Honesty games for kids

Updated April 17, 2017

Often kids say that something isn't fair. Developing an understanding of right and wrong is important for children; kids need to know how to treat all people with fairness and honesty in addition to listening, considering how others feel and correcting their mistakes. Teaching children honesty through a game provides a fun atmosphere in which they receive rewards and praise for doing the right thing. In addition to these games, you help your child by being a model of honesty and fairness.

Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar

For younger children, this game provides a simple concept of honesty. It helps to have a jar of cookies and hide a cookie with one of the participants. First, start by telling the child a story about a jar full of cookies, but when someone (insert name of person, or use Mommy or Daddy in place) goes to get a cookie they are all gone. Then sing, "Who took the cookies from the cookie jar? Daddy took the cookies from the cookie jar. Who me? Yes you. Couldn't be. Then who?" Keep repeating using the children's names incorporating the children to sing with you and respond back to the song with "Who me?" and "Couldn't be." Once the child produces the cookie, reward the children with a cookie or other prize.

The Button Game

Similar to the "Who Took the Cookie from the Cooke Jar" game, the button game requires four to eight people and a button. The button is passed from cupped hands from one person to another while one person turns their back counting to 10. Once the "seeker" finishes counting, he or she turns around and is allowed to ask three people in the group if they have a button. If asked, the person has to be honest and reveal the button, allowing them to be the seeker for the next round.

True or False

This is a demonstration game for toddlers. You play the game by asking the children questions that you know are obviously true or not true. For example, you say, "Frogs a pink." The child responds, "Not true." Play the game very lightly at first, stating various easy true and false statements for the child. Drop toys on the floor and say, "I dropped a toy on the floor." Then the child responds, "True." Then, reinforce the child's knowledge of true and false with a phrase like, "Wow, you do know the difference between what's true and what's not true. Did you know that if someone says something that's not true, it's called a lie?" Then you drop a dollar on the floor and pick it up, then say, "I didn't pick up a dollar." The child says, "Not true." Use this game to incorporate toys and fun as well as serious topics of honesty.

Honest or Dishonest

For older children, the consequence game is another way to teach honesty. Using index cards, you label the front with "Honest" or "Dishonest." Each card corresponds to a situation that you explain to your child. On the back, the honest cards show a result of being honest or a consequence of being dishonest. Create each scenario to relate to your child's life and write them down in a numbered list. If they like to play sports, read books in the library or go to the toy store, use familiar scenes that allow a decision to be made. After telling the story, hold up the two corresponding cards and allow your child to pick. Play the game with your child, allowing them to ask you what decision you would make. At the end of the game, show that it is easy to still be honest even if initially someone makes the dishonest choice by apologising and helping repair what is broken, for instance by returning a stolen item.

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About the Author

Karen Adams has been writing professionally since 2003. At the University of Florida, she worked on the school's newspaper while earning her Bachelor of Arts in English. She contributes to many different publications regularly. Currently she lives and works in Florida and is a member of Florida University's Fiction Collective and "Tea Magazine."