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Take 5… ideas for PSHE and citizenship

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By Nina Filipek — freelance education writer

Take 5… fun ways of developing children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in PSHE and citizenship

Roll a dice to play the game

Roll a dice and answer a question

1. I’m a responsible person, get me out of here!

Help the children to recognise that as they grow older, they must start to take responsibility for themselves. Ask them: How responsible are you? Playing a game will help them to reflect on this. Give each group of children a dice and a counter. On a sheet of paper, ask them to draw a rope ladder with steps from 1 to 25. At the bottom of the ladder, they should draw a crocodile swamp and at the top, a safe platform. The children take turns to roll the dice and if they can answer Yes to a question (see below), they climb the steps according to the number rolled. If they answer No, they must remain where they are until their next roll. Provide children who answer No, with the opportunity to say Let me do it! and ask them to give an example of how they can take on more responsibility in the future.

Roll 1: Do you take care of your belongings?

Roll 2: Do you own up when it’s your fault?

Roll 3: Do you finish things that you start?

Roll 4: Do you offer to help others?

Roll 5: Do others trust you to do things on your own?

Roll 6: Do you do any jobs at home?

2. It’s a goal!

Help children to develop their sense of self-worth by identifying the best things about themselves, but also recognising their little faults and setting personal goals. Draw a big goal post and give each child a football-shaped piece of card. Ask them to write down one personal goal on it, that they can aim to achieve in the coming week. For example: My goal is to keep cool and not lose my temper. Stick the balls in front of the post. At the end of the week, record the goal score. Try to help those children who didn’t reach their goal to come up with a plan for success – were they aiming too high, perhaps?

3. Agony aunts

Talk about the kinds of worries children have, for example about their school work, friends, family and themselves. Be sensitive to individual circumstances. Ask the children to write a letter to an agony aunt (their partner) about one such problem – not necessarily a personal problem. The partner has to think very carefully before writing a reply. When the children receive their replies, ask for volunteers to read out their letters to the class. Ask: Was the advice given by the agony aunt helpful and appropriate? Was it the best advice? If we had a real and serious problem where could we go? (Talk about the support available to them in school, as well as national helplines and welfare systems.)

4. Anger management

Everyone gets angry sometimes. Talk about the things that make us angry – we get angry with ourselves when we make mistakes and with other people when they do things that annoy or hurt us. What is different about us is the way we each respond to that anger. Some people explode like a firework and hit out, and others count to ten and say calmly: Please don’t do that!. Ask the children: Which one are you? Divide the class into two groups ‘rockets’ (those that explode with anger) and ‘sparklers’ (those that remain calm). In mixed groups of rockets and sparklers, ask the children to discuss what makes them angry and how they deal with it. Is it better to have more sparklers or rockets in the world? Can the rockets learn anything from the sparklers? Write a class list of top temper tips.

5. All in favour say ‘aye’

Take an issue that affects the children and get them to talk about their opinions, for example: ‘We should walk to school if we live within a mile away.’ You could organise a debate by dividing four children into two teams – one team to prepare the case ‘for’ and the other ‘against’ walking to school. Each member of the affirming team talks for two minutes, followed by the opposing team. Clear statements should be made with evidence or reasoning. Speaking time is divided equally and children are allowed to question the other team. The aim is to persuade the rest of the class to cast a vote after the debate. Relate this to how laws are passed in government.

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