Self Esteem Games - Excerpt
300 Fun Activities that Make Children Feel Good About ThemselvesTELLING OTHERS
We are all living novels. The stories of our lives are continually being written: who we are, where we came from, what we are doing, where we are going, our hopes, our dreams, our realities. Games like these give children ways to tell their stories.
When I was a young girl, my sister and I went to visit an aunt who lived in a town a few hours away from our home. She was in her twenties and pregnant with her first child. On our first day together, my sister and I lay on the floor coloring when something totally unexpected happened. My aunt got down on the floor with us and starting coloring, too! I was thrilled and shocked. I did not know adults did such things.
Adults who do, know this wonderful thing about drawing with a child: Even if your stick figures look pathetic, children do not judge. They are amazed if a drawing actually looks like anything they recognize, and supportive if it does not, because they are simply glad that you are doing this work together. A thousand sets of clean dishes will not replace that kind of warmth.
Leave the dishes in the sink and draw together.
Older children like making albums complete with text and drawings. They usually enjoy sharing their albums with their friends.
Paper, pencils, crayons, markers, photos
Here are some possible chapter titles:
This is a tale that starts from the moment of birth.
Pencils and paper, or computer or tape recorder
Help your child narrate his own history. The narrative can be written, dictated, or recorded on a device, touching on these subjects and any others that occur to you:
One does not have to be related by blood—or even be a human—to be considered part of the family. This activity encourages children to interview their elders and gain a broader view of their ancestors’ hopes, dreams and traditions.
Pencil and paper, or computer or tape recorder
Help your child make a book about the family. Topics could include:
What if around birthday time, you always wrote a letter to your future self and kept the letter to read on your next birthday? You would probably see your growth and gain a sense of continuity.
I remember my surprise at reading an old diary of mine. I realized I had learned a lesson back then that I was now in the process of relearning. “You mean I already knew that?” I exclaimed to myself. It helped me see that we keep learning in different ways until we finally get it!
Help your child or children write or dictate a letter to themselves. They might want to cover topics such as:
Each person has a unique way of expressing things. Using your bodies as well as your voices, take turns expressing the following:
This game encourages children to think about the kinds of things they prefer and gives them a chance to experiment with not going along with the gang.
The leader makes up categories and the players respond accordingly. Children must choose among the possibilities offered, unless you want to offer an “all of the above” or “none of the above” option. Start with simple obvious distinctions, such as physical attributes (dark hair, light hair, medium hair, blue eyes, brown eyes, other colors) to get the idea of the game going. It’s helpful to have your categories made up ahead of time so that you can say them quickly. You want the children to respond instantly from their gut and not from their head by watching what others do first.
Make up other choices with the children. Don’t be afraid to stretch. Some possibilities:
In this game, one person moves another in much the same way a window dresser would move a mannequin.
Take turns with your child being the sculptor and being the sculpture. Moving arms, legs, head, fingers, the “sculptor” can name his sculpture or just talk about how it felt to be the one who does the moving. The “sculpture” can talk about how it felt to be moved.
Surveys show that standing in front of an audience and talking is almost as stressful as moving or getting a divorce. If children practice talking about topics they enjoy, they will be more comfortable making speeches in school or when they are grown-ups.
What will a child want to discuss? Introduce the following topics to stimulate your young speech maker:
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