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12 Leadership Activities for Middle School Students

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

Leadership activities for middle school students should be added into the classroom to teach the kids valuable skills such as communication, collaboration, decision-making, problem-solving, critical thinking, and many others. It’s never too early to teach children about leadership because a lot of activities can be adapted to fit any age group. The sooner they develop valuable skills, the better they’ll perform in the future.

Teachers and educators can incorporate plenty of activities throughout the school year that can be useful for development. Even the simplest of games can challenge children and help them improve their skills. We’re going to give you some examples of activities you can add to the classroom, so be sure to keep scrolling.

Before we get further down the article, we’d like to mention two things:

  • These games are all about stealth learning. Kids will be excited, engaged and they’ll learn new things while playing and having fun.
  • Most games are better when playing in large groups because they build trust between kids while boosting their confidence and improving communication.

What are the middle school leadership activities?

A variety of activities can teach leadership skills to students. These activities are designed to help children develop skills necessary for good leaders. In today’s world, it’s crucial to work on improving critical and creative thinking, strengthening communication and collaboration skills, learning how to inspire others, etc.

A lot of extracurricular activities revolve around the development of leadership skills such as debate class, student council, sports games, school theater, etc. However, you can also add simple team-building activities during regular classes. They don’t take much time and provide valuable lessons. Encourage your students to be active and engage in activities helpful for their personal growth. When they become enthusiastic about learning, everything else in life becomes easier.

Leadership game ideas are various, from team-building games to group discussions. These activities are for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a kid or an adult because life is a journey and every day we learn something new. Adults, of course, make activities more challenging. Below we’ll give you some activities you can incorporate into your leadership lesson plans for middle school students.

Having role models

It’s very important for students to have someone they can look up to. It doesn’t matter if that’s a parent, a teacher, or a public figure. You should utilize role models to teach kids about values. Talk about admirable leaders and what are leadership qualities. Speaking about leadership, you should help children differentiate between positive and negative qualities too.

People you admire

Start by forming groups that have a task of discussing admirable people. After some time, each group should pick only one person and explain the reasons behind the choice. Reflect on the positive leadership traits that this person has. You can also comment on negative behaviors that should be avoided.

A lot of children have someone they idolize, so it’s a good idea to talk about those people. Whether kids look up to celebrities or family members, you can discuss the qualities people possess. After this activity, try having a brainstorming session about good and bad leadership traits.

Pick your quote

Before you engage in this activity find inspiring quotes about leadership and write it on the paper. Try to reflect on different approaches to leadership. When kids come, place the quotes across the classroom.

Tell children to read the quotes and stand by the one that fits their views. When everyone selects a quote, ask each kid to explain his/her choice to the class. While they’re talking, write some key ideas on the board. Make sure to leave enough time for discussion about different types of leaders afterward.

Guess the leadership qualities

This activity starts with your students making a list of leadership qualities. Choose one kid that will write on the board while others give their ideas. Middle schoolers will probably mention qualities such as empathy, strength, decision-making, etc. While they’re writing ideas on the board, you should choose the qualities essential for improving leadership skills for middle school students. Write them on small pieces of paper and put them in a bowl.

The next stage is forming teams of 3-4 students. Each team gets one of the qualities from the bowl. Challenge them to create and act out the scenario where that quality is displayed. When one group is acting, others should try to guess the displayed characteristic.

Students shouldn’t have a problem with guessing the quality because every option is displayed on the board. Demonstrating one situation can, of course, include other leadership qualities. Note each one within the same acted scenario, so you can have a small discussion after each group’s skit.

Teamwork

The strength of every good leader comes from collaboration and empathy. Team building activities for middle school students should be a part of kids’ education. Knowing how to work in teams and communicate with others is crucial for kids’ development. Children team building games join a class together and make a community. Students get to know each other and build trust.

Electric fence

The goal of the game is to cross the wire without touching it, hence the name electric fence. Have students form a chain on one side of the wire by holding hands. Students need to get the entire team from one side to another, so they need to cooperate and help each other. To see how this looks like, check out the video below.

Hula-hoop pass

Similarly to the previous activity, the goal of the game is to work together towards a common goal. In this case, the goal is to pass the hula-hoop as fast as possible without breaking the chain. Students will form a circle holding hands, you’ll give them a hula-hoop and the game can begin. We’re sure your student will have a blast like the ones in the next video.

Leading the blindfolded

This activity is a race between teams. Before the game begins, set a starting and finish line. Divide the students into small groups and ask them to pick a leader of each group. All players except the leader should be blindfolded and the game can begin.

This middle school team building game also revolves around building trust. You need to be confident in your “leader” and let him/her guide you to the finish line while you’re blindfolded. For a bigger challenge, instructs the students leading to use only a couple words such as left, right, straight, etc. Make sure that every student has the chance to be a leader of the group at least two times.

Form a shape

This game teaches how to communicate effectively as a leader and help the team to form different shapes using a rope. Students will grab a piece of the rope with both hands and you’ll instruct them to make a shape such as a star, diamond, etc. The group is blindfolded but they can speak during exercise, so communication becomes crucial. You should appoint one person that can take off the blindfold occasionally to check the progress. See how it can look like in the video below.

Birthday line up

If you only have 10 minutes for an engaging activity, try this simple thing. Instruct kids to line up in the order of their birthdays. Kids have to know the order of the months and compare their birthdays with each other. It can take 5-10 minutes for them to figure out the right order. You can make this activity extra challenging by telling them to only use hand signals.

Creative games

A good leader needs to be creative and “think outside of the box”. That’s why it’s crucial to nurture kids’ imagination and incorporate creative activities in your youth leadership lesson plans. Encourage kids to find creative solutions to the tasks in front of them by organizing these simple activities.

Marshmallow tower

In this cooperation activity for middle school students, kids compete in making the tallest (or largest, most creative, etc) structure that can hold the weight of the marshmallow on top. Divide students into groups and give them the materials for the tower. The materials are dry spaghetti, toothpicks, duck tape, and a string. Students will need to work together to create a balanced and solid tower, so this activity improves leadership dynamics, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Creative solutions

Challenge your students to solve problems using set objects such as cans, books, pencils, chairs, etc. Present them with a scenario and let them figure out the solution. It can be anything, from survival scenarios to solving mysteries. Just make sure the scenarios are age-appropriate and not so easily solvable.

You can, of course, split the students into small groups, so they can discuss strategies with each other. That way they can work on communication skills while they’re engaging in critical and creative thinking. Praise creative and innovative solutions, reliability on classmates, and other positive traits. If students don’t agree on what items to use, suggest they make a small pros/cons list and “rank” the items. You could also set a timer for the activity if you want to put extra pressure and encourage competition.

Treasure Hunt

This classic game can be used to teach kids about leadership. You’ll hide the treasure and give clues, while kids work together in solving them. Riddles and puzzles are not only fun, but they improve problem-solving, encourage creativity, and develop leadership traits. The “treasure” should be something that can encourage children to give their best. Something like ice-cream or a no-homework pass can motivate any kid!

What if

This is a thought experiment in which you’ll pose a problematic scenario and encourage your kids to speak about what they would do in a certain situation. You can divide the students into small groups and give each group a card with an explained situation. After 10 minutes of discussion, the group’s representatives will read the scenario and their plan of action.

Set the age-appropriate difficulty of hypothetical situations. It’s about students working together to come up with creative approaches, not about debating difficult ethical dilemmas. Something simple like “What would you do if you get a grade you didn’t deserve” can spark interesting discussions.

Frequently asked questions

What are some examples of leadership activities?

A lot of activities encourage leadership such as playing sports, volunteering, engaging in student councils, etc.

What is leadership in middle school?

Effective schools give all students equal opportunities to lead. Every student has the potential to be a leader, and it’s up to the teacher to encourage leadership.

What does it take to be a true leader?

Leaders need to be creative, curious, and have an open mind. They should be emphatic, trustworthy, and have good communication skills. Positive attitude and will for self-growth are also necessary.

What makes a good leader lesson plan?

If you want to dedicate an entire class for leadership, start with identifying leadership traits and having a group discussion. Later you can engage in the activities we suggested in this article and finish with a quick survey to see what students think.

Conclusion

You probably can’t wait to try these leadership activities for middle school students with your class. We’ll give you one piece of advice, bring an enthusiastic spirit in the classroom and you’ll surely have fun with your students.

Also, did you talk with your class about their preparation for school? Establishing a healthy morning routine is crucial for having a successful day, so check out these things to do in the morning before school.

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