Beyond Books & Games – How Simple Mentoring Activities Strengthen Valuable Life Skills   

How simple mentoring activities strengthen valuable life skills
Written by Kids Hope USA

For many Kids Hope USA one-on-one relationships, students and mentors spend time in mentoring activities such as games and reading. They play games like Uno or Connect 4. Take turns reading a page in a silly voice. Color in pictures while talking about how the week is going.  

That hour fills up quickly with activities, conversation, and games. At the end, students come away with much more than a fully colored picture or a sense of pride after winning a competitive game of Candy Land.  


Each hour an elementary student spends with his or her mentor is an opportunity to develop and strengthen valuable life skills that are applicable in a variety of settings. In fact, sometimes the simplest things—whether dealing another game of Go Fish!, practicing spelling words, or completing an “All About Me” book—can make a transformative difference.  

Seemingly ordinary activities develop valuable habits and reinforce skills that support students’ learning in school and life.  


There are so many ways that one hour spent with a student can make a profound difference in their life, even if that transformation or growth is not visible right away. During a typical mentoring hour, students practice decision-making, time management, and reading for comprehension—all within a safe, positive and encouraging setting.

By simply playing a game together, students are reminded of the importance of learning and following the rules, taking turns, and showing good sportsmanship (win or lose). A short chat allows students to practice asking and answering questions, encourages listening, and develops empathy.

Below are just a few of the many ways that mentoring activities can pave the way for further growth.  

  • Reading together strengthens relationships between mentors and students. The stories they read help boost creativity, empathy, moral responsibility, and vocabulary.  
  • Games help reinforce social skills, strengthen communication, and provide opportunities to manage frustration, and learn good sportsmanship. 
  • Puzzles help support resiliency and perseverance in overcoming a challenging activity.  
  • Having a routine greeting when you get together helps reduce anxiety for kids as they have confidence in that consistent, positive interaction.  
  • Coloring and other art projects cultivate creativity and imagination.  
mentoring activities that build and strengthen life skills


The one hour a week a mentor spends with their student can be an fun time of playing games, talking, and reading. Remember that those simple, ordinary components of the hour can be life-changing for a child. By showing up each week, mentors cultivate fun opportunities for students to develop and strengthen valuable life skills.  

Become a Mentor

Learn more about mentoring programs with Kids Hope USA by visiting our Program Page.  

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