Teen Group Activity: Explore Feelings through Role Play

Image result for teen group charades image

This is a great activity to use in a group setting.  I have found that it works well for teens.


Write out scenarios on strips of paper to be drawn for role play.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Your parent just took your phone away as a consequence for getting in trouble
  • You just won the lottery
  • You just found out your best friend is moving away
  • Falling in love
  • You were just bullied in the lunch room
  • You just passed your driver’s license test
  • You just found out a close family member died
  • Your boyfriend/girlfriend just broke up with you and you had no idea it was about to happen
  • You just caught the winning touchdown pass in the championship game
  • You spill your drink in your lap at lunch and then have to return to your classroom
  • You show up to class and realize you forgot that you have a huge test
  • You found twenty dollars on the street
  • You just found out that your parents are getting a divorce


How it works:

Divide the group into teams (I would recommend no more than five in a group and no less than two.)

Allow the teams to draw a slip of paper and discuss how they are going to act out the scenario. Make sure that they keep their discussions quiet so that the other team members don’t hear the scenario.

Have the group members role play the scenario while the other team guesses.  After they have guessed the scenario, explore what all feelings someone might experience who is involved in this scenario.  Be sure to encourage open discussion and ask lots of questions.  Has this ever happened to you or someone you know?  What would you do in this scenario? Can you identify where you feel this in your body (kicked in the gut, heart races, etc.)

Continue to role play until all of the scenarios are gone.  If you have more time, you can have each group come up with their own scenario to role play.

This activity is a great way to encourage the group members to work together.  It also allows the group members to explore emotions in a non-threatening way.

Inside Out Grief Activity

Inside Out

We love the movie Inside Out and the message that it represents!  We wanted to create an activity to use with our kid clients incorporating the importance of ALL emotions, especially in our grief journey.


  • Inside out handouts (Inside Out Guide Sheet and Inside Out Memory Orb)

Inside Out Guide Sheet

Inside Out Memory Orb

  • Red, Purple, Yellow, Green, and Blue coloring utensil (preferably colored pencils or crayons)

Step 1: Identify and Draw Memory

Direct the client to draw a memory shared with his loved one who has died on the Inside Out Memory Orb worksheet.  The client may also use words to write a story if he feels more comfortable representing his story this way.  Encourage the client to explore the memory further by noticing how all of the five senses were activated during the memory (i.e., notice what you smell, notice all of the colors as you think about this memory, etc.)

Step 2: Identify and Express Feelings Associated to the Memory

Provide the client with the Inside Out Guide worksheet and ask him to pick out the feelings that he experienced upon reflecting on his memory.  Be sure to encourage the client that it is okay to experience multiple feelings when he thinks about the memory.  Then ask the client to select the appropriate colors that represent the feelings and then use the colored pencils or crayons to shade in the Memory Orb.  Allow the client to select how he wants to represent his feelings when shading in the Memory Orb — clients might want to shade in proportionally to represent a percentage of the feelings or they may want mix the colors they have selected.

Step 3:  Explore the Experience

Spend time exploring what all came up when drawing the memory, did anything new or unexpected come up for the client?  It might be helpful to end with a breathing or grounding exercise.

You can use this activity during multiple sessions with your clients asking them to process different memories.  The activity also works well in a group setting.

Lite-Brite Remembrance Activity

We are always looking for creative and non-threatening ways to allow our clients to express themselves.  Here is one that is fun and incorporates one of our favorite toys, Hasbro’s Lite-Brite.

Select Pattern

Ask the client to write a message to his loved one who is gone or have him select a pattern that represents his loved one.  Here is a link to Lite-Brite patterns that you can print or create thanks to Hasbro.  http://www.hasbro.com/litebrite/en_US/

Create Design

The client will create her design.  While she is working on her design, you can allow her to lead the conversation, this always seems to be the best time for a client to talk and process.  Once the client completes her design, make sure you find a dark space so that she can view her work.  This pattern says, “I miss u” and includes a heart.

Lite Brite 2






BRB (Be Right Back) Grief Activity

Grief is hard.  Grieving within a family can be extremely hard.

So many times, I hear something similar to this from kids within a grieving family, “I was struggling but it looked like mom was having a good day and I didn’t want to upset her, so I didn’t talk to her about it.”  The opposite can be true as well, mom might hold back her tears so that she doesn’t upset her child.  The concept of BRB (be right back) is used in this activity.  This activity helps family members talk about their grief in a safe and structured way.  Instead of a family members stuffing down the memory or emotion that they might be feeling, they are encouraged to write down their grief response.   The family members then agree to a scheduled time to review what has been written down and spend time discussing their grief.

Supplies Needed:

  • Container to hold the strips (shoe box, jar, etc.)  I used a mason jar.
  • Items to decorate the container and glue to attach.  I used twine and a glue gun.
  • Strips of paper.

BRB Pic 3


Step 1:  Decorate the BRB Container

Have the clients decorate the BRB container.  You can use creative and fun items to decorate.  The whole family can join in this activity, or you may have the child decorate the container for the family.  I hot glued the twine around the mason jar.


BRB Pic 1


Step 2:  Create BRB Strips

Have the client cut strips of paper so that they can write down the emotions they are feeling regarding grief or specific memories they had that week about the loved one who died.

Step 3:  Send home the BRB Activity with the family and provide instructions

BRB pic 4

Discuss with the family the purpose of the BRB activity.  The family members are encouraged to write down what they are feeling throughout the week or memories about their loved one.  They might also write down struggles they are having this week because of the loss.

Ask the family to agree upon designated time and place to read through the BRB strips (for example, every Sunday at 5:00 p.m.).  It is important to encourage the family to set ground rules for this time (for example, creating a safe environment where things can be shared, respecting others, allowing for intense emotions without minimizing or attempting to fix, etc.)

I have my clients set a timer.  It can feel less overwhelming to go through the BRB activity if I know it will only be for 15-30 minutes.  Any strips of paper that were not read will just remain in the jar until the next time.  The family can decide how they read the strips of paper (one family member is the designated reader or they take turns reading them out loud.)  After each one is read, allowing for a time of discussion is important.  Has anyone else felt this way?  What does this memory mean to everyone else?  Is there anything else you would like to say about what you wrote?  Is there any way that I can help you further?

After completing the BRB activity, it can be helpful for families to schedule a connecting or fun activity (for example, playing a game together or watching a movie together, going for walk, etc.)  This activity is helpful because it allows a family to be intentional about working through the grieving process together in a safe environment.


Grief Word Game

The Grief Word Game is a non-threatening way to allow clients the opportunity to express their grief.  The game may be used during an individual session or as a group activity.  I’ve found this activity works well with ages 10 and up.  Yes, I use this activity with adults, too!

Supplies Needed:

  • Bananagrams game or Scrabble Tiles

Tiles Pic 1

Step 1:  Distribute Tiles

Client:  When I work with a client, I divide the tiles up as even as possible between the client and myself.  I typically work on my set of words while my client works on forming their words.  We each have different tiles, so the words typically end up being different from each other.  This provides opportunity to discuss my words along with the client’s words.

Group: If working with a group, you can divide the group up into teams and distribute the tiles.  I find that it seems to work having them work together during this activity.  For larger groups, I have used multiple Bananagrams sets.  It seems to work best to divide each Bananagrams game into no more than 2 to 3 groups.

Step 2: Specify Topic

Inform the client that they are going to be forming words from their tiles.  I let them know that the words can connect (like a crossword) but they don’t have to connect.  I also make sure to tell them that they are not getting checked for spelling, so they don’t have to worry about spelling the word correctly.  I normally set a time limit of 5 to 10 minutes for each round.

I let the client know that they will be creating words based on topics that I give them.  Since I am working with the topic of grief, I have come up with three topics related to grief, however, this activity can be modified in a bunch of different ways by adjusting topics.  I have provided a list of the topics I use below.

Topic 1:  Words that remind you of grief.

Tiles Pic 2

Topic 2:  Things that help you when you are grieving.

Tiles Pic 3

Topic 3:  Identify anything positive that can come from grief.

Tiles Pic 4

Step 3:  Discussion

At the end of each round, I ask the client or group members to read the words that they created.  We then discuss the words and look for similarities.  The discussion time provides opportunities to explore the client’s grief and seek understanding.