How to build self-esteem in groups of kids and teens

Jezel asks: How can I get a group of kids between the age of 8-19 to believe in themselves through games and activities? And what would be relevant topics?

Hi Jezel –



Your question is simply gigantic.  First of all, there are books of games and activities that build self-esteem.  If you do a web-search, you’ll find tons.


I would be glad to recommend some games and activities to you, but there’s a way bigger problem here, which is that age range you’re facing.  My friend, having a group of kids from 8 to 19 is just about impossible.  It will be hard for you to find things that 8-year-olds and 11-year-olds enjoy together, but to pull in those older ages makes it nearly impossible.


So here’s my advice.  First, split the group up into four groups: 8-10, 11-13, 14-16, and 17-19.  Then have whoever’s running each group give them a questionnaire at the first meeting.  And literally have the kids tell you – when do they feel best about themselves, and when do they feel worst.  Most likely the youngest will talk about tests and athletics at school, while the older ones will talk about dating and appearance more.  Other issues will probably surface – who’s going through a divorce in their family; who’s been ostracized by the other kids at their school; who’s overweight or has a bad complexion; who’s a different ethnicity or race from the rest of their classmates?


Once you know these things, then you can start to work on finding the right activities.  Art is great, making masks is something I love, anything that gets them to express the things they have trouble expressing, which can eventually lead to group cohesion and mutual support – which is something no kid or teen can possibly get enough of.


Another great thing is to do some community service.  Whether it’s painting over a dilapidated or graffiti-covered wall, or raising funds to help a good cause, or helping out at a food bank or animal shelter – doing acts of good is incredible for boosting one’s self-image.


I hope these give you some inspiration.  If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me again.  I love what you’re doing!




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