Developing the character and emotional confidence of children is key to a happy and healthy child.
Below are some of my favourite simple activities that can be used to promote child well-being. They work well at school, and with a little adaptation, could be equally as useful at home. All of them work even better if parents/teachers join in too and they can be re-visited and engaged with throughout the year.
‘What Went Well?’
Targets: Efficacy, confidence, positive emotions
Activity: This is an open-ended activity that can be shaped to the needs of the child. It can be completed in two ways; as a communal class/family board for all to see and share, or as a personal board/booklet for children to keep track of their own thoughts. Children are encouraged to think about what went well in that – lesson, day, play-time, trip out etc. and note it down. It generates an opportunity to discuss and share highlights from a child’s point of view and encourages the savouring of positive moments.
Good to know: Whichever option you choose, it’s best if your board is reusable as this will save time and resources in the future. If your child prefers a personal booklet, give them every opportunity to share their thoughts with you, but don’t push them if they prefer not to.
Resources: Display board and post-it notes or whiteboard and pens or small booklet.
Targets: Positive emotions, relationship building, confidence, connection
Activity: Every child has an envelope with their name on it. Hand out slips of paper and invite children to identify and write one thing they appreciate about each of their siblings/classmates (you could include parents/teachers too). They should then place them in the correct envelope, which is sealed when the activity is complete and given out to each child to read.
Good to know: Some children may prefer to open their notes in private, not in front of friends. If you’re doing this with a large group, it’s best to write down everyone’s name on a board and ask the children to come and tick off the people they’ve written about. This will ensure no one is left out.
Resources: Envelopes, paper and pencils.
Targets: Emotional awareness
Activity: This should be freely accessible for use as and when needed. Children are encouraged to choose a weather symbol that best represents how they’re feeling and stick it on the board. If they want, they can put their name on the back of it, or alternatively, remain anonymous. This gives them a visible outlet to share their emotions and an opportunity to discuss it with a parent/teacher either in circle time or 1:1.
Good to know: Children will become more confident that they’ll have the opportunity to talk about what they’ve shared and feel its valued if you build in a time to discuss the mood sky regularly, not just when you see a ‘problem’.
Resources: Display board with the image of a clear sky on it. Cut-out weather symbols such as: sun, cloud, rain, thunder/lightning, whirlwind, snow etc. (you should agree in advance with the children what these represent) blu-tack.
Targets: Positive emotions, giving, relationship building, connection
Activity: Discuss what it means to be kind to others and the types of acts that could be said or done that week at school/home. Each child has their own ‘kindness cup’ in which they place a note of the kind act they completed towards someone else. At the end of the week they are encouraged to read through all the acts they’ve completed, reflect on what they chose to do and how it made them feel to do this.
Good to know: Ensure children understand there’s an honesty policy for their actions! Some may wish to fill up their cups as fast as possible…
Resources: one re-usable cup (or similar container) for each child. Paper and pencils.
If you’ve got any favourite activities to enhance the character or well-being of children that you use at work or at home, please share them below for us to try!
Thanks for reading!