I started this website to share ideas for sparking conversations about character with my kids. I knew as a mother one of my highest priorities was to offer character education in daily life, and so it was my goal to find ways to do this that both my kids and myself would enjoy. I find it very effective to incorporate discussions around character traits into fun activities – whether they are hands-on experiences (like baking muffins to learn about patience) or simple play ideas (like role playing to practice assertiveness).
Many of our activities have actually come about organically. For example, the kids will be playing superheroes and I simply ask them how they would feel if someone saved them from a burning building. This naturally leads to a discussion about serving others, and we can talk about how they can help others every day as well.
Sometimes our conversations centre around a situation one of my children faced during the day. Like if a playmate called my son a name and he was upset about it, we go over what happened. After listening I may find out he did not tell the friend he did not like that name, so we can talk about courage in letting others know how you feel. In another case we may focus on forgiveness or learning from the situation how important it is to use kind words.
Occasionally I will notice that we need to talk about a certain topic because we are finding it a challenge in the home… such as responsibility or respect. On these days, we may then read a storybook where the character practiced one of these virtues I would like to encourage my sons to work on, or I may make up my own story to tell them.
In any case, whether it is an activity, conversation, or story – I have seen my sons develop an amazing capacity to discuss character traits and find ways for how we can actively practice them in our daily lives. Just one little anecdote: One day my son was holding a puzzle and accidentally turned it so all the pieces fell off. I happened to respond positively that time and said, “That’s okay, accidents happen. Let’s clean it up together.” My son immediately responded with, “Thanks, mom! Because when we’re practicing unity, we can get things done a lot faster!” He is learning to see character traits in himself and others, and I think this is a wonderful capacity.
Now the last thing I want to portray is that I never get frustrated or that I am having enlightened discussions with my kids all the time. We have our share of struggles, good days and bad days. I am just sharing that when I intentionally set aside a few moments a day to think and talk about building character, it helps my kids – and myself – remember to focus on practicing these traits more often.
I do not plan activities every day (sometimes a conversation or storybook is what I have the time and energy for), but I have shared activities we have used in years past and also featured ideas from other blogs to compile 365 character building activities – one for every day of the year, if you wish:
100 Kids Activities to Build Character
100 (More) Activities to Teach Kids Good Character
Playing with Purpose: Character Building Made Fun (an ebook with 100 activities in checklist form to print out)
52 Acts of Kindness for Families
13 Literacy Activities that Build Character
BONUS 30 FREE PRINTABLE CARDS: If you haven’t downloaded my character education activity cards, check out Mealtime Moments here.
I hope these lists may help you find a few activities your kids will enjoy!
If you are looking for more ideas to incorporate character education into family life, check out my ebook How To Build Character at Home which includes more practical ideas plus printables to implement them easier.
How do you include character education in family life? What kinds of conversations or tools have worked for you?
Kate - An Everyday Story
I was just thinking yesterday that I wanted to be more intentional with character/values education. I’ve slotted in some time in our homeschool week and these links are going to be so helpful. I’m looking forward to having a good look through them.
Chelsea Lee Smith
Awesome Kate, hope you enjoy them and I’d love to hear how it goes and what sort of activities you all enjoy!
What are your thoughts and opinions of teaching character education in school? How or what do you think teachers can do to form a bond with parents on character education? I am just curious of your thoughts and opinions, your blog is definitely a wonderful resource!
Chelsea Lee Smith
Hi Sherri! I personally believe formal education should START with character education, and build academics into it. I’m a big fan of Full Circle Learning – look it up and contact them if you are serious about integrating character education into schools. I hope to share more about their approach on the blog eventually!!