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Express Yourself!

This game is for schoolage children and can be done in small or large groups. 

The goals are to

  1. demonstrate emotional reactions specific to suggested experiences in a non-verbal way, and
  2. notice non-verbal emotional messages.

Create a list of scenarios that would be familiar to the children e.g. “You lost your favourite toy.”, “Your Mom gave you your favourite treat.”, “Your family is going to Wonderland.”, etc.

Have the group spread out in the space so they can respond to the scenarios as they are called out without bumping into each other. Then call out a scenario. Remind them to only react non-verbally.

Participate in the activity as well to help the children get into it and have fun. Encourage the children to notice their peers’ reactions as well.

As a follow up you can have the children discuss what kind of gestures they used for different reactions. You can also ask the children if everyone did exactly the same thing each time to get them noticing that different people respond in individual ways to the same situations. And explore why it is important to notice non-verbal expression as a part of communication.

Source: Schilling, Dianne. (1996). 50 Activities for Teaching Emotional Intelligence. Innerchoice Publishing

Contributed by Robin Lister, Special Needs Consultant
Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough