The following activities are adapted from the 'Sharp Solutions' Toolkit

Who's In Control?

Objective: Increase understanding of the differences between internal and external control

Time: 40 minutes

Resources: Blindfolds for pairs, and a safe space for the group to move around.


  • Explain to the participants that they will be in pairs, one will be blind folded and the other will lead them.
  • Give a safety brief to identify boundaries and any areas to keep away from to avoid actual dangers. Stay in sight of the whole group to safely manage the activity and help provide feedback. • Brief the leader (sighted) to take the other who is blindfolded on a journey. No further brief is given to the blindfolded pairs. (3-5 minutes). Bring the group back together and remove the blindfolds to review the experience.
  • With their partner ask them to chat through their experience. Bring the discussion together as a whole group.

Points for discussion

  • “How did you feel when being led?” – All leaders were given the same brief, but it was interpreted differently by each individual. Likewise each blindfolded person experienced their journey differently.
  • “Was there any real or perceived risk?” – Link to real versus perceived risk activity.
  • “Who was in control?” – Aid the discussion to challenge that although the leader was leading and some will feel they had total control (external) that actually the blindfolded person could have chosen not to engage, take their blindfold off, or just not moved – so…
  • “Who has real control?” (internal) Demonstrate this by the staff asking a group member to lead them, as if they thought they were in control. The staff member does not move at all. With this in mind, swap over and ask the blindfolded person to choose the experience they would like from their partner for example easy, challenging, etc.
  • Bring the group back in and revisit the elements of how it felt and that the feeling of control taken internally will generally make people feel better and assist in getting what they expect from a situation.

Key points to highlight

A young person has more control over the decisions they make than they often think. Use the learning from this activity as a frame of reference to challenge young people in their thinking about the choices they make. Everyone has choices – sometimes it is difficult to see that there are choices they can make. For example, when a young person may say their mates make them do something, or there is nothing to do but get in trouble in their area. As a youth worker you may be able to help show different choices and alternatives to their existing behaviour.

Circle of Influence

Objective: Explore and identify the key influences in participants’ lives

Time: 30 minutes

Resources: flip chart sheet for each participant with four concentric circles drawn on it, flip chart pens.


• Working individually, each participant writes their name in the centre circle.

• In the next circle out they identify the close relationships in their lives who have shaped and influenced their thoughts and opinions (might be mother, father, friends etc.).  Encourage participants to think about the messages they received from those people. Were they positive or negative?

• In the next circle out think about other relationships that are a bit more distant than the people close to you. This might be people in your class at school, a social network, a club or society, work mates etc. What messages have they received from this group?

• In the next circle think about wider influences. These are people that you might not have a direct relationship with but they influence your life, such as teachers, social workers, youth workers newspapers, media, film, music and others relevant to you. Work in pairs and share some of your thoughts with a partner.

• Now come together as a whole group to discuss the way in which we are all shaped and influenced by the people around us, both positively and negatively, and the need for us to question and form our own thoughts and opinions.

Points for discussion

Explore how friendship patterns may change or how they can be changed. Encourage group members to differentiate between different groups they belong to e.g. school, home, or a youth group. Discussion could then move on to how young people influence each other to get into trouble and how positive and negative peer pressure can affect people. Further sessions may be used for drawing patterns for the time period a year or two ago to see how relationships have changed over the years.

A Relationship Must Be...

Objective: To explore the importance factors to value in relationships

Time: 30 minutes

Resources: A relationship must be… handout. Pens, flip chart


• Give participants a copy of the handout ‘a relationship must be...’ and ask them to complete it.

• Ask the group to share their lists and get the group to agree the top 8 priorities.

• Ask the group to think about how these qualities are demonstrated in a relationship in a positive way and when they become negative:

Fun: Friends can be good at encouraging you to have fun, but you might have different ideas of what fun is. For example it can be fun when your friends encourage you to come out to play football but how do you react when they suggest it would be fun to steal something from the local shop?
Trust: It's good to be able to talk openly to your friends about things you couldn't tell anyone else, but how do you react when they tell you they've done something illegal?

Forgiving: We all make mistakes but are we able to forgive people that do wrong by us? What does it take to be able to forgive someone? Is it possible to forgive too much - for instance if someone is causing us to feel bad about ourselves?

Points for discussion

Discuss with the group the different types of relationships they may have. Are the qualities, experiences and expectations the same in each relationship e.g. with a girlfriend/boyfriend, family member, peer etc. Make sure you discuss 'strategies' for dealing with some of the challenges which come along. You could also post and share your top 8 priorities on social media and see how much your wider friends and family agree.

Top Tips: 

All relationships get tested over time. The best relationships are when people stick by you and forgive you when you make mistakes and people that respect you for making good judgements, even if this goes against the views and beliefs of the other person in the relationship.

A Relationship Must Be Worksheet PDF Download

Where do you stand?

Objective: To explore various viewpoints on relationships

Time: 20 minutes

Resources: Agree/Disagree statements 


• Mark one end of the room ‘agree’ and the other as disagree. The participants are told they will be read a series of statements and they should place themselves in the room depending on how they feel about the statement.

• It helps to mention there is a barbed wire fence along the middle of the room and that they must stand at one side or the other of this.

• Read out the statements and facilitate a discussions around decisions made. The group members have the opportunity to change positions depending on what they have heard and you should encourage group members to try to persuade those on the other side to come to their side of the room.

• After each statement is read out participants move into position. Statements could include:

  1. If I felt in danger I would carry a knife
  2. You are less likely to be bullied or attacked if you carry a knife
  3. It's easy to avoid trouble where I live
  4. A lot of people who say they carry knives don't really, they just say so to act big
  5. I feel confident to tell my friends what I think, even when they disagree with me
  6. I would never do anything to hurt my best friend
  7. I would do anything for my best friend, even if it meant getting into trouble
  8. If I had a new girlfriend/boyfriend that my best friend didn't like, I would dump them
  9. I like going new places and meeting new people
  10. If someone appeared to not like me, I would get angry and have it out with them
  11. If my friend was behaving in a risky way, I'd have to have a chat with them
  12. If I saw a friend hurting someone (verbally or physically) I'd try to do something to make them stop
  13. If my friends were all drinking, and I didn't want to that would be cool because my friends respect me
  14. If my friend was offered an illegal drug and wanted to just try it, I'd do it too because that's what friends do


A variation on this activity is to send one or two people out the room. Appoint one of the remaining group as the decision-maker and instruct everyone else to follow their decision. Invite the person out the room back in again and aske the first few questions. This lets you look at the role peer pressure plays. You can then discuss peer pressure with the group and encourage them to answer the remaining questions by truly making up their own mind.

Points for discussion

What do you do to keep safe? What usually happens when someone has a different point of view from you? Was it difficult to take up a different position from your friends? If everyone agrees does it make it right?

Top Tips

Remember that knowing your own mind and being confident that you are making the right decision is your magic key to a successful future. Always make decisions you will feel good about the next morning. We all have something called our 'gut instinct' it is your inner strength and inner wisdom telling you when something is wrong. Listen to it and trust it.

How Far Would You Go?

Objective: To explore the morality of a group in terms of their attitude toward certain behaviours

Time: 30 minutes

Resources: ‘How far would you go’ handout and pens


Split participants into small groups of 3 or 4 and distribute a set of cards with the offence written on them. Organise the cards into three categories:

  • Definitely won't do
  • Maybe do
  • Definitely do

Points for discussion

  • Discuss why they think some offences are more serious than others. Discuss as a group – Why they would go so far and not any further? – What factors might influence people not going further? – What is the collective morality of the group? – Discuss how the young people might be able to stop themselves from going as far as they do – Do they want to stop themselves going further? Why?
  • Another way of using this exercise is to give each group member a copy of the handout and ask them to tick the ones they would NOT commit then discuss.

Top Tips:

All of these things are illegal. You shouldn't do any of them as they can have negative consequences that will last a long time. The important thing is to learn ways to build your confidence and resilience. Surround yourself with good people that won't try to persuade you make negative choices. But the best decisions are the ones you make for yourself.

How Far Would You Go Worksheet PDF Download