Your little one learns about positive character by observing and imitating you.

Activities or Crafts to Teach Children About Character

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

You little one might say, “Grandma says I’m a character. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? She laughed when she said it.” While your kiddo doesn't understand that Grandma is referring to his unique and endearing personality, you're likely hoping that as he grows, he develops good character traits like kindness, perseverance, honesty and faith. Activities and crafts that teach these character traits might help him remember and exhibit them quicker than just talking about them.

Good Fruit

Galatians 5:22-23 labels the character traits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as fruits of the spirit. After explaining these traits to your preschooler, she can make a fruit salad -- and you can help her label each fruit in the salad as a desirable character trait. Alternatively, you can use plastic fruit and a polystyrene wreath to help her make a fruit-of-the-spirit wreath to remind her to incorporate those traits in her daily life, just like she should eat one or more fruits each day. She can sing about the fruits of the spirit using the tune of “London Bridges.” “I will show love, joy and patience, peace and kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and respect myself and others.”

Beneficial Attitudes

Cheerfulness, gratitude and unselfishness are worthy character traits that manifest as attitudes. You can encourage your little one to cheerfully offer to help set the table or help fold the laundry or sort socks. She can learn to express gratitude by saying grace at meals and expressing her thanks when someone does something for her. You can also encourager her to allow others to go first or share what she has with someone who is needy. She can help you make sandwiches for a local battered women’s or children’s shelter and make a tag with a smiley face for each bag.

Parents Approve

As a parent, you appreciate it when your child exhibits cooperation, obedience, courtesy and honesty. Play Simon Sez to encourage obedience and teach your child the commandment, “Honor your father and mother." Play board games to help him learn cooperation, how to take turns, have patience and deal courteously with others. Read the story of George Washington and the cherry tree -- and have him illustrate it or dramatize it to encourage honesty.

Social Character Traits

Character traits of hard work, loyalty, and perseverance make your little one a good team player and worker. Tell her the fable of the ant and the grasshopper to teach your child about hard work and perseverance. She could make ant and grasshopper puppets to tell the story to her friends and family. She can sing, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to remind her of loyalty -- and you can read “Trust Me: A Loyalty Story” by Anastasia Suen or “Loyalty” by the Golden Books staff to her. She can make a loaf of bread with you, taking two long tubes of bread dough and forming them into a heart linked in the center. She can serve the bread at dinner.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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