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15 Self-esteem Activities

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15 Self esteem activities

These 15 Self-esteem activies are fun, engaging and effective! Building self-esteem and confidence is something that we have to work on consistently with our children. For many kids, being confident in who they are, as a person, doesn’t always come naturally. As a result, we need to assist them in building self-esteem and maintaining a positive self-image. But how can we do that? Luckily, there are many ways that educators and parents can help kids improve their self esteem.

As an educator and a parent, helping kids improve their self-esteem is something that I am continually working on. It’s never easy hearing your students or your own children utter negative words about themselves. It’s also difficult watching kids isolate themselves because they feel like they don’t fit in or like they don’t have anything valuable to contribute to a friendship. When children experience a lack of confidence in their abilities or when they seem to be always under a dark rain cloud, it’s time to remind them of their strengths and skills. 

We want our kids to be confident, resilient risk-takers, so they realize that they can achieve their goals. Before we get into the 15 fabulous self-esteem activities to help you do this, I wanted to give you some valuable information about self esteem in general and explain why it is so utterly important!

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What is Self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the term used to describe a person’s sense of worth or value.  In simple terms, self-esteem refers to how much we appreciate and like ourselves regardless of our current circumstances. According to Psychology Today, Self-esteem can be impacted by the following factors: 

  • Self-confidence
  • Feeling of security
  • Identity
  • Sense of belonging

Kids with a healthy self-esteem:

  • feel proud of what they can do
  • see the good things about themselves
  • believe in themselves, even when they don’t do well at first
  • feel liked and accepted
  • accept themselves, even when they make mistakes
  • feel competent

Other terms that are often used interchangeably with self-esteem include self-worth, self-regard, and self-respect

Why is Self-esteem Important for Children?

Having a healthy self-esteem is crucial for children. When kids feel confident and secure, they’re more likely to succeed in school and achieve personal goals. As they get older, they learn to confront problems and resist peer pressure. 

Self-esteem helps kids cope with mistakes; it helps kids try again, even if they fail the first time. Most importantly, self-esteem is important for children because it helps them feel happy and capable of maintaining personal relationships.

On the other hand, kids with low self-esteem feel self-conscious and insecure. If they think others won’t accept them, they may not join in. They may let others treat them poorly. They may have a hard time standing up for themselves. They may give up easily, or not try at all. Kids with low self-esteem find it hard to cope when they make a mistake, lose, or fail. As a result, they may not live up to their true potential.

Child looking in a mirror

Growth Mindset Vs Fixed Mindset for Kids

Kids who have a low self-esteem or very little self-confidence can benefit greatly from learning how to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset means that you believe your intelligence and talents can be developed over time. A fixed mindset means that you believe intelligence is fixed—so if you’re not good at something, you might believe you’ll never be good at it. 

Here is an image that highlights the differences between these mindsets:

Growth Mindset Vs Fixed Mindset

Our hope is that our children will embrace a growth mindset, especially if self-esteem is a concern. Helping them to switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is one of the most important things we can do as teachers and parents. Through this switch, our kids can learn to view challenges as opportunities, to develop an “I can” attitude, and to discover value in learning new things – especially when it’s hard! 

This information above on growth mindset transitions nicely into our first self-esteem activity, which is all about helping our kids foster a growth mindset.

15 Self-esteem Activities

1. Growth Mindset Activities

mrswinterbliss.com has a fantastic growth mindset freebie and multiple resources. Visit her website if you’d like to learn more about how to help your children develop a growth mindset.

The Brain is like a muscle

Below is a chart that you can utilize to help your kids rephrase fixed mindset thoughts:

Here is also another great source of information about growth mindset. This YouTube video was recorded at the Stanford University, Thinking Big about Learning Symposium, and it provides a great overview of the importance of having a growth mindset. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford, simplifies this topic beautifully.

2. Kawaii Coloring Books with Affirmations

Coloring is such a wonderful activity to embrace. It can be calming and relaxing as well as help you to be creative. But you can also mix coloring with positive affirmations. I have created these kawaii coloring books with positive affirmations that will help build a positive mindset and confidence within your children as well as for adults.

Kawaii is a Japanese word that translates to cute. These coloring pages can be used to help kids practice interrupting negative thoughts while replacing them with positive ones. The affirmations such as “I’m strong” will serve as a reminder to think differently. 

You can find the kawaii unicorn coloring book with affirmations here and the kawaii animals with affirmations coloring booking here

Kawaii Coloring Book

3. Inspiring Mandalas

The word mandala (pronunciation mon-dah-lah) means circle in Sanskrit and is representative of the belief that the universe is infinite. Creating a mandala is a spiritual ritual in Hinduism and Buddhism that reinforces the idea that everything in life is beautifully connected. 

The mandala in this tutorial has the words, Love Yourself, which was inspired by our favourite K-pop band, BTS. The Love Yourself album series by BTS reinforces the importance of self-love, which is something that so many children and young adults struggle with. I’ve often used this activity to practice positive self-talk with my own daughters. Repeating these positive thoughts  is a healthy coping strategy that every child and young adult should have in their toolbox for managing emotions. As well, Incorporating positive self-talk into art activities, like we did in this art activity, provides another opportunity to anchor the habit, while bringing a little positivity to their day. 

I am a great believer in using art to help with your mindset, and it can be very beneficial when it comes to confidence building and increasing your own self-worth and self-esteem. 

Mandala

4. Meditation

It’s always a good idea to take a step back and try to incorporate a few calm moments into your day. Meditation might not be the first thing most people think of when discussing ways to improve self-esteem but it can be a powerful tool.  Meditation can help kids navigate what they might be struggling with and then highlight the changes they can make to feel better. Children benefit hugely from the act of meditation and it can become a healthy habit that they can use throughout life.

Check out our drawing meditation below, which will provide you and your children with a few quiet moments.

5. Things I Like About Myself Activity

When you are feeling negative or unhappy with yourself, it can be hard to look beyond those thoughts. This activity forces you to think of the good. Listing 10 things that you like about yourself on the printable PDF or even just use a journal or piece of paper to hand. Finding ten things won’t be as easy as you think and each time you do this activity try and be more specific. For example, write down things such as “I am confident with my school work or in the workplace” or “I am energetic and full of enthusiasm and motivation”.

Find out more about the activity here

Things I like about myself

6. Positive Affirmation Cards

One of the easiest activities you can do to build self-esteem no matter your age is using positive affirmations. These are short and concise sentences that serve as a reminder of who you are and what you want to become. I have found a blog that has some printable positive affirmation cards that you can use. 

Check out these positive affirmation cards

Affirmation cards

7. Sunshine Box

A sunshine box is an easy-to-make and creative DIY gift that helps you spread positivity. This is a lovely activity that can be used in a number of ways but you could also use this activity to help build self-esteem. Place things in the box that will give you a boost. Positive affirmations and quotes and then seek out the box when you need it the most. You could also create a sunshine box for others when they need it the most. 

Read about them here

Sunshine Box

8. A Positivity Jar

Similar to the gratitude lists and jars this positivity jar is one that you can create and add positive affirmations to, quotes or confidence-building words that you can pull out when you need a gentle reminder of how amazing you are. 

Learn how to make yours here

colorful activity for kids

9. Make a Gratitude Jar

As a separate activity, you could also choose to write out the things you are grateful for and then place them in an actual mason jar. You can then pull one out whenever you need that confidence boost or a reminder of all the good in your life. This website has some fantastic gratitude jars that you can explore.

coloring activity for kids

10. Self-Esteem Books for Kids

Picture books are amazing! They provide us with a simple yet effective way to relay important concepts to our children. Reading picture books is the perfect self-esteem activity to complete with your kids. There are many books to choose from! I’m sure that your children will enjoy these books below just as much as mine did. These books are also suitable for teens and parents!

11. Mirror Work

Teaching children to love their body, no matter what, can help them improve their self-esteem.

Simply ask them to stand in front of the mirror and name three things they appreciate about themselves. At first, the characteristics that they list do not have to be related to their appearance. However, over time, encourage them to identify physical traits that they appreciate about themselves. 

The more often they participate in this activity, the more impactful it will be. Eventually, with consistent practice, most children will learn to accept and appreciate themselves. They will become more comfortable in who they are and later on learn to let go of body-image issues with ease.

Self esteem activity - mirror work

12. Confidence Building Journal Prompts

Journaling can be a great way to help understand and reaffirm feelings or a message that you want to give yourself. However, journaling can be difficult if you have never done it before. I have found a post that has some amazing journal prompts that will help you to think about the things you want to note down, and make sense of how you want to feel. 

Here are the journal prompts for you to try. 

Self-esteem activity - Journal work

13. Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

There is one thing that will help to build up self-esteem and that is stepping out of your comfort zone.

No matter what your age you can often choose to do the things you feel comfortable with, surround yourself with those people, or only say yes to the things you have confidence that you can do. However, stepping out of your comfort zone requires a little risk, it requires faith and opportunity. No matter what it is, by doing something you wouldn’t ordinarily do, it can give you a great boost and help you to feel confident. 

Self-esteem activity - take a step

14. Face Your Fears, And Do Them Anyway

Another thing that can stop you in your tracks is feeling fearful. Fear of the unknown, fear of not being any good or failing in some way. It can have a huge impact on a child’s confidence. However, facing that fear can have the opposite effect. We should always teach our kids to try new things and face their fears. It can be a huge step for them and a great life lesson for the future. It also will help build self-esteem within themselves as they appreciate their capabilities. 

Facing Fears Self-esteem

15. Quotes

Finally, quotes and words that resonate are so important when building self-esteem. They enable you to see things differently and look at situations in a totally different way. There are lots of quotes online when you look, and you can use them in an abundance of activities such as a positivity jar or through journaling. 

Check out these  confidence quotes for young girl’s post! 

Self-esteem activity Quote

The Power of Positive Thinking

I always remind my students that improving their self-esteem is often a journey but there are daily habits that they can acquire to help maintain confidence and a positive self-image. Thinking positively is one of those daily habits, that when done frequently, can naturally help to improve their self-esteem; leaving them feeling more positive and confident. Positive thinking is beneficial for both children and adults; it can improve our health, help us manage stress, overcome challenges, and assist us in making better choices. Teaching children how to think more positively can help them learn to believe in themselves and assist them in achieving their true potential, therefore boosting self-esteem. 

Final Thoughts on 15 Self-esteem Activities

There might not be just one magical activity that improves self-esteem, but combining several of these activities can have a huge impact. 

I hope that you find value in these self-esteem activities! If you do, please let me know 🙂

If you’re looking for more activities designed to encourage mindfulness and spark creativity, check out the printable resources in my shop!

If you try any of these activities, please let me know! I’d love to add your creations to our gallery, so upload your photos or send them directly to me at: [email protected] Thank you!

Don’t forget to download our FREE 15 page Mindfulness coloring book to help add a few mindful moments to your child’s day. Just click here or the image below!

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