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The Toothpaste Activity: Bullying And Gossip Awareness

Brief Description/Purpose

To show in a very graphic way, that once done, bullying and gossiping cannot be undone. Simple, short.



Age Appropriate

All ages.

Ideal Group Size

Any Size

Time For Exercise

3 minutes depending on debriefing.


Bullying, Gossiping, Conflict

Detailed Instructions If Needed

Ask for a volunteer to come to the front of the room. Place a strip of masking tape on the length of the table. With a tube of toothpaste, have the volunteer run a bead of toothpaste on the length of the masking tape.  Now ask the participant to put the toothpaste back in the tube.  Obviously, it can’t be done.  This is an example of how hurtful words once spoken cannot be taken back.  Bullies say hurtful words frequently and need to know the impact that their words have on their victims. This can also be used to demonstrate that gossip, once it is uttered, can never be taken back.

Additional Information if Available

As is the case with many very short exercises, this can be used as an energizer, or even an icebreaker to start a session.