Empower young people to freely express themselves

Topic 4 focuses on improving free expression in an understanding and non-judgmental environment, improving self-confidence among young people.

Enable young people to create a vision of themselves in an artistic way

Through these activities, the youth workers can apply artistic methods to engage young people to create a vision of themselves, who they are, who they want to be and how to achieve their dreams.

Improve understanding and empathy

At the centre of all activities is the key factor of improving understanding and empathy among young people, therefore, improving collaboration and teamwork, and reducing discrimination and exclusion.

Paper, markers, colouring pencils, digital meeting platform, PC, tablet or smartphone, stable internet connection, digital camera (or smartphone), music, speakers

Please refer to the activity details to know exactly what materials are needed for them specifically.

Please refer to the activity details to know exactly what materials are needed for them specifically.


Create a mask

Introducing themselves with positive reinforcement and a creative approach is the focus in this activity, offering participants with a chance to make their own mask and showing themselves to others.

70-90 min

12-15 pers.


Carnival of the animals

Each participant finds an animal representing themselves, together creating a joint scene, and enabling reflection on oneself and on others around oneself through acting.

min 30 min

2-10 pers.


Dancing an Animal

Choosing an animal representative of oneself, the participants  are asked to engage in active movement and creative thinking through developing a choreography and interpretation for their chosen animal and presenting it.

60-120 min

2-10 pers.



The focus of this activity is finding words to define oneself, as well as becoming more familiar and accustomed to presenting oneself and moving in front of others.

45 min

min 5 pers.


Life Stages

Through movement, the participants can exchange experiences they have made in different stages of their life, with the help of videos and short recordings.

90 min

min 5 pers.


It’s your turn!

Giving free reign over topics and the focus of scenes, the participants can create a joint performance through music, theatre, or another medium.

90 min

8-10 pers.


Me at my best

This activity centres on highlighting the best in each participant and their lives and to strengthen their self-confidence through positive reflection.

60 min

5-15 pers.


Create a mask

Estimated duration: 70-90 minutes

Approx. number of participants: 12-15 participants

Learning objectives:

  • The participants will be able to create an image of themselves
  • Express themselves artistically.
  • Communicate.
  • Cultivate empathy.
  • Speak about themselves and other people.

Needed materials: Paper, markers, colouring pencils; Link for step 4 (Lorrena McKennit Marrakesh Night Market); digital platform, i.e. Zoom, Webex, MS Teams, Skype or any similar.

Description: Step 1 – Introduction (15-20 minutes): All the members of the group have their cameras on so that they can see each other. The facilitator informs the participants that they, in turn, have to state their name say the following phrase: “I am the most unique person in the entire world because…” and then they will have to say something unique, extraordinary, funny or nice about themselves, such as a favourite colour, a meal, a place they would like to go to, an activity they would like to perform Each participant will say only one thing at a time. Then the next participant will repeat the phrase saying something unique about her/himself. The participants will continue and each participant should say at least 2 or 3 unique characteristics about him/herself. Then movement should be added to the words. As soon as the participant completes the phrase and the movement. The trainer and the rest of the group should respond that: “This is what makes you unique and special and this is why we love it that you are part of our group” (an alternative phrase, such as “You are unique and me love you” can be used). The process ends when each participant has said at least 2 or 3 things about her/his and her/his uniqueness.

Step 2 (10-15 minutes): The facilitator asks the participants take the paper they have, make holes for eyes and to draw a face that each one likes and thinks that it is unique. The participants take their time and draw on the mask the face of the person that they want.

Step 3 (15-20 minutes): Each participant presents their mask to the rest of the group, they talk about the feelings of the mask, they created this certain mask and so on. When they complete the presentation of the mask, they get up and start to try out the kind of movement that this mask will have, using ideas from their first exercise. Every participant does the same.

Step 4 (10 minutes): The facilitator leads participants to a creative dance. S/he tells them to attend to the rhythm and the thematic melody, whereas, at other points, activates them to freely express themselves through dance and music.

Step 5 – Reflection (10 minutes): The facilitator asks each group member to express what they keeps from all above session for their own life. The facilitator will ask questions that stimulate reflection, namely “How do you think the above exercise helps you communicate?”, “Did you find it engaging?” and so on. Then s/he will invite participants to pinpoint what stroke their attention, what they gained and want they want to keep as a reference point from all the above procedure as well as to ask any questions related to the exercise.

Carneval of the animals

Estimated duration: (for 2 participants) 30 minutes

Approx. number of participants: Minimum 2, maximum 10

Learning objectives:

  • Active self-definition: Who am I, who do I want to be? Are these two one and the same?
  • Becoming aware of (hidden) fears
  • Discussing personal development potentials in a fair and secure frame

Needed materials: Digital camera, or PC with internet connection

Description: Step 1 – Introduction: This exercise should give young people the opportunity to freely express their vision of how they want to be seen, e.g. in their future professional roles. In order to do so, they should think of an animal they identify with or think adequate to express their image of themselves. The group then agrees on a scenario that the participants portray with the help of their animal identity.

Step 2: Each participant has up to 5 minutes to think about which animal they want to choose for themselves. What does this animal symbolise? Why is it good at representing me as I would like to be (seen)? How does it move, look like etc.?

Step 3: A volunteer, or one after the other, play(s) the scenario while the other watch.

Step 4 – Reflection: When each scene is done, the group discusses which animal the player might have been. The actor can then state what animal he/she has chosen for what reason, and how he/she felt like in this identity: Did he/she feel “right” in this identity? Did it feel odd or wrong? Why did they choose it, did it fit? If not: Why, and what would be more suitable? If yes: What hinders you in becoming that animal?

Participants or the team leader could take digital photos. They would then create a “carnival of the animals” photo gallery from this, e.g. if they are or should become a team. This collage could then have an identity-forming character within the group/team. The pictures could also be printed out singularly, to remind each participant of his/her individual development objectives. Alternatively, the exercise could be conducted via Zoom. PC and internet would then be necessary.

Dancing an Animal

Estimated duration: 60-120 minutes

Approx. number of participants: 2-10 participants

Learning objectives

  • Give the participants an opportunity to choose a representation for themselves and perform in order to express it
  • Teach the participants how to give positive feedback
  • (if online) Teach the poll function in Zoom

Needed materials: A suitable device on which the videos can be played so that all the participants have a clear view.

Description: Step 1 – Introduction: Explain that this activity is about choosing an animal the participants identify with and presenting that in a dance or (if dance is too difficult) in a short mute theatre performance.

Step 2: Show the participants the videos of dancers doing dance interpretations of different animals.

(if online and in a platform that allows this): Make a poll with different suggestions of which animal the dancer is trying to show, in which the participants can vote.

Step 3: Let the participants choose an animal they want to represent through a dance/mute performance. Help them in the process of creating that performance. Let each of them dance it in front of the others and encourage the spectators to give positive feedback.

(if online and in a platform that allows this): Teach the participants how to make polls and let each of them make a poll with animals, which the other participants should answer trying to guess which animal the performer was trying to show.

Step 4 – Reflection: Discuss why the participants chose the animal that they chose and how they felt developing, performing and getting feedback for their interpretation.

Choose which example videos will be best for your participant group.


Estimated duration: 45 minutes

Approx. number of participants: minimum 5 participants

Learning objectives:

  • Improving confidence with one’s own body
  • Knowing how to control and express oneself more freely
  • Improve mental and physical health

Needed materials: PC, laptop, or tablet; internet; music

Description: Step 1 – Introduction: Empowerment through dance seeks to establish a relationship of trust with the body, learning to reconnect the essence and the mind with the physical being, learning to control it and express oneself more freely.

This activity will be done online through Zoom, Skype or another similar program. The session will also be recorded so that participants can watch it and reflect on it individually later.

Step 2: For this activity, background music is played and the participants observe who they are and what they look like. After a specific period to get familiar with the online implementation, they begin to imitate the animals. The instructor tells the participants to imitate one animal after another, saying the following phrases and descriptions. They start with “an ant, small, very smart, with extraordinary strength, hard-working, but almost nobody sees it.”

Step 3: They will continue to imitate “a small fish, fast, needs a lot of care and a clean environment, independent or in a group, etc.”
Then they will move on to “a butterfly, small, free, elegant…”
They continue with “a turtle, quiet, strong, and resistant, sociable but not very interactive…”
Finally, they will be “a lion, big, sociable, strong, scary, etc.”

The instructor can change the animals for others if necessary.

Step 4: Once they have seen the different characteristics of each of these animals reflected in themselves, a group activity will be carried out, where each one will say adjectives with which they identified and must make the movement of the animal to which they feel close to.


  • I am elegant like a butterfly (Makes the movement of a butterfly).
  • I am as sociable as a lion (Lion’s movement).

Step 5 – Reflection: Finally, they will make a short reflection on how they have felt in each of the parts of the activity.

Possible questions:

  • “How did you feel during the activity?”
  • “Was it easy to find movements for each animal?”
  • “Was it difficult to choose an animal close to you?”
  • “Is there another animal you would have liked to portray which represents you?”

For a group of 5, it is recommended to have at least 15 animals. For a group of 10 or more, at least 20 animals would be recommended.

The facilitator should only move on to the next animal, once each participant has shown a movement for the current animal.

Life Stages

Estimated duration: 90 min (not including preparation time before the session)

Approx. number of participants: minimum 5 participants

Learning objectives:

  • Recognise one’s own feelings at different stages of their lives
  • Raise awareness on one’s own feelings and emotions
  • Improve openness and sharing emotions and experiences with others

Needed materials: PC, laptop, or tablet; internet; video recorder, or smartphone

Description: Step 1 – Introduction: This activity will take place online via Zoom or Skype.

Participants choose 3 different stages of their life. These stages are childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Before the online session, participants will have to record their choreographies in order to show them in the online session to their peers.

Step 2: To represent the stages, they will have to choose a song and choreograph a dance for them. If in one of the stages you felt calm, you can play calm music and accompany it with slow movements. If, on the other hand, you were angry or frustrated, you will choose a louder song with more abrupt movements.

The choreography that each participant creates should be recorded before the Zoom or Skype session to present it in the online session to their peers.

Step 3: Once each participant has their video, the session will take place via Zoom or Skype.

There, each participant will show their videos to their peers and give their opinion of what they have seen.

“How are the stages perceived?”

Step 4– Reflection: As a reflection, each person will share how they have felt during each stage.

  • “In which of these stages of your life did you feel better? Why?”
  • “In which one did you feel worse, and why?”
  • “What have you learned from each of them and what do you take away from them?”
  • “Did any of the portrayals from your peers surprise you?”

The 3 stages, on which the participants should focus on, can also be adapted to other moments in life, for example, in case of a conflict or a problem faced by the participants.

It’s your turn!

Estimated duration: 90 minutes

Approx. number of participants: 8-10 participants

Learning objectives:

  • Improve interactions with the group
  • Improve creativity and tools to express themselves
  • Improve the analysis of language

Needed materials: PC, tablet, smartphones / wifi / speakers

Description: Step 1 – Introduction: it is an activity that collects the results of other activities, aimed at working in a group and thinking about barriers towards the understanding of others. Here, participants are free to use the tools they want to express themselves: theatre, music, but also other creative forms. If in the other activities the participants were guided in the use of a specific form of art, what they are asked in this activity is to feel freer to express themselves, also within the group. (10min)

Step 2: Create 2 groups, mixed by gender. Give participants some time to select the topic: the topic should be chosen by participants and related to the themes related to Restorative Justice (10min).

Step 3: Groups prepare the performance (30min) and then act it, while other participants takes video of it (60min)

Step 4 – Reflection: was it difficult to select the topic? Was it difficult to leave them free to express themselves? Or did they ask the educators to have a more guiding role?

Me at my best – Do I really know my superpowers?

Estimated duration: 60 minutes

Approx. number of participants: 5-15 participants

Learning objectives:

  • Expressing yourself
  • Identify another person skills and personalities
  • Be aware of our own potential
  • Introspection
  • Self-analysis
  • Developing self-esteem
  • Strengthening the ability to express one’s own feelings

Needed materials: Template (annexes) – paperboard – post-it – pencils / or canva / tools where you can create an avatar – music during the session

Description: Introduction: It is an introspective activity that aims to highlight our successes and achievements.

Personality includes my values, my qualities, my skills but also my hobbies. While there may be similarities between people, everyone is unique. It is not easy to really know ourselves and it is important to cross-reference what we think of ourselves with what others see of us.

Step 1: As an ice breaker, ask all the participants:

“What is your superpower?”

The facilitator can start to give the dynamics. Then, all the participants should reply in turns by giving an adjective or something positive about them.

Step 2 – Instructions:

  • Ask participant to choose two moments in their life when they feel they have shown their best. Give the participants 5 minutes to think about their stories.
  • Divide the whole group in small group (3 person max/group)
  • When divided in small group. Each person will tell their stories. The other members of the group will be the strengths detective and will have to fill in the table that is distributed to them (interests, values, skills…). All group members should present their stories one by one.
  • When the person is telling their story, the others must listen carefully and not interrupt for 3 minutes.
  • Each person in the group describes their story in rotation.
  • Once everyone has told their story, it is time to debrief and share the notes that everyone took when they listened to the person speak.

Step 4: After this debriefing, participants are asked to transcribe their “Me at my best” or “Superpowers” stories into a drawing. It could be an avatar or a superhero drawing, participants should let their creativity flow goes. They can also use digital tools as canva, photos…

Step 5 – Reflection:

  • Was it easy to identify your moments when you were at your best? Is it easy to say it out loud for 3 minutes?
  • Are you aware of your talents, skills and abilities?
  • Did you discover things about yourself and others?
  • Do you now know your superpowers?
  • Explain why this drawing represents yourself?

Inspired from another KA2 Erasmus+ project “Life Design Skills”

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