Wordmarbles - A fun way to teach your children the importance of kind speech!

Written by Sean Allen – better known as Caroline’s husband. 😉 

Tell me if any of this sounds familiar?

“Quit it!”
“You are SO mean!”
“I’m not playing with you!”
“Leave me ALONE!”
“Give me that back!”
“Go away!”

And that’s about enough of that. I could hear the little voices of my children in my head as I typed every one of those lines. And even though they’re in bed as I type this, it’s still enough to make me cringe a little. 🙂

Every family could benefit from more kindness in their speech. Bickering children who have hardly a nice thing to say to one another make for a very disrupted and tiresome day. Harsh words have a way of taking the peace that ought to reign in your home by the scruff of the neck and booting it out the front door. By bedtime, your ears are nearly ringing with the commotion of it all.

We’ve always had little tolerance for cruel or harsh speaking in our home, but a few months ago it seemed as if our children were constantly at each other’s throats! It usually came in pairs, that is, a different pair would be cross with each other every day. Some days were worse than others and then there were days where it seemed the whole lot of them had morphed into one of those big rolling, brawling balls of kicking and screaming you see in cartoons!

Of course our natural inclination was to diffuse the ball with – you guessed it – more shouting.

This would bring the ball to a stop but it did little to teach our children about the importance of kind words. I realized we needed some help. Something along the lines of a visual aid.

I sat down one night and began to tinker around on the computer. I wanted to come up with something that would help my children see just how often unkind words slipped out of their mouths. I also wanted them to see the times they used kind or gentle speech to one another and to reward them for their efforts. What I eventually came up with was Wordmarbles.

Wordmarbles Supplies needed, so easy and only takes a few minutes to put together!

Wordmarbles couldn’t be simpler. All you need is two mason jars, a bowl, and some marbles. Your marbles represent “words” and they all go in the “words bowl”. We’ve taught our children that words are very much like marbles. They can be smooth and bright and shiny or, if you throw them at someone, they can really hurt! It all depends in how you use them.

Wordmarbles Jar with Kind and Mean speech jars!

If we hear our children using kind words, we tell them to put a marble in the “kind words jar” and if they use mean speech, they have to put a marble in the “mean words jar”. I’ve designed three fun and colorful labels to put on each container – just cut them out, stick them on and you’re ready to go!

The “mean words” and “kind words” labels are nice because they have these little gauges built into the side of them. These are there to help you and your little ones keep track of their speech over the course of the month. You can use these gauges for either rewards or consequences as the jars fill up with marbles.

Labels to use on the Wordmarble Jars!

I was surprised to see how hard our children worked to keep the level of the marbles in the “mean words jar” lower than that of the “kind words jar”! At the end of the month, if our children have more kind words than mean words they get a treat of ice cream, sometimes at home and sometimes from Chick Fil A. 🙂

As with our Character Badges program, consistency is key. For Wordmarbles to be effective, it’s important to try and acknowledge as many instances of either kind or unkind speech as you can.

You can purchase the Wordmarbles pdf file here for $2.99, but for two days only you can get it totally free when you subscribe to the blog! This offer has expired. 




20 Comments on Wordmarbles – A Fun Way to Teach Kind Speech!

  1. Probably something I could benefit with doing as a mental exercise myself from time to time.. 😉 Awareness of our speech speech helps us to respect the power of the words we use both towards ourselves and others. Great way to illustrate the concept.

  2. This is such a wonderful idea! My husband and I were just talking about new ways to help our kids be more kind in their interactions with each other and with us. We’ll definitely be giving this a try. I have been reading your blog for over a year now and have found such strength and inspiration in you. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us.

    • These types of gifts definitely come from my husband! I can barely draw a straight line, let alone design something like this. 😉 We are happy to share though, I know it’s nice to find a little something new that might give your children a fresh boost of encouragement.

  3. What a great idea! We’ve been discussing how our whole house (mom and dad included)could be made more aware of the speech we use.
    “We’ve taught our children that words are very much like marbles. They can be smooth and bright and shiny or, if you throw them at someone, they can really hurt! It all depends in how you use them.” I love that!
    Excellent idea!!

  4. Great idea! I especially like the way you describe that words are like marbles…great analogy! I subscribed to your blog and have not yet received a confirmation email? (I checked all 4 of the google tabs as well as my spam folder) Thank you!!!

    • Did you get this figured out yet? I’m showing you are confirmed in my email list. Once you click the confirmation email it should take you right to where you can download it.

  5. This is so great! We will start using it asap in our family of 9, adults included! I am constantly telling my children to lower their voices, speak in a nicer tone, or keep unkind comments to themselves. This will be so helpful! Thank you for offering it as a subscriber freebie!
    P.S. I love your blog!

  6. A couple of questions…
    About how many marbles do you need to fill a jar? And do you have a suggestion of an inexpensive place to buy marbles?

    • We purchased our marbles from the dollar store, $1 a bag! Sean has instructions as to how many marbles you need in the instructions, he actually counted out the marbles. 😉 I think somewhere around 150-200 marbles filled up our bowl. It also depends on how many children you have. If you have 2, you might not need as many marbles as a family that has 10. Just customize it to fit your needs!

  7. This blog post totally breaks and busts my heart. The finger is pointing at ME! Not necessarily unkind words, but impatient, frustrated tones… I may need this for the momma and not the child. *Shame*

  8. Are the files editable? I’m not keen on labeling the unkind words as “Mean”. I’d prefer unkind instead. Mean has such a label attached and I don’t want my child thinking he is mean….he is learning.

  9. I subscribed to your site and confirmed my email but when I went to download the wordmarbles printable, I accidentally closed the tab and now can’t find my way back. HELP!

    My kids (and I) could really use this wonderful idea to encourage us all to use kind words with each other. Thanks.

    • Angie,

      When you get your emails from me, there is a place to click for freebies I offer for current subscribers. You will find it there!

  10. Cute idea! Although I prefer not to reinforce doing something “good” for reward with my kids. I feel that they need to learn the heart reason for making a wise choice vs an unwise one (because it honors God and blesses others, rather than to get something out of it). But the concept of helping them get in the habit of speaking kind words is really helpful! I would probably add having them speak words of love & life anytime they had to put a marble in the “mean words” jar and accompany it with a scripture that teaches them WHY they are doing it. Thanks for the post!

  11. I love this idea and I would like to use it in my home! I am having trouble downloading it. When I click on the link it sends me to a page that says “page not found”. How can I get this?

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