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LifeSkills Handbook Activity 26

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions altogether. The handbook is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, books and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbook Activity 26
What Risks do We Take and Why?

Purpose of activity:

  • To understand better the concept of risk-taking
  • To consider when a risk is acceptable or not

Life Skills: Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Problem-solving


  • Marker pens or crayons (red, yellow and green).
  • Sets of three blank cards in red, yellow and green. One set for each child pair.
  • Poster listing risk statements (on the following page).


  1. Explain that we all take risks as part of everyday life. For example:
    • We cross the road (traffic accidents)
    • We work in the fields (snake bite)
  2. The important thing is to think about the risks first and decide carefully. This is not easy.
  3. Read a short story in which a character in the story takes a risk. For example: Luis is selling cigarettes in the main street. He is approached by a man who buys two packets and then tells him that there is a better way to make money in the street. He tells the boy to follow him to his flat where they can talk about it more. Luis follows.
  4. In the whole group, discuss:
    • Is anyone in this story taking a risk?
    • Why did Luis decide to take a risk?
    • How do you think Luis felt at the time?
    • What might have happened because of taking that risk? Would it be good or bad?
    • What identity factors led to Simon taking this risk?
      (Luis showed risk-taking behaviour. He lacks skills to think critically about the dangers of this situation. The environment in which he lives and works, as a street vendor with very little money encourages this risky behaviour.)
    • What do you think about people taking risks?
    • Who takes more risks? Adolescents or old people? Why?
    • Do you take risks?
  5. Ask everyone to think of occasions when they took a risk. Maybe it was a small risk or maybe it was a very important one. In pairs, ask them to answer the same questions as above.
  6. Ask some of the pairs to share with the whole group. Can you make any general observations on risk-taking behaviour?
  7. Give each pair a set of three coloured cards.
  8. Read out the ‘risk statements’ below, then read them out again. After each one, ask each pair to hold up a card: Red for very risky; yellow for risky; green for very small risk.

  1. Record the results using the marker pens or crayons. The educator should be aware of what is acceptable locally. Some of these risks may be considered high risk in some places but not in others. The educator must also be prepared to give guidance if the children’s assessment is inaccurate.
  2. Divide the children into boy-only and girl-only groups of four. Ask each child to select three ways in which they have taken a risk (from the list, from real life or invent them).
  3. Each child tells the group their three risks. They discuss why they take these risks, for example:
    • Because it’s fun/exciting
    • Because I feel I have nothing to lose
    • Because I want to be a part of the group and they are all doing it
    • Because I feel old enough
    • Because I am scared not to
    • Because I want to make money
  4. In the whole group discuss the risks and the reasons. If groups have common reasons, decide what life skills are needed to reduce this risk-taking behaviour. Use the answers to choose future life skills activities.


Final Discussion:

Point out risks that the children did not think about during their discussion. Do you know when you are taking risks? What can you do to identify risks?

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