Great character-building activities for the classroom

Ben Hodgkiss

Ben Hodgkiss works with Brainwaves, a children’s rewards company that continually tries to find new ways to engage children, and promote positive behaviour in the classroom. Children can be encouraged for their participation in activities such as fundraising through rewards including personalised stickers, stampers and certificates.

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In addition to academic development, the classroom is the perfect place for children to develop their characters. Character development helps children to build key social and personal components, such as a sense of morality, self-belief, and integrity; valuable traits that will continue to help students throughout the rest of their lives. This article outlines the best activities for inspiring character development in the classroom.

Story Time

In pairs, children take turns to recite a short narrative to one another. The topic of the tale should be very straightforward, such as what the child did over the weekend. Whilst one child is telling their story, the other must actively listen and note down three key points about it. After the recitals, both children then report to the teacher to relay their three points about the other’s story. It will become evident whether the children have listened to one another intently enough should their points accurately reflect the content of the narrative.

Lesson learnt: This activity is a great way to teach children the importance of respect and listening.


Stood facing away from the teacher, students take it in turns to fall back into their arms. Students cannot see the teacher behind them so must rely on their classmates for reassurance that the teacher is indeed there and ready to catch their fall.

Lesson Learnt: This age-old activity is a timeless way to build trust in children, a hugely important aspect of character used in everyday life.

Self-Esteem: A Helping Hand

Children create a simple picture by drawing around their hands with a pen or pencil. The picture is very easy to make and doesn’t require a high level of skill, making it suitable for students of all abilities. The children write their names in the palm section of the picture, whilst in the finger and thumb sections they list five personal skills or things about themselves that they like.

Lesson learnt: At the end of the activity, the children will not only have a picture that they have made and can feel proud of, but will have a constant reminder of their positive attributes. This activity can help to build self-esteem.

An Honest Reflection

Children take turns to have a piece of paper stuck to their foreheads. Written on each piece of paper is a different animal, such as a tiger or polar bear. Each pupil stands at the front of the class and tries to guess which animal they are representing. Without knowing the animal attached to their foreheads, children must ask questions about its identity, relying on the honest responses of their other classmates to correctly determine their animal.

Lesson Learnt: The game relies on telling the truth and children will learn to be honest with each other.

Trust, Encouragement, Reward, Loyalty: Satisfaction

A key way to reinforce character building activities is to reward children for good performance. Rewards need not be expensive or ostentatious; something like stickers are perfect examples of simple items that can be used to great effect in such a scenario. The stickers can be collected by children, giving them a physical reminder of what they’ve achieved through their character building behaviour.

Do you have any suggested tactics? Let us know below!

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