MENTOR RESOURCES: Fun Activities to Teach Children Decision-Making Skills

By Nina Makofsky Dec 05, 2012

Which shirt goes best with these jeans? Who should I invite to my birthday party? Should I play with that kid that no one likes? Every day, children make decisions; some of them are inconsequential and others have a big impact. When children are young, their choices are more about personal preferences but, as they get older, their decisions can affect their safety and their lifestyle. When parents and educators give young children the tools for making decisions, they are better prepared for making major life choices as they mature. Fun activities transform a potentially stressful process into an enjoyable pastime.


Young children often fantasize that they are superheroes, cooks, teachers or parents. Older children enjoy dramatic play such as staging puppet shows or performing in skits. Meranda Broder, a public high school teacher currently working with the Mount Diablo Unified School District’s Home and Hospital program, draws upon children’s dramatic interests to allow them to practice decision-making. She says, “Role-playing is an interesting, engaging and fun way of giving kids an opportunity to put themselves in different people’s shoes. Not just empathizing, but actually thinking about what it would be like to make a decision as another person under a whole different set of circumstances.” She adds that the activity broadens children’s minds, encouraging them to consider people’s varied motivations and the choices they make.

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