Free growth mindset activities for children
Growth mindset activities for kids| free 30 page printable download
Most adults have heard a child say “I just can’t do it” or “He’s cleverer than me!” in frustration.
Failure can be daunting but especially so if kids don’t understand that mistakes are essential to their learning.
But, what is it that makes some people give up when things get difficult…and others face the challenge head on?
The answer is…their mindset.
A person with a growth mindset understands that their brain can get stronger if they work at something.
Our intelligence and abilities are not fixed at birth. They can be developed given effort and perseverance.
On the opposite end of the scale is a fixed mindset. Someone who believes that there isn’t much that they can do if they don’t understand something.
Whether someone has a fixed or growth mindset will have a significant impact on their success and future happiness.
So, how to you go about teaching a concept like growth mindset to kids?
Thankfully it is possible and I’m going to share some growth mindset activities that will help you to do just that.
Carol Dweck, a Stanford University Professor and her colleagues have spent a lot of time researching growth mindset.
They found that a having a growth mindset helped children to perform better in tasks and address challenges effectively without fear of failing.
She also reported that children who actually learnt about growth mindset improved their grades over a course of two years.
Thankfully, growth mindset activities along with some simple changes to the way we speak to our children can actually help them to develop a growth mindset.
The growth mindset resource for kids that I’ve put together tackles several related concepts and issues:
The first activities explore the emotions involved when we succeed and fail.
It gives children an opportunity to talk about their feelings and for educators to get an insight into their thoughts.
2. Success Stories
We move on to talk about what they’ve already learnt.
There are many things that they will have learned since birth so it’s a great way to highlight how much they’ve already succeeded at.
They can also talk about the things that they are currently learning and what they’d like to learn in the future.
3. Brain function
Research shows that learning about brains functions and our ability to learn is key to improving.
There are several fact sheets and activities that explore brain function and maintaining a healthy brain.
4. Define growth mindset
Next it’s time for kids to attempt to define growth mindset. Resist the urge to tell them the answer.
They’ll repeat this topic again at the end of the booklet so it will be interesting to see how much they have learned.
When they’ve had a chance to say growth mindset independently I’d explain what it means to have a growth mindset…I’d say something like:
“Everybody has a different way of looking at things. We call this our mindset…the way we see the world and the things that happen to us.
Your mindset can either help you to feel good about yourself or not so great.
When we say that someone has a growth mindset, it means that they understand that their brain is capable of learning anything with some effort and determination.
On the other hand, someone with a fixed mindset might give up more easily and get frustrated when they can’t do something or make a mistake.
It’s important to know that mistakes are good, they help us to problem solve and work out what we need to do differently.
All of us feel like giving up sometimes and that’s OK but you can choose to have a growth mindset and keep trying to reach your goal.”
The next set of activities look at motivation.
It’s important to be mindful of the words we choose while talking to others but also the way in which we talk to ourselves.
Negative self-talk can be very damaging and is an easy habit to get into, especially for young children who are learning from the adults around them.
Model talking in a positive way about yourself and others.
Use phrases like “This isn’t working so I’m going to try another way.” or “You’re getting good at that with all your practice”.
6. Learning styles
If we want children to be able to overcome challenges then we need to teach them the skills to do so.
Teaching them about various learning styles will help them to consider how they learn best.
It will also help them to see that they can try other learning styles if something isn’t working for them.
It’s much more useful than encouraging them to “just keep trying ” which can be discouraging if they aren’t seeing any progress.
7. Add a ‘yet’.
Simply showing kids that adding a ‘yet’ can change a negative statement into a positive one can be helpful.
Try it yourself!
‘Yet’ makes anything seem possible.
8. Problem solving
So by now your children understand that they can train their brain but we still need to help them to figure out how they can go about finding solutions and acting on them.
First they’ll need to identify their problems.
Before they can look at strategies to overcome them…
Goals help us to believe in ourselves.
Having a goal isn’t about creating a plan for your future and holding yourself accountable to every detail.
For kids it can mean learning to skateboard, play the guitar or plant a garden (for adults too in fact).
Goals should be fun and give us inspiration rather than feel like a weight on our shoulders.
Make sure that the kids come up with their own goals rather than overly influence them to write about their academic performance.
This booklet ends with a repeat of the same question for kids to answer “What
is growth mindset?”
Hopefully they will have loads to write in this section which should highlight the fact that we are amazing learners!
I‘d love to hear what you think of these growth mindset activities and if you’d like any others.