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Spot the tourist

To demonstrate that we often judge people by their outward appearance.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To demonstrate that we often judge people by their outward appearance.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need one member of staff to dress up as a tourist, e.g. in a summer hat, with a rucksack, a camera and carrying a map – the more ridiculous the better.
  • Prepare the script (see point 3).


  1. Ask one or two children to share their holiday destinations. What did they enjoy seeing and doing? The children will probably have noticed some holidaymakers over the summer. Explain that we call these people tourists.
  2. Explain that you want them to be detectives this week. They are going to be on the look-out for tourists. Ask for suggestions as to how tourists will be spotted:
    What they are wearing.
    What they are carrying – rucksacks, binoculars, camera.
    What they are looking at – maps, postcards, landmarks.
    What they are buying.
    What language they are speaking.
  3. At this point have the member of staff dressed as a tourist come in to give you a message. Suggest to him or her that she/he looks like a tourist, but that you know she/he is not. Ask why they are dressed that way – and why are they carrying a rucksack and a camera and looking at a map?

    Make up your own appropriate scenario, depending on how you choose to attire him or her, or use something like the following.

    Mr/Ms… we thought you were a tourist when you first came in. Why are you carrying a camera?

    ‘Oh well, you see, I have just been down at Year 2's classroom. Have you seen their fantastic display of minibeasts? I just had to take a few photos for the school record book.'

    But why the map?

    ‘Oh well, you see, I was asked to have a look at the school plans. We may change things round in the playground a bit next year.'

    But why the hat?

    ‘Oh well, you see, I am going to Spain on holiday and my wife is worried about me getting sunburn. I thought I would just practise wearing the hat today to get acclimatized.

    And why the rucksack?

    'Bad back, I’m afraid! Bending down and carrying things any other way is just a bit sore today!'
  4. Explain that normally Mr/Ms… would not be dressed like this.

    As we learn to be observant we will make assumptions (form ideas without knowing the facts) about people and we will often be right. For example, it would probably be right to assume that if someone is wearing a Manchester United football strip he or she supports that club, and likes football. But they might just be wearing it for a bet, by mistake or because there was nothing else clean!

    It would probably be right to assume that if Jenny always has peanut butter sandwiches for packed lunch, she is a peanut butter fan. But it might be that her mum works for a peanut butter factory and the whole family have to eat it all the time!

    It would probably be right to assume that if the children in the school shout 'Hurrah!' and seem overly excited at the end of term, they are looking forward to their holidays! But perhaps not all of them – one child might be moving house the next day and be sad and nervous about it.
  5. It is good to remember that things are not always what they seem. We can make judgements about people based on what they are wearing or how they look or even how they behave, but we can be very wrong. It’s best to get to know people first before we make up ideas about who they are and what they’re like.

Time for reflection


Sometimes we are grumpy, or sad or upset about something. How do we want others to behave towards us at these times?

Do people sometimes judge me wrongly?

Do I sometimes judge others wrongly?



Dear God,
You alone always know what goes on in our hearts and minds.

You never judge on outward appearances because you know these can often be wrong.

Help us to become wise like you.



‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: September 2007   (Vol.9 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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