Shy children. We love them but hate them. It can be so frustrating sometimes. Except this is one of the most important things not to show. Any progress is still progress, so try not to compare your child to other children, only what they were like yesterday, or last week, or last month.
Activities can be challenging for shy children, yet your child must gain hobbies and activities that they will enjoy. Activities that include other people will help your child build friendships with others, so these are particularly critical.
In this article, you will find a few ideas and activities that your shy child will enjoy.
Tip: always be open-minded and try to do as many activities as a family together. Start from when your children are as young as possible, as this will build bonds that later on will make your child feel closer to you and your partner.
Group Reading and Listening
Reading encourages the imagination of your child and expands their vocabulary. From fantasy worlds to dinosaur facts, there will be something you can find that your child will simply adore.
Reading can improve your child’s memory as it keeps the brain active and increases intelligence as it increases your child’s reading comprehension skills.
Reading can also be a good way to destress for older children, as getting lost in a fantasy world increases creativity, and stress slips away when you are lost in a great story.
Be careful not to let your child read by themselves too much, especially younger children. This is because even though it stimulates their learning, it encourages your child to become even shyer. Reading is excellent, just in small amounts, like bedtime stories!
- Cinderella: a classic fairy tale that teaches children to keep humble even while everyone around you acts jealous and hostile
- Beauty and the Beast: teaches children to be kind and look at people for more than beauty
- Sleeping Beauty: teaches children that good is always better than evil
- Rapunzel: teaches children that they should never steal
- Snow White: teaches children that you should be happy, kind, and gentle
- The Little Mermaid: teaches children that they should be brave and be different to get what they want
- Goldilocks: teaches children to be respectful
- The Ugly Duckling: teaches children to never judge by outward appearances
- The Frog Prince: teaches children to keep their promises
Outdoor games keep children active and will boost their stamina and fitness. Increasing their interest in outdoor games and play will make your child more active and lower the risk of diseases like diabetes and obesity when they are older.
These activities and games are best played with multiple children your child likes as well as you and your partner. No matter if your child is shy or not, once they get into the joyful spirit and excitement, they will participate as whole-heartedly as any other child.
Tag or Tig: many versions of this game exist
- A classic version is that one player is chosen as ‘it’ and then the one player will chase other players to make them ‘it’ by tapping them then, saying ‘tag!’ and running away
- chain tag involves one player chasing other players, and once they are ‘tagged,’ they will hold hands and chase the other players
- blind man’s bluff tag: (warning: play this in a large, open space!!)
- Someone is chosen and blindfolded. They will reach out with their hands to try to find the other players and walk slowly. As soon as another person is touched, the game is over, and the others have won.
Hide and Seek:
A player is chosen and will count up to a number depending on how many people there are and how fast the player counts, while the other players will hide. Once another player is found
- The found player waits patiently or finds another place for the next round or help keep the other players hidden
- They help the chosen player find the others
The last person found is the winner
Duck, Duck, Goose:
Sitting down in a circle, a player is chosen, then they will tap the other player’s heads by saying: “duck” and walking around the circle. They will choose another player by saying “goose!” then running around the circle and sitting in the seat of the goose player.
One player will tell the other players to do. For example, if “Simon says to raise your hand.” If the other players don’t raise their hand, they are out.
However, if the chosen player says “hop” and other players hop, they are out because Simon didn’t tell them to.
Stuck in the Mud: similar to tag
A person will tag other people just by touching them and not saying anything. Once a player is tagged, they must pose in an ‘X’ formation. A ‘free’ player must unstick them by
- Tapping them
- Crawling under their leg (the stuck player can lift their leg if necessary)
The tagger wins if all players are stuck, or the players win if the tagger gives up.
What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?
One player is chosen as Mr. Wolf, and they will stand at the top of the play area. The others will line up side by side at the bottom of the play area (a tiled area is best).
The players will ask Mr. Wolf: “What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?”
Mr. Wolf will reply with a time, for example: “2 O’Clock.” All the players would then take two steps, and so on, as each extra hour is an extra step.
Eventually, once the players are close enough, Mr. Wolf will reply with “Dinner Time!” and chase the other players to tag them. The tagged player is the next Mr. Wolf.
Hot Chocolate: similar to What’s The Time, Mr. Wolf?
A player is chosen to stand at the top of the play area, while the others line up side by side at the bottom of the play area. The chosen player will turn their back to the other players for a random amount of time.
While their back is turned, the other players have to silently creep up closer. The chosen player will turn back sharply, and if they see someone moving, they are ‘out.’
The aim is for one of the players to tap the chosen player’s back and shout “Hot Chocolate!”
Dodge Ball: (warning: use soft, squidgy balls!)
Two equal teams of players, balls are placed in the middle of the play area. Someone will countdown, and the players will rush to grab the balls. The players will throw them at the opposite team, and if they are hit below the shoulders, the player is out.
The players with the least amount of people out will win.
Making crafts are enjoyable for adults and kids. Children get to spend time with you doing something they enjoy, building a connection. Taking the time to do these with your children builds their patience, self-esteem, relaxation, and creativity.
From origami to bead crafts to science experiments, there will be that interests your kid.
Here are a few examples.
Clay modeling is very calming, and it makes both brains focus as the left brain has discipline and perseverance while the right brain creates and stretches the imagination. Clay modeling ideas include: rainbows, food, jewelry, and flowers.
Lanterns are versatile and easy to make. You can make them from jars and pieces of paper, or simply drawing on a lantern.
- Costume making
- Homemade bookmarks and origami
You could also make your own stress toys (e.g., slime, oobleck):
To make oobleck, mix one cup of corn-starch with a half cup of water with food coloring in. Mix them with your hands and add ingredients if needed, until the mixture is consistent enough to form a ball.
If you need more ideas, simply search up kid crafts, and millions of results will pop up! Just remember to keep scissors and dangerous objects safely in your control and away from your kids.
It is good to encourage your child to have companionship and friendship, as well as to learn how to lose and develop resilience. Physically active children mostly grow up to be physically active adults.
This is because sports is an amazing way of blocking numerous diseases like cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and osteoporosis, so becoming included in childhood sports is a key factor in improving and sustaining health.
Whether your children are boys or girls, here are some sports they can play:
- Gymnastics or Ballet
- Tennis or Badmington
- Judo or Karate
Learning music can have many positive effects, like teaching patience and creating responsibility. It also boosts self-esteem and improves reading skills, as well as exposing your child to new cultures and enhancing coordination.
Especially for shy kids, learning an instrument encourages self-expression, a way to easily express emotions and vent as well as being a good way to break the ice, which aids social skills.
Try to pick an instrument that your child naturally likes and seems determined to do, as this will increase their chances of playing the instrument well into adulthood.
Here are some popular instruments to learn.
stimulates different areas of your child’s brain as pieces and tones are played differently so the piano will sharpen their brain
Helps in school, whether it is Behavioral or spatial cognitive development as children are better in problem-solving skills
Raises self-esteem as learning to play a song gives you a feeling of achievement and reward
Relaxation as the relief that comes from venting your feelings into music is immediate
Learning new skills is challenging, but the satisfaction is priceless and is essential for self-improvement
Musical knowledge as when your child grows older, if they truly love their instrument, they will want to learn more about the history, geography of the violin, and want to travel and visit museums and learn about composers
Versatility: you can play any type of music without needing an instrument to make it sound good
Your child can take their violin anywhere!
Improves your child’s memory as it enlarges the left side of the brain and enhances creativity by encouraging your children to improvise and make their own music
Reading music involves your brain converting information into specific patterns, which enhance your coordination
One of the best instruments to let out feelings as it relieves frustration, disappointment, and stress, which will be important as your child grows older
Music enables children to learn math more easily
Develops confidence as drummers must play loud beats and have a growth mindset as you have to break down pieces into manageable sections
Drumming also burns a lot of calories, which will help your child to be active and fitter
Singing And Listening To Music
There are many genres of music out there, one of which your child will hopefully love.
Singing releases oxytocin, which decreases stress anxiety, which will immensely help shy children. It is known that singing lowers blood pressure also, as it has a calming effect and can increase empathy and understanding between cultures.
This is because singing songs from other cultures will make your child appreciate other cultures.
Also, listening to music can decrease fatigue, boost exercise performance, and help manage pain. Music has a powerful effect on children, which can help reduce anxiety and depression as well as lighten you and your child’s mood.
Group and Board Games
Board games help your child understand rules. This is because all games are built around rules since rules are structures to make sure the game is fair and everyone has the same chance or is on a level playing field. Playing board games will help your children understand that rules are good and should be followed.
These ideas and concepts can be translated directly into academic and social skills, as school rules will need children to follow directions rather than their impulses.
Board games help develop logic and strategic skills. For games like UNO, children will need to think of a strategy to win the game. This is an important skill as it is needed to manage long term goals, money, and talking to people.
Skills like these can start in board games since they need you to think many steps ahead and anticipate your opponent’s moves.
Also, managing resources and reacting to the game as it changes and encourages strategic thinking, as even variables of chance encourage thinking through having multiple outcomes.
Board games improve social and communication skills. Teamwork is a skill that is needed in board games, like Pandemic. Organization, planning, problem-solving, and decision-making are required in games, and these are needed in real life, and kids need to accept input from others and communicate ideas effectively.
Learning how to lose also is important as this can give children an advantage to influence people easier.
Some games that improve skills:
Therapeutic and Stress Toys
Stress toys are a way for children, teenagers, and adults alike to relieve stress. Whether this is at home, at school, or anywhere else, your child can fidget with these toys to manage stress and anxiety.
Most toys are designed to be decorative, pretty, and useful. While most toys are too small and may present choking hazards, there are alternative games and cards that work instead.
Here are some examples.
- Slime or Oobleck
- Fidget Cube
- Stress or Therapy Card Games
Therapy Card games such as the one here an have many benefits such as:
- shining a light on every player’s inner qualities.
- easy enough for little kids but fun for teens also.
- helping kids cope with anxiety, low self-esteem & bullying. Kids are shown to feel better about themselves when their positive traits are reassured.
- Helping with team building & compassion.
Growing your own plants encourages healthy eating as children will want to eat what they have made, so kids will want and grow to love berries, fruits, and vegetables.
Kids and parents can work together to help decide which flowers or plants to grow and where they should go, as growing plants have a bonding effect. Even after, you can work with your children to make food and meals with the plants that you have grown.
Having a plant is almost like having a pet; your child will learn responsibility. If you give your child a checklist to help your kid take care of their plant, then they will learn responsibility to look and care for it, as well as patience.
Immediate gratification is something children need to learn is not always a good thing, as gardening is slow yet so rewarding, especially when they are eating their products. Learning patience and not immediate gratification means that your child is more likely to be a good listener and have better social and mental skills when they go to school.
You need to help your child plan and organize the garden, or even give them apart for themselves! This will increase their planning and problem-solving skills as well as strategies to organize for all parts of life.
These activities are so important for all children, but especially for shy and small children so they can build skills they will need, like communication skills. You must be patient yourself, and if time goes by and you realize they are still as shy as ever, then you can try therapy games such as the one mentioned earlier.