Discover engaging growth mindset activities for kids! Foster resilience and positivity with fun, educational games and exercises.

Growth Mindset Activities For Kids 101

Apr 15, 2024

By Will Moore

"Down here it's our time. It's our time down here. That's all over the second we ride up Troy's bucket." - Mikey

I'll never forget the magic, wonder, and thrill of watching "The Goonies" for the first time? It was one of those films that etched itself into my memory, sparking a sense of adventure and possibility that has stayed with me since childhood. From the moment Mikey exclaimed, "Goonies never say die!”" to the heart-pounding pursuit of One-Eyed Willy's treasure, every scene was infused with excitement and the spirit of resilience.

Reflecting on "The Goonies" now, I realize that it's not just a tale of buried treasure and daring escapades; it's a testament to the power of belief and the resilience of the human spirit. As a child, I was captivated by the unwavering determination of Mikey and his friends, who refused to give up even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

As an adult with my kids now, I see how well "The Goonies" embodies the essence of a growth mindset for kids – the belief that our abilities can be developed through effort and perseverance. It's a mindset that I strive to instill in my own children, and hopefully, you'll find value in some of the key themes as well.

Today, as we navigate parenting challenges in a fast-paced world, fostering a growth mindset in our children has never been more important. I'm excited to share with you some proven growth mindset activities for kids, inspired by the spirit of "The Goonies" and designed to encourage kids to ignite their curiosity, resilience, and love of learning (and even failing).

Join me as we embark on a journey of discovery, inspired by the timeless wisdom of "The Goonies" and fueled by the belief that with the right mindset, anything is possible.

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Let's explore different growth mindset activities for kids and how we can inspire our own young learners and adventurers to embrace every challenge as an opportunity to grow, ensuring our kids never have to sell themselves out by riding up Troy's low hanging fruit, the easy way out the bucket. Instead of setting your kids up for a lifetime full of challenges they can't wait to conquer, ensuring the phrase "Goonies never say die" resonates not just as a call to adventure, but as a lifelong mantra for personal growth and resilience.

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The Foundation of a Growth Mindset: Understanding the Science

In the heart of every child's journey to embrace challenges and venture into the unknown lies a powerful, transformative concept: neuroplasticity. This scientific principle supports the foundation of growth oriented thinking, revealing that our brains are not static entities but dynamic landscapes capable of remarkable change and development throughout our lives.

Research in psychology and neuroscience has shown that when we learn new skills, embrace challenges, and persevere through difficulties, our brain forms new connections and strengthens existing ones. This process is at the core of developing a growth mindset in children, empowering them to see themselves not as fixed in their abilities but as evolving beings capable of continuous learning and improvement.

But how do we translate this science into actionable strategies for kids? The key lies in creating environments and experiences that encourage growth mindset activities. By engaging children in tasks that stretch their abilities and challenge their preconceptions, children learn to push beyond the boundaries of "I can't" into the expansive realm of "I can learn."

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Incorporating growth mindset statements and positive reinforcement into daily interactions is another pivotal strategy. Phrases like "You worked really hard on that!" or "I can see you're improving every time you try," underscore the value of effort and the learning process, rather than solely focusing on outcomes.

As we delve deeper into specific activities to help kids develop a growth mindset, it's crucial to remember that these practices are grounded in robust scientific evidence. They're not just feel-good exercises but are backed by research indicating their efficacy in fostering resilience, adaptability, and a love for learning. By understanding that these methods are more than just feel-good exercises, we recognize the role of habit formation as a foundational element in nurturing a growth mindset. It’s through the repetition of these positive reinforcements that children learn to embrace challenges and view setbacks as opportunities for growth, laying the groundwork for lifelong success.

Top Growth Mindset Activities for Kids

Implementing growth mindset games sets the foundation for lifelong learning, resilience, and the courage to face challenges head-on. Inspired by the adventurous spirit and enduring determination seen in classic tales of exploration and discovery, here are top growth mindset games, incorporating the "4 Momentum Boosting Methods" to ensure these practices seamlessly integrate into your child's daily routine.

  • Peaks and Valleys Sharing Ritual

    • Boosting Method: Make it Automatic

    • I've implemented an automatic family dinner night tradition where we go around the table asking everyone what their "peaks and valleys" for the day are. "Peaks" are their wins for the day to celebrate and connect emotion to build more momentum. "Valleys" require a share of something bad/a necessary failure experienced and what was learned from it to grow/improve moving forward.

  • Growth Mindset Affirmations

    • Boosting Method: Make it Automatic

    • Begin or end each day with growth mindset affirmations that help replace fixed mindset phrases. Create a visible affirmations board or a digital slideshow of positive statements, making it a natural part of your child's bedtime or morning routine, an example of free growth mindset activities.

  • Question Quests

    • Boosting Method: Make it Obvious

    • Turn curiosity into a game by challenging your child to ask a certain number of questions about the world around them each day. Use a question jar where they can drop their questions, making their inquisitiveness a visible and central part of their daily activities. This approach not only makes learning obvious but also seamlessly incorporates the growth mindset activities for kids at home.

  • The Challenge Box

    • Boosting Method: Make it Easy

    • Fill a box with various puzzles, math problems, and creative writing prompts. Allow your child to pick one challenge each day, ensuring the task is accessible and tailored to their current level, gradually increasing in difficulty as they grow. And to up the fun level, look for growth mindset activities for kids online by searching for interactive and digital puzzles.

  • Innovation Hour

    • Boosting Method: Make it Rewarding/Attractive

    • Dedicate one hour a week to a completely child-led project, where they can invent, explore, or build anything they imagine. Celebrate their process and what they learn from it, regardless of the outcome, making innovation an eagerly anticipated event. This supports the concept of growth mindset activities for elementary students.

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By integrating these fun activities into your child’s life, you’re not just teaching them to embrace challenges and the joy of learning; you're equipping them with the tools to level up in life.

Embracing Challenges: The Heart of Growth Mindset

In the journey of cultivating a growth mindset, teaching children to see challenges not as barriers but as stepping stones is crucial. It's about shifting the narrative from "I can't do this" to "I can't do this yet." Here's how to guide your young explorers through the process of embracing challenges, underpinned by actionable strategies and the "4 Momentum Boosting Methods" for seamless implementation.

  • Adventure Quests

    • Boosting Method: Make it Rewarding/Attractive

    • Create an 'Adventure Quest' where challenges are presented as missions to be completed, turning obstacles into a game. This not only makes facing difficulties fun but also shows that every challenge overcome is a victory to be celebrated. Such quests are perfect as growth mindset activities for kids at home, providing a tangible way to embrace challenges.

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  • Challenge Reflection Board

    • Boosting Method: Make it Obvious

    • Use a bulletin board or digital app to post challenges and their outcomes, highlighting the learning points from each. Encouraging your child to contribute to this board makes the process of facing and reflecting on challenges an obvious and central part of their growth journey.

  • Growth Mindset Storytime

    • Boosting Method: Make it Rewarding/Attractive

    • Select books that highlight perseverance, learning from failure, and the joy of mastering new challenges. After each story, engage in a creative activity related to the tale, like drawing or role-playing, to reinforce the growth mindset lessons in a fun and engaging way. This activity aligns with finding the best growth mindset books for kids.

By encouraging children to embrace challenges with a more positive attitude and outlook, we prepare them for a life filled with continuous learning and growth. It's about reinforcing the message using different growth mindset activities for kids that it's not about the hurdles we face but how we choose to overcome them.

Positive Reinforcement and Growth Mindset Affirmations: Cultivating Confidence and Resilience

In fostering a growth mindset, our language and feedback can significantly impact a child's positive self-talk, esteem perception, and motivation. Positive reinforcement and carefully selected affirmations serve as powerful tools, encouraging children to continue their efforts and embrace learning opportunities.

  • Celebration of Effort Ceremonies

    • Boosting Method: Make it Rewarding/Attractive

    • Organize weekly family ceremonies to celebrate efforts and strategies rather than just outcomes. Highlight specific instances where persistence was shown, making the process of recognizing effort as rewarding and attractive as celebrating success. This activity reinforces the idea that all efforts towards growth mindset activities for kids are valued.

  • Affirmation Art Gallery

    • Boosting Method: Make it Obvious

    • Create an art project centered around growth mindset affirmations. Encourage your child to draw or craft visuals that represent their affirmations, displaying them prominently in a home "gallery." This visual representation of positive beliefs makes the presence of a growth mindset in daily life obvious and engaging.

  • Growth Mindset Feedback Loops

    • Boosting Method: Make it Automatic

    • Integrate a feedback loop into the daily routine list, where positive affirmations for effort and resilience becomes replace the opposite fixed mindset phrase. Whether after homework, sports, or any activity, ensure feedback is consistent and automatic, focusing on the journey of learning rather than the endpoint.

  • Resilience Rewards System

    • Boosting Method: Make it Easy

    • Implement a rewards system that recognizes not just achievements but also the overcoming of challenges and the effort put into trying new things. This system can include simple tokens or points that can be exchanged for special privileges, making it easy for children to see the tangible benefits of resilience.

  • Daily Affirmation Rituals

    • Boosting Method: Make it Automatic

    • Start or end each day with a ritual where your child can recite or listen to growth mindset affirmations. Whether it's through a morning affirmation board, a bedtime story that reinforces these concepts, or listening to recorded affirmations, make this practice an automatic part of their daily routine.

By weaving positive reinforcement and affirmations into the fabric of daily life, we not only nurture a growth mindset but also foster a nurturing environment where children learn to value themselves and their journey of growth. It's about building success habits that develop the confidence to face new challenges and the resilience to persevere through setbacks.

Goal-Setting with Kids: Charting the Path to Growth

Instilling a growth mindset in children involves teaching them to set, pursue, and achieve goals. This process not only cultivates a sense of purpose and direction but also reinforces the belief in their ability to grow, develop skills and improve through effort and persistence.

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  • Growth Goal Vision Boards

    • Boosting Method: Make it Rewarding/Attractive

    • Encourage children to create vision boards that depict their goals and the steps needed to achieve them. This visual and creative process turns goal setting into an engaging activity, making the pursuit of growth goals an attractive endeavor. You can check our guide on 7 steps of goal setting. It also aligns with positive learning environments by visually reinforcing growth mindset messages.

  • Step-by-Step Achievement Maps

    • Boosting Method: Make it Obvious

    • Work with your child to break down their goals into manageable steps, plotting these on a map or timeline displayed in their study area. This method makes the path to achieving goals clear and obvious, encouraging children to take one step at a time, mirroring the learning process involved in growth games.

Read More: How to Accomplish Goals

  • Documenting the Journey in a Growth and Resilience Journal

    • Boosting Method: Make it Easy Equip your child with a Growth and Resilience Journal, a combined tool for them to record daily discoveries and challenges overcome. This easy-to-maintain journal encourages reflection and self-awareness, documenting each step of their growth journey.

By integrating goal-setting into the growth mindset framework, children learn to appreciate the journey of learning and their personal development. They recognize that each step forward, no matter how small, is a step towards becoming their best selves.

Learning From Failure: Embracing Setbacks as Growth Opportunities

One of the most profound lessons a growth mindset teaches children is that feeling like a failure is part of the success. It's through mistakes and setbacks that we gain invaluable insights and learnings, paving the way for future achievements.

  • Failure Forum:

    • Boosting Method: Make it Rewarding/Attractive Host Resilience Workshops where children can openly share failures and collaboratively seek solutions. This approach transforms setbacks into learning opportunities, making the process of overcoming challenges a rewarding group activity.

  • Growth Mindset Mistake Jars

    • Boosting Method: Make it Obvious

    • Implement a "mistake jar" where children can write down mistakes they've made and what they've learned from them. This visual and interactive tool makes acknowledging and learning from failures an obvious and integral part of daily life, reinforcing the concept that growth mindsets embrace challenges and setbacks as part of learning.

  • Celebration of Effort Awards

    • Boosting Method: Make it Rewarding/Attractive

    • Introduce "Celebration of Effort" awards, recognizing attempts and efforts regardless of the outcome. Celebrating the process of trying and learning from it shifts the focus from success/failure to growth and improvement, making the journey itself an attractive aspect of learning. It's like gamifying the process of learning.

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By reframing failures as lessons and opportunities for growth, children develop the resilience and courage to face future challenges confidently. This positive mindset not only prepares them for the complexities and difficulties of life but also instills in them a love for learning and self-improvement.

Fostering Curiosity: Igniting a Love for Learning in Children

Curiosity is the fuel for lifelong learning, leading to discoveries, innovations, new ideas, and the continuous expansion of our horizons. By fostering curiosity in children, we encourage them not only to seek answers but also to revel in the joy of asking questions and exploring possibilities.

  • Fostering Curiosity Through Exploration and Adventure

    • Boosting Method: Make it Rewarding/Attractive Start by encouraging your child to dive into their interests through both Curiosity-led Exploration Projects and structured Learning Adventures. Whether investigating the backyard ecosystem or embarking on a virtual museum tour, these activities turn learning into an adventure, making curiosity a gateway to a world of discovery.

  • Encouraging Open Dialogue with a Growth Mindset Communication Board

    • Boosting Method: Make it Obvious Create a central Growth Mindset Communication Board in your home or classroom, where daily curiosities and challenges can be shared. This board serves as a visual reminder of the growth journey, making the process of questioning and overcoming visible and integral to daily life.

  • Inquiry-based Discussions

    • Boosting Method: Make it Automatic

    • Foster a household or classroom culture where asking questions and discussing ideas is a regular part of interactions. Structuring dialogues around inquiries and curiosities makes this approach to learning an automatic and natural part of daily life.

By embedding opportunities for curiosity-driven exploration and inquiry into the fabric of children's learning experiences, we empower them to become not just consumers of information but active participants in their own lives and learning journey. This approach nurtures a robust love for learning, critical thinking, and creativity; foundational elements of a growth mindset.

Growth Mindset Activities For Kids: Are You Ready To Do The Truffle Shuffle?

Just as the Goonies embarked on a thrilling quest full of unknowns, challenges, and discoveries, so too can you and your children set out on your own adventure toward cultivating a growth mindset. It's a journey filled with curiosity, resilience, and the treasure of lifelong learning. Remember Mikey's unwavering belief that "Goonies never say die"?

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Let that spirit of perseverance and adventure guide you as you encourage the young Goonies in your life to embrace every challenge, question, and opportunity to grow.

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Choose one strategy from the ones we've explored and implement it this week. Observe the impact, adjust as necessary, and remember: the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Here are some additional tips to maximize the effectiveness of the methods you select:

  • Start with Yourself

    • Embody the growth mindset principles in your actions and words. Children learn by example, so let them see you embrace challenges, learn from failures, and celebrate effort and progress.

  • Create a Growth Mindset Environment

    • Foster an atmosphere at home or in the classroom that values curiosity, rewards effort, and views challenges as opportunities for growth. Use the strategies discussed—curiosity-led exploration projects, question of the day boards, discovery journals, and learning adventures—to make learning a game-like and rewarding experience.

  • Engage in Open Dialogues

    • Encourage open discussions about failures, successes, and learnings. Share stories of personal growth and resilience, and listen to their experiences and perceptions, making the process of learning from failures and setbacks an integral part of your collective growth journey.

  • Set and Review Growth Goals

    • Regularly set, review, and celebrate progress towards growth goals. Acknowledge the steps taken, no matter how small, and reinforce the belief that every effort is a step toward improvement and achievement.

  • Utilize Resources and Tools

    • Leverage books, online resources, and community programs focused on developing a growth mindset. Engage with platforms and tools that offer structured activities, games, and learning opportunities aligned with growth mindset principles.


Take the first step on this transformative journey with your children with our Core Values Quiz, and see how the Moore Momentum System can help you transform you and your child's fixed mindset into a growth-oriented mindset by making it obvious, easy, fun/rewarding, and automatic. Set small goals at first, then watch the law of compounding take over, and your momentum soar!

Moore Momentum Mission: Accelerate your growth in the 5 Key areas of life by making your habit transformation journey so simple, fun, and rewarding that your happiness becomes inevitable.

And don't stop there; elevate your journey with our Gamified AI habit tracking app, designed to seamlessly integrate the joy of progress into your everyday life. With each challenge overcome and level achieved, you'll find yourself not just achieving, but exceeding your goals, driven by the exhilarating rush of success.

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FAQ: Fostering a Growth Mindset in Kids

Q: How early can I start teaching growth mindset activities to my child? A: It's never too early to start! Even toddlers can benefit from growth mindset activities for kindergarten levels. Simple practices, like praising effort ("You worked so hard on that!") instead of just outcomes, can lay the foundation for a growth mindset early on.

Q: Are there specific growth mindset activities for middle school students? A: Yes, middle school is a critical time for reinforcing growth mindset principles. Activities that challenge their problem-solving skills, such as growth mindset game-based learning and growth mindset workshops, can be particularly effective. Encouraging self-awareness and personal growth through journaling or reflective discussions can also be impactful.

Q: Can growth mindset principles help with exam anxiety? A: Absolutely. Teaching children that intelligence and abilities can grow with effort helps reduce pressure and anxiety around exams. Positive affirmations and growth mindset statements focusing on effort and learning from mistakes can transform their approach to exams and learning in general.

Q: How can I incorporate growth mindset activities at home? A: Integrating the best growth mindset activities and games at home can be as simple as setting aside time for curiosity-led exploration projects or having daily question of the day discussions. Creating a positive learning environment that celebrates questions, perseverance, and effort is key.

Q: What if my child is resistant to growth mindset concepts? A: Resistance is often due to fear of failure or ingrained beliefs about abilities. Start with small, manageable growth mindset activities that yield quick wins, like growth mindset puzzles or challenge boxes, to build confidence. Share stories of successful people, who have overcome failures to achieve success, emphasizing the learning process over the outcome.

Q: Are there any other growth mindset topics or books for kids you recommend? A: Yes, several excellent books introduce growth mindset concepts in engaging ways. Titles such as "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" by Carol S. Dweck, tailored for an adult audience, provide a foundation for agrowth mentality, while children's books like "Your Fantastic Elastic Brain" by JoAnn Deak offer accessible introductions to these concepts.

Q: How can I ensure the growth mindset is reinforced at school? A: Communication with teachers is key. Discuss growth mindset strategies and activities being used at home and ask how they can be supported or mirrored in the classroom. Encouraging a positive learning environment at school that praises effort, resilience, and improvement over just grades can reinforce these positive thinking principles.

By addressing these FAQs, we aim to equip parents, educators, and caregivers with the knowledge and tools to effectively teach growth mindset foster a growth mindset in children, creating a foundation for lifelong learning, resilience, and success.


Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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