Education | Bullying | Children | Classroom Activities | Mental Health | Parenting | Social and Emotional Learning

Crumpled Paper or Wrinkled Heart Bullying Activity for Kids

Wrinkled Heart, Crumpled Heart Or Crumpled Paper Bullying Activity. A Powerful Lesson To Teach Kids About The Devastating Effects Of Bullying.

The crumpled paper or wrinkled heart bullying activity for kids is a powerful lesson every child needs to participate in to understand the lasting effects of bullying.

This simple activity is a valuable friendship lesson that shows students how difficult a wrinkled heart is to mend!

Who could imagine that a single sheet of paper crumpled up in front of a group of students could be so effective in demonstrating the devastating impact unkind words and actions can have?

This powerful bullying activity that uses only a wrinkled heart classroom activity is a big hit with elementary and middle school students but can be adapted to be used with kids of any age.

If you want to improve friendships in your classroom, this lesson is a great one to add to your social-emotional learning toolbox. It will help to improve student mental health and wellness which naturally leads to a more positive classroom community while reducing stress and anxiety for greater teacher wellbeing

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We believe this bullying experiment with scrunched up paper was originally used by a teacher in New York to show her students the lasting impact that cruel or anti-social behavior can have.

We love this lesson but adapted it to use in conjunction with our primary and elementary school curriculum.

When we used the "wrinkled heart activity" during an assembly at a school using our curriculum, it was obvious it had quite an impact. We substituted a plain piece of paper for a red paper heart with younger students and a cut-out of a person with older students.

We have included instructions for our version below along with a link to print the wrinkled heart template we mentioned above. 

If you're working with high school students, use the crumpled paper bullying lesson as shown in the video below by Tony Brent.

The Crumpled Heart Bullying Lesson

This is a very powerful group activity for your grade, particularly if you have an issue with bad behavior. It can really help a bully to understand just how hurtful their words and actions can be and the lasting impact it can have on someone's mental health and self-esteem. 

Instructions

  1. 1
    Download and print the heart template onto red paper ensuring you have enough for each student. If you don't want to cut them all out yourself, have your students help by cutting their own.
  2. 2
    Ask children to look at how beautiful and perfect their heart is. Now ask them to imagine this is their own, real heart but to give it to the student standing next to their right asking them to love and care for their heart as if it was their own. 
  3. 3
    Instruct each student to say mean things to the heart they were just given and to crumple it up into a tight little ball, throw it on the ground and stomp on it. 
  4. 4
    Have students pick up the little crumpled ball, look at the student who owns the heart and say they're sorry. Turn their attention back to the student's heart and apologize, say they didn't mean to be so thoughtless; they really didn't know what came over them and could they please forgive them. While apologizing, carefully uncrumple the paper heart. Place it on a table and try to smooth it out. 
  1. 5
    Students now return hearts to their owners. Have each person hold up their crumpled heart and ask them how it looks. Does it still look as beautiful as it was before they gave it away? Did the person they gave it to care for it? How do they feel about the person who didn't take care of their heart? 
  2. 6
    Does it still look as beautiful as it was before they gave it away? Did the person they gave it to care for it? How do they feel about the person who didn't take care of their heart? 
  3. 7
    Explain that every time a person hurls abuse, belittles, talks behind someone's back, bullies, writes unkind things on social media, etc. They are responsible for adding a crinkle to that person's heart. 
  4. 8
    Even though they may apologize later, that crinkle cannot be smoothed out. Sure, it may fade over time, but that person's heart will never really be the same and the scars will remain for a lifetime. 
  5. 9
    Take the opportunity to talk about the responsibility we all have to care for other people and their feelings. 
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Updated: 8 October, 2019

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