With the uncertainty about how school will go next year, adults need to think strategically about how we can ensure that the kids in our lives can weather the storm of what lies ahead. That means building kids' confidence that they are capable of learning, regardless of the mode of delivery. Believing that they have the ability to learn independently will also take the burden off working parents. So let’s start building their confidence now so that when September comes, they will trust in themselves and the process. This post will list five interactive and fun ways to boost kids’ educational confidence now.
Activity #1: Treasure Hunt
Kids love to search for treasure, whether it be special rocks or glass beads or candy. This hunt is going to be all about finding their passions and interests. Shh, don’t tell them that or they might roll their eyes and say they are out. Just tell them that they are going to be looking for hearts (you can get them here) and if they find them all, they can turn them in for a prize (something you know they will love). The hearts will have collages of various interests and subjects. When they turn each heart into you, you can ask them if there was anything on that one that they liked.
Which picture in the collage made them feel excited?
Did any of the pictures make them feel bored?
Note: This will also be a great moment for you to genuinely praise kids for knowing what they like and don’t like. Be sure to let them know that being aware of their interests and passions is important information for their journey. This will help them to build trust in their self-knowledge and awareness.
Activity #2: Learn, Move & Groove
In this game, you will set up 4 circles on the floor or hula hoops outside. Each circle will have different lists with the following headings and examples:
- Hearing: audiobooks, read-alouds, podcasts, listening to discussions
- Reading and Writing: magazines, graphic novels, non-fiction books, novels, taking notes
- Doing: building, experimenting, observing, painting, singing, designing, programming,
- Seeing: TED talks, classes online, travel videos, educational shows, charts, graphs, pictures
Before you begin the game, go to each station with the kids and look at the different categories and ways to learn. You can get them here. Then write different subjects on a ball (e.g. science, language art, history etc.) When you throw the ball to your kids and they see the subject, they choose how they would like to learn the subject by running to either the first, second, third or fourth stations and saying which example they would use and run back.
Activity #3: Mountains, Rocks and Pebbles
On a nice day, head outside with the kids and go somewhere that you know has different sized rocks. Get the kids to bring along at least three favourite action figures, dolls or LEGO minifigs. Next challenge them to build a mountain out of rocks, and put a couple of rocks beside it and beside the rocks, a pile of pebbles.
Ask them the following questions:
- What school subject would you say is the biggest and hardest? It can be climbed but you need certain tools and lots of encouragement. Have them put their toy on top of the mountain. Ask them how it would feel to be at the top.
- What school subject would you say is challenging but can be done with a bit of work? Have them put their toy on top of the rock. Ask them how it would feel to be at the top of the rock.
- What school subject would you say is a bit uncomfortable or boring but you can do it pretty easily, like walking on pebbles? Have them put their toy on top of the pebbles. Ask them how it would feel to be at the top of the pebbles and ask them how it would feel to have successfully climbed over the pebbles.
Take a picture of the mountain, rocks and pebbles that you can later print out and label with the subjects that the kids mentioned. Then also write out any tools or strategies they identified for helping them reach the top.
Activity #4: Growth Mindset Collage
The way that children perceive their abilities and their attitude towards learning will have a huge impact on how they approach their education. It has been proven again and again that students who have a growth mindset do better than those who don’t. Growth mindset is that idea that our abilities are not fixed but rather can be improved with hard work and practice. Have kids look through the group of growth mindset quotations that I have provided here. Have them choose 3 that they really like and ask why they chose them. They can either print and cut the quotes out or write them down. Ask them to create visuals or print some out to add to the quotations. When they are finished have them display it in a place they will look at daily.
Activity #5: Confident Kids September Checklist
Giving kids responsibility helps them to feel more confident. When you ask them to be part of their own journey, you show them that you think they are capable. Get your kids involved in planning for their learning in the fall by sharing a checklist with them and inviting them to add things to it to prepare for September. With so much uncertainty facing kids this fall, having a checklist that they can work on will help them to have a sense of control and feel they have a voice in their return to studies. You can get the checklist here.
When we are faced with uncertainty and are feeling afraid or worried, the best thing we can do is to try to build confidence in our ability to handle whatever may come. We should always be trying to build kids’ educational confidence but being particularly proactive this summer will help your kids to be even more resilient this fall.
I am a Life Coach for Kids, offering programs, materials, and support that parents can use to help their children discover interests, set goals and intentions, and most importantly have fun in the process. I am passionate about learning, growth mindset, nature, and emotional wellness.
To get more tips on raising confident kids, join my Facebook group Champions of Confident Kids