10 Must-Try Self-Esteem Activities for Kids and Parents

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10 Self-Esteem Activities for Kids and Parents

Hey parents! As a dad of four, I know building our kids’ self-esteem is one of the greatest gifts we can give. Self-esteem affects everything from friendships to school to mental health and more. This blog shares my top 10 tried-and-true self-esteem activities to help our kids develop confidence and resilience. Keep reading for insights from my experience on this vital parenting topic.

Understanding Low Self-Esteem

Before we get into the activities, what exactly is self-esteem? Basically, it’s how we feel about ourselves overall, including self-respect, self-acceptance and self-confidence.

Kids start forming self-esteem young. Positive self-esteem links to better mental health, relationships, academics and wellbeing as kids grow up. Signs your child may have low or no self-esteem:

  • Very critical of themselves
  • Comparing themselves to others
  • Afraid to try new things for fear of failing
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Needing constant reassurance

That’s where these self-esteem boosters come in! Hands-on self-esteem activities that build confidence, self-love and growth mindset can improve low self-esteem. Like Moana’s journey of self-discovery, these self-esteem activities help kids find inner strength.

Activity 1: Affirmations for Self-Esteem

Affirmations for Self-Esteem

Positive affirmations are one of the many self-esteem activities we’ll look at and personally, my favorite! As parents, we have the power to uplift our kids with the words we use, as well as bring them down with uncareful ones. But by making a habit of repeating encouraging messages can actually help rewire the way our children think about themselves.

There are so many options for working affirmations into our daily lives. We can say them out loud together, write them in a journal, put them on sticky notes, or even sing little affirmation songs – it doesn’t matter as long as the positive messages are there.

The key is focusing affirmations on our kids’ inner strengths, abilities, and worth. Every child has so much to appreciate! Here are some examples:

  • I’m smart and talented – Reminds them of their natural abilities that make them special.
  • I can do hard things – Affirms they can take on challenges and overcome them.
  • I believe in myself – Self-belief comes from knowing we believe in them.
  • I’m creative and unique – Every child has creativity in them waiting to be released.
  • Mistakes help me learn – Thinking of mistakes as chances to improve promotes growth mindset.
  • I’m strong and brave – Validate those inner superpowers!
  • My effort makes a difference – Perseverance and hard work pays off.
  • I choose how I react – Kids control their responses and attitudes.
  • I can handle this – We believe in their ability to cope with life’s ups and downs.
  • I am loved – Assure them of our constant, unconditional love.

I suggest having a weekly 10-15 minute “affirmation session” where you take turns sharing positive messages about each other. Make it fun and engaging for kids:

  • Sing silly affirmation songs! It sticks better with music.
  • Write them on strips for a “confidence jar” to pull from whenever needed.
  • Make artwork representing each one to proudly display.
  • Act them out dramatically – big energy!

Use this special time to bond while developing a positive self-image in your child. Regularly reinforcing what you see and appreciate in your kiddo is so powerful. Over time, it literally helps rewire the brain’s neural pathways. Make affirmations a consistent practice and watch your child’s self-esteem blossom!

Activity 2: Activities to Build Resilience

Helping our kids learn to bounce back from problems builds their resilience. As parents, we can teach resilience by giving kids challenges they can handle.

There are lots of ways to challenge kids in positive ways. For little kids, give them puzzles or games that make them think. As they grow up, encourage new hobbies like sports or music. Joining clubs and teams teaches independence.

Three-Toed Sloth Mini Puzzle, 48 Pieces

Other examples of good challenges:

  • Set physical goals like climbing a wall, running a race, or practicing a sport skill. Start with what they can achieve with hard work.
  • Encourage creativity through art, writing, building, or making music. Creative play builds confidence.
  • Give real responsibility like chores, pet care, or helping others. This teaches maturity.
  • Learn new skills like coding, baking, magic tricks. Let them fail and try again. Failing is okay!

When kids get frustrated, encourage them. Celebrate when they don’t give up. Explain that mistakes help them get better. Trying again makes the brain stronger.

This next one is important! Praise effort, not just success. Say things like, “I’m proud you worked hard on … whatever goal they were working towards!” Show that hard work pays off.

Give kids challenges they can handle. This builds resilience to take on bigger challenges later. Helping them bounce back from problems makes kids stronger!

Activity 3: Self-Esteem Journaling

Journaling helps kids process emotions, track progress and appreciate positives about themselves. Have your child dedicate a self-esteem journal.

Encourage writing daily affirmations for self-esteem, positive experiences and accomplishments. Share your own entries too. Journal prompt ideas:

Happy Kids' Handbook: Empowering children's Self-Esteem, building a Growth Mindset, and cultivating Emotionally Intelligent Kids
  • 3 things you like about yourself
  • Your biggest accomplishment this week
  • A positive quality you displayed today
  • What makes you unique?
  • Your goals for this month

Journaling together builds self-esteem, self-love and confidence. Display the self-esteem journal proudly when complete!

Activity 4: Artistic Self-Expression

Letting kids express themselves through art builds imagination, feelings, and self-confidence.

Encourage creative projects using their favorite mediums – watercolors, clay, Legos, drawings on paper or tablet. Have them make art about dreams, interests, goals, or self-portraits. Display it proudly to boost self-esteem.

Compliment the art without judging. Art helps kids explore emotions, ideas, and who they are. It lets them think in creative ways.

Doing art projects helps strengthen many skills:

  • Fine motor skills – using small muscles in hands and fingers
  • Focus and concentration while creating
  • Problem-solving to bring ideas to life
  • Self-discipline to follow through and finish
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Emotional intelligence through self-expression
  • Sense of achievement when complete

Letting go of perfection helps kids enjoy creating. Mistakes are okay – they are part of the process.

24 Colors Air Dry Ultra Light Clay

Art is also a great shared activity. Make it a family project! Collaborate on themes. Display everyone’s art together. However they want to create, support kids in artistic self-expression. It builds skills and self-confidence. Encourage their unique creative spirit!

Activity 5: Team Sports

Playing sports is another good idea as a self-esteem activity. Sports can help build self-esteem, resilience, and teamwork skills. Help your kids pick a fun team sport like soccer, basketball, baseball, or softball and join a community league for their age group.

Commit as a family to practice sessions and attending games together. Focus on effort and team spirit rather than just skill or winning. Sports teach perseverance through drills, bouncing back from mistakes, and never giving up. Have post-game treats together – win or lose!

If your child is nervous about playing, remind them courage isn’t having no fear, but feeling afraid and doing it anyway. Pushing past comfort zones is how we grow resilience. Let team sports build confidence on and off the field.

As your kids work together to score goals, win games, or complete a season, they’ll gain experience with communication, resilience, effort, and so much more. Encourage them to make new friends too and watch their low self-esteem flourish into something incredible! Social connections are vital for self-esteem.

Playing sports has great physical benefits too – exercise improves mental and physical health. Help your kids see their body as strong, energetic and capable. A good water bottle like the Iron Flask from Amazon keeps them hydrated.

Sports Water Bottle

With the right attitude focused on fun and growth, team sports provide a major boost in self-confidence and self-esteem. Celebrate the memories and life lessons learned each season!

Activity 6: Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps kids build self-awareness and self-esteem. It teaches them to connect with their feelings, manage stress, and feel empowered.

Mindfulness  activity for kids: coloring

Try doing 5-10 minute mindfulness sessions with your child:

  • Body scans – Notice the physical sensations of emotions in the body. Breathe into tension spots to relax.
  • Mindful breathing – When thoughts wander, gently refocus attention on the breath. Deep belly breaths reduce anxiety.
  • Guided visualization – Picture a happy memory or imagine worries drifting away like clouds.

Other mindful activities include:

  • Mindful coloring – Focus on the present moment, not the end product.
  • Bead stringing or knitting – Repetitive motions promote calm.
  • Walking meditation – Notice sights, sounds and sensations in nature.
  • Yoga – Move through poses with full awareness.

Mindfulness improves kids’ self-regulation, resilience, focus, emotional intelligence and self-awareness. It empowers them to recognize and accept feelings in a compassionate way.

Start with just a few minutes of mindful practice a day. Make it a special calm time together, maybe before bedtime. Be patient – mindfulness is a lifelong skill to nurture. Celebrate small moments of awareness.

By guiding children in mindfulness, we teach them healthy ways to handle challenges that build self-confidence from within. Mindful kids gain skills to tap into inner wisdom and strength.

Activity 7: Goal-Setting

Goal-setting gives kids motivation and a sense of control over their growth. Have them write down short and long-term goals they want to accomplish. Help make vision boards with pictures representing their dreams.

Check in on progress towards goals together regularly. Provide guidance modifying or updating goals as needed. Genuinely praise any effort made in working toward goals.

When goals are achieved, celebrate these accomplishments with fun rewards. More than the end result, it’s the journey of setting and persevering towards goals that builds lasting confidence in kids.

Activity 8: Acts of Kindness

Kind acts build empathy, self-worth and connections. Make it a family project with ideas like:

  • Cards for nursing homes
  • Donating old toys
  • Helping neighbors
  • Thank you notes for teachers
  • Volunteering at a soup kitchen
Child doing an act of kindness by donating his old toys

Reflect together on how kindness makes you feel and likely uplifts others. Seeing positive impact builds compassion and reinforces kids’ value. Spread those wings!

Activity 9: Role Models

Kids look up to inspiring role models for their talents, deeds and values. Discuss together who your child’s role models are and what makes them so admirable. Point out traits like courage, creativity, honesty, kindness and perseverance. Help kids recognize those wonderful qualities in themselves too. Seeing the traits they admire reflected in their own character will build their self-belief and self-esteem. They’ll carry that inner light of self-worth forward through life’s journey.

When kids see people who embody values, passions or skills they wish to cultivate in themselves, it gives them an image of their highest potential. Ask them to describe their role model’s admirable qualities. Help them set goals to develop those traits through practice, study or new hobbies. Meeting role models in person often makes a lasting inspirational impact.

Role models help shape our children’s dreams for who they can become. Discuss the many ways to make a positive difference in the world. Nurture their talents and interests so their confidence grows. With hard work, compassion and belief in themselves, they too can achieve greatness and inspire others.

Activity 10: Supportive Environment

A nurturing, positive home environment is key for building strong self-esteem in kids. Use plenty of positive reinforcement for good behaviors. Celebrate small wins and achievements to motivate them. Create open dialogue without judgment so kids feel safe confiding feelings. Check in regularly on how they are feeling and provide extra encouragement if needed. Most of all, let your kids know they are loved unconditionally.

With a supportive home foundation, their inner light and self-confidence can shine through any challenges outside the home. Focus on creating cherished family routines like shared meals, reading before bed, and fun weekend adventures together. Display their artwork proudly and speak encouragingly about their efforts and talents. Your unconditional love and belief in them is the greatest gift.

If self-esteem issues persist despite a positive home life, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A child therapist can provide tools to overcome setbacks and build resilience. Remind kids daily how amazing they are. With your unwavering support, they will believe in themselves and their inner worth. Your love lights the path so their self-confidence can soar.

Fostering Resilience

Self-esteem requires resilience – bouncing back from hardship. Many self-esteem activities build resilience by getting kids comfortable with challenges and reinforcing a growth mindset.

More resilience-building ideas:

  • Problem-solving scenarios – Praise flexible thinking
  • Reinforce mistakes as improvement opportunities
  • Use feeling charts and teach emotional intelligence
  • Independent elements build confidence

Resilience provides determination to overcome inevitable challenges. Kids feel empowered knowing they can learn, grow and bounce back.

The Resilience Workbook for Kids
The Resilient Sloth: A Children’s Book About Building Mental Toughness, Resilience, and Learning to Deal with Obstacles
This Will Pass: A Story of Mindful Resilience

Affirmation Power

Affirmations for self-esteem are simple yet powerful. Most effective tips:

  • Positive, strength-focused
  • Say aloud, write down & display
  • Repeat consistently
  • Get creative – songs, rhymes, poems!

Seeing positive reflections consistently builds kids’ belief in their self-worth and potential.

I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids
It's Great to Be Me: Daily Affirmations for Children
Affirmations Coloring Book For Kids: Positive Words for Self Worth and Self Confidence


Building real self-esteem takes work, but it’s so worth it. The key is consistent self-esteem activities that make kids feel capable, creative and empowered – from art to sports to scrapbooking their talents with gel pens.

Kids with low self-esteem struggle with critical inner voices and avoidance. Self-esteem activities help rewrite those negative neural pathways towards self-acceptance. They need to hear their uniqueness is amazing! Counteract harsh words in society with compassion.

So put on some upbeat music for motivation and have an uplifting self-esteem activity ready for when they get home from school. Make it a daily habit. Write an encouraging note to tuck in their backpack too! Our words and actions light the way when self-doubt lurks. You got this, superparent!

I hope these tips give you ideas to nurture self-worth in your amazing kiddos! What other favorite self-esteem activities would you add? Share in the comments below.



Hey there! I'm Allen, but you can call me "The Corny Dad" from Canada. I have a wife and four kiddos. Yep, one's full grown, but they'll always be my babies. When I'm not doing something with my family or playing video games, I'm here, jotting down my bits of wisdom on this blog. From the fun stuff to the parenting chaos, I cover it all. Believe me, with the right attitude, parenting's a smoother ride and I'm here to help.

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