Socio-emotional learning continues to gain popularity in the world, as we help kids learn about and regulate their emotions. Beginning at a young age, kids can learn to recognize their developing feelings and create positive responses to them instead of burying emotions inside. Working through a program of self-care allows kids to maintain emotional and mental health while learning from themselves in the process. Since we grow and change each and every day, students should frequently revisit these activities for practice and growth work.
1. Printable Emotions Wheel
Giving kids the vocabulary to appropriately discuss their emotional well-being speaks volumes. Verbalizing their current state and learning about the triggers that lead them there will allow kids to develop appropriate emotional responses as they grow and change in their lifetime. Print out this wheel and explore it in your classroom.
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Help kids create a self-care bingo card for each month they’re in your classroom. They can be themed or just contain a variety of activities. These should be modeled in the classroom ahead of time and include an array of mindfulness, self-care, and observational activities. Kids can choose to do one each day.
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3. Skittles and Kindness
Discussing the attributes of kindness will help kids recognize it and give it to others. Assign a color to different questions about kindness and use them to prompt discussion in your classroom. You can create boards for different skills, such as friendship, bullying, helpfulness, gratefulness, and more.
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4. What’s on Your Plate?
Use the analogy of a “full plate” to encourage kids to verbalize and even draw their emotional worries. Things on the plate can be categorized into positive, negative, worrisome, or other categories. This allows learners to see the bulk their brain and heart carry daily.
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5. Color Therapy
Wheels give artistic representations of emotions, and kids can learn to associate colors with feelings. When you encourage kids to color their emotions on a daily basis by giving them each the same drawing, you’ll be amazed at the multitude of colorful pictures that arise based on their current state.
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6. Emotions Wheel
This activity allows kids to identify specific items or a multitude of contributors that make them feel a certain way. It can be used weekly, or even daily, to associate emotions with tangible items. Younger kids can draw pictures or cut and paste, while older kids can use words or sentences to elaborate.
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7. Wheel of Coping Skills
This interactive wheel helps kids to identify successful coping skills that work for them and therefore gives them a toolbox from which they can work through the emotion. They know that there are multiple options available to them, and it may sometimes take an entire trip around the wheel to bring themselves back to a state of calm.
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8. Friendship Wheel
After writing each kid’s name on a section of the wheel, you pass it around the classroom group and have each person add something positive that enhances their friendship with that person. By the end, each child has a physical representation of the friendship they have with a group of kids or even the entire class!
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9. Circle of Control
Help kids identify those things in life that they can change and those that are beyond their control. This can help alleviate worry and empower them to take action once they know they can make a difference. Prompt them to first think about things that they can control.
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10. Emotional Management Wheel
Give kids the vocabulary to identify their triggers, and their resulting emotions, and then offer personal solutions to each. Frequently, we worry about, or encounter, the same issues. Developing tools to work through these gives kids the power to regulate their own emotions with positive solutions.
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11. Brain Breaks
Create a fun spinner game for your students to pause and rest their minds. It can contain their favorite mindfulness activities or even physical activities, or a combination of both. Destressing their mind and body helps students to regulate and control their emotional responses.
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12. Problem-Solving Wheel
Teaching executive functioning gives kids the vocabulary and skills to approach difficulties with confidence. They can consider the issue and consequences; think before they act, and work to empathize with everyone involved. Add a spinner to help them pinpoint the exact solution they’re considering before discussing it.
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13. Worry Monsters
These fun creatures help learners identify moments when their personal “worry monster” arrives on the scene. It becomes a book, when opened up, that gives kids multiple coping mechanisms to survive and overcome worry. Give them the basic body form and then personalize the cover with different facial components and limbs.
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14. Hand Reminders Chart
Use this chart of your students’ hands to help them overcome multiple SEL situations. This particular chart displays how to combat unfriendly teasing with quick responses. Brainstorm these situations and responses as a group. Your class could have an SEL book by the end of the year to aid them in coping with a variety of emotions and scenarios!
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15. Sunflower Wheel of Compliments
Create a happy moment in each child’s day by creating a sunflower of compliments. For each student, have them write one positive compliment on an individual petal. Individually decorate the center of the flower, and then glue each petal to the flower. To reinforce positivity, have each child deliver the compliment verbally.
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