Growth Mindset Activities

Have you heard of the concept of seeing the glass half full instead of seeing it as empty? The same concept applies to mindset. There’s a fixed and growth mindset.  Those with a fixed mindset believe that intellect is stagnant whole those with a growth mindset affirm the evolution of intelligence.

Read on to learn more about mindset, how to develop a growth mindset as an adult and in kids, and the different growth mindset activities.

What is the Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is a habit or a tendency to believe that you can grow.  The mindset thrives on challenges and sees failure as a stepping stone for growth. It’s the belief that you can grow.

This mindset believes that you can cultivate your essential qualities through hard work and your effort.  Everyone can grow through experience and application even though we may have differing interests, talents, temperaments, or aptitudes.

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, mindsets are formed early on in life. That’s why it’s critical to develop the right mindset in your children.

The Difference Between a Fixed and Growth Mindset

Someone with a fixed mindset spends as little effort, while the one with a growth mindset believes that hard work and effort translate into a great outcome.

A person with a fixed mindset is afraid of facing their challenges head-on for fear of failure or as a way of avoiding responsibilities.  However, someone with a growth mindset is open to challenges and views them as engaging and a stepping stone to a better future.

Someone with a growth mindset believes that the challenges are a learning curve with some valuable lessons.

Another critical difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset is evident when a person is dealing with mistakes and feedback. For example, a person with a fixed mindset has made mistakes as they are afraid of being embarrassed. The person may start being defensive or blame others for the errors.

In contrast, a growth mindset person isn’t afraid to make a mistake as they see this as a lesson to learn. They are also open to criticism and use the feedback given to do better the next time.

Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset in Adults

Having a growth mindset is inspiring,  as it’s powerful. Below are a few ways to develop a growth mindset as an adult.

Create a Sense of Purpose

Dr. Carol’s research shows that adults with a growth mindset had a sense of purpose and were able to have the big picture in mind.  You need to take the time to define for yourself and know what your goal entails.

Contemplate or meditate on purpose and see what you define as your purpose.  You need to pursue it as the process is what will help you build a growth mindset.

Pay Attention to the Words You Speak

Are your words demotivating and uninspired? That may translate to the results you get.  Start listening to what you’re saying and thinking and change those words to develop a growth mindset.

Use positive thoughts in place of negative ones and replace hate with compassion and judgment with acceptance.  The more you elevate your beliefs, the more you grow intellectually.

Acknowledge and Embrace  Imperfections

Acknowledge and embrace your imperfections and those of others, as this is what makes life interesting. Remember that everyone has their peculiarities and flaws, and these imperfections are what make us unique.

View Your Challenges as Opportunities

It’s normal to be terrified when faced with some challenges in your life.  However, instead of wallowing in self-pity and waiting for others to solve your problems, look at the situation as an opportunity.

Change your perspective and watch how it gets comfortable for you to look at the bigger picture.  Each challenge is an opportunity to get into a new experience and learn.  Shifting your perspective enables you to push forward without fear.  It’s through this process that you’ll know o abilities that you didn’t know you possessed.

You need to learn different tactics to know how to explore a new path or ways to navigate new situations.  Remember that what works for someone else may not work for you. Learn at your own pace.

Stop Seeking the Approval of Others

Seeking other people’s approval is one hindrance of a growth mindset. That’s because you’re always relying on the positive responses, and if you happen to get a negative reaction, you may be stuck and stressed out with a fixed mindset.

You need to cultivate self-approval and self-acceptance. Remember that you only have yourself to impress; that’s why you need to trust yourself and the journey you are on as a person.

Be Authentic

Trying to be someone else discredits and disrespects who you are as a person.  It makes you look fake and diminishes your value. Being authentic requires inner work since it’s a process.  After taking a step deeper into your authenticity, you can pursue your goals, which then translates into a growth mindset.

Take Criticism Positively

Criticism is meant to make things better and grow you as a person. It’s vital to take criticism positively as someone else may have valuable suggestions based on their perspective. You can develop a growth mindset by being open to hearing what someone else’s to say.

Learn From Others Mistakes

You can make fewer mistakes by learning from others’ mistakes. It’s something that can help you explore new ventures, which is an essential aspect of developing a growth mindset.

Remember that it’s a Journey and Not a Race

It’s critical to value the process over the result as the journey is what matters. Having a growth mindset means you’re less focused on the results, and you’re more engaged and putting effort into the process.

The best thing about focusing on the process also improves results as you decide to put in a lot of effort.

Change Your Attitude

Take time to develop your attitude if you’re looking to build a growth mindset.  Persistence raises your chances and creates more opportunities. Resilience assures your mind that the journey is what is critical, and that’s what leads to a growth mindset.

Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset in Kids

Teaching your kids to have a growth mindset can make them happier, smarter, healthier, and more successful in every area.  Your children need to know that their abilities and intelligence can be improved with practice, determination, effort, and by using the best strategies.

Below are some ways to develop a growth mindset in kids.

Teach Them About How the Brain Works

Kids are more excited about the learning process once they understand that the brain grows new connections as they practice and learn.  After they’ve known about the brain’s rewiring capabilities, they can take steps to develop a growth mindset.

Use Words of Praise

Praise encourages action, effort, and strategies.  However, you need to realize that there’s a difference between praising for innate abilities and praising for effort.  Kids praised for their efforts to develop work harder, perform better, and are more resilient. That helps them to develop a growth mindset.

Those that are praised for the talents they already have are likely to develop a fixed mindset.

Also, when using praise, ensure that you attach it to something specific instead of being general.

For example, instead of saying you worked quite hard, you could say that it was smart of you to find other ways to solve the problem, good job! That will motivate the child to work harder and put in the effort to achieve the desired results.

Allow Them to Fail

Sometimes it’s okay to allow the children to get it wrong as this gives them the chance to take risks and find better ways of getting things done.  That expands their creativity, makes them ready to embrace challenges, and encourages problem-solving.

Encourage Them to Set Their Goals

Take time to initiate goal-setting for your kids to help them evaluate their performance and give them the drive to achieve their target. You can guide the children in this process to foster the desired learning outcome.

Model a Growth Mindset

One of the best ways to encourage your children to have a growth mindset is to find ways to develop one. You could model a growth mindset by trying out new methods based on the feedback they give you and by being open to what they say.

Remember that kids learn a lot from observation, and they will look at your attitude and behavior to see if you follow what you preach.

Add the Magical Word-Yet

The word can’t when used regularly can be demoralizing, and can leave your child feeling frustrated and sad.  You may notice them saying things like I can’t perform well in math,  or I can’t ride a bike. That makes them have a fixed mindset.

You can change this by teaching them to use the word yet in their sentences. For example, Instead of I can’t read, ask them to add, I can’t read yet. That single word will encourage them to keep going instead of being stuck.

Avoid Giving Your Child Labels

Giving your child a label, whether it’s a negative or a positive one, it communicates a fixed mindset. Although most people think that some of these labels motivate kids, all they do is limit their beliefs about themselves and others.

Praise Their Effort Over Result

The best way to instill a growth mindset is to praise their effort over results.  For example, instead of appreciating the child for being the top in their class, you could say I’m so proud of you for working hard to solve the problems.

Process praise raises the child’s sense of self-efficacy as it reinforces that success is achieved from the kid’s effort rather than talent or skill.

Encourage Positive Self-Talk

You need to encourage your kids to practice saying positive things regularly to combat automatic negative thoughts.  Have them write down a list of traits they admire in someone and have them read this list to themselves. That will replace the negative ideas they had ingrained as the positive words begin to stick.

Another aspect of encouraging your kids to practice positive self-talk is to teach them to talk about mistakes.  Your child should feel comfortable talking about what didn’t work. That allows them to learn to identify what works and what doesn’t.  Identifying these mistakes and encouraging them to not view themselves as failures but as learners will help them develop a growth mindset.

Remind Your Kids of Past Successes

You can develop a child’s growth mindset by reminding them of situations where they won in the past. Remind them of how far they’ve come from preschool where they could only write one letter at a time, and show them how much they’ve learned. The process shows progress and reassures them that their hard work and persistence does lead to success.

Set the Bar High

A common misconception most parents have is that lowering your expectations helps children succeed and builds their self-esteem. However, this is not true. Set some challenges and motivate them to know that they can do it.

Having faith in them boosts their self-belief and prompts them to work harder to meet the set bar.

Show Them that They Don’t Always Have to be Successful

Kids learn what they see and not what they are told.  Show them that it’s okay when they hit a snag. Talk to them about the things you learn when your plans don’t go as expected.  Show them the things you now notice after taking a different path.

Let them know that failure is part of the learning process and that they don’t always have to be successful to be okay.  Also,  show the kids that failure has nothing to do with their capabilities.

If they work hard and fail to achieve what they expected, praise them. That will nurture their motivation, resilience, and confidence.

Give Honest Feedback

As a parent, you may shy away from giving feedback for fear of destroying your child’s self-esteem. Nevertheless, they need this feedback if they are going to improve in the future.

The point is to note how you give this feedback. Always be sensitive when providing feedback to help maintain their confidence and self-esteem.  Start by focusing on three things the kid does well before shifting to constructive criticism.

Growth Mindset Activities for Kids

Below are some growth mindset activities to help your child build resilience and confidence

Reading Books that Promote a Growth Mindset

You can teach kids about faith and a growth mindset by reading the books that talk about these subjects.

Some great examples include What Do You Do With an Idea and What Do You Do With a Problem? Another suitable book is Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch it, Shape It. The book teaches kids about how the brain works and how they can improve their abilities.

The Growth Mindset Printables Kits

You can make talking about growth mindset more fun and effective by using the growth mindset printable worksheets for kids.  That allows the children to learn through play.

An excellent example is the Growth Mindset Printables Kit PDF that is ideal for kids aged five to eleven.  The kit enables your child to learn how to stay resilient, overcome the fear of failure, and welcome mistakes as an opportunity to grow.

What’s more, they get to discover their brain’s ability to grow. By the time the children are done, they will understand that they can get results with effort and practice.  The best part about this kit is that it comes with growth mindset guides and handouts for parents and teachers.

Watching Movies That Promote a Growth Mindset

Movies are an excellent way to teach your kids about developing a growth mindset.  Some films that illustrate this concept include Piper,  The Good Dinosaur, Zootopia, Moana, and Inside Out.

Creating a Growth Mindset Poster

Another fantastic activity to promote a growth mindset in your children is to have them create a growth mindset poster.  Have them write down positive self-talk phrases as I can always keep trying, mistakes help me learn, I’ll use some of the strategies I’ve learned, I can train my train, and I can’t do it yet.  Ask them to refer back to this poster when things get challenging.

Get Growth Mindset Bookmarks

Create fun bookmarks together with your kids to remind them that learning is a process and that they can also walk the path.

Place these bookmarks in their storybooks. Some messages you could have included I can do hard things,  and I can train my brain.

The 3-2-1 Exercise

3-2-1 exercise is an excellent learning activity for kids. The activity seeks to understand the three things the child has learned, the two things they want to learn and answer one question the child may still have.

An Accomplishment Jar

An easy and fun way to help your child grow and build on success is through an accomplishment jar.  The jar is the perfect way for kids to share and celebrate with their past accomplishments.

All you need is a huge jar and slips of paper. Write questions like what have I accomplished today? How do I feel about it? Have the kids fill out the sheets daily with their names. Place these slips into the jar.

At the end of every week, take the slips out and give your children to review their accomplishments and celebrate.  With this, they can see how far they’ve come along and appreciate what they’ve learned.

Have a Self-Awareness Checklist

Developing a growth mindset means ensuring your kids have a strong sense of themselves.  They need to know their strengths and weaknesses, how they can improve, and what motivates them.  Kids through this exercise can learn how self-awareness is essential to self-improvement.

You can choose to write the questions or deliver them orally.  Encourage the children to reflect on these questions and state down honest answers.

Some of the questions you could have include:

  • I feel the most stressed when…
  • My strong areas are…
  • My weak areas are …
  • The thing I need the most help with is…
  • I learn best when I…

Growth Mindset Yoga

Growth mindset yoga is a physical activity that combines yoga with a positive affirmation. Apart from being a fantastic physical activity, it’s also an excellent concentration exercise that teaches children about the importance of constructive statements.

You’ll need to select some basic yoga poses that your children can be comfortable doing and attach a growth mindset statement to each yoga pose movement they make. Some affirmations include I am open-minded, I work hard. I am creative, I enjoy learning, etc.

Have the kids channel the right feelings as they perform each pose one after the other as they repeat these statements. Encourage them to mention these words while holding the poses.

Growth Mindset Activities for Adults

Below are some ways to develop a growth mindset as an adult.

Look for Learning Opportunities

Do you believe that you lack the creativity to be a photographer or a dancer? You should challenge yourself to learn this skill by enrolling in a dance or a photography class.  Ensure that you stick to the course even when you don’t feel like you are making progress.

Approach the learning process with a can-do attitude and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Set SMART goals to help you achieve a target and work towards it.  Visualize any obstacles you may encounter during the process and make a plan to overcome them.

Journal for 21 Days

Another excellent way to promote and develop a growth mindset is to keep a journal for 21 days. The challenge is to try new things daily for 21 days.

These activities could be something you’ve new tried, something you have seen your friends do but have never been interested in, or an hobby that you have never thought of doing. The activities you choose should steer you out of your comfort zone to promote a growth mindset.

By the time you’re done with three weeks, you’ll notice some new abilities that you never knew existed and discover an unrealized potential.

The Crumpled Reminder Activity

The crumpled reminder activity is a short exercise that lets you write down some recent setbacks you’ve faced. You need to reassess your understanding of failure and write the lessons you’ve learned during the process.

Have a Growth Mindset Quote of the Day

Another productive activity that helps to nurture a growth mindset is to have a growth mindset quote of the day.  It’s the perfect reminder that it’s perfectly fine to make mistakes, and that failure is a stepping stone to learning new things.

You can have these quotes on your work desk or as a wallpaper. Seeing the quote will remind you of the importance of taking on challenges, never giving up, and being persistent.

Watch Movies or Films on Growth Mindset

Watching movies that focus on a growth mindset can help you learn a few things and spark open discussion. The best part about some of these films is that you can watch them with your kids.

Some excellent videos you may want to watch include “Janelle Monae and the Power of Yet,” “SOAR, Your Brain is Like a Muscle,” and “Batman, Belief, and the Power of Yet.”

Read Growth Mindset Books

Another easy way to develop a growth mindset is to read books that promote persistence, learning from mistakes, and those that have fantastic growth mindset ideas.

A few of the books you’ll want to check out include Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol. S. Dweck, Challenging mindset: Why a Growth Mindset Makes a Difference in Learning by James Nottingham and Bosse Larsson, and The Growth Mindset: A Guide to Professional and Personal Growth by Joshua Moorr=e.

Final Thoughts

One of the most common myths about the growth mindset is that it’s equal to the effort. However, you require a lot more than an attempt to develop a growth mindset.  You may need to try out new strategies and seek feedback from others if you’re looking to learn and improve.

If you keep saying things like I’m not creative, I’m not good with numbers, or it’s hard for me to lose weight, that shows that you’re dealing with a fixed mindset  Having a fixed mindset means you avoid putting yourself in situations where you might fail. Moreover, you’re stuck, and you don’t learn. Nurturing a growth mindset means embracing more challenges, viewing growth as a process, setting your own pace, developing resilience, and understanding that everyone makes mistakes.

Developing a growth mindset won’t happen in one day; it’s a process. Use the above growth mindset activities to help you and your kids move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

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