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5 Social Emotional Learning Activities To Try With Your Kids

5 Social Emotional Learning Activities To Try With Your Kids

Looking for fun social emotional learning activities to try at home with your kids? This past year, you may have noticed many schools focusing on social emotional learning (also known as SEL) and teaching strategies to help them work through their feelings, cope with strong emotions and even get along with others.

6 Activities to Teach Social Emotional Learning At Home

After the challenging year our school-aged children have had, it’s important that we continue working on these important life skills at home. Here are a handful of easy, yet fun, social-emotional learning activities you may want to try. Each of these social-emotional learning activities are low-tech, taps into different learning styles and can easily fit into any daily routine at home this summer. Give them a try!

1. Challenge Kids To Random Acts Of Kindness

Encourage your kids to show compassion and learn about serving others by doing acts of kindness.This is a great activity to encourage kids to be kind to others. Focusing on kindness as a family can be life-changing. Simple acts like complimenting friends, writing a thank you note for the delivery man, or checking in on an elderly neighbor can teach kids to be kind and show that they care. You may have fun writing positive messages in chalk on your sidewalk for all that walk by to see. Donate food to a local food pantry or pick some pretty flowers as a gift for the teacher. Encourage your kids to call a friend they haven’t seen in a while, or hold the door open for someone at the grocery store. Any act of kindness, big or small, can make a big difference to someone else. Then challenge them to do more of that!

2. Practice mindful breathing

A great way to work on self-regulation is to practice mindful breathing with your kids. It can also help teach coping skills and provide kids with a skill that can help them stay calm and feel in control when they experience strong emotions.

3. Play board games

You can use any board game you have on hand, like Monopoly or Candyland. Even UNO is a great game to play together. These games can help support a number of skills and teach kids to take turns, practice good sportsmanship and have conversations with others. Games can also help kids think, teach them how to listen, how to take turns, consider consequences, and make good decisions.

4. Keep a Journal

Writing in a journal can help kids express their feelings and thoughts in a way that feels safe and builds self awareness. Set aside 5 or 10 minutes each day and have your child write down what is on their mind. Afterwards, give kids time to share their thoughts if they want. You can even use open-ended prompts to help kids get started. Journal writing helps kids connect with themselves and start or end their day off in a positive place.

Ask them to consider every sensation in their body and ask them to jot down any thoughts that pop up into their minds. This will help kids notice and recognize feelings and how they affect their body. by thinking about how they are feeling, they will learn critical thinking skills and emotional awareness. If your child doesn’t feel comfortable writing, you can even encourage them to just close their eyes and think about how they feel.

5. Try Mindful Coloring

This is probably one of my personal favorite social emotional learning activities. Choose a favorite coloring book and practice mindfulness by coloring. It’s easy! Ask kids to color and breathe as they let thoughts pass through their minds. Play soothing music while you color and support a calming atmosphere. Coloring can be an active way to calm the mind. In addition, this is a strategy that can help kids do something in a mindful way without focusing on if it’s “right” or “wrong.” This can be particularly helpful for kids who exhibit perfectionistic behaviors. Encourage kids to just color and just be in the moment!

6. Practice positive affirmations

Explain to kids that positive affirmations are kind and supportive words we say to ourselves to lift us up and even make us feel better when we are feeling down. For example, remind kids that before a big test, they might want to say “I can do this!” Work together to think of positive words that kids might say in different situations. Then design a list of favorite self-talk statements that kids can access later when they need a bit of positivity in their day. Practice saying these positive affirmations, write them down, and even create cards (or post-its) with each of their favorites. Keep these cards on hand for use anytime kids need to turn negative feelings into positive ones!

Social-emotional learning activities are important to our kids’ well-being because they help build self-awareness, confidence, empathy, and establish supportive relationships. By working together you can help your child manage emotions and work on important social sills⁠ — while still having fun along the way!

About The Author

Monica Encarnacion

Monica Encarnacion is a digital parenting writer and consultant for top online publications, including Common Sense Media, where she shares expert reviews of bilingual books and apps for kids. As a passionate content creator, she’s worked with brands such as VTech, ClassDojo, Microsoft, Verizon, and Lego Education. A NYC native, she writes about her family’s digital lifestyle and love of travel on her blog, NYCTechMommy. A former bilingual educator and technology teacher, Monica is passionate about identifying resources that promote learning and help kids (and families) make connections with the world beyond the classroom.

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