top of page
  • Writer's pictureApril Hartmann

104 Growth Mindset Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Mom and toddler boy playing with blocks and building growth mindset

As loving parents and caregivers, we all want to raise children to be confident, to be resilient, and to have a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the internal belief that intelligence and abilities can be improved through effort. A child with growth mindset will enjoy learning and embrace challenges. They are more likely to think independently and bounce back from failure.

The opposite is a fixed mindset, which is a belief that no effort will be enough to overcome the challenge. Children who hold this belief about themselves have no motivation to improve because they think that failure is certain.

Father and toddler boy working on construction project and building growth mindset

One of the ways you can foster growth mindset is to resist the urge to swoop in and help your child at the first sign of struggle. With each of the activities listed below, take note of opportunities for your toddler to work through a challenge on their own. This will help your child develop resilience. You can further nurture a growth mindset in your toddler or preschooler through your everyday interactions, in the ways that you praise your child, voice observations, and ask them questions.

Such as:

  • Was that easy to do?

  • It looked like you had a big problem to solve!

  • Do you want to try something harder next time?

  • Oops, that didn't work. What else will you try?

  • You worked very hard to finish that!

Mother of toddler girl, parenting with growth mindset praise, phrases, observations and language

It's important to make this a habit, but reading the above list one time won't do it. Practice using these phrases as your child does each of the activities listed below. In order for growth mindset language to have an impact it needs to become second nature. Learn more about these interactions in the article "How to Raise Your Toddler with Growth Mindset Parenting: Exactly What to Say".

Growth Mindset book for toddlers. Growing Baby is Learning to Calm.

Reading certain children’s books is a highly effective way for parents to build a habit of using growth mindset language. Here you can download My Little Growing Mindset books.

Every day you will have opportunities to practice growth mindset parenting with your child, such as teaching to self-dress. Looking for some new ideas? Here are activities for toddlers and preschoolers that you can do at home as you help them develop a growth mindset and build your habit of using growth mindset praise:

Toddler boy playing with stacking blocks and building growth mindset.

  • Create a "growth mindset mantra" that you and your toddler can say together, such as "I can do hard things.”

  • Taking a bath

  • Playing with bubbles

  • Clean up after bath time

  • Practice breathing exercises download the eBook - Learning to Calm

  • Help wash dishes

  • Practice yoga

  • Playing matching games

  • Playing make-believe

  • Help carry groceries download the eBook - Learning to Help

  • Play with a new friend

  • Play memory games

  • Play hopscotch

  • Playing with playdough

  • Singing and dancing

  • Kicking a ball

  • Reading picture books

  • Playing with stuffed animals

Toddler girl playing with teddy bear and tea set and developing growth mindset.

  • Help rake leaves

  • Playing with toy cars and trucks

  • Painting with finger paints

  • Doing puzzles

  • Painting

  • Playing with sand

  • Help walk the dog

  • Playing with a sensory bin

  • Playing with a flashlight

  • Practice active listening with your toddler by making eye contact and repeating what they've said.

  • Help sort the laundry

  • Playing with cardboard boxes

  • Making homemade instruments

  • Playing with shaving cream

  • Playing with puppets

  • Help clean the floor

  • Playing musical instruments

Toddler boy playing small drum, along with other musical instruments, and developing growth mindset.

  • Playing with stickers

  • Playgroup circle time with a parachute or sheet

  • Playing with a dollhouse

  • Playing store

  • Pretend to be a doctor

  • Ripping and glueing construction paper

  • Playing with a tool set

  • Playing restaurant with play food

  • Playing with a tea set

  • Pretend camping with a play tent

  • Pretend to fly airplane

  • Help match socks in the laundry

  • Pretend to be a dinosaur

  • Pretend to be a robot

  • Call Grandma or Grandpa

  • Plant a garden

Toddler girl watering plants and building growth mindset

  • Playing with dolls

  • Playing at a playground

  • Building a fort with cushions and blankets

  • Peek-a-boo

  • Sing-along with nursery rhymes

  • Dance party

  • Hide and seek with toys

  • Hide Easter eggs, anytime of year!

  • Draw chalk ‘roads “ on driveway for scooters

  • Color sorting with different objects

  • Ring toss

  • Visit a neighbor

  • Feed pets

  • Animal sound guessing game

  • Water play with cups and containers

  • Chalk drawing on the sidewalk or driveway

  • Building with Mega Bloks or Duplo blocks

Toddlers and babies in a playgroup, playing with connecting Mega Bloks and building growth mindset

  • Bowling with ball and plastic pins, or cardboard tubes

  • Dress up in costumes

  • Throwing and catching a soft ball or stuffed animal

  • Follow the leader

  • Obstacle course with pillows and cushions

  • Balancing on one foot

  • Help dust the coffee table

  • Help with shopping

  • Jumping jacks

  • Musical chairs

  • Check the mail

  • Freeze dance

  • Red light, green light

  • Tossing bean bags into a target

  • Tug of war with a soft rope

  • Walking like different animals

  • Hula hoop

  • Help set the table

  • “Ring around the Rosy”

  • Duck, Duck, Goose

  • Hokey Pokey

  • Finger play, like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Wheels on the Bus”

Dad and little toddler boy learning finger play song and developing growth mindset

Children’s brains are constantly developing, forming thousands of new connections from everyday interactions. Parents have the greatest influence on their child’s brain development. Every day there are new opportunities to build growth mindset and have a major impact on your child’s future success in life. Like most new skills in life, growth mindset parenting takes practice and repetition.

Books are a powerful resource for helping parents to foster a growth mindset in kids. Here you can download My Little Growing Mindset books. They are filled with internal scripts that help children with their thought processes in solving a problem. Instead of repeating a single phrase, the text includes questions and observations.

These stories eliminate the guesswork and help you start teaching your child growth mindset thinking right away. Download this entire series of growth mindset stories. New books and articles are introduced often, so be sure to subscribe.

Your child's growth mindset matters. Protect it, strengthen it, celebrate it!

Mom and toddler boy playing with blocks and building growth mindset



bottom of page