Free grief activities for children and young people

Download these free Winston’s Wish bereavement activities and resources to use with children, teens and young people.

Activities for bereaved children

Free bereavement activities for children, teens and young people

Activities can be a useful way to help grieving children and young people to explore and express their feelings and emotions and to help them maintain memories of the person who has died. Below are some of these activities that you can try yourself at home. Create a memory jar or fill a memory box to help grieving children remember the person who has died, use our template to build a mental health first aid kit, print off and fill in our calendar of memories or download our instructions for a button tree.

Activities to help express feelings of grief

Illustration of a first aid kit
First aid kit

This mental health first aid kit reminds a child, teen or young person what they need to look after themselves when they may be feeling overwhelmed or on difficult days. Whether it’s chocolate, a song, writing in a journal or exercise, write in things that help you.

Illustration of a bottle of fizzy pop
Fizzy feelings

Use a bottle of fizzy drink to show children, teens and young people how feelings can build up over time until they explode and why it’s better to let out your feelings a little bit at a time rather than keep them bottled up.

Illustration of two worry dolls and a pouch
Worry dolls

These can be a good way to help children to talk about their worries and fears, especially at bedtime. They tell the worry dolls their fear and the dolls hold them so the child can do something else and not think about it for a while.

Illustrations of a box, teddy, journal and music notes - box of requirement activity - Winston's Wish
Box of requirement

A Box of Requirement helps you to plan when you are calm what would be helpful at times when your emotions are starting to get bigger to help ease the emotions before you feel out of control.

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Activities to help remember someone who has died

Memory Jar activity
Memory jars

A way to talk about the person who has died and help a child to remember important things about them. Each coloured salt in a memory jar represents a different memory – their favourite sports team, favourite meal or something you used to do together.

Winston's Wish Memory box
Memory box

A place to keep and treasure all kinds of things that remind children and young people of the person who died. Customise the box and fill it with photos, letters, jewellery, clothing… anything special. They can write notes for each item and look through whenever they want.

Beaded bracelet activity
Beaded bracelet

This craft activity can help a child or young person to remember. This could be memories of someone who has died or is poorly, the people who are around to support them or happy memories that help when they’re feeling sad.

Illustrations of three different stones - Winston's Wish
Memory stones

A way to think about memories with the help of three different stones to help you hold onto some of these memories, and the feelings that go with them and remember the person who has died in all aspects of their relationship with you.

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Grief activities for younger children

Button tree activity
Button tree

This craft activity is a visual way to help a child or young person think about who they have around them to support them and the place the person who is ill or has died still has a special place in their family.

Dead insect activity
Dead insects

Death can be a difficult concept for younger children to understand. This activity helps you to show them the difference between insects that are alive and dead and begin to explain what it means when a person dies.

illustration of pebbles painted different colours and with drawings on
Story stones

Get crafty and create story stones with a child to show them how this bereavement fits into your family’s life story and use it as an opportunity to talk about what has happened and check their understanding.

Pictures of 4 ooglies - Winston's Wish
Making Ooglies

This craft activity is a way to help children talk about their feelings and grief and act out and explore issues safely using Ooglies.

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Grief activities for teens and young adults

illustration of a quiz sheet
Life quiz

There will be lots of things you don’t know about the person who died, especially if you were young when they died. Create a life quiz and ask those who knew the person – questions could include ‘what was their karaoke song?’ or ‘the naughtiest thing they did at school?’.

Illustration of a notepad and pen
Writing an unsent letter

There may be lots of things you wished you could say to the person who has died, for example things you miss about them or how you feel. Writing a letter to that person can be a good way to get these out as often as you need to.

Line illustration of a calendar with a coral cross on one square
Calendar of memories

So you know they are coming and can find ways to mark or cope with them, fill in our calendar template with days when you may particularly remember the person who has died or days that might be difficult. For example, their birthday or anniversary of the day they died.

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Crafty make and talk activities for bereaved children

Window art activity stuck on a window -Winston's Wish
Window Art

Help grieving children remember someone who has died and talk about their feelings. Each colour can represent a memory of that person and you can talk about them as you do the activity together.

Photo of a child's hands holding a piece of paper divided into a grid. On the left side are drawings of a sun, rain cloud and rainbox. On the right side are handwritten descriptions of a sunny moment, rainy moment and rainbow moment. - Rainbow Review make and talk activity by Winston's Wish
Rainbow Review

A handy check-in to find out how grieving children and young people are coping at the moment by asking them about the good, not so good and stand-out moments from their day or week.

Thankful tree activity - Photo of a hand drawn tree with green leaves with writing on
Thankful Tree

Help children to stop feeling overwhelmed by grief and think about the things that are good in their life by making a Thankful Tree, showing all the things they are thankful for.

Snowmen strike activity
Snowman Strike

Christmas can be a difficult time for grieving families, so this is simply a fun activity that can be a distraction and hopefully bring some joy.

Straw rockets make and talk activity - Winston's Wish
Straw Rockets

This simple arts and crafts projects gives you time to talk to a child about their feelings or about the person who has died while they are doing something creative.

Make and talk activity: Make a paper spider and spider web
Spooky Spider Web

This Halloween activity gives you the chance to talk to a child about their fears and emotions. Spiders can be a common fear so talking during this activity might not feel so out of the blue.

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Teenage boy sat against school lockers looking sad
Grief support for young people

All our information and advice aimed directly at young people, plus our on-demand services, bereavement support and counselling for them.

Publications and resources from Winston's Wish
Publications and resources

Specialist books written by Winston’s Wish to help you support grieving children and young people, plus memory boxes to store treasured items and free activities to download.

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