Whether you’re teaching K-2 or 3-5, you’ll find a wealth of information and resources for teaching growth mindset here. Try these growth mindset activities for elementary students today!
Growth mindset activities are vital to elementary students’ social-emotional learning. As a teacher, you want your students to develop into well-rounded humans. This means they have both the intellectual and emotional skills needed to succeed in life. In order to make this happen, you’ll need to teach your students to have a growth mindset. A growth mindset helps students achieve difficult skills, helping them persevere despite difficulties.
Growth Mindset Activities for Elementary Students
No matter how old your elementary students are, they need to learn how to develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset will help them achieve their educational goals for the year. It will also help them in life as they work through difficult tasks and ideas. Here are growth mindset activities for elementary students that can help them build a strong outlook.
Growth Mindset Activities for Grades K-2
These activities will teach students in grades kindergarten through 2nd all about how to achieve a growth mindset. From practicing positive mantras to reading children’s books as examples, these activities will help change your students’ thought processes.
- Growth Mindset Quote Posters – This activity set comes with coloring sheets your students will love, as well as mantras that will help them achieve a growth mindset. Grab a FREE sample HERE!
- Self-Regulation, Self-Control & Self-Esteem Social Emotional Learning Curriculum – Increasing your students’ self-esteem will help them in their quest for a growth mindset!
- Try a student-led classroom – Stacking cups can be a great way to explain how students can support and lead their learning. This activity is perfect for encouraging a growth mindset!
- Teach kids about the “power of yet” – To understand the “power of yet,” explain to students that sometimes things that are difficult take time to practice before succeeding. Remind them to have an attitude of “I can’t do this YET” but that one day soon, they WILL! Read the book Giraffes Can’t Dance, and perhaps use a graphic organizer to write down growth mindset take-aways from the book.
- Encourage Determination – The book, The Little Linebacker is a great book to teach your students about determination and to never give up!
- Highlight thoughts and feelings – Read The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes and take some time after reading for discussion. While talking about the book, ask students what thoughts and feelings the main character, Beatrice, expressed that showed her growth mindset versus her fixed mindset.
- Have kids write and draw what they like about themselves – A strong self-esteem helps your students have a growth mindset. By writing/drawing positive affirmations about themselves, it reinforces a growth mindset. Encourage them to place their positive reminders in a place they see them every morning when they wake up.
Growth Mindset Activities for Grades 3-5
Older elementary students also need to learn how to have a growth mindset. As students get older, the skills they learn in school become more difficult. Because a growth mindset helps students persevere in the face of difficulties, these growth mindset activities are perfect for your classroom. These activities include ideas such as learning about the brain and bullet journaling.
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset – Sometimes, sorting thoughts and vocabulary is the easiest way to reinforce a concept. First, give your students the vocabulary needed to describe what a fixed mindset is vs. a growth mindset. Then, allow them the opportunity to sort those words either on their own paper. They can do it as a whole class on a visual chart, and/or in small group discussion.
- Create thought maps – You’ll be amazed by your students’ responses when you do this activity. In effect, it involves brainstorming what several growth mindset terms mean.
- Bullet journaling – Your students can use a bullet journal to cultivate a growth mindset! If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, it’s a free form of journaling. For example, it can include sketching, highlighting, coloring, and of course, bullet points. Kids usually enjoy the freedom to express themselves in journals. Also, they can be a great way to show their understanding.
- Talk about famous failures – Use inspiration from famous people who have failed to encourage your students to develop a growth mindset.
- Teach about the brain – The brain is a fascinating subject! You don’t have to know much about brain anatomy to teach growth mindset. For example, give a simple explanation about how the brain has different parts that work together to control and organize our thoughts. Children will understand that our brain plays an important role in our thought processes and behaviors.
- S.M.A.R.T. goal setting – Encourage kids to strive for what they want to learn and set specific goals to keep them focused and on track. Setting SMART goals means that they are S-Specific, M-Measurable, A-Achievable, R-Relevant, T-Time Bound.
Growth Mindset Activities and Resources for All Ages
Regardless of what grade you teach, there are some activities that students of all ages can do. These growth mindset activities are perfect for students of all ages. Students will show growth with these activities, such as role-playing, using new vocabulary, and reading literature to make connections.
- Teach the vocabulary – Talk about what the specific vocabulary is needed to describe what it feels like to have a growth mindset. A few examples of vocabulary words you might address are: perseverance, effort, mistakes, courage, risks, attitude, improve, challenge, and grit.
- Use a graphic organizer – You can use a graphic organizer or two to help your students discover more about a growth mindset. Some that might work are: thought/word maps, compare and contrast, Venn diagrams, fact vs. opinion charts, or tree charts.
- Inspire them with quotes – Try reading, verbally repeating, discussing, and writing inspirational quotes. It is a fun way for kids to learn about a growth mindset. Here are a few good examples.
- Say the word “yet” – Let your students hear you respond with the word “yet” when they say “I can’t ______.” Consequentially, this response can change their whole outlook.
- Using literature to guide discussions – There are so many great books that show great growth mindset examples! Pick any of these growth mindset books to give students a story example of having a growth mindset. For example, it will help them learn the concept in a thoughtful way. Then you can use the books to spur discussion.
- Role-playing scenarios – Give students task cards with scenarios on them to act out in small groups. This will lead to helpful discussions on topics about growth mindset.
These growth mindset activities will help you teach your students all about a growth mindset. From coloring pages to journal ideas, you can teach your students why a growth mindset is important. Try using these growth mindset activities for elementary students. You’ll get the chance to see your students’ perspective on life change as the year progresses.
Growth Mindset Classroom Resources
The complete growth mindset unit for K-2 includes tons of helpful lessons and activities to help children develop a growth mindset and “I can” attitude. Click here to see everything included.
Watch the video to see the growth mindset unit for K-2 in action!
The complete growth mindset unit for 3-5 includes tons of helpful lessons and activities to help older kids build a growth mindset, learn about the parts of the brain, and how to set SMART goals. Click here to see everything included.
Watch the video to see the growth mindset unit for 3-5 in action!
More Growth Mindset Activities