This Lion and Lamb Self-regulation activity for kids is perfect for helping kids build their ability to control emotions and behaviors in a fun, spring themed way. Use this tool to help kids adjust to difficult situations in the classroom or at home. Self-regulation is a big term. Let’s see if we can explain that term a little here and provide you with strategies to help with regulation.
Self-regulation is a difficult skill for many children. Kids of all ages and developmental levels have a need to build on their self-regulation skills. Building self-regulation skills allows kids to deal with their emotions in appropriate and functional ways. When a child is able to control their emotions, they can adjust to situations while managing their feelings and behaviors. Here is more in-depth information about self-regulation.
In occupational therapy, self-regulation activities can play a big part in treatment interventions. Kids can really struggle with emotional control or mindfulness in a situation in a way that impacts their functioning. Understanding how sensory processing plays a part in regulation and behaviors is part of the occupational therapy self-regulation intervention plan.
Occupational therapists can help parents, teachers, and children understand what is going on behind big emotions or big behaviors. They can help them see that self regulation strategies can make a huge difference in paying attention and learning in the classroom or completing tasks that need to be done at home.
This self-regulation activity helps children understand and put words into the ways their body and mind may be reacting to certain situations.
Lion and Lamb Self-Regulation Activity
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Using a lion and lamb metaphor is a concrete way for kids to learn about and understand self-regulation. Many times, kids understand when their body or brain is not in control. Situations can get away from a child, when they are unable to react or respond in an appropriate manner.
Kids can use the idea of a lion and lamb to understand different ways that they might be feeling. This activity should be done in a separate time from breakdowns or tantrums. When a child is calm and open to talking about previous situations, sit down with the child or group of children and talk about how it might feel to be a lion and a lamb.
Self-Regulation Activity For Kids
For this activity, I used just a piece of paper and divided it into two columns. This could be done on a large notebook on an easel in front of the classroom and hung as a poster in the classroom. This paper is a great price and can be used on any easel.
I asked my preschooler and first grader how a lion might feel and how a lamb might feel. We talked about how lions are load and fast and how a lamb is calm and quiet. As they mentioned describing terms, I just jotted them down on the columns.
Then, we looked at the whole list for each animal. At this point, you can talk with the class about how we all feel all of these ways at one time or another. Sometimes we feel soft-spoken and slow and other times we feel loud and “roar-y”!
Self-regulation is adapting to and responding to sensory, emotional, and cognitive input. The way our body and mind acts and thinks can get stuck if we don’t use our self-regulation abilities. Below, you will find a list of self-regulation strategies. They can be incorporated into occupational therapy’s self-regulation suggestions, or used to meet the child’s needs with adapting to and responding to sensory/emotional/cognitive input.
Use the lion and lamb metaphor to help kids adjust in appropriate ways. You can tell your child or students that there are times that it is appropriate to “be a lion” and there are times that it is appropriate to “be a lamb”.
Lion and Lamb Craft
Then, take the discussion further by incorporating a lion and lamb craft. Some ideas are using toilet paper rolls to make a lion and a lamb. Kids can work on the fine motor skills to cut out paper parts and glue them onto the toilet paper roll. For some kids, the crafting experience can be an exercise in self-control, too!
Talk about how “lion weather” might be blustery and fast, windy and stormy. It relates back to a loud lion that is rough, fierce, or angry.
Then make a lamb craft out of a toilet paper roll. Kids can cut the paper pieces from cardstock or construction paper and work on gluing them on by copying a visual model. While crafting, discuss the qualities of a lamb, and how that relates to calm or soft voices, or peaceful and soft voices.
Another idea is to use this lamb handprint craft. Simply make a handprint using white paint and draw on the features of a lamb. Children can make the lion craft in the same way by sing yellow paint and drawing on or gluing on feature of the lion.
More Self-Regulation Activities
Next, come up with techniques to adjust to situations when the child needs to switch from a lion to a lamb or vice versa. One strategy is using sensory tools to help calm down or speed up our bodies. Try these sensory activities as a list of self-regulation strategies to address many different needs and interests.
Try some of these calming sensory ideas to calm down a “lion”
- Wall push ups
- Chair push ups
- Carrying a stack of books
- Pushing a laundry basket full of toys
- Tug of war
- Animal Walks
- Deep breathing
- Stress toys
- Drinking from a cup with a straw
- A calm-down station or corner
- Wrapping up in a blanket
- Pillow sandwiches
Try some of these ideas to alert a “lamb”
- Jumping Jacks
- Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
- Icy drink
- Clapping games
- Spinning on a swing
- Brain Breaks
- Playing catch
These lion and lamb themed activities would be another great way to incorporate a lion and lamb theme into discussion with your kids or classroom: Make a pine cone lamb craft while talking about the qualities of a lamb. (Fireflies and Mudpies) Use a lion and lamb ten frame to work sneak address math concepts with the same theme. (Fun-a-Day)
Make these In like a lion and Out like a lamb puppets and get creative with the imagination play. (Still Playing School)
More sensory heavy work activities you may like:
Spring Occupational Therapy Activities
Add these lion and lamb ideas to your Spring occupational therapy line-up. Here are more ways to keep your therapy planning full for the next few months:
Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.