11 Growth Mindset Activities For Students

While most schools focus on academic learning (which they should of course), the benefits of incorporating social-emotional learning are many. 

Social-emotional teaching builds students’ character, increases self-esteem, and decreases bullying incidents, just to name a few positives. 

As a result, students’ academic performance improves. 

How can you integrate social-emotional learning in your classroom? The answer is by implementing growth mindset activities for students. 

The book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck, summarizes the differences between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. 

Someone with a growth mindset believes his or her consistent hard work will ultimately lead to success while someone with a fixed mindset believes that his or her intelligence is set and can’t be changed.

See examples of a growth mindset and examples of a fixed mindset.   

While this post won’t cover the details of the book, the takeaway is that it would be very helpful for teachers of all ages – from elementary to high school- to incorporate some good growth mindset activities in their classrooms. 

But how do you teach growth mindset to students?

Here you will discover suggested growth mindset student activities, and they are all free.

Growth Mindset Activities For Students

Following you will find suggested resources, ideas, and activities that help to foster a growth mindset in students. 

1. Recite Positive Affirmations.

Encourage students to practice positive self-talk by incorporating positive affirmations into the daily schedule. 

Without even thinking, some students immediately go into negative self-talk when an assignment, task, or activity proves challenging.

Help foster a growth mindset by spending a few minutes each day reciting positive affirmations with students. 

2. Seek Feedback.

In order for students to continuously progress towards their goals, they must be 100% invested.

One way they can show this is by giving attention to the feedback provided by the teacher. 

When feedback is given…

  • Do students ask clarifying questions?
  • Are they eager to do better next time?
  • Do they understand why they received a certain grade plus how to improve?
  • What did they do well?

Questions like these prompt students to reflect on the feedback so that they may adjust their study or work strategy moving forward. 

An easy way to get started with implementing this growth mindset activity is by utilizing glow and grow sentence starters.

Write a sentence starter on a Post-it note, and stick it on an assignment as constructive feedback.

Related Content: Growth Mindset Games for Students

3. Speak In Growth Mindset Language.

One of the most powerful growth mindset student activities is to get students to change how they speak to and about themselves.

Students can use growth mindset language to cultivate a positive and empowering mindset that instills a belief in their ability to learn, improve, and overcome challenges.

By replacing self-limiting statements with growth mindset language, such as “I can’t do it” with “I can’t do it yet,” or “This is too hard” with “This may take some time and effort, but I can improve,” students shift their focus from fixed abilities to the potential for growth.

Embracing phrases like “I’ll ask for help and keep trying” when faced with difficulties, or “Mistakes are opportunities to learn, and I’ll try a different approach” when they encounter setbacks, encourages resilience and a willingness to learn from experience.

This language shift empowers students to view challenges as opportunities for growth, value effort and persistence, and take ownership of their learning journey, paving the way for greater academic and personal achievements.

4. Complete a 30-Day Reading Challenge.

A key component of all growth mindset activities for students is having learners embrace challenges. 

A fun activity to do with students is a 30 consecutive day non-fiction reading challenge that requires them to read for at least 20 to 30 minutes daily and document their progress using some type of reading log. 

Encourage them to read books about different cultures, alternative viewpoints, theories, ways of living, unconventional ideas, etc. in order to expand their knowledge about the world around them.

5. Participate In Morning Meetings.

Morning meeting is a classroom management component that begins at the start of the school day.

During this valuable time, students’ social-emotional learning needs are addressed using a variety of activities, games, and questions. 

The purpose of this time is for students to build positive relationships with classmates, self-reflect, and mentally prepare for the rest of the day. 

A great morning meeting activity to do with students is to share read-aloud books that introduce them to famous individuals who demonstrated a growth mindset in order to overcome an obstacle.

Examples of such individuals could include athletes, singers, scientists, activists, and entrepreneurs.

6. Keep an Accomplishments Jar.

Find an old glass jar that you no longer need, and place it in a visible place in the classroom. 

Every time a student accomplishes a task, have him/her write the success on a sticky note and then place it in the jar. 

Every Friday or whenever you’d like to schedule it, read all of the accomplishments that were placed in the jar for that week. 

7. Make Growth Mindset Classroom Posters.

Create a classroom environment that inspires learners to do their very best by having students design growth mindset posters.

Have them use growth mindset quotes or powerful phrases as the text for their posters. 

These posters should encourage students to learn from their mistakes and persist even in the face of failures which are really just opportunities for growth.

8. Journal.

Journaling is an independent endeavor with powerful results. 

During this self-reflection period, students have time to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses plus set goals for academic and personal growth.

To get started with this growth mindset activity, provide students with growth mindset writing prompts. 

9. Practice Origami.

If you seek growth mindset activities for students that challenge and engage even reluctant learners, this one is a winner. 

Origami integrates art with critical thinking, problem-solving, and concentration.

Provide students with instructions for completing a simple origami exercise. Independently, they will work to create the shape.

The objective is to recognize students’ efforts. Praise their efforts and perseverance. 

Doing so demonstrates that hard work is just as important, if not more so, than natural ability.

10. Learn a New Game or Play a Favorite.

Bring out those classic games such as Monopoly, Connect Four, UNO, CandyLand, Life, etc., and designate a time for students to play.

Consider having them play a few rounds so that they can readjust their strategy each time. 

These growth mindset activities for students provide opportunities for players to devise strategies, infer opponents’ next moves, play respectfully, and remain confident in their abilities.

11. Remind Students That They Are Special.

There is no need (and really no benefit) to overpraise students. However, sincere praise as a result of accomplishing a particular task is warranted. 

When appropriate, remind students that they are special and capable of so much.

Be one of the people in their lives who see and encourage their full potential. 

Final Thoughts On Growth Mindset Student Activities

Now you have a treasure trove of growth mindset activities for students that they will enjoy. 

Support learners in fostering a mindset that values perseverance, effort, and learning from mistakes.