story of the tiny ant, who, although he is the smallest of creatures, plans and prepares for the future, and maintains a good attitude along the way. The ant needs no one to tell him what to do, because of his predisposition to plan and work hard.


Map Quest

Before taking a long trip or vacation, grab a map and ask your young person to plan the entire road trip. Talk them through the details, if necessary, but give them as much responsibility as you think appropriate. For instance, if you take a vacation, talk about how many days you will take to drive to your destination, where you’ll need to refuel, eat and stay overnight, and even how much the trip might cost. Let them do the math and prepare the details of the trip.

Ask your young person what factors went into the planning of your road trip and how they calculated the stops along the way.


A Game without Goals

This idea works especially well if your young person enjoys sports. Attend a ballgame of any kind—football, baseball, hockey, soccer or basketball. Enjoy the game together.

Afterward, have a discussion at a restaurant. Have them imagine for a moment what that game might have been like had their not been any goals. How long would the game have lasted if the football field had no end zone; if the basketball court had no basketball, if the soccer field had no goal, etc? Have fun for a few minutes talking about how ridiculous the whole arena of sports would be without a goal. There would be no point. No one would come to watch, no athlete would want to play.

Then focus on their life for a moment. Life is just like sports in this way. There is no point without a goal, a mission. There would be no fulfillment. Perhaps this is why so many go to work everyday yet have no joy, and why they can come home, change their clothes and go play on a softball team—and have all kinds of energy for the game. At work they’re unaware of the goal, the other revolves around a goal. Next, ask them what their goals are in life. Ask them what steps they could take this year to move toward it.


Planning Their Financial Future

Over dinner sometime, discuss a big financial goal with your young person. Is there something really big they’d like to purchase? Is their something they want to invest in? Is there anything they are presently saving money for?

Once they come with something they really want, determine to plan how they can best save enough money for it, and how much time it will take. Factor in allowances, and any special project they may undertake to earn some extra money. Also factor in money they should give to the Lord and other necessities. Help them to focus on this goal, and not give in to the temptation to squander their money on other things, outside of their plan. Make this a project.

Once they achieve their goal, or when they give in to temptations, discuss what lesson they can draw from their wisdom or foolishness.