LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 15

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions in this book and this is Activity 15. The book is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, booklets and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 15: Communication, Mime the Lie

Purpose of activity:

  • To show how people can give confusing messages because their actions send a different message to their words.
  • To notice how body language can be misinterpreted.
  • To practise effective body language and how to respond to threatening or inappropriate body language from others.

Life skills: Communication, interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, critical thinking 

Important points: The first game is a funny way to show how actions have more effect than words and can be used as a warm-up. Stress that even though actions often DO show real feelings, this is not always true. Actions can also be misunderstood.

Materials: None


  1. Ask children to stand in a circle.
  2. Go into the middle of the circle and mime an action, such as brushing your teeth.
  3. Ask one of the children to ask you what you are doing. Reply by saying something else, for example, “I am digging a hole.”
  4. Now ask the person who asked you the question to do the action you said you were doing (digging a hole) and ask another person to ask that person what s/he is doing. Again a wrong reply is given (I’m dancing).
  5. Continue to give as many children as possible a chance, but stop before the others lose interest.
  6. Brainstorm situations where body language is confusing or goes against the words being said for example:
    • a girl refusing to walk down the street with a man but her expression suggests she wants to
    • a person saying they are interested while yawning
  7. Discuss whether words or actions show real feelings more.
  8. Brainstorm situations where the body language of a person is threatening or inappropriate. Discuss how to react to these situations.
  9. Divide children into groups. Give each group one situation to act out in mime. The groups can add an ending. The following are suggestions only:
    • A teacher asks a girl student to take the books to his house. In the house he starts to show he likes her.
    • A girl you like visits you. You are very happy, but then either you realise she has been drinking or she behaves in an aggressive manner towards you.
    • Two girls are talking. A man nearby keeps on looking at them. Then he comes and introduces himself. He stands very close while he is talking and is always looking at the body of one of the girls.
    • You (boy or girl) are walking home in the evening. Suddenly you realise you are being followed by a man with a strange look on his face.

Final discussion:

How did the people in the role pays react and why did they react like that? Why do some people give the wrong signals? (They are not always aware of their body language, they are not confident, they are confused.)

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