The middle school years can be difficult for most students. Self-confidence is often related to one's desire to "fit in" and belong. Middle schoolers want to be accepted by their peers. They want to be part of a crowd, group, or clique. Popularity may be important to some students, but others simply desire friendship.
Students deal with many changes during their middle school years, most notably puberty. These changes can affect their self-worth and love of one's self.
Social media can have positive and negative effects on the self-esteem of a middle schooler. The number of followers, likes, or content shares can affect a student's self-esteem and their relationship with themselves and others.
There are ways to help students feel more comfortable with who they are and who they are becoming. Here are 20 activities for middle school students to build self-esteem.
1. Mirror Affirmations
Middle school students love taking selfies and sharing them on social media. A mirror surrounded with positive affirmations encourages students to view themselves positively. The mirror helps promote positive self-talk for middle school students struggling with positivity.
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2. Thumbprint Self-Portrait
Thumbprint self-portraits allow students to share their personalities. Middle school students can share what they like and dislike. They can share their interests and hobbies creating positive experiences. This activity reminds middle schoolers how unique and important they are.
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3. 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge
Students can be intentional about completing a positive activity each day. This middle school gratitude activity allows students a chance to reflect on the great things in their lives and help others. By focusing on something positive each day, middle school students create a positive outlook. In the classroom, this could be used as a daily discussion topic or journal.
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4. Good Deeds Scavenger Hunt
You can create a scavenger hunt of good deeds. Students can improve their social skills while helping others through good deeds. Positive actions can lead to positive thoughts. Positive thoughts can lead to improved self-image.
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5. Vision Board
Vision boards are a great way for students to set future goals and visualize reaching them. Students can keep their vision board in a visible location to remind them of what they are working toward. Goals promote self-confidence as milestones are met.
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6. Brain Breaks
Middle school brain breaks help support students and relieve stress. Stress can have negative effects on a student's self-esteem. These breaks can lead to improved focus and behavior. Self-care is an important aspect of improving self-esteem, and these short breaks allow students a chance to recharge after studying hard in the classroom.
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7. List of Strengths
To help boost self-esteem, students can create a list of their strengths. Students who are struggling with self-confidence may focus on their weaknesses more than their strengths. This activity will help them become more self-aware and will help remind them of what they are capable of accomplishing.
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8. I-Statement Communication
Positive communication can help middle schoolers discuss their struggles. I-Statements help avoid negative emotions such as judgment, guilt, and blame. I-messages are more likely to result in a positive response and can help students explain their feelings about a situation.
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9. Self-Esteem Bingo
Self-esteem bingo can be a fun way to discuss self-esteem with a pre-teen. You can create your own cards and can help them to acknowledge strengths, understand the benefits of healthy self-esteem, and much more.
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10. The You Game
This game can help students better understand how they feel about themselves. As they play with others and answer basic questions, they get to see their best attributes.
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11. Positive Thought Playlist
Negative thoughts can lead to low self-esteem. This activity encourages students to make a playlist of positive thoughts to use instead of negative self-talk.
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12. Compliment Jar
Students can write affirmations and compliments for their classmates and place them in the jar. The compliments can be shared daily, weekly, or whenever needed to boost self-confidence in the classroom.
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13. Student Shout Outs
Much like the compliment jar, students and teachers can share positive affirmations by submitting a student shout-out. These positive affirmations are a fantastic way to inspire positive self-talk.
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14. Kindness Board
Friendships and relationships are central to self-esteem and self-worth. Students want to fit in and a positive classroom culture can help. This board encourages students to recognize others for their kindness. It serves as a visual reminder for students about the effect they have on each other and for those who are "caught being kind," it is a confidence booster.
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15. Bucket-Filler Friday
16. Mental Health Check-In
Middle school students may be reluctant to share how they are feeling, but a simple daily check-in could help monitor how they are feeling. You can create a space in your classroom or an electronic form to be filled out. The check-in can help teachers and students encourage others when they are struggling or feeling down.
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17. Trash Your Troubles
Students may feel more comfortable sharing their struggles by writing them down and "trashing" them. Middle schoolers may not want to directly talk about a problem, but they can write their name on the crumpled paper if they do. A teacher or counselor can then follow up with the student.
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18. Glitter Bottle
Middle school students will enjoy creating and using a glitter bottle that affirms positive thinking. The pom-poms or items in the glitter bottle can represent one positive thing for the student. If a student is feeling down, the glitter bottle can be used as a fun and positive reminder.
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Yoga can help reduce anxiety and stress. Both can lead to low self-esteem for middle school kids. Mental and physical health are important to the overall well-being of students. Daily yoga practice can help boost self-esteem, confidence, memory, and behavior.
Learn more: New School Yoga
20. Classroom Playlist - Mood Music
Music can affect a student's mood in negative and positive ways. If you can determine songs that boost self-confidence, a classroom playlist created by the students would be a great way to build a positive environment.
Learn more: Myle Marks