Body Part Check-in

Name of Activity:  Body Part Check-in

Group size:  5 – 50

Purpose:  Gather information about where participants are at today and what they need, increase group cohesion, and stimulate metaphoric thinking. This is a great way to start a full day program.

Props Needed

  1. Pictures or stress balls in the shape of feet, spine, heart, hand, brain, lips, and ears.
  2. 50-foot rope (optional)

Activity Preparation

  1. Prep time needed: 5 minutes
  2. Prior to class create an open space for body parts. If you are indoors, put chairs around the perimeter of the room.  If you are outside, find an open space to play that is free of debris or obstacles.
  3. Obtain stress balls in the shape of the 7 body parts (heart, hand, brain, lips, and ears) or print pictures from the internet. (Remember to use images that are representative of your population)

Time needed

  • Directions: 5 minutes
  • Activity: 10 minutes (depending on size of group)
  • Debrief: 5 minutes

Set Up

  1. Create a circle with large rope.
  2. Scatter body parts around the circle so participants can gather around and see all 7 body parts from any angle.

Activity Directions:

  • Have the participants stand in a circle. Include yourself in the circle.
  • Ask participants to select a body part that represents what they need for today
    • Foot – a stronger foundation to stand on or maybe needing to feel more grounded
    • Spine – more courage and the ability to stand up for yourself
    • Heart – more in touch with feelings
    • Hand – ask for help when needed
    • Brain – open mind to learn new things
    • Lips – to speak and give voice to what is going on with me
    • Ears – to listen more
  • Go around the group and have everyone check in with the body part they selected and why.
  • Short debrief of what participants noticed

Facilitator script:

 “Let’s form a circle to hear the directions for today’s check in. You may have noticed all the body parts scattered around the circle. Today we are going to do our check in a little differently. I would like to use the body as a metaphor for what we need. So when you check in you might say I need a Foot to have a stronger foundation to stand on or maybe a Spine in order to gain more courage to stand up for myself or maybe a Heart in order to be more in touch with my feelings or maybe a Hand in order to ask for help when I need it or maybe a Brain in order to have an open mind to learn new things or Lips in order to speak and give voice to what is going on with me or maybe I need Ears in order to listen more.

So you are going to choose a body part and then tell us how it represents either a need or where you are at today.

Any questions? (answer questions) OK great, who would like to start. (then go around the circle until everyone checks in)


  • What did you notice about check in today?
  • What were your thoughts as you entered the room and saw all the body parts?
  • How is this check in different from others we have done?

Recovery/Wellness Metaphor: This check in is helpful as it is a way to gather information about your participants in a slightly different way. This is a safe easy way to engage the subconscious and access information that clients might not automatically share by just having a verbal check in.

Role of Facilitator: Make sure to spread out body parts to each participant can see each body part. We recommend having at least 4-6 sets of each body part.

Variations: Feel free to add in additional body parts as needed

Where to Find It/How to Make it: You can purchase spare body parts from or feel free to print off pictures in public domain from the internet. We have found that if you are going to use pictures it might be helpful to have them laminated so that they can be reused and do not get crumpled.