LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 53

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions in this book and this is Activity 53. 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 53 – Fear and Courage

Purpose of Activity

  • To understand how fear works
  • To explore how to control their fears and where their courage comes from

Life Skills: Coping with Stress & Emotion, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking

Steps

  1. Before the session, ask a volunteer to stand outside the room and bang on the door at the signal.
  2. Ask the children to close their eyes and imagine the following situation:

You are walking on the street one night. There is no moon and everywhere is quiet. There have been rumours of armed bandits (thieves) in the area and every sound seems to be dangerous to you. Suddenly someone jumps out from behind a tree just in front of you, clamps a hand tightly over your mouth and starts to pull you to a half-built house. You can see he is carrying a big knife with him.

  1. Tell people to keep their eyes closed and say how they would be feeling at this moment if this happened. What physical feelings would they have?
  2. As they begin to answer, the volunteer should bang on the door. Then ask again for physical sensations. Example are:
    • Muscles tighten
    • Body starts to sweat
    • Armpits tingle
    • Hands become damp
    • Heart beats faster
    • Breathing becomes faster
    • Stomach feels uneasy
    • Stomach jumps into the mouth
    • Trembling
  3. Explain that these responses are caused by a chemical in the body called adrenalin. When we are afraid, it creates energy to help us fight or run away.
  4. In pairs ask children to tell each other
    • what makes them afraid?
    • what happens to them when they are afraid?
  5. Ask volunteers to tell their partner’s story. The whole group can give suggestions for how they cope with fear. Where does their courage come from? The fishbowl game can be used to do this discussion (see Games at the end of this section). If the children feel awkward about discussing their fears, go around the room collecting the ideas and then talk about them without mentioning any names.

Final Discussion:

Is it bad to have fears? Why or Why not? Can fear help us? What can we do with our fears?

Follow-up Activities

Much poetry and words for songs are about people’s difficulties and fears. Children can make up songs or poems using ideas from this session. They can write these down or ask others to help write them down. These can be performed in the group; they can be published in newspapers or appropriate newsletters.

Find out more about the LifeSkills Handbook and how to purchase it!

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