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Helping children learn about their feelings, the feelings of others and the world around them does not have to be fancy or expensive. It can start with a plain sheet of paper. A plain sheet of paper, once crumpled, is impossible to restore to its original state.

The following three activities involve crumpled sheets of paper with a different message. Please give them a try as your family members or class learn how to see challenging life experiences from a different perspective. This activity can help kids discover the effects of bullying and understand the importance of maintaining a positive self-image.

This activity is recommended for late elementary and middle school age children.

Choose a Wrinkled Paper Activity

External Images and Internal Meanings

What We are Made of

If a Crumpled Ball Could Talk...


Family members or class members begin with a clean sheet of paper.

Each member writes 3-5 positive (or more) words on the sheet which they feel describe them.

  • Scatter the words randomly on the page
  • Each members may use words or phrases that they think describe themselves or words or phrases they have heard others say about them and believe are true.
  • Questions parents may ask to help brainstorm include:
    • What do you like about yourself?
    • What are you good at?
    • What do other people like about you?

Each member crumples their paper into a small ball. Squeeze and squish it!

Carefully unfold, flatten, and smooth the wrinkles in the paper, taking care not to tear it.


  • In what ways has the paper changed?
  • Are these changes good or bad in your opinion?
  • Has the meaning of the words changed for you?


It is easy to think this piece of wrinkled paper is damaged and fragile, ready to throw away. We might think that being the victim of bullying is like this. But this is not really true! It hurts when someone intentionally says or does something that makes us feel bad. But that does not mean we lose our value! We also have many experiences in life other than bullying where we feel sad and hurt. We may feel bad when we are left out at the lunch table or when someone laughs at us if we make a mistake. Do these experiences make us less valuable? No! The words you have written on this paper are still a great description of who you are. The wrinkles on the paper cannot change that!

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La Crosse, WI 54601

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