4 Leadership Activities for Children

Many people talk about "natural born leaders", But leadership is something that children can learn. Here are 4 leadership activities.
4 Leadership Activities for Children
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 17 February, 2023

In any human group, it only takes a few days or even hours of living together to realize who fulfills the role of leader. In children, this is much more noticeable. They can possess these gifts from birth or incorporate them along the way. For the latter, we want to present some leadership activities for children that will help them to build a strong, understanding, and positive character.

Many times, the figure of the leader is related to the abuse of power, poorly expressed orders, or unfair punishments. However, not all leaders seek to impose their way of seeing or doing things without consulting the opinion of others.

Nor is it the will of a well-formed leader that everyone fear them or that no one dare to refute their ideas. Just the same, if this image is so widespread, it’s because it’s what often occurs.

However, it can be avoided. Leadership skills are something that can be worked on, either to incorporate them from scratch or to orient them toward their best version if they’re innate.

The characteristics of a good leader

Through the leadership activities for children that we’ll explain below, what we seek is to discard the negative aspects that a strong personality can bring. On the contrary, we’ll try to promote good manners, the ability to listen and communicate, and, above all, to provoke enthusiasm, commitment, and motivation in their colleagues.

A good leader must manage the following skills:

  • Lead by example: This is the basis of all leadership. If a group leader asks for something that they don’t comply with themselves, their speech will fall like a house of cards. To cite an example, if a leader demand that others arrive at a meeting at 10 o’clock and he or she gets there at 11 o’clock, those who are to obey will only end up rejecting this leadership.
A young boy acting as a leader.
  • Know how to produce the desired effect on others: There are people who need understanding, support, and accompaniment. Others, on the other hand, need someone to discipline them in order to exploit their potential. Knowing how to deal with the relationship with each person is the central task of a leader.
  • Optimism, ambition, and decisiveness: A leader is the one to whom everyone looks when they need to choose the path to follow. They’ll also do so if something goes wrong or if they need to think about recommitting. That’s why a convinced leader with the personality to withstand pressure and setbacks is worth gold.

4 leadership dynamics for children

Although these leadership dynamics for children are aimed at producing decisive and commanding people, it doesn’t mean that we should encourage the application of authoritarianism or disrespect. As we pointed out earlier, a good leader knows how to banish their vices in favor of the healthy management of a group.

With all this in mind, here are some leadership activities for children:

1.- The leader

Two groups are formed. In one group, one person will lead the rest, who will be blindfolded. The other group will be the other way around, one blindfolded and four guides. The mission will be to complete an exercise. A useful example might be to carry glasses of water to fill a jug placed at the other end of the room.

In the end, discuss the following: Which group worked best? This activity seeks to demonstrate that everything is easier with only one person in charge.

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their staff. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”
-Sam Walton-

2.- The circle

This is one of the simplest leadership activities for children. It consists of forming a circle with the children holding hands. Then, they should be asked to form figures such as a triangle, a square, or a star.

Which child gave the instructions? This exercise is very good for identifying natural leaders in a group.

A winning team of children holding a trophy and celebrating.

3.- Simon says

This is a classic game that we all know. However, we’re probably unaware that it’s one of the best ways to lose the fear of standing up in front of a group of people and giving orders.

It consists of one child (everyone should do it at least once) standing in front of the others and giving orders such as jumping, touching an ear, or clapping, with the phrase “Simon says” before the others do it. If they don’t say those words, the rest of the children shouldn’t follow the order or they’ll be out of the game.

4.- The ball

This game is based on the communication of opinion. It consists of forming a circle and choosing a topic to discuss and decide on. For example, it could be what kind of toy could be built in the school playground.

In the circle, only the person who has the ball can give their opinion. They’ll do so until someone verbally asks for it, although they may refuse to pass it to continue talking.

With this dynamic, we’ll observe the children’s capacity for expression, as well as their power to convince their peers.

In all the leadership activities for children mentioned above, group work and the role of the instructor are important. Far from limiting the actions of the participants, the instructor should identify roles, encourage willingness to get involved, and correct authoritarian or disrespectful postures.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • González, M. T. (2008). Diversidad e inclusión educativa: algunas reflexiones sobre el liderazgo en el centro escolar. REICE: Revista Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 6(2), 82-99. https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=2556512
  • Moreira, V., Sánchez, A., & Mirón, L. (2010). El grupo de amigos en la adolescencia. Relación entre afecto, conflicto y conducta desviada. Boletín de psicología100, 7-21.
  • Azofeifa, A.; Cordero, M. (2015) El juego como estrategia metodológica en el desarrollo de habilidades sociales de liderazgo en la niñez. [Revista Ensayos Pedagógicos] [10] [2] [85]-[107]
  • Ballesteros, T.; Guachi, G. (2020) Desarrollo del liderazgo infantil en los juegos grupales de niños y niñas de preparatoria. Disponible en: https://repositorio.uta.edu.ec/jspui/handle/123456789/31899

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.