ESD – TOOLKIT for volunteers / method collection for hospitals, kindergatens, schools, high schools




  • Marie Curie


The kids in that hospital are usually in bed and not able to get up. That’s why it is important to think about activities which are also possible to do in bed. Be aware that you are getting very close to the kids, that might be touching and in the first moment uncomfortable. When you enter a room always ask polite if you may enter and see how their health conditions are. Adjust the activities to that, so always come with loads of ideas as you need to improvise.

        1. Sing to a song of your country with gestures, that should also be possible in sitting in bed.
        2. Pantomime, prepare some animals and the kids have to guess what you are doing
        3. Bring some instruments and make music together
        4. Show them some origami
        5. If they are very young you can do a puppet theatre
        6. Teenagers are often just interested to have an english conversation



  • Spitalul Clinic de Urgentã pt. Copii G.Alexandrescu  


In this hospital you need to be prepared to confront some challenging situations since some of the kids are very burned. Once they are burned, they have very sensitive skin and sometimes they’re not able to move the legs or the arms, because of this you need to prepared activities that don’t require from them a lot of body movement. 

When you go there you will find a table and some banks, so this is the perfect place to teach them some arts and crafts:

    • Origami: You can teach them some origami that you learned in A.C.T.O.R. Depending on the age, you can do easiest ones if they are very little, like a boat or ask mihai, or you can also tell them a story while doing the origami. If they are older you can challenge them to make a frog or a puppet and after play with them, you can do a frog race or a theatre with the puppets that you create. 
    • Drawing games: Take with you some markers or water colors and do some drawing games in groups. Let the kids create and interact between them. You can ask them to draw a friend or to make a story together, like they do a drawing in group, in a flipchat for example.
    • Collage: Kids love to create. So bring some materials with you, like cotton or torn paper and make them to create something. For example, in Easter we did a bunny out of cotton. 
    • Table games: In the room where we play, there’s a room with table games, markers, puppets, toys, a lot of things that you can use if you need to improvise something, we are allowed to use that materials. 

Also in this hospital, even if the kids can’t dance, you can. You can dance, make performances for them, puppet theatre… they will enjoy a lot and you will make them laugh, wich is the most important thing. 



  • Department of Pediatric Pneumology- Lacul Bucura.


The children of this hospital have respiratory problems, so they will not surprise you with bandages or look ill because they have a lot of energy, besides this kind of disease is difficult to cure, so you can meet many times with the same children, being able to create a closer relationship. The number of children in this hospital depends, but there are almost always more than four children.

In this hospital we have a small room, full of tables and a central column, and although we can make games of movement around the column it is more appropriate to do crafts. In winter it is different, they have a large garden and a wooden table, so we can do crafts but also games of movement and running.

-Games of movement to do inside: ”the chairs game” around the column, 

-Games of movement to do outside: the handkerchief game, “duck, duck, goose”.

-Games of crafts: painting t-shirts, draw murals all together, make puppets with paper rolls, 



  • Recuperare 


In recuperare there are kids recovering from mainly physical disabilities. This means that the chance that there will be at least one kid in a wheelchair or with another disability that limits their ability to move. Sometimes their illness is very visible because of this, so be prepared. You should also have some activities that do not require too many activities. There are also usually a lot of kids in recuperare (say 10-20), so make sure that you have flexible activities and enough materials. The room is more or less a hallway, there is a table that you can use and some benches.

Since you should have activities that are quite flexible, you could do the following:

  •         do an energizer that you can do while staying in a circle. For example:
    Lu la le, a song you sing with movements with the hands while in a circle.
    The watermelon game: this is also in a circle, you can go in a direction of the circle or change the direction with another moment or skip a person. It is accompanied by making very disgusting sounds, which the kids usually enjoy. Also, if someone makes a mistake they have to go in the middle and say “I’m a watermelon”.
  •         the classic: doing origami. Also here it works to do origami with the children, but when there are a lot of kids try to involve multiple kids into your origami creation, since probably you will have more kids than volunteers. If you go to this hospital, try to always take some origami paper as a back-up activity.
    Materials: origami paper in different sizes and colours.
    Age: 6 – …
  •         do other arts and crafts, possibly related to a certain topic. For example, create flags of countries out of paper with them, draw with them or other crafts that you can do at the table and for which not every child needs to be constantly assisted.
    Materials: depends on the activity. Basic materials that are always useful: paper, scissors, glue, tape.
    Ag: depends on the activity, usually ~4 – …
  •         songs and music, especially if you have a musician in your group. They always like instruments.
    Materials: instrument + musician
    Age: all
  •         if there are more children and more volunteers, you could split them up in several groups. Usually there are also children that are physically capable of walking, running et cetera. With them you could do more active games, for example tagging, dancing, a game that they invented (sometimes they ask to play a certain game).
    Materials: have a game prepared
    Age: usually until teens





  • energizers + descriptions


As the kids are aged between 3 and 5, its not easy to catch their attention, so the way you start is very important.
Try to make it exciting, just talking will them bore to dead, bring something from your country, show them something,..
If they are not interested you will lose their attention immediately, and if it starts with one kid it will influence the whole group.

        1. showing images from your country always works
        2. Let them jump into a hula hoop and saying their name
        3. Showing them a map of Europe, point to your country and ask where Romania is
        4. Spin a bottle and let them say their name



  • description of activities, what works, what doesn’t work


Remember the time, its only 25 minutes, so with an energizer and a short close up that activity doesn’t have to be super long.
It’s very important to react to the energy level of the group. In general, I would suggest to have an activity with moving, but be aware that a too high energy level can turn them into a crazy group of screaming 4-year olds.
Try to have an activity which involves everyone, they might lose the interest when they have to wait too long.

        1. Dance to a song of your country
        2. Let them make a big puzzle of your country
        3. Invite them to travel to your country in a plane/train,.. pretend that you are in that transportation with sounds and movements, when you arrive you show them around in your country



  • how to close up + example


      1. Its important to not leave the class out of the sudden. You always need something to clarify that your lesson is at the end. Usually it is either a short repetition what you did so far or something relaxing. 
        1. Let them draw to the topic of your lesson
        2. Put relaxing music, let them lay on the floor and make them watch their breath 
        3. Tell them how “good bye” is in your mother tongue
        4. Show them how the greeting gesture of saying good bye is and make them to repeat it






    1. energizers + descriptions 

In schools you will find kids between the ages of 5 until 10, so you need to be flexible and try do adjust your activities depending on the age. If you do a simple energizer in the 1st grade then in 3rd or 4th grade you will need to challenge them more and make it more difficult. 

    • A good energizer for the 1st grade could be teach them how to say “good morning”, “good afternoon” and “good night” in your mother tongue, and make a game with moves. For example if I say “good morning” they need to open the arms and if I say “good night” they need to pretend that they are sleeping. 
    • For the 3rd and 4th grade, you need to make it more funny and more challenging, otherwise they will get bored very fast. You can make a circle and make a game like the “boing game”, where they need to interact with each other. 


  • description of activities, what works, what doesn’t work


As main activities, you can do a lot of things, once your goal is show them in a creative way, a litle bit of your culture, you can play with a lot of materials. Remember that you have 50 minutes per class, so you need to be flexible. Also you need to be flexible with the different ages of the kids. 

    • You can draw the map of your country on the white board and show them some pictures of the main cities or monuments of your country. You show to them were are those cities in the map and you write down the name of it. After that you borrow what you did before and ask them to put the picture in the right place on the board and ask them what’s the name of it.
    • You can also teach them some origami, if you can relate that with your country. For example, Portugal is the “país dos descobrimentos” (discovery country), so I teach them how to do an origami boat while explaining how Cristovão Colombo discovers America. 
    • You can make drawing games in groups. Ask them to draw something related with your country and then put the draws together in the board or in a flipchart. That way they can have a sort of exposition of their work.
    • You can teach them a song (simple and short song). You can print the lyrics, so they can read and follow you. 
    • You can dance a traditional dance from your country. If you need them to make a circle, ask the teacher if you can move the desks, if not, just do a circle around the desks.


  • how to close up + example


It’s important to show to the class that your lesson is over and just don’t leave without saying nothing. So depending on the time that you still have, you can do several things. 

    • You can show them a litle bit of what would be your next lesson about, and increase their curiosity.
    • You can teach them how to say “thank you” and “goodbye” in your mother tongue, and make them repeat.
    • If you still have enough time you can also do a relaxing exercise.






    1.  energizers + descriptions 
  1.       To get to know their names, a good energizer could be a name game. An example of this:
    everyone stands in a circle with one person in the middle. This person wants to get into the circle. To do this, they have to say the name of someone in the circle three times in a row, for example: maria-maria-maria, as fast as they can. If this person says their name just once: maria, before the person in the middle manages to say the name three times, the person stays in the middle and “maria” stays in the circle. If the person in the middle finishes saying the name three times before the person in the circle says their own name, this person (maria in this case) has to switch places with the person in the middle and continue the game.
  2.       Seven up: You stand in a circle, one person starts counting with 1 and touches their right shoulder with the left hand or the left shoulder with the right hand. The flow continues in the direction that this person points (left for left shoulder, right for right shoulder). The next person continues with 2 and so on. You can just change direction by pointing to the person that just went instead of continuing in the same direction, there is no special move for this. When someone has to say 7, instead they say “seven up” and they have to make a movement with their hand over their head. In this case they can also give a direction, right hand (pointing to the left) over the head is still to the left and the other way around. If someone messes up, you can decide the punishment: to make the game go smoother, eliminate the people that made a mistake from the circle until there is a small circle left. To keep everyone involved, make them do something else, such as do a squat or go in the middle and do something funny.



  • description of activities, what works, what doesn’t work


In the high school we had the same class more than once. We tried every time to stick to a certain theme for the whole lesson. This way it is also more possible to start a discussion on a certain topic or teach them more about for example design. They really enjoy doing games, so try to give the topic to them by thinking of games, especially things where they have to work together. They are also really interested in learning more about your countries and they like to discuss topics that they do not usually speak about in school, especially solidarity related topics such as homophobia, feminism and stuff like this. For example, in one of our lessons we did product design with them where they had to create a helpful product for solidarity in a team with only two materials. Afterwards they had to present their product. We also did a lesson about trust, where we did a lot of games that involved blindfolding and discussed with them how they felt. They also like forum theatre a lot, this is also something that sometimes we do in another high school where we go only once with someone from the organization.

For these activities, keep in mind that they are not used to informal activities. We noticed this especially with the product design, because they are not accustomed to the limits and goals you set for them and the way of working, so in the beginning they might seem a bit shy/uncomfortable. We also noticed that in the beginning they did not talk a lot, there were usually 2 or 3 that talked and the rest was silent. When you meet with them more often they become more comfortable with you and will speak more, but it also depends on how you let them speak. If you give them turns where everyone gets to speak or if you do an activity such as forum theatre, they will speak more than if you just ask the group in general “so what did you think?”, so think of the way that you want to start the discussion with them and think of some questions that you can ask in the case that they are not speaking too much.


  • how to close up + example


In our lessons we always did an evaluation at the end. We tried to come up with a different way every time and most of the lessons we put something visual. This is a good way to end the lesson, because it signifies that this is the last activity and at the same time you get feedback. You also create a space for the teenagers to talk. An example for an evaluation activity would be to write down the different activities and let them put coloured dots with a colour code, they can put the colour they relate most to, or let them write certain words. This can also be done with words from your own language instead of English or Romanian. It’s also possible to use movements, for example: hands in the air is very good, hands on the floor is very bad.




There are three special schools, in two of then there are kids of different ages and disabilities, and the third one is a special kindergarten (Vasile), their ages are between 3 and 5 years old.


  • energizers + descriptions 


-For Vasile, the music works very well, an energizer could be to play music with an instrument (guitar, ukulele) and they have to walk when the music sounds and stop when the music stops.

-Another energizer for children of the other two special schools is the watermelon game, in which you are in a circle. You have to make a disgusting sound while you pass your hand in front of your mouth pointing to one of your sides, the person who is on that side has to do the same and so on, you can also change direction.


  • description of activities, what works, what doesn’t work


It is difficult to work in this type of school because you have to adapt to different ages and disabilities, we have to find appropriate games so that the youngest are able to do the activity and the older ones do not think it is too easy and they get bored. In the case of Vasile it is easier, because they are the same age. 

It is not suitable for this type of school to make games of competition or conversation. The competition games are not good because the game can end in a fight, and some children are not able to speak, so it is better not to make them talk, although they can understand, so the games in which you talk to them are an option, but you should keep in mind that most of them do not speak English. 

In general children of special schools love music and dance, their disabilities are usually mental, so they are able to move. Crafts are also an option, but if you take a long time to do an activity, it is more likely that they will lose interest in it.

-They can create instruments, they will have fun creating it and then you can play with it. For example, making maracas with plastic bottles and rice, they will have to color the bottles and draw on them. You will also be using recycled materials.

-They can make drawing games, for example the game of the faces, in which the children will be sitting in a circle and they will have a paper in which they draw a part of the face, for example a nose, and the next person will have to draw another part of the face, and so on. In the end everyone will have a drawing of a face drawn by everyone.

-They can play rhythm and imitation games, like for example the game of the conductor, where they are sitting in a circle and one of them, the conductor, makes several rhythms and the others must imitate him (for example, clapping), one of the children must be in the center trying to guess which is the person that guides them. This game is suitable for older children, not for Vasile.


  • how to close up + example


The best ending will be one in which the children remain relaxed, if the previous games were very energetic the best is relaxation games in which they end up lying down or sitting down.

For example, children and volunteers have to do a circle massage and then ask them to lie down, they should close their eyes and listen to the sounds of nature while the volunteers touch them with feathers, leaves and so on.



  • Facebook & Instagram
  • create visual content


        1. collect pictures from your lessons/hospitals/workshops
        2. videos from a special moment


  • use emojis


      1. use hashtags which are repeating
      2. schedule your posts on fb


  • Instagram stories


    1. follow sites with content to solidarity
    2. decide a day where you are going to post on Facebook that your followers know when they have to look for it
    3. think about the highly frequented hours 
      1. Facebook (12 pm and 3 pm) 
      2.  Instagram (12 pm and 1 pm)
    4. if there is coming a bigger post like a video or so, promote it some days in advance
    5. invite your friends and your sending organisation to follow the page




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