Leadership Activities for Middle School Students
When it comes to leadership activities for middle school students it’s never too early to teach your children to become leaders. The earlier they develop leadership skills the easier it will be for them later in life. By the time your kids enter middle school, they should have the concept of simple leadership skills and by the time they enter high school, they should be ready to be the class president.
There are plenty of leadership activities for middle school students that can be incorporated into the classroom and at home too. Kids need to know leaders work hard and that they are never afraid to face a new challenge. Leadership games and activities for kids are not only fun, but kids like to feel important, and believe it or not, they like having responsibilities such as chores at home or organizing group events.
Table of Contents
- Leadership Lessons for Teens
- Youth Leadership Lesson Plans
- Leadership Exercises for Students
- Leadership Games for Middle School Students
- Activities to Teach Leadership Skills
Leadership Lessons for Teens
As adults, teaching leadership lessons to teens can seem more complicated than when teaching leadership lessons to other adults. You might be wondering how that can be since leadership is leadership no matter how old someone is. All the skills seem to be the same as well as the techniques and the principles, but there are several reasons why it would seem a bit more difficult with leadership lessons for teens.
Unlike adults who choose to be in a leadership class, most teens have other priorities like competitions and meeting new friends. It can be hard to get the full attention of a teen when it comes to learning, especially when teaching them to become leaders. It isn’t impossible though, you can teach a teen to become a leader, there are just some things you will need to know when it comes to the leadership lessons you choose for teens.
- Teens sometimes take constructive criticism personally. For this reason, it’s important to remember that they are young, and you might need to rethink how you say things to them. A teen doesn’t always interpret or comprehend the same way an adult would so choose your words wisely so that you don’t discourage them early in the lesson.
- Teens want and need to be taken seriously. If you have it in your mind that a young person isn’t smart enough to make a decision or to participate in an adult conversation, you might want to think again. Teens are smarter than adults care to recognize and they need to be taken seriously. Although it might take their minds longer to process than an adult’s mind, they can really have some great ideas and that is what will mold them into outstanding leaders when given a chance.
- Don’t exclude the precarious teens. Believe it or not the precarious can sometimes be the best leaders. A lot of times those children are problematic because they feel insecure and they might even be bored. Give them a few responsibilities to keep them busy and to feel important and before you know it the problematic teen you once knew will be the one who everyone will be looking up to.
If you keep these three important things in mind, then you shouldn’t have too many problems when it comes to following through with your leadership lessons for teens.
Youth Leadership Lesson Plans
Now that you’ve realized the difference between leadership lessons for teens and leadership lessons for adults, you’re ready to start working on those youth leadership lesson plans. Before you roll up your sleeves and dive in, there are some things you will need to think about:
- Your audience. If you’re working with teens, know their ages and grade level; in this case, we are focusing on middle school students. Be sure the goals you’re after are age-appropriate and the same goes for the exercises, games, and activities you choose for your lessons.
- What are your objectives? Don’t forget that you are targeting middle school students so don’t set the goals higher than they can reach and never open the door for disappointment.
- Which method of teaching will best suit your audience? Teens tend to learn best using hands-on activities, group exercises, and role-playing games. Remember to be patient with them as they might take longer to complete a task or resolve a problem.
- How much time will you need? Consider the time frame you will be working with. If you only have a sixty-minute window then you will want to choose a simple exercise, but if you have an entire weekend, then you can include several different exercises and games. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t overwhelm kids with too much at once or they might get burned out causing them to lose interest.
- How much space will you need? Your location will be important depending on the activities you choose. If you have a small space to work with, choose activities that won’t require a lot of movement, but on the contrary, if you have a large space or you’re planning a day outdoors, consider playing some games that require exercise.
- Plan ahead. Once you know which games or activities you want the group to participate in, be sure and get all the supplies and equipment you will need before the event. Familiarize yourself with the rules to any games you will play and understand the outcome of the exercises and activities you will be teaching. Remember that you are teaching a leadership class, therefore you must teach by example. Being organized is an important part of being a leader.
Leadership Exercises for Students
One way to get started with your leadership exercises is to include a few icebreakers. This is not only a great way for the students to get to know each other, but it will also help them with communication skills and it will build confidence in those who are shy. No matter what you are planning, try and incorporate an icebreaker into the mix, usually, the beginning of the exercise is a good place to put them.
Match the Quote
With this exercise, you will need to place several leadership quotes around the room. You can do this by writing them on colorful cards and posting them sporadically around the room. Ask the students to walk around and read them. When they find the one that matches the way they think leadership should be, tell them to stand next to it. More than one student can stand in front of the same quote. When everyone has found their favorite, go around the room and ask each student to interpret the meaning of the quote. This is an excellent icebreaker and a great way for the students to get to know each other.
Leaders to Admire
Before you begin this exercise, separate the students into small groups. Ask the students to think of someone they all know who shows positive leadership skills. Set a time limit and ask each group to discuss amongst themselves all the qualities that make that person a good leader. Ask one person in each group to take notes and when the time is up a student from each group will take turns standing and sharing with the other groups what they believe are the best qualities of the chosen leader. If time permits, you can ask the groups to get together once again and discuss the things that could make that person a bad leader. This exercise is a great way for students to learn and understand the meaning of leadership.
Build the Castle
You will need two different colors of clay for this exercise and two whistles. Divide the group into two groups sitting at tables. Assign one leader for each group and give the leaders each a whistle. When time begins the leaders will blow the whistle and the first person of each team will then begin to quickly form a castle with the clay. When the leader of the team blows the whistle again, the person with the clay must pass it to the next team member and that person will continue to build the castle with the clay. Play will continue until the castle is completely built or the last person on the team completes the castle, whichever comes first. The first team with the completed castle wins. This exercise is to practice teambuilding, communication, and leadership.
Leadership Games for Middle School Students
There is no better way to learn than by playing a fun game. If you make the games exciting the kids will forget they are learning, and chances are they will beg you for more. Group games are also a great way to break the ice and to build confidence, trust, and communication.
Leading the Blindfolded
Before this game begins, designate a starting line and a finish line. Divide the students into small groups and ask them to appoint a leader for each group. All the players except the leaders should have a blindfold. It will be the responsibility of the leaders to clearly instruct their team to the finish line. The leader can only use one word at a time such as right, left, straight, etc. The leader should never touch the players. The first team to cross the finish line wins. If you have enough time, try and give each person a chance to be the leader. This game will teach strong communication and trust between the leaders and the followers.
The Jigsaw Puzzle
Before you begin this game, divide a jigsaw puzzle into two sections and put the pieces into two separate bags. Divide the students into two teams and give each team a bag, but don’t tell them they have the same puzzle with different sections. Set a time limit, 30 to 45-minutes should be enough time. When the time starts each team must work to put their puzzles together as quickly as possible. They will eventually figure out that they all have the same puzzle and that they will all need to come together as one to complete the task. This will teach the students how to communicate and work together. Before it’s over, there will sure to be a few students who will take charge and become leaders.
The Cup Game
You will need one plastic cup for each team of two. Choose one person to be the leader and pair all the other students into teams of two. Each team should face each other with the cup on the floor between them. The leader should call out simple commands such as stand on one foot, touch your elbow, close one eye, but when the leader says cup, they should grab the cup. The player who gets the cup should move onto a new player who also got the cup and all those who were left without the cup should sit down. When the teams are formed the cup should be placed on the floor in front of them and play begins again. Play continues until one player is left standing. The winner then becomes the new leader and the previous leader should partner up and begin to play!
Activities to Teach Leadership Skills
There are a variety of activities to teach leadership skills to middle school students, many of which they may already be involved with. Encourage your students to be active and participate in as many extracurricular activities as they can handle. Not only are these great ways to develop strong leadership skills, but the more they are involved with in school, the better it will look on their college applications. The following are just some of the activities to consider:
- Get involved with sports and become a team captain.
- Get involved with band or chorus
- Join a debate team
- Join the student council
- Become a classroom leader. Help plan the weekly chore chart and enforce it; lead some class projects and help with demonstrations.
- Get involved in the theater program. Sign up to be a stagehand, a stage manager, or take charge of the programs. Help with the schedules and delegating others to help with the production.
- Organize a fundraiser; schedule a start and finish time. Set an initial goal and delegate others to help with the organization.
- Suggest and organize field trips.
These are just a few of the many things the kids can do in the school. Many times, they can be in charge of assigning other students to help with organizing the activities. You should also consider other community service programs for the students to practice and develop their leadership skills.
Now that you have some ideas and leadership activities for middle school students you should be able to teach your students to become prominent leaders in your school and community.