Character education lessons, activities, and resources

Pillar:  Citizenship

Purpose: Students will learn how teamwork relates to citizenship and experience how an individual can impact a team.


  1. Students will define what it means to be a good citizen.
  2. Students will build a web to represent how a team works together.
  3. Students will reflect on how their own actions impact others on a team.


  1. Familiarize the children with the idea of being a good citizen.
  2. Promote the benefits of working together.
  3. Expose the children to the idea that their actions affect others.

Note: The first time you introduce this activity, you may want to do it with a small group. Or, if there are two adults with your group, you might consider dividing the large group and using two balls of yarn. Once the children have practiced the activity with a small group, it will be fun to try it with more friends!


  • Large group; small group


  • One ball of yarn long enough to create a web for the group
  • Whiteboard or blackboard or chart paper


  1. Write the word “citizen” on the board or chart paper. Ask the children if they know what it means. Remind them of any other lessons and the various definitions of a good citizen (protecting the environment, doing one’s share, working together in the community/group, obeying rules, etc.).
  2. Tell the group they are going to work together and be good citizens. Have the children sit in a circle and explain that they will be making a web.
  3. Talk to the children about teamwork. Emphasize they will be working together. Share what might happen during the game if they do not work as a team. What will happen if someone lets go of their yarn?
  4. Hand a ball of yarn to one child. Instruct the child to hold on to the end of the yarn. Ask the child to roll the ball of yarn to another child on the other side of the circle.
  5. Instruct the child who receives the ball of yarn to hold onto the stretched-out yarn and roll the ball to another child. Have each child repeat these actions until everyone in the group holds part of the yarn. Children will need to hold the yarn above the ground so the ball of can roll on the floor.
  6. A “web” will have formed in the center of the circle. Step into the center and tug on one part of the yarn. Ask which children felt the pull. Repeat this several more times tugging at different parts of the yarn.
  7. Ask the children what citizenship means. Share that being a good citizen means doing one’s share to help the whole group. Say: “We must all work together as a team, because one person’s actions are felt by others.”
  8. Show how they are connected by pulling on part of the web again. Demonstrate what happens when one or two people let go and do not work as a team. Ask a child to drop their yarn. What happens? Have another child drop their yarn. What happens?

Continuing the Lesson

  1. Ask the children to think of other ways they are connected to their friends in the group. How do the actions of children affect other children?
  2. Use this lesson at the start of the day to remind the children about the importance of working together. As the children hold the yarn, ask each child what they will do (or what they did the previous day” to be a good citizen.
  3. Play other games that involve teamwork.
    • One idea: Using a parachute, have the children stand in a circle, each holding the edge of the parachute.
      • Ask the children to all sit down together; watch the parachute come down.
      • Ask the children to stand up together and stretch their arms up. Watch the parachute rise in the air.
      • What happens when friends let go of their edge?
      • What happens when some children stand/sit too quickly or slowly?
  1. Introduce other ways we are connected to the larger world.
    • For instance, the milk we drink comes from a store. The store gets the milk from the dairy. The dairy gets the milk from the farmer and the farmer gets the milk from the cow.
    • Another example: The toys we play with came from a store. The store got them from the people who made the toys.
  2. Use this web activity in other parts of your program.
    • When children are learning one another’s names:
      • Say a child’s name and then roll the ball of yarn to him or her. They then say a name and roll the ball of yarn to that child.
    • When you are remembering details of a story, a walk or a field trip. Recall what happened first, next, and so on. Roll the ball of yarn for each detail.
      • When the group is done, talk about how each part of the story or activity is connected to the other.

Family Activity: Pulling Together Web

We are learning about citizenship. We are learning how people need to work together to be good citizens. We made a web with yarn to show how we are connected.

Here is something you can do at home:

  • How are we connected?
    Talk about daily activities to help your child begin to understand that they are connected to the larger world. For example, you can ask, “Where did your milk come from?” A younger child might answer: “Store” or “Farmer.” The adult can answer: “Yes, your milk came from the store. The people at the store help us get milk.” Or “Yes, your milk came from a farmer.”An older child can begin to learn that there are more steps to getting milk. For example, you can ask, “Where does the milk come from?” The child might answer “the store.” Parents can say, “Yes, your milk came from the store, and the store got the milk from a farmer, who got the milk from a cow.”You can repeat this activity for lots of things. For example: how mail gets to a mailbox; how parents work for money to buy things; how we get clean water; how we get the gas for cars or buses.
  • Draw the connections.
    Sometimes it helps your child learn when they can “see” what you are talking about. When you talk about how we are connected, you and your child can also draw a picture to tell the story. Your child can use the pictures to tell the story to others.

Need more lessons like this?  Check out the CHARACTER COUNTS! for Early Childhood Kit from our online store.