You know that feeling when your child bursts into frustrated tears and curls up into a fetal position with drool dribbling down their chin?
That what-the-heck-am-I-supposed-to-do-now feeling because this same child, who typically rolls with the punches, has become an incoherent, blubbering mess. With ugly, hiccuping sobs and blotchy cheeks.
Go ahead and raise your hand if you’ve ever just wanted to join in on that hot mess of a moment because you have no idea what triggered it or what to do to help. *waving both arms up and down over here*
Watching your child struggle is a universal parenting experience that just sucks. And not for the faint of heart.
Luckily, you can help them, not just get through it, but help them grow in the process.
Even more beautiful, you can grow, too 🙂
How Growth Mindset Activities Helped My Son & Me
When I first attempted handwriting in our homeschool with my second-born, I felt like I’d been thrown into a scene of a parenting horror movie that had no script and no escape. Unsuspecting, unprepared, and utterly unglued.
Professor, who was seven, had always been up for a challenge. An early developer who walked at eight months, he constantly wanted to catch up to big brother. Things came naturally to him. Professor sailed through preschool and two years at public school with barely a blink of an eye.
And then mom wanted to work with him on handwriting.
He’s a lefty and gripped his pencil super tight. Fatigue would set in and he’d fuss. So, I thought I’d help.
Whoa! I didn’t even know a child could make such strange and guttural noises!
I melted into a puddle of Mommy Madness. Arms flailing about, pacing back and forth, trying to calm this kid down and get him to properly breathe before he had an asthma attack.
And I’m a trained mental health therapist who’s worked with troubled youth and families!!
Not my proudest mommy moment, but I’ve yet to meet another parent who hasn’t been-there-done-that.
Fortunately, after everything calmed down with a good dosing of graham crackers and milk, Professor and I had a chat. And what an insightful chat it was!
He’d been frustrated. Professor kept telling himself things like, “Why can’t I do this?” and “What’s wrong with me?”.
And the more and more he tried, the more and more he’d gotten in his own way. When he tried to erase a line after his fourth attempt at properly spacing his letters and his paper ripped, Professor lost it. Instant meltdown.
Being seven and not a big talker, he’d bottled it all up. He wanted help but didn’t know how to ask for it. And, most of all, Professor didn’t know how to shift his thoughts in a more positive direction. Which left him feeling out of control and super scared.
Now, he didn’t directly say all those things to me. I filled in the gaps and provided prompts to get him chatting. A totally fine thing to do as a parent 😉 Just want you to know that because so many times you read something and go, “Well, that must be nice but my kid doesn’t talk to me like that.” Today’s Parent shares tips and advice on how to get your kids to chat about what’s going on inside them.
After that conversation, a lightbulb went off for me. I needed to be teaching my boys about a growth mindset! Finally, I could apply all those hours of psychology study and work to our homeschool!
**You don’t need a psychology background to teach your kids about a growth mindset. I just got super excited after years of answering the question “Why on Earth did you switch from pre-med to psychology and counseling?”.
And we got down to it. I found books with growth mindset themes to read with my boys.
We played games where skills like perseverance, diligence, empathy, and courage were reinforced.
The boys and I watched videos and did activities. We talked and listened and grew.
I say “we” because these growth mindset themes helped me as a homeschool mom.
I didn’t “have” to only use a pencil and paper to practice handwriting with Professor. We got out playdough and made creations as he built strength and control in his fingers. Letters, numbers, and shapes were traced into thin layers of sand leveled on an old baking sheet.
Instead of feeling boxed in by “shoulds” of how to teach a subject, I learned to think outside the box and go with what works.
I’m elated to report that Professor has made leaps and bounds with his handwriting, as well as meeting other struggles head-on. He’s found competitive soccer a positive way to channel strong emotions. And Professor has helped me teach his three younger brothers the importance of knowing and applying a growth mindset to life.
I share our story because I KNOW other families can benefit from growth mindset principles. You can help your kids build self-esteem, curiosity, and acceptance. The following resources will help you get a better understanding of what a growth mindset means, how it can improve quality of life, and make a difference for your kids.
These 100+ growth mindset activities and resources are organized by:
- Amazing Sites & Resources with Growth Mindset Activities & Information
- Wonderful Books to Use with Kids for Growth Mindset Activities
- Learn More About a Growth Mindset with These Books
- Tasks & Hands-On Fun for Growth Mindset Activities
- Fun Games for Growth Mindset Activities
- Printables for Growth Mindset Activities
- Videos about Growth Mindset Activities
After you check out these ideas and resources, I’d love to hear your story. How can these growth mindset activities help your family? Make sure to let me know in the comments section below 🙂
And if you know a family or teacher who’d appreciate this post, please share!
Amazing Sites & Resources with Growth Mindset Activities & Information
How to Empower with a Growth Mindset for Kids (Rock Your Homeschool): Explains why my boys and I love this #1 resource.
Why Your Mindset is Important in Your Homeschool (Rock Your Homeschool): Mindset is just as important for you! Get tips and tricks on how to develop a growth mindset as a homeschool mom.
How to Teach Growth Mindset to Kids (The 4-Week Guide) (Big Life Journal): I had the pleasure of sharing my tips and tricks for enjoying your special time with your kids while using Big Life Journal for Kids. Includes free printables!
LearnStorm Growth Mindset Lessons & Activities (Khan Academy): Amazing free resource with lessons and videos for elementary, middle, and high school.
Growth Mindset Lessons and Activities (Mrs. Winter’s Bliss): Fabulous growth mindset printables for lessons and activities. Created for classroom but can be modified to use in your homeschool, too 🙂
MashUp Math: Tips and video on how to develop a growth mindset for math.
Resources for Teaching Growth Mindset (Edutopia): List of links to learn more about a growth mindset, as well as a helpful video.
Wonderful Books to Use with Kids for Growth Mindset Activities
Books are spectacular ways to connect with your kids as you teach a lesson through story. Create a basket or shelf to store your growth mindset books so you can easily grab a few whenever you need them!
The Day the Crayons QuitYour Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape ItBeautiful Oops!Not YetWhat Do You Do With a Problem?The Most Magnificent ThingThanks for the Feedback, I Think (Best Me I Can Be!)Bubble Gum BrainThe Girl Who Never Made MistakesIsh (Creatrilogy)Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You AreThe DotUnstoppable Me!: 10 Ways to Soar Through LifeA Walk in the Rain with a BrainMaking A Splash – Growth Mindset for KidsI Knew You Could!: A Book for All the Stops in Your Life (The Little Engine That Could)Everyone Can Learn to Ride a BicycleThe Little Engine That Could (Original Classic Edition)Good News, Bad NewsWhen Pigs FlySomedaySky PigGoing Places
You Can Learn More About a Growth Mindset With These Books
A Simple Guide to the Powerful Practice of Affirmations for Kids (Rock Your Homeschool): I created this easy-to-use guide to explain what affirmations are and how to talk about them with your kids. Plus, you get resources that you can use with your kids to customize the experience as your kids discover and benefit from affirmations that work for them.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Carol Dweck) queen of growth mindset!!
Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessMindsets for Parents: Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in KidsGrit: The Power of Passion and PerseveranceMINDSET: How Positive Thinking Will Set You Free & Help You Achieve Massive Success In LifeThe Growth Mindset Playbook: A Teacher’s Guide to Promoting Student Success
Tasks & Hands-On Fun for Growth Mindset Activities
How to Use Guided Imagery for Kids in Your Homeschool (Rock Your Homeschool): Provide your kids with opportunities to practice growth mindset concepts through safe and relaxing exercises.
20+ Engaging Math Tasks That Promote a Growth Mindset (Math Geek Mama): Bethany shares tip and resources to use to help your kids develop a growth mindset for math.
Back to School Growth Mindset Activities (TeamTom Education): These activities can be modified and applied to homeschool, too 🙂
Cup-Stacking Activity (Runde’s Room): Fabulous activity for a class or group of kids. You can modify for one child.
5 Activities That Promote Growth Mindset (Create-abilities): Includes free printables to help your kids write about and process growth mindset concepts.
Growth Mindset Writing Lapbook & Growth Mindset Activities Quotes Coloring (The Little Ladybug Shop on Teachers by Teachers): Combination of writing and hands-on growth mindset project to enjoy with your kids.
Free Growth Mindset Poster Activity (Rural Virtual Academy): Includes free printable posters
Growth Mindset Activity Books: Available on Amazon, books with decoder and other fun activities all about a growth mindset.
Flip That Flop! Turning Mistakes Into Opportunities (Keep’em Thinking): Awesome writing and/or conversation activity with ideas on how to modify.
Growth Mindset Coloring Pages: Fantastic coloring book with hand-lettering.
Growth Mindset Coloring Pages: Volume 2: More hands-lettering and coloring fun with growth mindset themes!
How to Nurture a Growth Mindset in Children (Free Story + Printable) (Entangled Harmony): Plan a lovely activity with this story and coloring page.
Teaching Kids to Struggle #growthmindset (Class Creator Blog): Give your kids a hands-on challenge using paper.
Activity: Crumpled Reminder (Mindset Kit): Step-by-step instructions on how to use a crumpled piece of paper to teach about that making mistakes can help you grow.
Teaching Growth Mindset Magic (Fun365): Fun ideas that combines a science experiment with writing and more to teach about growth mindset.
Free Download: ‘My Curious Mind’ Growth Mindset Art Activity (Teach Starter): Creative art prompt about growth mindset.
Fun Games for Growth Mindset Activities
Brainventures App Helps Kids Develop a Growth Mindset (Geeks With Juniors)
Growth Mindset Game Activity Board Game with Task Cards (Melissa’s Teacher Mall on Teachers Pay Teachers)
Think Fun Sweet Logic Board GameThinkFun Clue Master Logic Game and STEM Toy – Teaches Critical Thinking Skills Through Fun GameplayThinkFun Shape by Shape Creative Pattern Logic Game For Age 8 to Adult – Learn Logical Reasoning Skills Through Fun GameplayThink Fun Block By BlockThinkFun Rush Hour Traffic Jam Logic Game and STEM Toy for Boys and Girls Age 8 and Up – Tons of Fun With Over 20 Awards Won, International Bestseller for Over 20 YearsEducational Insights Kanoodle – Brain Twisting Solitaire GameSET: The Family Game of Visual PerceptionSET Junior Board Game
Printables for Growth Mindset Activities
Growth Mindset Fun with this Free Cootie Catcher (Rock Your Homeschool): Easy, interactive, and hands-on fun for chatting about growth mindset!
Free Growth Mindset Coloring Activities Kids Will Love (Rock Your Homeschool): Give your kids the opportunity to color as they listen to growth mindset books. Fun mini-book provides your kids a chance to express their understanding of a growth mindset.
Fun Way to Spark Growth Mindset for Kids Conversations (Rock Your Homeschool): This printable paper cube is an excellent way to get your kids chatting about growth mindset!
51 Powerful Affirmations for Homeschool Kids (Rock Your Homeschool): Free printable cards with 51 different affirmations for homeschool kids.
Character Education Posters (Rock Your Homeschool): 10 free printable posters to help kids learn growth mindset traits.
Growth Mindset Video Library (Mindset Works): a curated collection of videos
10 Best Growth Mindset Videos (Positive Change Guru)
What types of growth mindset activities will you enjoy with your kids?