Finding character trait games and centers that are actually engaging and at the same time challenging for your 3rd or 4th grade students can be hard. Most games or centers involve filling out a graphic organizer or completing a too-easy matching game.
Once students reach upper elementary, they usually understand the basics of identifying character traits. What they really need is practice looking at the nuances of different character traits and thinking about how a trait might be displayed in a variety of ways.
Below, find 3 fun center/game ideas to help students practice character traits in a fun and engaging way. Use these ideas to create your own character trait centers for your classroom, or buy the extremely low prep version here. (Only 1 center requires prep - a little cutting.)
Game/Center #1 - Character Trait Mazes
These mazes are a fun way to help students think about different ways a character trait might be displayed in a fictional text. In each maze, students are given a specific character trait. In order to successfully complete the maze, they must shade in details that show what a character with that specific trait might do, think, or say.
These mazes are a fun way to help 3rd and 4th grade students think about different ways a character trait might be displayed in a fictional text. In each maze, students are given a specific character trait. In order to successfully complete the maze, they must shade in details that show what a character with that specific trait might do, think, or say.
Game/Center #2 - Character Trait Sort
Sorts are fun, engaging activities that require a little more thought than a simple matching game. They make a fun hands on activity that require students to think about similarities and differences and justify their thinking.
In this character traits sort, students are given 6 different character traits and 18 short paragraphs. Students read the paragraphs and sort them based on what character trait is most clearly displayed.
If you are going to create your own sort, think about what your students really need more practice with. 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students will most likely be easily be able to distinguish between very contrasting similar traits like "happy" and "sad." It's harder for them to distinguish between character traits that are more similar, however.
For example, this character traits sort requires students to distinguish between "selfish," "unforgiving," and "arrogant" behaviors and actions. This requires students to read the short paragraphs more carefully and with more consideration.
These Free Character Trait Lists would be helpful for creating your own character trait sort.
Game/Center #3 - Character Trait Writing Center
One of the best ways to have students apply what they know about character traits is to have them write short stories or paragraphs that clearly demonstrate a specific character trait.
This is a rigorous activity for upper elementary students that requires little prep on the teacher's end - a win/win!
For your struggling students or students that dislike writing, however, this might be a formidable task. Providing them with a little direction and making it seem like a game can help relieve some of the overwhelm some students feel.
The writing centers in my Character Traits Games Resource, for example, have students spin a paperclip in order to choose a character trait. Then, they are asked to think about how a specific person (like a grandma or a football player, for example) might behave if they displayed this character trait.
Providing the extra support helps make the writing more fun for students, and helps you get a clear understanding of how well they understand character traits.
You might also like these other ways to integrate writing into your character trait lesson plans.
"The character trait sort and character trait mazes were a HIT in centers. This resource is easy to prep, easy to re-use in many different scenarios. Great resource!"
These character trait centers are engaging, rigorous activities that can be created by any upper elementary teacher. However, other than the writing center, they are incredibly time consuming to create. Save time by buying the already made version of these centers here.
Each of the centers in this resource comes with either a student recording sheet or a grading rubric so that you hold students accountable for their work, and you can also easily assign a grade to each center.
These center activities are a fun way for students to practice what they already know about character traits independently.