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LifeSkills Handbook Activity 30

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 Handbooks Activity 30
Responsibility & Consequences (Drugs & Alcohol)

Purpose of activity:

  • To help children think about the reasons why people take harmful substances
  • To help children think about the short- and long-term consequences of taking harmful substances
  • To help children think about the consequences of NOT taking harmful substances
  • To give children practice how to resist pressure

Life Skills: Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking

Important points

There may be many reasons why children take harmful substances (tobacco, alcohol drugs etc). Many are motivated to start by reasons like “I wanted to be accepted in my group” rather than anything to do with the drug itself. Activities that aim to change harmful behaviour need to address all the factors that surround the child. Change is more likely to happen when it is linked to a positive outcome.


  • Situation card.


  1. Read out the following situation to children:

Tshepo has just become part of a group. He’s really happy to be part of the group and enjoys hanging around with them. Recently they’ve started to smoke dagga (use a local word the children know for marijuana). Tshepo does not smoke and does not like the idea of smoking marijuana. He knows some other groups which use stronger, more harmful drugs. Some of his friends want to try these harder drugs too. Tshepo does not know what to do because he wants to stay part of the group but he does not want to get involved in smoking or taking drugs.

  1. Divide the group into three or four smaller groups and ask one child to be the leader in that group. Children discuss answers to the two following questions:
    • What choices does Tshepo have?
    • What are the consequences of each?
  2. Ask each group to act out a roleplay which illustrates positive and negative consequences for Tshepo.
  3. The group can then discuss:
    • Why did Tshepo respond like he did?
  4. Guide the children towards considering the whole of Tshepo:
    • his identity
    • his values and beliefs
    • his skills (to resist pressure to take harmful drugs)
    • his behaviour (how he usually is)
    • his environment (does it help him or not?)
  5. Why did other characters in the roleplays behave as they did?

Final Discussion:

Do you know someone who was taking harmful substances? Why do you think that they did this? What happened to them? What is good and what is bad about taking drugs?

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