30 Challenges for Students and Parents to Exercise the Growth Mindset

learn a musical instrument

Looking for some growth mindset games? How about try the 30 challenges here!

Every day could be an opportunity for you and your kids to use the growth mindset. While having a growth mindset isn’t all sunshine and rainbows in life, it is best to often exercise it while a kid is young. The growth mindset games and challenges here are fun and let your kid expand his or her thinking!

Choose from the list of challenges here:

1. Bake a Cupcake

bake a cupcake

You and your kid can bake some cupcakes! An ideal process would be for the parent to demonstrate how to make a cupcake.

The kid would follow the parent for each step. Ideally, it’s the kid who executes the kid-friendly (safe) steps such as putting ingredients, mixing, and putting frosting. The kid is free to ask questions.

After the cupcakes are finally baked, you can taste and compare the cupcakes you’ve both made.

The parent can then ask the kid questions like: Did you like baking the cupcakes? What could you do next time to make your cupcake better? But what if it doesn’t work, what will you try? (You can repeat this over and over just for fun.)

Your imparting message will be: “It’s okay if your cupcakes are not perfect today.

You’ve learned how to make some cupcakes and now you’re thinking of different ways on how to make better cupcakes.”

2. Observe Role Models

Ask your kid to think of three people who like using the growth mindset.

The first is a real-life person who is successful. The second is a real-life person who is currently facing difficulties yet is demonstrating a growth mindset. The third is any fictional character with a growth mindset.

You can then ask the kid, “How does this person inspire you with the growth mindset?” and discuss further. Learn more about the growth mindset here.

3. Get Help from Someone

Assign the kid a task that requires him or her to ask a question to someone in a profession that the kid is interested about.

Tell the kid that if he or she gets a good answer and relays it to you, then the kid will get a treat.

It would also be good if the other adult is someone the kid isn’t too familiar with. The adult has to be someone you deem as trustworthy.

Note that this activity is not really to expect the kid to be friendlier afterwards. It is to teach the kid that sometimes, it is okay to ask questions about the profession he or she is curious about.

After the activity, you can impart the kid a message: “It is okay to ask questions to others sometimes to learn more about your own goals in life.”

4. Jumping Rope

jumping rope

This activity is only for kids who don’t have medical conditions that restrict them from participating.

For a kid who is a first-timer, the activity would be to try learning to jump rope.

For a kid who is already a master in jumping ropes, demonstrate (or look for a video of) a jumping rope move the kid hasn’t tried before.

It’s not necessary for the kid to learn to jump rope or learn the new move by the end of this activity. What matters is that you’ve made a good amount of tries.

After the activity, ask the kid: What were your thoughts the first time you jumped rope / the first time you tried the jump rope move?

Your imparting message is for the kid to observe his or her own growth vs. fixed mindset when trying to learn something. Tell the kid the difference between growth and fixed mindset in simple terms and which one is the more beneficial way of thinking.

Of course, if the kid wants to continue playing with the jump rope and the kid has a good spare time, then you can allow him or her to do so.

5. Hula Hoop

This has about a similar approach to the previous activity. Only this time, you’re using a hula hoop.

For a kid who is a first timer, the activity would be to try learning to hula hoop.

For a kid who is already a master in it, demonstrate (or look for a video of) a hula hoop move never tried before.

Again, it’s not required for the kid to learn hula hoop or learn the new move by the end of this activity. What matters is that you’ve made a good amount of tries.

After the activity, ask the kid: What were your thoughts the first time you tried to hula hoop / the new hula hoop move?

Your imparting message is for the kid to observe his or her own growth vs. fixed mindset when trying to learn something. Tell the kid the difference between growth and fixed mindset in simple terms and which way of thinking will help the kid achieve a goal.

If the kid wants to continue playing with the hula hoop and the kid has a good spare time, then you can allow him or her to do so.

6. Solve a Math Problem

solve a math problem

Look for a Math problem that is according to the kid’s school level. It could be from the Internet. It could look new for a Math problem but is actually something the kid already has a clue about.

If the kid gets confused while solving the problem, you can ask guiding questions to lead him or her to the right path of solving the problem.

By the end of the activity, you can give him or her examples of the moments the kid demonstrated growth vs. fixed mindset.

For example, “You had a growth mindset when you listed all the options to possibly solve the problem.” Or “you had a growth mindset when you still looked for other ways to solve the problem when your other strategies didn’t work.”

7. Ride a Bumper Car

This is for kids who are old enough and who haven’t tried riding a bumper car yet.

Find a good venue where bumper cars for kids are available.

After the activity, ask the kid questions like: What did you feel the first time you drove a bumper car? What did you feel when you bumped the other cars?

What did you do to make your driving better? What did you feel about other kids who drove better than you?

You can impart a message like, “It doesn’t matter if you’re not as good as the other kids yet while driving the bumper car. What matters is you looked for ways to drive better.”

You can also say, “It’s okay if you were a bit afraid. It’s normal to have that feeling while learning to control the car.”

You can emphasize the moments where the kid exercised the growth mindset.

8. Make a Vision Board

You can check out the exact steps on how to make a vision board in this article. The vision board is about putting together the things that inspire you about your growth mindset in one artwork.

9. Funny Face Painting

Person Painted Girl's Face

Of course, make sure you use the type of paint manufactured for the purpose of face painting.

A group of kids would be great for this activity. Assign each kid a partner. You can be the partner of a kid who doesn’t have one.

Ask the kids to paint each other’s faces with a funny design.

Remind the kids that the design should be something comical but not something they think will offend the other kid. To make sure, you can ask every kid to whisper to you what he or she plans to paint before you approve.

After the face painting session, you can all take a picture!

Your imparting message is that it’s okay to not look perfect sometimes. What matters is that you had fun and made an effort for your goal – this time a comical face painting!

10. House of Cards

Challenge your kid to build a house of cards for a limited time. Say that if your kid is successful, you will reward him or her with a small prize.

The goal of this activity is not really for the kid to successfully create the house of cards within that limited time you gave.

By the end of this activity, say that it is okay if the kid wasn’t able to do it. What’s important is his or her effort for the challenge. Teach the kid about growth vs. fixed mindset. Give the kid a “second prize” for that effort.

If the kid did successfully create the house of cards, it is still a good situation to discuss the growth vs. fixed mindset that the kid applied to reach the goal.

11. Do Volunteer Work

Maybe you could find a volunteer opportunity in your community where your kid can participate. It is up to you to decide to accompany your kid. The important thing is that you give your kid a chance to talk to the volunteer staff sometimes.

You could instruct the child to break the ice and introduce himself or herself about both your willingness to volunteer.

After the activity, ask the kid about how he or she used the growth mindset to learn the main activity you did. What were his or her thoughts and steps to learn the activity? (Following the others’ instructions and asking help count as answers.)

Tell the child that his or her willingness to try something new to help the community, where the kid learned something new (e.g. planting a tree seedling) is an example of using the growth mindset.

12. Build a Domino Chain

Build a Domino Chain

Look for a domino chain with a design that you like, simple enough for a child to do.

Let the kid start building. Allow the kid to adjust the dominoes for them to possibly fall into the right place.

Give the kid tips like forming the domino chain in chunks at first.

You can even record a video as your kid knocks out a successful domino chain.

After the activity, you can ask questions like: What strategies did you apply along the way to build a successful domino chain?

Then point out that figuring out some strategies is one example of a growth mindset. The results don’t have to be perfect but you can try again.

13. Break an Egg Properly

This is for kids who haven’t tried breaking eggs because you haven’t allowed them so far. Maybe it’s time to let a kid try while you’re making eggs for breakfast.

Teach him or her your technique for breaking an egg properly. You can let the kid break a few eggs.

After this activity, ask the child what steps he or she tried to break the egg properly. This is even if the kid’s answer is just recalling what you taught and maybe a few more details.

Your imparting message can be that it is great to try out different little techniques to produce a proper outcome, even if it’s just something like breaking an egg.

14. Make a Portrait

Ask the kid to make a portrait of you. If the kid is hesitant, tell him or her that it doesn’t have to be perfect.

The kid can use colors and lines that he or she likes.

After the portrait is done, you can mention at first that it is not really an accurate picture of your own features. However, there are two important things the kid had: the effort that the kid made in making a portrait and his or her willingness to try.

Discuss with the kid the positives of the painting. Describe the portrait’s colors and lines that make the portrait unique and beautiful.

15. Learn a Musical Piece

learn a musical instrument

Get a good musical instrument like a xylophone, piano, or ukulele. Let the kid learn one musical piece as taught by you or an internet video.

The kid doesn’t have to be pressured to finally learn the musical piece as long as he or she has a good number of tries.

After the activity, let the kid recall the progress of his or her learning. Which points did the kid have a growth vs. fixed mindset even if the result is not perfect?

Then ask the kid, do you want to continue learning the instrument? (Tell her that it’s okay to say yes or no.)

If no, you can ask him or her: “Suppose that you actually like to keep practicing, do you think you’ll finally learn the musical piece?

Then you can point out: “Actually, yes. If you really want to learn the musical piece, it is possible. Your brain is capable of developing and you will learn the musical piece after a few hours, days, or weeks.”

It’s up to the kid if he or she wants to keep playing the musical instrument. Maybe the kid will pick a musical instrument he or she truly likes someday.

16. Puppet Show

You can make simple paper puppets or use actual puppet dolls.

The kid can take the role of the main character who needs to go on an adventure to save a captured loved one / get a treasure. Along the way, the kid meets a troll who appears once in a while on the road.

Tell the kid that the troll is a challenger. To win against the troll and travel further, the kid has to answer with a growth mindset even with the troll’s naysaying.

For example, if the troll says: “You can’t go to wonderland. There is a mountain where you can’t climb.”
The kid can answer something like: “Then I’ll ride an airplane.”

The troll then lets the kid pass until it appears again to stop the kid. Until your game ends and you have a happy ending.

After the activity, tell the kid about the importance of a growth mindset.

17. Tie-Dye a Shirt

Of course, this needs adult supervision. Here, you and your kid both design your own tie-dye shirts.

By the end of the activity, you will show the different designs you made. They are not identical or perfect but they look pretty in their own ways.

What you (the parent) made sure is that you implemented the crucial steps properly such as having the proper amount of dye and other ingredients to make the dye stick.

You can share this lesson: Making a tie-dye shirt requires you to follow a process. The technical steps had to be properly done where you (the parent) had to focus.

Others can be flexible, like designing the shirt (that both you and the kid had fun doing).

You can also share that often, when trying to do something, using the growth mindset can mean being flexible on some steps and being technical on others.

18. Read a Book Challenge

read a book challenge

Challenge your kid to read a book that has no pictures or only a few pictures. For that, estimate the number of pages your kid can continue reading, where he or she will be challenged enough (like the first 30-50 pages).

Afterwards, ask the kid about the book he or she read. If the kid answers the few questions correctly, he or she gets a small prize.

Meanwhile, ask the kid questions like: “Did you have a tricky time reading the book?” “What were your techniques/steps to continue reading and understand what you’ve read?”

You can also give the kid tips on how to understand better what he or she is reading.

Your imparting message: “If you think something is difficult, all you have to do is pause and think of what you could do to understand something better.”

19. Grown-Up Version

Person Drawing On A Notebook

Ask your kid to name one baby/young character. It could be his or her favorite cartoon. It could be a baby plant or animal the kid saw and liked.

After naming, instruct the kid to draw a grown-up version of that baby character, plant or animal he or she picked.

The kid can color and style the drawing any way he or she likes. After completing the drawing, ask the kid to describe the story behind the grown-up version.

Your imparting message is about how people and living things have the capability to grow or mature. What is important is that we have the right mindset so that we grow into someone we’d like to be.

For example, if the kid talked about the caterpillar who became a butterfly, you can relate to the kid how the caterpillar had to wait for many days and take care of itself despite the weather before turning into a butterfly.

20. Crumpled Reminder Activity

This is a popular growth mindset activity. Basically, its steps are the following (as taken from mindsetkit.org):

First, have the kid think about some mistakes he or she made recently. The kid can write those mistakes on a piece of paper.

Next, ask the kid to crumple the paper. It is optional for him or her to also throw it on the wall as if throwing off the feelings attached to those mistakes.

Then instruct the kid to pick up the crumpled paper. With a pencil or pen, the kid will trace the lines of the crumpled paper.

After the kid is done, explain that the crumpled paper represents the brain.

As the brain encounters more experiences and mistakes, it exercises its muscles, just like the paper being crumpled.

The paper serves as a reminder for us to not feel too bad about mistakes. If we choose to, mistakes can help us exercise our brain to become better at something.

21. Growth vs. Fixed Mindset Flash Cards

Cut out a few pieces of cards. For each card, write a statement that represents either the growth or the fixed mindset.

Flash a card to your kids. Then let them identify whether the statement on the card is a growth or a fixed mindset.

Examples of statements:

“Next time I bake a cake, what can I do to make this better?” (Growth Mindset)
“I don’t like the results. I must be just bad at this.” (Fixed Mindset)

22. The Mistake Game

This is a game about sharing your “best mistake”. You can encourage the kid to remember which mistakes the kid made that can be considered the “best”, getting him or her closer to the right result.

A good example would be the “best mistake” the kid made in the math test.

After that, point out the advantages of this “best mistake”. One is that it helped the kid know how to solve the problem or remember the answer better.

23. Read the book, “The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes”.

After reading, discuss the lessons you’ve learned from the book.

Some of the questions you can ask are: What were the main character’s good qualities? What were the main character’s qualities (at the start of the story) that could improve? What lesson do you think the main character learned by the end of the story?

24. Review Your Week

Have your kid share the successes and failures he or she made this week.

The experiences include both academic and non-academic ones.

For the successes, award him or her cutout stars.

For the failures, award him or her a ticket. For example, a “Patience Ticket” for being patient in dealing with a classmate the kid was confused about.

Or a “Diligence Ticket” for being close to solving a difficult Math problem, or for the kid’s effort to study upon arriving home to get the Math lesson.

Or a “Listener Ticket” for listening to your advice on how to deal with a certain failure next time.

25. Try an Adventure Activity

Visit your nearby adventure park when you have time. If your kids are old enough, try something like a zipline, indoor rock climbing, or other activities they’ve never tried before.

After the activity, ask the kid: “What thoughts could you remember right before the activity that made you try it even if you were a bit afraid?”

By the end, point out that it’s normal to feel anxious sometimes in trying out new activities. You don’t have to feel perfect all the time.

26. Play Scrabble

play scrabble

Get a Scrabble board game and teach your kid its rules. Challenge him or her to try beating you. Even if you finish the game where the kid didn’t beat you, you will tell him or her that it’s okay.

In simple words, ask her about the techniques he or she tried in order to beat you. Praise the kid’s efforts on thinking of ways to win the game.

27. Put a “Yet” at the End of the Statements

Let your kid gather relevant materials like books that show lessons he or she has to yet learn in the following days.

Ask the kid to say a statement to describe something he or she doesn’t know how to do. Then add “yet” at the end of the statement.

For example:

You: Do you know how to multiply numbers?
Kid: I don’t know how to multiply numbers…yet.

You can ask a few more questions. You can also ask further: “What could you possibly do to (learn multiplying)?” Meanwhile, after the kid answers, you can also make your own suggestions.

But no need to pressure the kid. Remember that it’s okay to make room for mistakes.

28. Remember a Movie Scene

If you’ve seen a movie recently, ask the kid to relate a scene there where the kid thinks a character had a growth mindset.

You can give an example yourself first before the kid’s turn.

Then discuss further like why your kid thinks the character he or she chose showed a growth mindset.

29. Growth Mindset Escape Room

You can find this game through different sources over the internet. It has many variations and you can buy the version that you like. You can also make your own! Expect it to be like the original escape room game. You will go through stages and travel towards different parts of one or more rooms by accomplishing tasks.

This time, the puzzles to solve have something to do with the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.

30. Make a Growth Mindset Maze

Look for a maze on the internet. Then you can customize the maze.

Find a good path that lets the player reach the finish line of the game. Write “growth mindset” statements on that right path.

Examples are: “I need to look for a good way to do this.” “If I fail, I can try again!”

As for the rest of the maze’s paths, write “fixed mindset” statements.

The game would be for the kid to find the growth mindset statements to be able to follow the right path and finish the maze.

Here you go! Pick the challenges that are suitable for your kid. Enjoy!

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