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Coaching
Drama
How to make a difference
Kitbag: A resource pack
Massage techniques
Thinking about your approach
   

 

Character strengths

 

  Top 5 Strengths
 
 

Young people aged 10-17 years can do the youth version of the strengths test at www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu - click on the "VIA Strength Survey for Children". It will take them about 45 minutes to answer all the questions. Then they will get a rating of their top 5 strengths which are called ‘signature’ strengths. Discuss their top five strengths with them. Ask them to think about whether they agree that these are their top 5. Ensure their understanding of these strengths by asking for examples of when they use each one in their lives.

Don’t be surprised if appreciation, forgiveness, modesty and open-mindedness are low on their list. In general, children and adolescents will find these difficult – they will develop as they get older.

You can do a number of different activities after a group of children have completed the strengths questionnaire:

  • If you are working with a group of children you could compare everyone’s top 5 strengths and see how many strengths there are in common. It helps children to see that everyone has different strengths. It also helps highlight that absolutely everyone has strengths that should be celebrated and valued.
  • You could make one long list of all the top 5 strengths from everyone in the group or classroom and put them up on the wall. This helps remind everyone that as a group we are stronger than as an individual. This activity can help to clarify the importance of team work and cooperation with others.
  • You could ask everyone in a group or class or family to write up their top five strengths on a piece of paper and play a guessing game - which profile belongs to which person? This helps us to notice strengths in others.
 
     

 

 

Deliberate Acts of Kindness

 
 

This activity is about the character strength of kindness. It involves doing things for others with no other motive than being kind for its own sake. Doing something kind for others does not only help others, it helps us too by making us feel better about ourselves.

Ask the child or group of children or young people to think of things they can do for others. Tell them that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a big thing or a little thing – lots of thoughtful little things are just as important as big ones. Tell them it’s even better if it’s a secret - so the person doesn’t know it was she/he who did it! Ask them to report back about a week later to talk about what they did and how they felt about it.

Here are some ideas to start you off:

  • Pack up some old clothes and take them to a charity shop
  • Open the door for someone
  • Visit someone in hospital
  • Visit an elderly relative
  • Offer to carry shopping for someone
  • Write a thank you card to someone for a gift
  • Phone up someone on their birthday and sing ‘happy birthday’ to them.
  • Tell someone they look great
  • Smile at everyone you see for a day
  • Do a chore for someone that you know they hate doing
  • Thank your teacher for a good lesson
  • Write a friend a note to say how much they mean to you.
 
     

 

 

You at your best

 
  Ask young people in a group setting to introduce themselves in a different way than you would normally. Instead of asking them to say where they live or who is in their family or what they are studying, ask them to describe themselves at their best. Say, for example, "Think of a time when you did something or acted in a way that made you feel you were a good person – not an academic or athletic achievement, but something like being really brave when facing a difficult situation, or being really kind to someone in distress. Tell us the story of what happened and how you felt about it." This encourages young people to think about who they are as a person in terms of their strengths. It also helps them get to know others on a deeper level.  
     

 

 

The Incredibles

 
 

This fun activity helps you to discover the superheroes in your family, class or group!

What you need:

  • Paper
  • Colouring pens
  • Pencils
  • Child-safe badge blanks that you can decorate yourself.

What you do:

  • Some of the television science fiction and fantasy series have several superheroes with different skills. In order to solve a problem, or to save the world, they need to use all their different skills and work together as a team.
  • Think about each of the people in your family, class or group. What are their special skills? What kind of superhero are they? How do they use their hero-skills to help your family, class or group sort out its everyday challenges and reach its goals?
  • Make a list of the super-heroes your family, class or group needs to help meet its challenges or reach its goals.
  • Then decide who has the special skills to be the different superheroes. For example, who is the super-comforter, super-fixer, super-tidier, super-cheerer-upper, super-brave-person, super-nurse, super-peacemaker, etc?
  • When you’ve decided which super-skill each person has, work in twos or threes to make superhero badges for each other.

Some things to talk about together:

  • What are some of the goals and challenges your family or group faces?
  • What superheroes have you already discovered?
  • What new superheroes might you need?
  • How can all the superheroes work together to help your group or family reach your goals or deal with your challenges?
  • How can we let each other know when a superhero is needed?

Other ideas:

  • Design some super-person t-shirt logos, like ‘Superman’. Create the design on your computer and use special t-shirt printing paper. Iron your super-logos onto plain white t-shirts.
  • When you need one of your special superheroes, you could say, ‘I think we need our Super-Peacemaker!’ Or think of other fun ways of inviting your super-heroes to come to the rescue, like humming your group’s super-hero theme tune!
 
     

 

 

Activities and Videos