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Watch What You Say!

Why we need to think before we speak

by Becky May

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To encourage us to think about the impact our words can have on others.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a puppet (wide-mouthed or a simple glove puppet), which should be housed in a box or bag at the start of the assembly.

  • You will also need to be familiar with the script in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3.


  1. Explain to the children that you have a friend to introduce them to this morning, but your friend is fast asleep in the box (or bag).

  2. Carefully open the box (or bag), put your hand into the puppet and bring it out of the box (or bag) in a lifelike manner, talking to it as you do so.

  3. Using the ‘whispering technique’, where your puppet whispers what it wants to say into your ear and you tell the audience, play out the following script.

    Hello, Bobby, how are you? You seemed to be having a pretty good sleep there.

    (Puppet whispers)

    You needed a good sleep? Oh, why? Are you tired?

    (Puppet whispers)

    You didn’t get much sleep last night? Because Ms/Mr XXXX (insert teacher’s name here) was snoring too loudly?

    (Puppet nods)

    Bobby, you can’t say that!

    (Puppet whispers)

    And you tried to have a lie-in this morning, but Ms/Mr Y (insert teacher’s name here) was singing too loudly and it didn’t sound very nice?

    (Puppet nods)

    Bobby, that’s not very kind. OK, well, now you’re up, what are you going to do today?

    (Puppet whispers)

    You’re not sure?

    (Puppet whispers)

    You were going to go to Class 2, but you’ve decided not to, because they all have smelly feet?

    (Puppet nods)

    Bobby, no! You really cannot say things like that!

    (Puppet whispers)

    And you dont fancy going to Class 1 instead because Ms/Mr Z (insert teacher’s name here) tells rubbish jokes?

    (Puppet nods)

    Right, that’s it, Bobby, stop right there! Do you know, I’m really glad I’m here because you would have upset everyone if I’d let you go ahead and say what you were thinking. Oh! Er . . . Bobby, we did just tell everyone what you were thinking!

    Oh dear, Bobby, I think we should both have thought a bit more carefully before we opened our mouths and upset everyone. That’s it, I’m going to put you back in your box (or bag) so that you can finish catching up on your sleep and stop saying things that will upset the children and their teachers.

  4. Put the puppet back into the box (or bag) in a careful and lifelike manner.

Time for reflection

Ask the children, Has anyone ever said something unkind to you, perhaps without thinking? Or maybe you’ve been the one saying something that hurt your friend. It isn’t very nice, is it?

There is a saying: ‘Don’t let your tongue run away with you.’ It’s a warning to think about the things that we say and keep control of our words. Sometimes, we talk too much and before we know it, words have slipped out of our mouths and upset people around us.

There is another saying: ‘We have one mouth and two ears for a reason.’ It’s good advice that we should always listen more than we speak. Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, ‘Think before you speak.’

There is good advice in the Bible, too. One book in the Bible is called Proverbs and it is full of good advice. It was written by a wise king, called Solomon, and he said, ‘You will say the wrong thing if you talk too much, so be sensible and watch what you say.’ (Proverbs 10.19)

When we let our tongues run away with us, we sometimes say unkind things and hurt people we care about. Sometimes, we reveal a surprise by not keeping our mouths closed when we have been asked to keep a secret. And sometimes, we rush to give our first answer and miss out on offering a better idea by thinking for a bit longer.

This week, why don’t we all decide to think a bit more about the words we have to say? Let’s all think for a bit longer and take control of our tongues, and maybe Bobby will learn to do that, too.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the wisdom of people like King Solomon, whose advice is still good for us to listen to today.
Forgive us for the times when we speak too much, say unkind things, give silly answers or spoil surprises.
Please help us to think before we speak and to say kind words to other people.


‘Dufus’ by Doug Horley, available at: (4.02 minutes long)

‘Love is something (Magic penny)’ by Malvina Reynolds, available at: (1.22 minutes long)

Publication date: February 2019   (Vol.21 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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