SPARKLERS / Resilience & growth

Dramatic Emotions

An acting exercise that helps tamariki learn to manage tricky situations and big emotions.
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki can describe some skills for managing tricky situations and big emotions.

Tāngia ēnei tohutohu – Print me

You'll need scripts for your three actors (Student version)

And a script for you (Teacher version)

He aha ai? – Why we love it

This year 7 and 8 activity builds on Emotions in Colour and Sliding Emotions by giving tamariki a chance to act out, recognise, and manage different emotions. Being able to recognise and name emotions is the biggest step towards successfully regulating them.


If it’s been a while since you completed Emotions in Colour and Sliding Emotions, revisit the kōrero on those activities to remind tamariki all emotions are okay, and give them a handy reminder of the things that can help when it comes to regulating them.

Hei mahi - What to do

Ask three talented (but cooperative!) tamariki to help you out with a play.

We’d suggest you give tamariki some warning about this, assign their roles, and do a bit of a run through with the scripts ahead of time if you can.

The Student script will make things run much simpler and will cut down the amount of instructions.

We’d suggest saying the scene number as you go, to help them remember which part you’re up to, and giving them brief pauses to read ahead, if needed. And don’t forget to print a teacher’s script for you!

Your setting is simple too. Set out four chairs in pairs of two – like a car. One actor (parent) sits in the front seat and the two 'kids' sit in the back. Then you’re good to go!

Run through the activity using the rest of the class as the audience generating the discussions using the scripts.

Once you’ve completed the activity, ensure you all applaud your actors.

What next?

Create your own scenes!

In groups of 4-6, ask tamariki to choose an emotion from the Emotions in Colour worksheets and to create a scene around this.

They will need to play the scene twice – the first scene is an escalation of the emotion and the second is the de-escalation.

Have fun!

And if you have time, invite tamariki to share their two scenes with the group.

Other Sparklers activities that focus on emotions:

Other fun ways to explore emotions:

  • We recommend doing some reading around emotions. Check out our Bestest Books and Vids for Kids.
  • Or try watching an expressive video (like Charlie Chapman or Mr Bean), and pause it along the way, seeing if tamariki can name the emotions they can 'see'. Ask if they can predict what’s coming up based on the emotion and what’s happening.
  • Get creative! Let tamariki use poetry, artwork, video or film to explore different emotions in more depth. If you do any of these, we’d love to see some of the results (please!) Contact us directly via email.

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