It’s a crucial job for parents to help their children develop positive feelings about themselves throughout early development. Children who feel affirmed are likelier to grow up happy, confident, and productive.
While parents hold a lot of responsibility in developing a child’s self-view, they won’t always be around to provide encouragement and reassurance. Thus, it’s essential to practice self-esteem activities for kindergarteners that children can enjoy alone and with friends.
Self-Esteem in Kindergarteners
Children in kindergarten are prone to comparing themselves to others. They may wonder whether they are the most agile on the playground, the smartest in their math class, and the most skilled at arts and crafts.
Now is the best time to give them balanced feedback, show your child that you value them, and encourage them to explore simple responsibilities, such as household chores.
Importance of Building Self-Esteem in Kindergarteners
Teaching self-esteem early is essential for several reasons, as it lays the foundation for a child's emotional and psychological well-being. Knowing the differences between self-esteem and self-confidence is also critical for nurturing both aspects. In addition, children who grow a positive self-view early on:
- Are resilient or better able to cope with life’s challenges
- Are academically successful
- Are responsible decision-makers
- Have healthy relationships with friends and family members
- Are less likely to engage in risky behaviors
- Are more likely to set and pursue meaningful goals
- Are empowered to speak up for themselves
Best Self-Esteem Activities for Kindergarteners
If you’re in the market for classroom activities to build self-esteem in kindergarteners, here’s the only list you need.
1. Positive Affirmations
Encourage your kindergarteners to create and repeat positive statements about themselves. For instance, I am talented. I am creative. I am empowered.
Use positive affirmation cards during group work or play dates.
2. Self-Portrait Artwork
Drawing self-portraits in kindergarteners can improve self-esteem by helping them develop a stronger sense of self-identity and self-worth—artistic skills are not required! It allows them to focus on their unique features, fostering self-awareness and a positive self-image.
3. Self-Esteem Alphabet
Kindergarteners have just about mastered their ABCs and can take their skills a step further by incorporating a self-esteem angle. Use the alphabet of self-esteem to illustrate the various ways to feel good and honor one’s best attributes.
4. Early Reading
Discover the best self-esteem books for kids relaying positive messages about self-worth and acceptance. Find literature with a balance of text and visuals to keep children engaged and interested.
5. Body-Positive Affirmations
Promote a healthy body image in young children by practicing body-positive affirmations with age-appropriate language. For instance, encourage self-compassion and challenge negative beliefs through assertions like “My body is strong” and “I embrace my body as it changes.”
6. Board Games for Kids
Introduce more complex concepts through simple board games. Spot It, Go Fish, I Spy, and Hungry Hungry Hippos are age-appropriate games that encourage curiosity and inspire learning.
7. Memory Box
Curate a memory box containing your child’s proudest and happiest moments thus far. Collect photographs, achievements, medals, prizes, and school activities that make your child feel good about themselves.
Inspire your child’s imagination to run wild by creating a superhero. Superheroes often pique young children’s interests because of their extraordinary abilities and desire to help others. Use the “If I Were a Superhero” worksheet to give your child a basis for exploring their ideal superhero.
9. Love Letters
A love letter to the self is easily one of the most wholesome and enjoyable activities for young children. Encourage them to write down their best attributes and exchange letters.
It’s never too early to explore the concept of goals. Even at a young age, children often express their desire to achieve something—whether to read a book, climb the jungle gym at the local park, or make a snack.
Provide building blocks for goal-setting, using a My Dreams List to encourage kids to be ambitious.
11. Tasks and Chores
Children often need to feel they have achieved something to develop a sense of pride. Assign age-appropriate tasks throughout the week, like making their beds, tidying their toys, feeding the pets, sweeping, and wiping surfaces.
Remember to offer praise with each chore, assisting whenever necessary.
12. Acts of Kindness
Come up with a list of acts of kindness with feasible activities to achieve daily. For instance, encourage your child to compliment their teacher, help tidy up during recess, or donate a toy to charity.
Then, ask your child how it felt to perform these acts of kindness. Reflect on their answers together.
13. Early Gratitude Journal
At kindergarten age, children are just learning to write. At the end of each day, ask them to recount something that made them feel good, writing it down yourself or encouraging them to write at least one word to represent their experience.
14. Power Posing
Power poses are an excellent tool for practicing body positivity and exploring body language. Ask your child to strike a power pose each day before school to boost their sense of confidence and empowerment.
15. Compliment Circle
Compliment circles are among the most effective classroom activities to build self-esteem. Encourage each child to share something positive they associate with their classmates or to enumerate inspiring traits about each other.
16. Kitchen Creativity
Young children are just developing their sense of autonomy and ability to express desires. If they become hungry in the middle of the day, encourage them to throw together a snack themselves (with assistance, of course).
Not to mention, cooking together is a memorable bonding experience!
17. Affirmations Mirror
Some children have low self-esteem. What better way to boost it than with an affirmations mirror? Ask them to write down their favorite physical and mental features—whether it be their hair, eyes, hands, patience, or kindness, pasting these notes onto a mirror they can look at daily.
18. Exercise and Physical Activities
Physical exercise is imperative for muscle development and can prevent chronic illnesses as children age [*]. In addition, it plays an essential role in their overall growth. Physical activities to build self-esteem include kids’ yoga, playing catch, learning a new sport, and even time on the playground or in the backyard.
19. Strengths Collage
Allow your child to visualize their strengths by creating a collage. Include photos of themselves with friends, family members, and teachers, pasting their strengths, talents, and accomplishments on the board.
20. Emotional Art
Provide the materials and space for your child to express themselves artistically, whether they demonstrate a penchant for painting, drawing, or coloring. A child might gravitate toward certain colors and shapes that represent themselves. Don’t forget to display their work afterward!
The Bottom Line
Introducing and fostering self-esteem in children from a young age is a fundamental building block for their emotional and psychological development. By teaching self-esteem early, we empower children to navigate life's challenges with resilience, develop a positive self-image, build healthy relationships, and succeed academically.
Still, instilling self-esteem in children isn’t always an easy task for parents. However, you can simplify the process by equipping yourself with the appropriate tools. Use our worksheets for self-esteem to help your child become confident and capable!
- Archer, Trevor. “Health Benefits of Physical Exercise for Children and Adolescents.” Department of Psychology University of Gothenburg, 2014.