LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 32

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions in this book and this is Activity 32. 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 32 – Avoiding Risks

Purpose of Activity: To identify the deep reasons behind risk-taking so that children can learn to avoid risk

Life Skills: Problem-solving, Creative Thinking

Important Points: Do (or refer) back to Activity 26: What risks do we take and why?


  1. Tell the group that sometimes we take action because we believe they give us short-term benefits, even if the action has no long-term benefit for us.
  2. Explain that a risk is a chance or a possibility of harm. In groups of four of five, ask the children to discuss and draw risks that they, their peers or friends take in their lives. For example: smoking, drug-taking, stealing, having unprotected sex etc.
  3. Now ask each child to think of a risk that they take or they would like to take.
  4. Ask for one volunteer to come forward. Reassure them that they will not have to say anything personal or that will embarrass them! Ask them to close their eyes and then imagine themselves taking that risk. Now open their eyes and say what the benefits are from taking that risk. Ask: What does that give you? What does it do for you?
  5. The educator lists all the positive benefits. For example, in one session, Anton said that he kept risking his health by smoking. When asked what it does for him, Anton said:
    • It relaxes me even when I have problems
    • I feel happy with my friends
    • I feel part of my group
  6. In pairs, ask the group to do the same exercise with each other. Ask for volunteers to report the results back to the group.
  7. Now ask the children how they can have the same results but without taking the risk. Often children take risks (for example smoking or taking drugs) to escape, forget or become happier. Ask the whole groups to think creatively about how they can achieve this. For example, Anton decided he could relax and feel happy with the group by playing football more regularly.
  8. Still in the same pairs, one child repeats the benefits of the risk they take, and the other child thinks of ideas for achieving the effect without taking the risk. Give time for everybody to have a turn in each position. You can use the fishbowl game here where each child gets at least two suggestion form different people. (See games at the end of the handbook.)
  9. Ask the children to close their eyes and visualise how to get the benefits in a non-risky way.

Final Discussion:

Was it easy being creative with ideas? Why or why not? Why do we get stuck into behaviour patterns? (It is easier, we don’t know any alternatives, we are scared.) How can we break risky behaviour patterns?

If you have done Activities 22 and 27, remind children of the techniques of saying NO and the three Cs in decision-making. Otherwise, you can do these activities next to develop their skills in changing their behaviour.)

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