Ten Ways to Use the Character in Sports Jar

By Eric Braun

Free Spirit’s Character in Sports jar includes three kinds of cards: “Words of Character” cards have quotes about character by athletes; “Make a Difference” cards give ideas for building and showing your good character; and “Great Character” cards tell true anecdotes about athletes displaying great character. The cards are a fun and easy way to get kids from ages 8 to 13 thinking, talking, and even writing about being your best on and off the field.

Here are ten ideas. Add your own ideas in the comments section.

  1. WordsofCharacter © Free Spirit PublishingBreak the ice at your first sports team or club meeting by having everyone choose a “Words of Character” card, read it to the group, and talk briefly about what the quote means to them.
  2. One great thing about Free Spirit’s In a Jar® products is that they’re so portable. Take Character in Sports on the bus when your team is traveling to a game and read a few to the group.
  3. Put students or youth group members in pairs or small groups and hand out “Great Character” cards. Give them a few minutes to plan a skit, then have them act out the scene on their card for the class.
  4. GreatCharacter_© Free Spirit PublishingStart each practice or class meeting with a card you choose to be a Thought of the Day.
  5. Use a card as a prompt for free writing or an essay.
  6. Assign each student a “Words of Character” card and have them research the speaker on their cards. Did that person live her or his life in a way that supports the quote?
  7. Read a few “Make a Difference” cards to your group, then have everyone write one of their own. How do they show good character in sports?
  8. Read a few “Great Character” cards to your group, then have everyone do research and write about a similar story of great character in sports.
  9. MakeaDifference_© Free Spirit PublishingHand out the cards as bookmarks.
  10. Many of the “Make a Difference” cards present dilemmas, or “what would you do” scenarios. Read one with your students or athletes and have a group discussion about everyone’s response.

The cards can be used for a five-minute activity or discussion during a transition time, or they can become a deeper assignment.

Minneapolis writer Eric BraunEric Braun is a Minneapolis writer and editor doing his best to raise his two sports-playing sons to have character.

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