Coping Skits

Group size:  5 - 30

Purpose:  Promote teamwork, identification and enactment of coping skills, and social perspective-taking.

Props Needed: 10-12 props per group for simple skits that participants can dress up or accessorize their character (e.g., hair ornaments, hats, beaded necklaces, badges, cups, pens or pencils, deck of cards, sunglasses, toothbrush, doll, toy cell phone, book, etc.)

Activity Preparation

  1. Prep time needed: 5 minutes

Time needed

  • Directions: 5 minutes
  • Activity: 20 minutes for development of skit; 5 minutes each group to enact their skit for larger group to view
  • Debrief: 10 minutes

Set Up:  Find a space that is free from debris and where the groups can form, think about their skit, accessorize their character, and practice their skit.

Activity Directions:

  • This activity requires the individuals to work as a team in developing and enacting skits pertaining to personally relevant problems and ways of coping with those problems.
  • Give each group a paper bag filled with 4-5 props. Instruct the groups that they must do the following:
  • Use as many of the props in their skit as possible;
  • Assign each member of the group a role in the skit;
  • Include at least 2 scenes in their skits: one portraying a problem situation and one portraying functional or healthy ways of coping with the problem. Remind them to think about the different coping skills that they are learning in their individual and group counseling.
  • Give the groups the freedom to develop the skit in their own creative, playful, and personally meaningful fashion.
  • Allow the groups about 8-10 minutes to develop and rehearse their skits.
  • Then, have the groups form up and perform the skits for one another. While one group is performing their skit, ask the other group in the pair to figure-out the problem being portrayed and the coping mechanisms used to handle the problem. Also invite the observing group to suggest other strategies for coping with the problem.


Facilitator script:  “Let’s form a circle to hear the directions for our Activity: Coping Skits.  First, we will count off to identify our groups. (Have participants count off or otherwise separate into smaller  groups) Now that we are in your assigned groups, you are going to create skits. This activity is called Coping Skits. Your objective is to create a skit, using all the props you have been given. All members of the group have an assigned role. In your group think about a problem that you might encounter or one that you have previously encountered that might challenge your recovery. Now thinking about your coping skills, you will demonstrate a coping skill or solution for the problem through your skit. You will have (_____ minutes) to develop your story for your skit, and practice it. When we reconvene you will enact your skit for the entire group.”


  • What was the experience like for you? Was it fun?
  • Was it easy or difficult for your group? How so?
  • Did you like how your group performed? Why or why not?
  • What could your group have done to have worked better as a team?
  • Have any of you been in the situations that you acted-out in the skit?
  • What did you learn from the skit about coping with problems?
  • What did you learn about others in the group?
  • What was it like playing different roles (e.g., counselor, security officer)? Do you
  • see now how they might feel about you? How so?
  • What thoughts / feelings came to mind when you were doing this activity?
  • How can this activity help you change your behavior here and at home?
  • How does this activity help you become the kind of person you want to be? Or,

does it get in the way, or make it more difficult in some way? Why?

Recovery/Wellness Metaphor: This is a fun way to reinforce skills learned while simultaneously creating group cohesion. Participants are encouraged to be as creative as they can in their problem-solving skills.

Role of Facilitator:

  • Keep groups on task for developing their skit. If they get stuck, or shy about their part acting the coping skit, coach them with ideas to help them with moving forward. Encourage groups to keep it fun, appropriate, yet simple.
  • Keep an eye on the class as they observe each group. There may be a lot of laughter as participants enact their skit. There may also be valuable information, lessons learned, or coping skills you are attempting to reinforce for the larger group.

Variations: Use a specific problem area instead of leaving it up to the group. Use internal characters to visualize the “voices in my head”.

Where to Find It/How to Make it: Props can be acquired anywhere. Toy stores, garage sales, Goodwill, and party stores are a few of our favorites.

Adapted from Yurkovic and Sherman, 2009.