9 Growth mindset activities for elementary students

Growth mindset activities are great to sprinkle into your lesson plans to help your young learners. In this blog post we'll look at what a growth mindset is and what growth mindset activities you can bring into your classroom this year. Let's get started!

Growth mindset for kids

Think of a growth mindset as a belief system that encourages your students to embrace challenges, view failures as opportunities for growth, and understand that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. It's all about fostering a "can-do" attitude rather than a fixed perception of one's capabilities.

Now for elementary students, it can be hard to grasp some of these concepts. However you can help them understand the importance of working hard and preserving through positive reinforcement and other teaching strategies.

In your classroom cultivating a growth mindset in your students could look something like this: Imagine you have a student who is struggling with math. They likely are feeling frustrated and discouraged when faced with challenging problems. But here’s where you come in to save the day! Encouraging a growth mindset in your students is helping them understand that it’s okay to find them difficult at first and that with practice and effort their skills can improve. With your encouragement, over time this same student will start to approach challenges head-on instead of shying away from them when things get difficult.

The importance of growth mindsets for elementary students

Cultivating a growth mindset in your students helps them build resilience. When students believe they can develop their skills through effort, they’re more likely to bounce back from setbacks and try again. Resilience is important in the classroom to help students learn challenging materials but equally important in the real-world.

A growth mindset also helps your students foster a love of learning. When students see learning as a journey of exploration and improvement, they become more curious and engaged in school. It’s like planting a seed of enthusiasm that you get to see grow over the course of a year!

Growth mindset activities for elementary students


Kodable is a programming game for kids to teach them the basics of coding in a fun and engaging way. The game uses self-paced lessons to let students learn at their own pace. Plus students can test their code before pressing play to encourage them to try and try again to find the solution to a Kodable maze. And if students get stuck - there’s a friendly and helpful hint system to help them along the way.

Learn more and create your own Kodable account today to bring this growth mindset activity into your classroom.

Famous Fails

Share stories of famous individuals who faced failures but preserved and eventually reached success! You, or your students, can put together presentations on different individuals who meet this criteria including Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Michael Jordan, and Oprah Winfrey to name a few. Be sure presentations focus on how these famous people continued working their way to success even after facing setbacks.

Goal-Setting Journal

Provide students with journals where they can set weekly or monthly goals related to academics, hobbies, or personal growth. Encourage them to track their progress, setbacks, and the strategies they used to overcome challenges.

Make Time To Talk About Mistakes

Make a set time each week or on a regular basis to take time to have your class talk about mistakes and what they learned from them. Be sure to praise students for participating and push them to highlight learnings and their perseverance instead of what went wrong. You can also add a fun prop to this game such as a talking stick to encourage student participation.

In and Outside of My Control

This great set of worksheets is a great way to help your students understand what is inside and outside of their control. This concept is one way to help your students grasp how controlling what they can control, such as trying a challenging task again, can help them overcome difficulties.

The Power of “Yet”

Create a classroom poster with the word "Yet" prominently displayed. Whenever students say they can't do something, encourage them to add "yet" at the end. This simple visual reminder reinforces the growth mindset concept.

Read a Growth Mindset Book

We Are Teachers has put together a great list of read aloud books that help reinforce a growth mindset in students. Check out the list here and be sure to add one or more of these books to your classroom library!

Growth mindset and positive learning environment in the classroom

Building a positive learning environment in your classroom is a full year long commitment. However incorporating growth mindset activities are a great addition to help you further cultivate this type of classroom for your students.

This is because growth mindset activities help dismantle the fear of failure and encourage students to try new things, even if they don’t get them right the first time. These activities contribute to an atmosphere where students feel safe to take risks, embrace challenges, and show resilience - all elements of a positive learning environment!

Other elementary classroom resources 

Growth mindsets are just one part of a well rounded elementary classroom! Check out our other resources to help your students keep learning this year.

Good luck this school year!