Did you know self-concept plays a great role in shaping a child’s future? Yes, the way we see ourselves forms an important part of our everyday lives. The same psychology works with little ones.
Self-concept is the belief an individual has about his/her self including abilities, weaknesses, special traits, and qualities. Knowing about themselves from an early age is crucial because in a long time, it will help them give clarity about what they want to be, what are their likes and dislikes, etc which will play an important role in developing their decision-making skills.
To help them get into the practice of knowing about themselves, preschoolers can be engaged in innovative activities equipping them with awareness about their essential qualities, strengths, and how they perceive themselves. Inclusion of such activities in the curriculum can foster a positive learning environment where students can learn, share, reflect, and grow with a strong identity
Interesting activities to build positive self-concept
Self-concept activities play a major role in helping kids discover their potential and use them in their absolute form. The below-mentioned activities are a way to indirectly offer practices and styles to build a positive self-concept in little minds.
1. Me Like My Family
Children are likely to exhibit traits and habits from their parents and extended family members. This activity helps them identify these traits and create a similarity with their surrounding people.
- For this activity, ask students to make a family tree and stick photos of their family members
- Once done, they need to introduce their family members and talk about how they are like them
- For example, a child might say – He is my father. I love to play football like him
Such an activity helps preschoolers create a relationship with their families. It also boosts their confidence by forming a strong self-concept when they exhibit unique traits.
2. Emotion Chart
Self-awareness is an important part of understanding oneself. Children go through various emotions and this activity helps them vocalize specific areas of extreme feelings.
- For this activity, make a huge chart on the board with many emotions
- Stick different emojis on the chart – angry, sad, happy, excited, and frustrated
- Ask children to come one by one and speak a statement as to when they feel a certain emotion
- For example, a child may say that he/she feels sad when no friend is available to play games on a weekend
Such an activity helps learners understand emotions, develops empathy for others, and creates similarities between them. It equips them with the skill to know their feelings and act accordingly.
3. See my Day!
A child goes through so many emotions and happenings in a day. All these happenings help them form a self-concept as they deal with it. This activity enables them to analyze their highs and lows creatively.
- For this activity, give learners a huge sheet of paper
- Ask them to start drawing their day routine like waking up, brushing, packing the bag, eating, coming to school, and so on
- Allow them to creatively use colors and sketch pens to make it look interesting
- Once done, they should speak about the day and share their feeling about a particular moment
- For example, they may say – I like to go home from school because we always stop by a park and play
When children get an opportunity to express their day, they are more likely to understand what and how they feel. Such an activity helps form self-image and brings in awareness in learners.
4. Candy Stick Art
Kids might be involved in acts of kindness without knowing they are actually being kind. This activity allows them to understand the characteristic traits and habits that make them unique.
- For this activity, you would require chart paper, the child’s photograph, and many candy sticks
- Cut the chart paper into a circle and ask learners to paste their pictures on it
- Now, give them 7-8 candy sticks
- Ask them to write about their qualities or adjectives that describe them on the Stick
- They may write the following
I am kind
I like to help
I am good
I like my hair
- Once written, ask them to stick the candy sticks behind their pictures
- To engage them with others, ask them to read it out in front of the class
At times, written communication works better than simply vocalizing. In this case, kids are indirectly indulging in positive affirmations about themselves helping them form a strong self-image.
5. Sort it Out!
Little ones also go through different emotions during different happenings hence, it is essential to create emotional awareness in them. When they are aware of their emotions, they can understand themselves better thereby helping them form a positive self-concept.
- For this activity, have 4 different buckets and set them up in a line
- Write different emotions on them to clearly make kids understand which bucket belongs to which emotion
- The four emotions should be – Sad, Happy, Exciting, Angry
- Have one more bucket filled with balls
- After this, read out different situational-based statements
- Kids need to actively listen and put the ball in the bucket that best fits the statement
- For example, if the statement is – John lost his bat in the park then the kid may put a ball in the sad bucket
- Similarly, read different related situations or everyday life instances to create relatability
- You may also ask them – Why is it sad/happy/angry/exciting to know more
Engaging in sorting and classifying activities helps children differentiate between various parameters. In this case, you get to discover how kids judge situations and arrive at conclusions.
6. Pick a Placard
A child’s reaction to any event or description of a friend also helps form a self-concept. This activity allows children to think deeply and answer in an accurate manner.
- For this activity, write many different open-ended questions on placards
- Pick a placard, read the question aloud and the child should answer based on his/her understanding
- You can write the following questions
Where do you feel the safest?
Which is the best part of your day?
What do you want to learn?
What does your friend talk about you?
Do you always help others?
- Let children think for a while and note their answers
As children discover themselves through questions, a sense of self-awareness awakens within them. Such an activity is a lot about self-reflection where children learn from each other and might try to change certain traits too.
7. Collage and All
Self-concept is not only about what one feels about personal habits and traits. It has a lot to do with how one interacts with the surroundings and chooses a certain course of action.
- For this activity, take many pictures of animals, birds, natural landscapes, and flowers
- Give a large sheet of white paper to all
- Give a set of fixed pictures to all kids
- Ask learners to stick the pictures however they want
- Once done, go for an interaction session with each
- You may ask them the following questions
Why have you not used flowers in the picture?
What do you like about tigers?
Your picture is very green, why so?
- Allow them to think, answer and justify their choices
Such an activity goes beyond self-concept where kids learn to take authority of their decisions. Such activities to boost motor skills also enhance creativity in little learners.
8. My Cartoons
Children often indulge in different entertainment programs like cartoons and comics. Interesting storybooks might also grab their attention which helps form a self-concept.
- For this activity, have different famous cartoon characters and characters from different stories
- Ask children about how they are the same as a certain character and why
- For example, a child may say – I am beautiful and hardworking like Cinderella
- Similarly, any character can be picked to form a concept about themselves with it
Creating relatability with fictional characters builds a strong sense of self-awareness. At times, it helps them differentiate between good and bad traits.
9. Color it Out!
Celebrating uniqueness in every kid is a crucial step in helping them form a positive self-concept. This activity helps you appreciate and recognize the fresh thoughts of little ones.
- For this activity, you need to print a picture with different elements in it
- The picture needs to have a few animals, mountains, trees, a river and anything that is colorful
- Ask students to forget the rules and use any color they would wish to
- It means it is not mandatory to use green color for trees or brown for mountains
- Once done, see how many learners go offbeat to do it and how many stick to the fundamental shades
- Indulge them in a question-answer round and explore their decisions
Including color activities for students helps them show their creative side by analyzing shades and choosing crayons. It helps you understand more about kids while they learn to make bolder decisions when given a chance.
10. I Will or I Won’t
Preschool students are likely to become good decision-makers when they are given authority from a young age. This activity focuses on exploring what kids like or dislike and ways to act on it.
- For this activity, have different images of different actions that include singing, dancing, reciting a poem, hugging a friend, and so on
- Display any one image and let the child decide if he/she wants to do or likes to do it
- Display 4-5 images back to back to discover their choices
- For example, for a dancing image, a child may say I will, however, he/she may say I won’t for an image of hugging a friend
- You may further interrogate them about their choices
It is essential to make kids know how they can agree or disagree to something they like or don’t like. Such an activity makes them confident in saying no and also encourages them to actively participate in things they like.
Other ways to build positive self-concept in preschoolers
Activities help children explore their potential thereby fostering a growth environment. However, it is crucial to offer different forms of learning where children get to build a positive self-concept. The below-mentioned ways are easy and can be included in everyday life that boost awareness and self-esteem in learners.
1. Encourage Autonomy
Kids love to take authority over their tasks and when autonomy is given in a positive environment, it results in building self-esteem. Involve kids in everyday tasks and start slowly with them. Ask them if they would like to pack their bags for the school day. If the school is taking a trip, ask little learners to make a checklist for the trip. In this way, you can create a sense of responsibility thereby making them feel authoritative and good decision-makers.
2. Offer Opportunities for Self-Expression
Discovering what one loves can be a tough job. However, with many opportunities to indulge in various forms of art, you can help children build a positive self-concept. Start by enrolling them in art or dance classes and observe if they love to express themselves. If not, let kids explore unique forms of art including playing an instrument, swimming, or abstract painting. It helps them better understand their likes and dislikes fostering a confident inner self.
3. Indulge in Self-Talk
Positive affirmations can go a long way in forming the mental and emotional balance of a child. Just by saying the child is kind, he/she might not become one. Write positive affirmations on a piece of paper and ask them to speak all in front of a paper. You can write affirmations about body positivity, humanity or good personality traits. Let kids talk to themselves which helps form a self-concept gradually.
4. Give Constructive Feedback
Once you have started introducing self-concept to children, do not stop by offering practices purely. It is equally important to give feedback on their acts and responses to specific events. For example, if they have shown kindness by sharing colors in the class, let them know it was a good thing to do. Similarly, present your perspectives to help them in processing different opinions. You can use examples of descriptive and evaluative feedback to provide motivation in the right direction.
5. Acts of Kindness
It is important for children to know acts and kindness and how it benefits one’s inner happiness. Children can form a positive self-concept when they are valued and appreciated. Make it a habit to appreciate them for all their good work. However, also teach them to praise others including teachers, parents, classmates, and people around them. For example, after buying vegetables from the supermarket, ask them to be thankful to the vendor. Once they know they are doing the right thing, they are likely to influence and inspire others to praise and support.
Forming a self-concept indeed helps children know their strengths and capabilities. Children with a positive self-concept are likely to exhibit skills of creativity, critical thinking, and thoughtfulness. As kids learn to explore relationships, habits, and self-worth through activities, they become confident individuals. The inclusion of self-concept activities in the curriculum helps boost communication skills where kids learn to vocalize their views in a learning environment.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,