The activities below are great for teaching the Character Quality of Patience, and can easily be modified for different age groups and grade levels. We’d love to hear how these activities go with your class or group, or if you made any changes that made the activity easier or more impactful in your comments at the bottom of the page!
Use the idea of saving money to illustrate the importance of patience. For younger students, use a simple example of saving 50 cents a week to buy a special item. This could also appear as a math question on a test or assignment. For older students, include the concept of interest when saving. Point out that the longer you save (more patience), the larger the reward.
Place a marshmallow or several small candies such as M&Ms or a seasonal treat on each student’s desk. Explain that they can eat these whenever they want to but if they wait until after lunch they will get twice as much. Discuss the concept of delayed gratification and waiting for good things to happen.
Gather all the ingredients for your favorite homemade cookie. Ask the family what it would taste like if you ate the ingredients rather than following the recipe. Make the recipe as a family. Comment as you mix the dough what would happen if you rushed and missed an ingredient or measured improperly. Once you have the dough completed, they might be tempted to eat the cookie dough but remind them of possible gastric consequences of eating the dough with the raw eggs in it. Bake up some of the dough and enjoy the results of being patient.
To process the activity, ask these or similar questions:
- Was it fun to make the dough and watch the cookies bake?
- Would it have been harder to wait if you could only watch?
- Did you want to hurry to get to the cookies faster?
- How do you think the cookies would have tasted if you rushed and missed an ingredient?
- Did you have to wait for the cookies to cool down, so you didn’t burn your tongue?
- Do you think next time you have to wait for something you can liken it to cookies and be patient?
Momma Birds have much patience when it comes to sitting on her eggs to hatch them. Many go for long periods of time without food and water while they wait for the baby birds to hatch.
Ask the students how long they think it takes to hatch the eggs of the following birds.
Robin 12 – 14 days
Chickens 21 days
Hawk 28-35 days
Pick one of the birds above or one of your own choosing and post a picture of the bird in the classroom. Using sticky notes or writing on the whiteboard/chalkboard, note the number of days it takes to hatch their eggs. Every day, decrease the number (on Mondays, decrease by the number of days not in school) and count down until the bird’s eggs are hatched. Use this as a reminder of how patient this momma bird needs to be.
Use a picture of eggs in a nest (see the download link for an example) to help the students identify when they are not patient. In the egg in the front that you can see the whole egg, have them write down an example of when you need to be patient. In the other eggs, write down something that can help them have patience. Some examples are below:
Waiting in line
Sing a song in your head
Play a quiet finger game
Waiting for your turn in a game
Cheer the other players
Think about what you can do on your turn
Pay attention to the game
You can choose for all the students to write the same thing or they can think of their own. For younger students, you may just want to have them draw a picture of what they look like when they are waiting patiently.
When finished, process the activity with these or similar questions:
- Did you like thinking about birds hatching eggs?
- What would happen if the momma bird was not patient and left her eggs for too long?
- What happens when we become impatient?
- Can you see a benefit to being patient?
- Next time you are impatient, can you remember the momma bird?