Self Discovery – Activities and Games

Self Discovery

 Please note: You can also incorporate materials from our body image resources in these sessions

Who Are You? (Ice Breaker)

Time: 10 minutes

Objective: to highlight similarities and differences between class /group members. This is a good ice breaker activity, especially for participants who haven’t worked together before.


  • Masking tape


Before beginning, place two long lines of masking tape on either side of the room. Everyone stands side by side, on one side of the room. Tell the participants that they cannot speak during this activity. Read a statement from the list below and have the participants who have experienced what you read walk to the line for a few seconds and look at the other people on the line, and then return. If space is limited, this activity may be altered to ‘Stand up if …’

Alternatively, another way to run the activity is to have all participants stand at one end of a court. Each time a statement applies to them, they take one step forward until someone reaches the other end of the court.

Walk to the line/take a step forward if you …

  • like the colour red
  • like pizza
  • watch reality shows
  • play a sport
  • play an instrument
  • have ever been in a car accident
  • have ever cried yourself to sleep
  • have parents who are divorced
  • have ever failed a subject at school
  • have ever thought you were fat
  • have ever been made fun of because of the way you looked
  • have ever wished you had different hair
  • have had a crush on someone who didn’t like you back
  • have ever had a fight with your best friend
  • have ever been in a big fight with your parents and said something you regretted
  • have ever been terrified
  • have ever judged someone based on their appearance
  • have ever judged someone because of their race
  • have ever wanted to be part of a more popular group
  • have ever lied to your mum or dad
  • write in a diary or journal
  • have ever wished you were thinner
  • have had your parents betray your trust
  • have ever cheated on a test or in an assignment
  • have ever lied to your friends
  • have ever felt peer pressure
  • have ever dressed in a particular way or done something to impress your friends
  • have ever cried because you felt out of control
  • know someone who has cut (or burned) themselves (only for teenagers)
  • know an adult that drinks a lot or does drugs (only for teenagers)
  • know another student that drinks or does drugs (only for teenagers)
  • feel like sometimes you don’t really know who you are

Discussion Question:

  • Name one thing that surprised you about this activity.

The Masks We Wear

People often compare themselves to others. They also wear different masks or

The masks we wear - self discovery - activities and games - Part of life skills resources for teachers and counsellorsput on different faces, depending in the particular norms of the social situation they are in. Masks provide a comforting way for them to hide their true selves and fit in and they serve as a protective barrier to avoid getting hurt. Teenagers, in particular, often go through tumultuous times and experience a roller coast of emotions, leaving them more vulnerable to loss of identity. This activity allows participants to analyse, demonstrate, and explore the different ways they act around the important people in their lives.


  • Paper plates (at least 3 for each person)
  • Magazines or newspapers
  • Pencils or pens, coloured markers/felt pens
  • Optional: Craft (paddle pop) sticks, glue or tape


  1. Begin with a discussion about why people wear masks.
  2. Ask participants to think about the masks they wear and how they change daily. Provoke thought about how they act at home, school, and social events and around friends, boys, girls, strangers, teachers, sports coaches and others.
  3. Hand out the materials and have each participant decorate three masks, with each mask representing how he/she presents himself/herself most often.
  4. When everyone is finished, ask them to discuss their masks and how they change from day to day and situation to situation. If you use craft (paddle pop) sticks, participants can attach them to their masks so they can hold the masks up to their faces when describing the different situations in which they wear them.

Discussion Questions

  • Which mask do you feel most comfortable in?
  • Which mask would you like to get rid of?
  • How will you use what you have learned today?



Self-portraits offer people a creative outlet to express how they view themselvesSelf Discovery - Self Portrait Photograph - activities and games - Part of life skills resources for teachers and counsellors in a non-threatening format. In addition, self portraits will provide you with a deeper understanding of everyone’s background.


  • A copy of the self-portrait handout for each participant
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or coloured markers/felt pens


  1. Ask participants to close their eyes and picture themselves. Encourage everyone to consider how they feel about their body, home life, school, friends and social activities. Give everyone a few minutes to grasp an activity.
  2. Distribute the self-portrait handout and art supplies.
  3. Ask everyone to draw their images of themselves to the best of their ability.
  4. When everyone has completed the assignment, ask each person to describe their self portrait to the group.

Discussion Questions

  • How is your portrait different from the image you project to others?
  • What is a step you are willing to take to improve your vision of yourself?
  • How will you use what you have learned today?

Role Models

Girls often identify with other females as role models and copy behaviours, dress, interests and hobbies.  Boys do the same with other males. They often have difficulty finding and relating to appropriate role models who can help them face the future with a positive, healthy outlook. Furthermore, it can be difficult for them to find role models from diverse backgrounds to whom they can relate. Everyone needs healthy role models who place importance on friendship, responsibility, decision making, sports, academics, and community service. Positive role models can help everyone deal with the many complex issues and decisions that are an intrinsic part of growing up. This activity encourages participants to explore appropriate role models, with whom they can identify.



  1. Begin with a discussion of the many positive role models in our society. Encourage the everyone to discuss characteristics of appropriate role models and explain that positive role models do not need to be famous or extremely successful or fit a particular stereotype. Role models need to be strong people who are responsible, respectful, motivated and honest.
  2. Ask participants to think about an adult who has been an encouraging role model to them.
  3. Give each person a copy of the People Who Rock handout.
  4. Ask participants to write the qualities of their role models in the squares. Encourage creativity!
  5. When everyone has finished, have them share the characteristics of their role models with the group.

Discussion Questions

  • What are some characteristics of great role models?
  • Do you think it is hard to find appropriate, realistic role models?
  • What are some things you have learned from your role model and applied to your own life?
  • Is there anything that you would like to do differently so that you can be more like your role model? If so, please explain.

Who Are You Discussion

Discussion Questions

  1. Who are you? What defines who you are?
  2. What is the best thing about being a girl/boy?
  3. How is being a girl/boy different from being a boy/girl?
  4. Talk about a time when you wished you were not a girl/boy?
  5. What group of people do you like to hang out with?
  6. What has been the most difficult part about getting older?
  7. When do you pretend to be somebody else?
  8. What are some qualities you judge other people on?
  9. What are some of your short-term goals?
  10. What are some things about you that are super-special?
  11. Do you face challenges with a positive or negative attitude?
  12. Talk about a time you wished you were someone different.
  13. Who are your role models? What makes you look up to and admire these people?
  14. How do you want other people to see you?
  15. When do you feel ‘fake’?
  16. How does your personality change as you associate with different groups of people? Why do you think it changes?
  17. Is it difficult to point out your good qualities to other people?
  18. Is it easy to point out your flaws to other people?
  19. How or where do you see yourself in 10 years? How will you get there?


Who Am I? Self DiscoverySelf Discovery Image - self discovery - activities and games - Part of life skills resources for teachers and counsellors

A Who Am I? Self Discovery handout has been prepared for you.

Risky Business

When struggling with identity issues and creating a core concept of self, adolescents often engage in risky or dangerous behaviours. These behaviours are often choices that result in negative consequences. Unfortunately people this age are notorious for believing that ‘it won’t happen to me’.


  • Copy of any recipe card
  • Index cards
  • Pencils or pens


  1. Ask participants to define risky or dangerous behaviours and to determine what makes behaviour safe, as opposed to unsafe.
  2. Steer the discussion toward these behaviours, as they are undertaken in the context of relationships with girlfriends, boyfriends, family members and others.
  3. Show participants the recipe card.
  4. Explain to the participants how all the ingredients combined together create a specific product, such as a cake or cookies. Explain that if any ingredient or any step in the process is altered, the product will not turn out the way it should.
  5. Ask if anyone has ever left out an ingredient when cooking so that the finished product was less than desirable.
  6. Give each person two index cards and a pen or pencil.
  7. Ask them to create their own ‘recipes’. On one index card, they should create a recipe describing healthy, productive behaviours. The recipe should include actions and thoughts, necessary for promoting healthy behaviours. For example, “combine 30 minutes of daily exercise, one hour of studying, proper nutrition, being positive, and helping my parents. The results will help me be successful – every day.”
  8. On the second index card, they should create recipes for risky, unhealthy behaviours. For example, “Eating poorly, not studying, worrying about my family, not getting enough sleep and watching five hours of TV per day will get me in trouble.” Or, for older participants, “Lying to my parents, drinking, staying up until 1 am every night and skipping school will catch up with me in the long run.”
  9. When they have finished, ask everyone to share their recipes and discuss differences and similarities. Ask how they will implement their ‘recipes for success’.

Discussion Questions

  • Can you describe the choices you always have when deciding what risks to take?
  • When you make an unwise decision, do you often learn from your mistake?
  • How will you use what you have learned today?

Today I Choose….

Everything we do in life is a choice. Every choice has a consequence. The consequence can be positive or negative. Young people often find it more difficult to think about the ramifications of their decisions. The pressures and uncertainties during times of trouble can lead to poor choices. This activity focuses on the importance of thinking through and planning to help promote healthy decision making.



  1. Explain to participants that they will be focusing on choices. Ask for some examples of the many choices they make every day.
  2. Talk about these examples and point out that good choices are often harder to make but usually lead to better results.
  3. Talk to participants about how empowering themselves means to know that most everything they do in life is their choice.
  4. Give a copy of the My Life is a Choice handout to each participant.
  5. Have them complete the handout and see how many things they actually choose to do in one day.
  6. When everyone is finished, have them talk about a few of their daily choices.
  7. When they are done sharing, steer the discussion toward what the consequences may be if they do not make these choices. For example, they may choose to take a shower. If they don’t, they will smell bad. Other examples: They choose to brush their teeth. If they don’t they may get cavities. They choose to eat lunch. If they don’t, they may get hungry or have a headache.
  8. Complete the activity by repeating the idea that making choices is empowering.

Discussion Questions

  • Can you name a few difficult situations in which making a good choice may be a struggle for many people today?
  • Why do you think these situations are so difficult?
  • How would you advise someone to handle these difficult situations?
  • How will you use what you have learned today?

Choices Self-Discovery

Distribute the Choices Self – Discovery handout to participants.

Communication Self-Discovery

Distribute the Communication Self-Discovery handout to participants.

Emotions  Self-Discovery

Distribute the Emotions Self-Discovery handout to participants.

Friendships Self-Discovery

Distribute the Friendships Self-Discovery handout to participants.

Self-Esteem Self-Discovery

Distribute the My Self-Esteem Self-Discovery handout to participants.