Prior to conducting this activity, have children come up one by one whenever it’s convenient and tell you something about themselves that a lot of other people probably don’t know. It should be something positive, not anything embarrassing or scandalous. If kids don’t instantly think of something, you might prompt them with questions about . . .
- Unusual pets they might have
- Special hobbies
- Activities they engage in outside the school, such as horseback riding lessons, little league, etc.
- Famous relatives or family that live in unique places
- Special possessions or something they have in their home
- And so on.
Each child’s secret should be different from the others, so you’ll need to guide them towards something unique. Once you have something, record it on a master list that details the child’s name and their secret. Once you’ve collected secrets on all the kids, write each one on a 3 by 5 note card or piece of paper in large enough lettering for your kids to read, but don’t list the name.
Once you’re ready, gather the kids in group time (or just keep them at their desks if you’re an elementary school teacher) and pass out 1 secret to each child in the class, trying to make sure you don’t hand out a secret to the same child who authored it. Have them read the secret to themselves and try to think about who it might belong to.
Next, call one child to stand up and read the secret they received to the rest of the class (or have an adult read it if your kids are preliterate). Then give them 3 chances to try and guess who in their class owns that particular secret. If they can’t guess after three tries, go ahead and reveal it for them.
There are two points to this activity:
- It helps your kids get to know interesting things about their classmates that they might not otherwise learn about, and . . .
- To help children realize that they can’t judge people based on outward appearances or limited interaction with them. As you go through these secrets, there are bound to be some surprises – perhaps the real girly-girl who owns a pet snake, or the quiet kid in the class who takes karate lessons. It helps kids understand that there is a lot about others that they don’t know.
Teacher tip: Depending on the size of your class and their attention span, you might want to break this activity apart into several sessions – passing out 5 secrets to 5 kids on one day, then doing another 5 the next, and so on.
*Area: Social skills activities
Link: Secret sleuth activity
In this activity, kids share little known things about themselves in order to get to know their classmates better, while also learning that you can’t judge people based on outward appearances. Recommended for children of all ages.