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LifeSkills Handbook Activity 49

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 49
Preparing for the Unexpected

Purpose of Activity: To identify possible obstacles/problems that make it difficult to reach long term goals.

Life Skills: Problem-solving, Critical Thinking, Self-awareness

Important Points

It is useful for this activity to refer back to the Activity 3: Timeline.


  • One piece of folded paper per child
  • Cards with one of the following statements written on them. Adapt these to suit the needs of the group.

Changes to the Future

  • You were selected to go to college
  • A friend or relative you love, died
  • You decided to leave school and look for a job
  • You had an accident and lost your leg
  • You got a sexually transmitted disease
  • You won a scholarship to go abroad
  • You set up your own business/farm
  • You found out that you can’t have children
  • You were arrested for taking drugs
  • You/your partner had a baby


  1. Repeat or refer back to Activity 3: The Timeline.
  2. Ask each child to write down three important goals they want to achieve before they are 30. Say that everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected because usually life does not go to plan!
  3. Ask each child to come forward and pick one change to the future card. (If children are not literate, you can go around the group reading the card to each child.)
  4. In pairs, children discuss how that change would affect the goals they had and how they could reduce the bad effects. (Make it clear that these are imaginary situations only.)
  5. Ask volunteers to present to the whole group for further discussion.

Final discussion

  • How did you feel about the change? (If they were unhappy, say that this is normal. The important thing is how we face up to the situation and our feelings.)
  • What can we do in such situations?
  • Are our long-term goals achievable?
  • What are we doing to reach these goals?
  • What threatens our plans? Can we control this? (For example, economic status, civil unrest or war, death of a parent, our own sexual behaviour, substance abuse, impatience.)

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