Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

Patience – Cotton Ball Game

This lesson ranks as a favorite of both staff members and students alike! Students have to be patient a LOT, whether they are at home or at school, and student’s often tell me that they are really bad at being patient. This lesson will definitely fill your entire block of time with your students and will leave them with lessons that stick with them. I hope that this lesson helps the patience in your students to flourish! It’s worth a try 😉

Lesson Title: Patience

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standard(s):

  • A:A1:5 Identify attitudes and behaviors that lead to successful learning

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to define, provide examples of, and model patience



Write the word patience on the white board.


  • What does the word patience mean?
    • Patience means waiting while staying calm. It also means that you wait without complaining or asking over and over again.
  • Tell me about a time you had to be patient at home
    • Completing chores
    • For family to get ready
    • For dinner to be ready
  • Tell me about a time you had to be patient at school
    • For others to complete test
    • To be called on when I raise my hand
    • Waiting in line for lunch
  • Why is being patient so difficult?
    • I want something now
    • I don’t like waiting
    • I have to be patient so often
    • I don’t know if it will ever happen


  1. Start by reading/playing The Carrot Seed or another book about patience


  • What is the take away of this book?
    • When you work towards something, you have to believe in yourself and be patient.
    • Patience pays off.
  • What is it like to have people doubt you? Do you let it stop you?
    • Difficult, no or you will miss out on all potential benefits. If the boy stopped believing in himself and overcome the doubt he would have stopped watering and tending to his plant and it would have never been able to grow into a humongous carrot.
  • How did his patience pay off?
    • He grew an extremely large carrot and proved everybody wrong.
  • Break up the students into groups of about 5. Tell the students that you are going to test them on their patience. Explain that you will give them a topic to discuss as a group. The students must provide their answer/opinion without interrupting another student. If the teachers sees any two students in a group talk at the same time, they lose.


  • Favorite color
  • Greatest fear
  • Favorite joke
  • Dream job/career
  • Favorite animal
  • How many states have you visited

Discuss how patience takes practice and is such an important thing to learn. Explore how we need to be patient in order to get a job (if we interrupt someone who is interviewing us they won’t hire us), to babysit little kids, and with parents in order to have privileges (games, rewards, etc.).

  • Tell the students that we will now practice patience using a game they may have played before: The quiet game! Tell the students you will test them to see if they can be patient and quiet for 1 minute. Use a timer that only you can see to further test their patience.
  • Tell students that we will practice patience with one more activity. Break up the students in 2 – 3 large groups. Explain that each team will have to take turns walking from one spot to another and back without letting the cotton ball fall off the spoon. If the cotton ball falls off the spoon, that team player must start back at the beginning. This is a race to see which team can have every team player complete this mission.

Closing discussion:

  • The team that walked too quickly wasn’t patient had to start over and slowed down their entire team. The patient team that was slow and steady won the race!
  • How can we be patient today in our lives? Why is it important
    • In lines, raising hands, playing sports, completing sports, helping kids younger than them, completing homework, etc.
    • We will be more successful and have more positive relationships with those we demonstrate patience with.

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