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Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Props for role play, such as fabric, hats, paper bags, boxes, empty paper towel rolls, etc.

Preparation for Activity

  • Gather props for children to use in the role play. Keep them simple. For example, a swath of fabric can become a cape, a skirt, a carpet, or hair.

Description of Activity

Form teams of three or four, if the group has more than six participants. Give each team the scenario and encourage them to create a role play based on it:

One person is new at your school, having just moved from across the country and appears to talk differently and wear an unusual style of clothing. Some members of the group will act as if the person has a contagious illness because of these differences, but one person will have the courage to get to know the new person and reach out to them. BUT, whoever is acting as the new kid needs to be initially resistant to the advances of friendship. (Note: "Initially" is the key. The role play should resolve itself with the new person accepting the overtures of friendship and possibly even having the others coming around to being open as well.)

Tell the teams they will have ten minutes to plan what they will do and who will do what part. Then they will role play their scenario for all the participants.

Call "Time!" after ten minutes, and ask which group would like to go first. If none volunteer, choose a group. After each team's role play, ask the entire group to reflect on what happened and discuss what they liked about it, whether they thought something was unrealistic, and how it could have been done differently.

To conclude, invite the entire group to talk about the process. Was this a challenge, or was it relatively easy to do a role play and offer hospitality to someone much different from them? Would it be the same in "real" life? Why or why not? Also, why is it important to include new people?

Including All Participants

Some participants really shine in role play activities, while others may feel uncomfortable performing. To accommodate individuals who are more reserved, make sure each team includes some extraverted participants who will step up to take on the major roles. This will allow self-conscious individuals to take a minor role which may be more comfortable for them.

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