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Testing doesn’t have to be trying

Coronavirus tests can sound tricky, but by focusing on the facts we can all take action to boost our own and others’ wellbeing.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Device with access to the internet

Before you begin

  • This is a great activity to run during an online session. Check out the advice on using Zoom and other popular digital platforms and the guidance on being safe online.
  • This activity is all about learning more about coronavirus tests. Check out COVID-19, what does it mean? and Move over mythbusters for some ideas on how to introduce the topic to your group. It’s a good idea to make sure that everyone has a basic knowledge of coronavirus and why testing could be useful before you get started.
  • Check out ‘Steps to a COVID-19 test’ below, and ‘What is a coronavirus test and what does it show?’ in COVID-19: the facts so you’re informed and ready to answer people’s questions.

Forbidden word facts

  1. The person leading the activity should welcome everyone to the call and explain that coronavirus tests tell people if they have the virus at the time of the test. In this activity, everyone will have the chance to learn more about coronavirus testing.
  2. The person leading the activity should give the first player a stage of the testing process.
  1. The player should describe the stage without using any of the words in the stage or other keywords. It’s up to the person leading the game to choose four or five keywords like ‘COVID-19’ or ‘swab’.
  1. While the first player is describing, everyone else should try to guess the stage they’re describing. They could keep an eye on the forbidden words too to make sure they’re not used.
  2. Once the stage has been guessed, everyone should repeat steps two to four to play another round with someone else describing. Everyone should keep playing until the group’s described and guessed all of the different stages.
  1. Everyone should finish the game by working together to put all the stages in the right order to create their own testing timeline.
  2. The person leading the activity should check that everyone understands what happens after the final stage when they receive their test result. What are the different options and some of the consequences of different actions?


Staying in control

  1. Once everyone’s completed the testing timeline, they should talk through the process together.
  2. At each stage, the person leading the activity should ask everyone to think about how they might be feeling if they were taking a test.
  1. Everyone should spend some time talking about when people may be able to support each other and help people feel less nervous.
  1. For the last few minutes, everyone should work in groups to make a list of the different things they could do to support each other.


This activity was all about thinking about actions people can take to help their communities. Sometimes these actions might seem small or insignificant, but they can make a big difference. Everyone should think about some of the things they could do to help keep people safe – they should take it in turns to share their ideas with the group. This activity reminded people that even when they can’t control everything, there’s usually something they can do to help.

Why is it important to talk about the facts too? Why not challenge everyone to find out some more information about how they could help others during the coronavirus crisis, or some of the science behind the spread of COVID-19 and how the tests work? They could share some of the things they’ve learned in the next meeting.


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.