When children feel comfortable making mistakes, they develop important social and emotional skills. However, this is easier said than done as children often get fearful and frustrated when they make mistakes. What can you do to help young learners accept mistakes and develop a growth mindset? Try reading stories about characters who made mistakes, learning about inventions born from mistakes, or looking at unique artworks. Explore the benefits of making mistakes with these 22 enlightening learning-from-mistakes activities!
1. Celebrate Mistakes
Students should be encouraged to make mistakes and identify the different kinds of mistakes that can occur. This video demonstrates how to conduct a discussion about how to prevent future errors.
Learn More: Collect EDNY
2. Crumpled Reminder
Here’s an interesting activity to help students understand the science behind mistakes. Have students crumple and un-crumple a piece of paper and color each line with different colors. Explain that the lines represent the brain’s growth and change.
Learn More: Boundless Brilliance
A self-assessment is a performance monitoring activity to hold kids accountable. Have them reflect on areas for improvement such as being a better friend. Create a chart that lists the qualities of a good friend and has students assess if they are meeting the criteria.
Learn More: Achieving for Children
4. Accepting Feedback
Accepting feedback is a challenging task. Here’s a poster that lists 7 steps to help students get through a potentially difficult time when accepting feedback. Use the steps to role-play scenarios related to accepting feedback.
Learn More: Speech Room News
5. Mistakes Help Me
Students will recognize that making mistakes provides a positive learning experience. They will sit in a circle and remember a time when they made a mistake. Ask them how they felt, prompt them to take a few breaths, and have them repeat, “This mistake will help me learn and grow.”
Learn More: Education.com
6. Actions for Growth
Here’s an interesting growth mindset lesson where students shift their focus from the types of mistakes they make to the actions they can take to overcome them. Have students reflect on a mistake and then come up with actions they can do to rectify it.
Learn More: Mindful by Design
7. The Magic of Mistakes
Younger kids will learn that making mistakes is not so scary with this adorable animated lesson. The main character, Mojo, enters a robotic competition and learns an unexpected lesson in the magic of mistakes.
Learn More: Class Dojo
8. Growth Mindset Bookmarks
These bookmarks have positive reinforcement quotes that can be colored in by students and placed in their books for a daily reminder that they can handle whatever the day throws their way! Or, have students give them away to encourage a classmate.
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
9. Back-to-School Activity Packet
A growth mindset fosters an environment where students can grow through challenges and mistakes. Learners will reflect on their character traits and fill out worksheets to record how they can be positive and productive.
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
10. Accidental Masterpiece
Remind your kids that some types of mistakes are wonderful; as long as they are willing to look at them differently. Mix tempera paint with water and place some of the mixtures in a dropper. Fold a piece of white paper and place drops of paint on it as if it were done by accident. Fold and open the paper. Have your child tell you what they see in the accidental art.
Learn More: Confidence Meets Parenting
11. Making Mistakes Changes an Art Project
Teach your children how to fix mistakes with a creative art project. Gather as many recyclable or art materials as you can. Ask your learners what they would like to make and have them initiate the project. As they build, continue asking if the work reflects their original intent. If not, how can they fix it?
12. Learning from Art Mistakes
Here’s a fun drawing activity about making mistakes. Ask students to look at the drawings and spot the mistake. How can they change the picture without having to throw it away and start over?
Learn More: The Wise Owl Factory
13. Learning to Say Sorry
Sometimes, kids make careless mistakes by saying something hurtful. These apology worksheets teach children about the 6 parts of an apology. Have students practice the steps through role-playing.
Learn More: Very Special Tales
14. It’s OK to make Mistakes
Social stories are useful for any child who is struggling to understand a situation or concept. This is a lovely story to use in your next read-aloud lesson. Pause as you read and ask students about the character and making mistakes.
Learn More: Teach Simple
15. Social Stories
Use these social stories to spark discussions about making mistakes and how to learn from them. Print the discussion questions and worksheets to help students make a correlation between mistakes, effort, and achievement.
Learn More: Autism Adventures
16. Setting Goals Templates
Setting goals and thinking about how to achieve them is a smart way to teach children about learning from mistakes. These templates help students plan out their goals. When kids make mistakes, they review their plans and revise instead of getting upset.
Learn More: The Printables Fairy
17. How Many Mistakes Are There?
Spotting mistakes can help students recognize and learn from their own mistakes in math or writing. These awesome worksheets are full of errors. Students become teachers as they try to spot and correct mistakes.
Learn More: TheWorksheets.com
18. Read Aloud with Robin
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes is an awesome book to use as an introduction to the concept of making mistakes. Beatrice Bottomwell has never made a mistake until one day. After the story, talk to your child about developing positive self-esteem through positive self-talk.
Learn More: Reading Robin
Storyboarding is a hands-on way to show lessons that have been learned when making everyday mistakes. Label each column Mistakes and Lessons. In each mistake cell, depict a common mistake experienced by teens. In each lesson cell, depict the character learning from this mistake.
Learn More: Storyboard That
20. Made by Mistakes
It’s important to encourage students to think creatively and try new things. Many life-changing inventions were accidentally created! Share these inventions with students then have them look at other inventions to come up with possible mistakes the inventor may have made.
Learn More: Diversified Spaces
21. Create Good Mistakes
Students associate good academic performance with correct answers. Have learners think about potential incorrect answers. By analyzing why the incorrect answers are wrong, they help themselves discover the correct answer.
Learn More: Cult of Pedagogy
22. Actively Model Mistakes
Create a mistake-friendly classroom where teachers serve as role models for making mistakes. Frequently write on the board and occasionally make mistakes. Ask students for help. Students will develop a healthy attitude toward mistakes and won’t feel anxious about making them.
Learn More: Edutopia