Main Content

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Optional: Music, and music player

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide how you will pair children. Prepare to pair a co-leader with a child, in an odd-numbered group.
  • Optional: Choose about five minutes of instrumental music to evoke a variety of emotions children can express in their mirroring movements-for example, a clip from the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

Description of Activity

This activity develops empathy, self-awareness, and trust, tools that can help children dissipate anger they may feel toward someone else.

Form pairs of participants and arrange them so they face a partner. Tell them they will take turns to mirror each other’s hand and arm movements as closely as possible. Explain that the idea is not to stump the other person, or to go so fast their partner cannot follow. The goal is to mirror each other as much as possible.

Have one person be the leader and the other the mirror for a couple of minutes. Then switch.

Optional: Use music to evoke different moods for the hand movements. Include music that evokes anger or music that sounds sad. If you use thematic music, be sure to talk afterward about the emotions the children were expressing.

Follow up with questions:

  • How easy or difficult was this?
  • What skills do you need, in order to follow someone else’s movements in this way? (Concentration, observation, patience.)
  • Why would it be important to give someone your full attention?
  • How did it feel to have someone else following your movements?
  • When you were the mirror, did anyone feel like you were agreeing with emotions your partner was acting out? How did that feel?

Including All Participants

If any child will be unable to see the hand movements, have pairs place their hands palm to palm and mirror with their eyes closed.

Like, Share, Print, or Explore

For more information contact

Find everything tagged: