How do you want to live?


  • To discuss the concrete and abstract factors of the environment
  • To evaluate our own and others’ environment
  • To discuss ways to protect and/or change their own environment and that of others

Source of the activity

Derived from “COMPASITO”

Type of activity

Stating preferences, discussion

Competences targeted by the activity

  • Valuing cultural diversity
  • Openness to cultural otherness and to other beliefs, world views and practices
  • Civic-mindedness
  • Responsibility
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Knowledge and critical understanding of the world


Children draw contrasting pictures of environments where they would or would not want to live. They discuss what factors make the differences and how to influence their own environment


  • Paper
  • Colouring materials, e.g. paints, markers, crayons, pencils
  • Drawing pins or sticky tape to hang drawings

Group size


Time needed

50 minutes


  • Gather colouring materials
  • Copy the handout for each child

Step-by-step instructions

  • Lay out colours of every kind. Ask the children to think about an environment they would like to have – real or imaginary – and to draw it.
  • Then ask the children to think about an environment they would not like to have, and to draw it.
  • When the drawings are finished, hang them and invite the children to view the mini-exhibition

Debriefing and Evaluation

  • Debrief the activity, asking questions such as these:
    • Was it easy to think of the two different environments?
    • Which drawing and environment do you like the most? Why?
    • Which drawing and environment do you like the least? Why?
    • If there were people living in the environments you have drawn, how do they feel?
    • Which picture matches your real environment?
  • Relate the activity to human rights, asking questions such as these:
    • The environment is more than just the physical space. What other factors make up a positive or negative environment? Think of factors such as opportunities, non-violence, non-discrimination, freedom and human rights.
    • How does our physical environment affect us? How does our rights environment affect us?
    • How would you describe the rights environment where you live?
    • What would you like to change about your physical environment? Your rights environment?
    • What could you do to make your environment more like the one you drew?
    • Do all the children in the world have an environment they like?
    • Do we have a human right to a good environment?
    • Do you think we should have a right to good environment?
    • What can we do to promote a good environment for all the children in the world?

Tips for the teacher

  • Help children understand that ‘environment’ is created by both concrete, physical factors as well as abstract ones, such as the degree of rights and freedoms. Emphasize that we need both factors for a good environment. Younger children may have difficulty grasping the abstract concept of environment.
  • Before doing the exercise, be clear on which aspects of environment you want to focus. Addressing the entire ‘environment’ without a clear focus will be too large and abstract.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.