Activity 5: How Are We Different? How Are We The Same?
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Self-portraits from Activity 4
Preparation for Activity
- Optional: Identify a wall space in your meeting room or elsewhere to display the portraits. Invite children and parents to create the display.
Description of Activity
This activity engages participants to affirm ways they are different and the same. Have the children form a circle, each holding their self portrait. Say:
Now that we have drawn our self portraits, we are going to use them to help us notice ways we are the same, and different. As we go around the circle, you will look at your own self portrait and the one done by the person standing on your right. See if you can tell us one thing the same and one thing that is different. You can pass if you don't want to answer. I will begin.
Hold your own self portrait next to the one done by the child on your right, so everyone can see both. Model observing a very basic similarity, such as "We both have eyes (or noses, or hair, or hands)," or "We both drew ourselves smiling." Model a difference that can be clearly seen from the self portraits, such as "My eyes are brown and Julie's eyes are blue," or "I have brown skin and Benjamin's skin is lighter and he has freckles."
As you go around the circle, prompt children to begin with a similarity ("We both... ") Affirm in a value-free way the similarities and, especially, the differences that are mentioned: "That's right, George, your hair is curly and Margaret has straight hair in a ponytail." "Yes, Liam has a scar on his face and no glasses, and Anna wears glasses and does not have a scar on her face. You both have brown eyes.") Thank each child for their good work at noticing similarities and differences.
Be careful to rephrase any observations that come from assumptions or knowledge that cannot be gleaned from the self portraits. For example, if a child says, "We both have two ears, but I look like my mom and Jimmy is adopted," you might ask, "Hmm. I can't see that in your two self portraits. You both have two ears, yes, and I notice that Jimmy has a striped shirt on in his picture and you are wearing a tank top."
If you have time and the children are still engaged with comparing their self portraits, count off "ones" and "twos," ask all the "ones" to move to a new place in the circle, and go around again. Another variation is to ask a volunteer to hold up their self portrait, and invite others to name a similarity and a difference between the volunteer's self portrait and their own.
End the activity by affirming that accepting other people means we have to notice how they are the same as us as well as different. Tell the children,
We accept ourselves, just as we are, with our brown hair, blonde hair, blue eyes, brown eyes, green shoes, or no shoes at all. And these are all beautiful self portraits.