Activities for Teaching Moral Development

By Susan Ward
Parents and teachers aim to instill morals, manners and good character traits in their children.

Parents and teachers hope to instill solid morals, manners and character traits in their children. While a list of morals will vary from family to family and organization to organization, many of Benjamin Franklin's list of morals may make the list. These include temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility. To teach through example is an important approach, but adults may also implement a variety of activities and games.

Group Games

Group games are an effective tool.

In "How to Promote Children's Development Through Playing Group Games," author Rheta DeVries says group games are an effective tool for teaching moral development. Some of the games she lists include races such as a three-legged race, chasing games such as tag, verbal command games such as Simon says, card games such go fish and board games such as bingo. DeVries suggests group games contribute to children's self-regulation. Through games, children develop inner moral convictions about appropriate interactions with others.

Story writing

Story writing following a discussion on morals and positive character traits is a good activity.

After a discussion about morals or positive character traits, have each child write a story that incorporates one or more of the traits you discussed. Depending on the age of the child, the story may be simple and describe one character implementing one trait successfully. Older children might incorporate several moral or character traits, with one character or situation depicting a negative consequence for not making good choices.

Story in the Round

Reading stories to your children can be a good activity.

Done as a family or classroom activity, a story in the round allows participants to create scenes that incorporate good morals. Set the scene and have each child talk for either a specified length of time or until you signal for him to stop and the next child to go. The story might be about one character that wanders into situations where she needs to make moral choices, or the story might move from one character to another.

Moral of the Day

Have a 'moral of the day'.

Pick one moral, such as honesty or cleanliness, as the trait for the day. Discuss it with the family or class, including possible ways to implement that trait throughout the day. Every time you catch someone displaying that trait, provide a reward such a star on a chart or points toward less homework or chores. You might also allow siblings or classmates to notice others implementing the moral trait of the day.

Volunteering

Volunteer with your child to build character.

Education World suggests volunteering as a character-building activity. Schools might develop internal volunteer programs to tutor other students, read to younger children, help students with an injury or disability or help gather homework for students sick at home. At home, family or individual volunteer projects might include picking up trash in a local park, helping at an animal shelter or participating in Meals on Wheels.

About the Author

Susan Ward, M.A., writes about family, parenting, and children's mental health issues for multiple publications. She has been published in various special interest publications, both in print and online, in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. since 1989. She's also authored two books and numerous booklets.