Character Building Activities for Pink Shirt Day


Bullying is a form of aggression where there is a power imbalance; the person doing the bullying has power over the person being victimized. In additional (sic) to any physical trauma incurred, bullying can result in serious emotional problems, including anxiety, low self-esteem, or depression.” That is how bullying is described on the Pink Shirt Day website. (

To tackle that power imbalance, P.A.W.S., the High School Leadership Group,  and the Character Education Committee at Swan Hills School, put together Pink Shirt Day activities that build character, since people of good character don’t tend to bully others. Wearing t-shirts designed and purchased by P.A.W.S., students and staff gathered to develop positive character traits.

For students from Kindergarten to Grade 6, we focused on the six character traits that we have highlighted during the past six months of school. Those are: empathy, kindness, integrity, self-respect, and tolerance. Students were divided into six, mixed-grade groups and rotated through the activities on Wednesday morning. Each activity was lead by members of the high school Leadership Group.

Tiny safety pins in a bowl of rice helped to demonstrate empathy as one student cheered on another, who, blindfolded,  searched through the rice for the pins. When the roles were switched, the ‘cheerer’ was much better equipped to understand the difficulty of the task.

Kindness was explored through students brainstorming acts of kindness, which they then wrote on paper strips. The chain that was created when these strips were linked together, showed the connection between acts of kindness, and a ‘kindness culture’.

Paper slips were again used for students to define integrity. Each slip described a scenario, which the students then placed in one of three buckets. One bucket was for scenarios that showed integrity and another was for the opposite. A third bucket was labeled “Unsure”. The scenarios in that bucket were further discussed among the group toward an agreement to place it in one of the first two buckets.

After a brainstorming session, where positive personal qualities were listed on a whiteboard for all to see, students were given a mirror on which they wrote those qualities that pertained to them, personally. This was to help the students develop self-respect.

Tolerance was explored as students chose a colour of paper on which to trace their hand. The shapes were then cut out and hung on an acrostic banner, which gave meaning to the word tolerance: Different, Individuals, Valuing, Each other, Regardless of, Skin, Intellect, Talent or, Years.

Lastly, students explored Courage through literature. After hearing a story read from a picture book illustrating the quality, students discussed how the character(s) in the story showed courage.

After being divided into groups of eight, students in Grades 5 through 12, brainstormed scenarios demonstrating one of the six featured character traits. Within their groups, students then had fun acting out their scripts. After a snack provided by P.A.W.S., the groups then created placemats based on their choice of positive character trait. The P.A.W.S. staff will be choosing some of these to copy and distribute to local restaurants.

Character education is an ongoing project at Swan Hills School as we aim to help grow good citizens. In the coming months, we will be exploring responsibility, optimism, and perseverance.

Posted on: March 1st, 2018