Paper Plate Activities

Paper plate activities and paper plate crafts for occupational therapy

In occupational therapy, paper plate activities are one of those OT intervention tools that are low-cost and can be used in a multitude of ways to support many different developmental skills. From paper plate interactive activities, to scissor activities, to fine motor development, paper plate crafts and sensory activities can be used to promote many skill areas in occupational therapy interventions or at home and in the classroom.

Paper plate activities and paper plate crafts to develop skills like fine motor skills, social emotional skills, and gross motor skills.

Paper Plate Activities

I get really excited when I talk about the next subject – paper plate activities! Paper plate crafts and activities are so fun and often require very little materials with the end result being so wonderful for kids! 

Paper plates can easily be used for arts and crafts, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, subject or topic learning, visual motor and perceptual skills, emotions and self-regulation as well as a myriad of games.

Paper plates can be a go-to when you need a quick activity in any setting or on those cold, rainy days when you need something to keep the kids busy. They are a great motivator for kids and can help build important skills that a child needs to continue to learn and to grow. 

Paper plates are a thrifty tool for therapy to build those motor and perceptual skills while providing a fun activity that any child will want to engage in during sessions. The use of paper plates in the classroom can be for exploring emotions and self-regulation, creating after reading a book and lots of subject and topic learning fun. Their use in the home can include arts and crafts, instrument making, and games that result in some fantastic family entertainment.

Paper plates will give you the variety you need to help many kiddos on your caseload, in your classroom, or in your household. So, the next time you’re at the store, grab some plain or even festive paper plates and see what fun you can create with kids and you may find that you enjoy the fun too! 

Use these paper plate crafts to work on scissor skills, hand strength, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and more.

Paper Plate Crafts

In occupational therapy interventions, we often use crafts as a medium for developing skills (taking us back to our roots of our profession!) These paper plate crafts are great for developing fine motor skills, scissor skills, bilateral coordination, motor planning, executive functioning skills, and more.

  • Mini Beach– Work on hand strength, utensil use, and more to make a paper plate beach craft.
  • Paper Bowl Scarecrow Craft– Use this paper plate craft to work on fine motor skills like precision, dexterity, and mixed medium use. Add in emotional learning to make the scarecrow personalized. Kids can take this craft and add their own unique twists for a multi-sensory craft with open-ended results.
  • Paper Plate Snail Craft– Work on precision, in-hand manipulation, arch development, and other fine motor skills with this paper plate snail craft.
  • Paper Plate Cars This craft is great for addressing scissor skills.
  • Paper Plate Baseball Craft– Improve scissor skills with this paper plate baseball craft.
  • Paper Plate Bubble Gum Machine Craft– Work on eye-hand coordination skills.
  • Thanksgiving Feast Plate – Use this craft to work on functional tasks such as meal skills and utensil use, as well as hand strength.
  • Tin Foil Moon– This is a great craft for working on graded hand strength and bilateral coordination skills.

Paper Plate Activities for Emotions and Self- Regulation

The best thing about occupational therapy professionals is that they can use ANY material to work on a variety of skill areas. Use paper plates to address social emotional learning and self-regulation skills!

Paper Plate Fine Motor Activities

Paper plates are a great fine motor activity to support hand strengthening, scissor skills, bilateral coordination, and more.

Paper Plate Gross Motor Activities

Paper plates can be used in therapy to support gross motor skills, too.

Paper Plate Learning Activities

Use these activities to work on functional tasks and executive functioning skills needed in daily occupations such as learning, math, using a phone, telling time, name writing, and more.

Paper Plate Auditory Processing with Paper Plate Instruments

You can use paper plates to work on auditory processing, too.

Paper Plate Visual Motor Activities

Paper plates are a great tool to use in therapy to address visual motor skills.

Now, what are you waiting for? Go grab some paper plates and pick an activity!!

Regina Allen

Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence activities for kids

Emotional intelligence in children is a skill that takes practice, example, and more practice to develop. For all of us, emotional intelligence can be an ongoing skill that impacts social emotional skills, relationships, and functioning in day to day tasks. Here we are

For those of us raising children and working with children it is clear that they need more than ‘book smarts’ to navigate the rather complex world that they are growing up in. For a long time the intelligence quotient or Emotional IQ was the only benchmark for measuring children’s potential and predicting how well they would achieve.

In more recent times people studying development and psychology realized that there were other skills necessary for achieving success in the world. One of these sets of skills has become known as Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and understand your emotions and those around you with empathy and perspective. These emotional intelligence activities for kids develop Emotional IQ through play.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is described as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and to understand the emotions of those around you. The concept of emotional intelligence also known as emotional quotient or EQ developed in the 1990’s and has gained widespread acceptance in recent years.

Instrumental in the development of the theory and models of emotional intelligence is Daniel Goleman a psychologist and author. Goleman and emotional intelligence may be terms that you’ve heard connected, where he describes four main domains that make up Emotional Intelligence.

These domains are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. What do each of these emotional intelligence domains mean?

  • Self-awareness – Self-awareness is having conscious knowledge of your own character and feelings. This results in being able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness in kids plays a role in emotional control, mindset, habits, and executive functioning skills.
  • Self-management – Self-management is being able to control and manage your emotions in a healthy way. Self-management for kids involves self-regulation, mindset, habits, and self-control.
  • Social awareness – Social awareness is the ability to pick up the emotions of other people and to understand what they are feeling. This can be a challenge for children of all needs.
  • Relationship management – Relationship management is the ability to build relationships with others through positive interpersonal communication skills (Segal, 2020). Children develop relationship management skills through example by watching others in their lives, by interacting with peers and adults, and through play.

The domains are further broken down into twelve competencies and learnable skills that are relevant to the specific domain. (Matlock, 2017)

At the bottom of this post, you can find hands-on activities for children that develop each area of these emotional intelligence skills.

Emotional intelligence and emotional leadership

Emotional leadership is a term developed by Goleman and others, and refers to leadership in groups, impacted by one’s emotional intelligence. When you take a look at the domains of EI, you can see how they play into the functioning of a group.

Occupational therapists know a thing or two about group management and group leadership. At it’s infancy, occupational therapy played a major role in group therapy and mental health. While this domain of occupational therapy intervention is no longer primary area of intervention, there are still many OTs working in the mental health arena and especially in the group treatment intervention.

Emotional leadership is an important part of group occupational therapy sessions, as the participants are interacting with others in the group and developing specific individualized goal areas but also group goal areas. Groups in therapy have a leader, often the therapist, but sometimes the therapist presents as a facilitator but one that keeps the group on track as the group interacts with other participants.

In this way, participants can develop emotional leadership skills and skills that can be used outside of the group setting as a development of emotional intelligence and emotional learning.

It is clear that a lot of work has been done on developing an understanding of emotional intelligence and the components that make up this construct. But how important is emotional intelligence in the lives and development of our children?

Is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Cognitive behavioral therapy recognizes that feelings or emotions can influence thoughts. When emotions run high they can alter the way our brains work and this can have a negative effect on our cognitive abilities. Our feelings can influence the decisions we make and how we interact with other people. It makes sense that having a greater understanding of our emotions will help guide how we interact with others.

Improving our emotional intelligence makes it easier to resolve conflicts, manage our stress and interact appropriately with those around us (Segal, 2020). And children will definitely benefit from developing these skills. Children’s learning is influence by their emotional state so managing emotions in a positive way allows children to be receptive learners at school.

Emotional intelligence includes the ability to name emotions. The act of naming emotions tends to diffuse their intensity and lessens the negative impact they may have on our cognitive abilities. The psychologist Dan Siegel refers to this as ‘name it to tame it’ (Schwartz, 2015). The value of recognizing feelings and emotions is evident but how does emotional intelligence develop.

Development of Emotional Intelligence

When asked how emotional intelligence develops in a recent interview Daniel Goleman stated that “emotional intelligence begins to develop in the earliest years. All the small exchanges children have with their parents, teachers, and with each other carry emotional messages. These messages repeat over and over to form the core of a child’s emotional outlook and capabilities.” (Scholastic, viewed 2021)

As adults interacting with children it becomes important to ensure that we are able to recognise and manage our own emotions. Once we are able to do this we can become valuable role models for children and we can provide opportunities for them to see emotional intelligence in action. Recognizing and discussing emotions with children lays a foundation for their self-regulation.

The development of emotional intelligence begins in infancy, through interactions with caregivers, and continues as children are socialized across their school years alongside parents, peers, and teachers. Emotional intelligence is gained through both informal experiences (observations and conversations) and through and formal instruction (being taught emotion vocabulary, learning self-regulation strategies).

How emotional intelligence is taught depends on age, but unlike learning other skills such as math and science or English language arts, there is no age at which it is too early or too late to develop your emotional quotient. The parts of the brain needed to develop emotional intelligence are active from birth and will continue to develop throughout life.

As with many developmental tasks it seems that the first few years of life the brain is at its most receptive to learning key skills. And emotional intelligence is one of these important skills. (Brackett, Cipriano, 2015

This resource on executive functioning skills and emotional regulation shares more information on the role executive functioning skills play on emotional IQ.

 How to Teach Emotional intelligence?

An essential part of developing emotional intelligence is being able to talk about feelings. This skill set is often termed emotional literacy and it is something that we are able to teach young children.

We can teach children to read and understand emotions and to respond appropriately to their own emotions and the emotions of others. Goleman explains that you can teach young children about the most basic emotions, such as happiness and anger and when they get older touch on more complicated feelings, such as jealousy, pride, and guilt (Scholastic, viewed 2021)

It is important to remember to include a range of emotions both positive and negative when talking about feelings.

Although it is not always comfortable talking about negative emotions it is important that children recognize and accept the wide range of emotions that they are likely to experience during their lives.  We can incorporate opportunities to promote emotional intelligence in our everyday lives. 

Emotional intelligence activities for therapy, the classroom, ad home to help children develop emotional intelligence skills for functioning.

Emotional Intelligence Activities

What does promoting Emotional Intelligence look like in a therapy session?

As an occupational therapist (and a parent!) it can be overwhelming to think about the number of developmental needs that fall within your domain of influence. My therapy approach has always been aligned with building confidence and self-awareness in the children that I treat so in that way emotional intelligence has been fostered through incidental learning and interactions.

In more recent times I have used tools and resources that focus specifically on building skills that will enhance emotional intelligence – empathy, self- regulation, communication skills – depending on what the individual child needs. 

In my therapy session the first few minutes are spent getting a gauge of where the child is at and what their mood is like. By spending a few minutes engaging one on one with the child I am able to assess their level of attention, level of arousal and motivation at the time. I also have a mood meter on my wall and the kids love moving the arrow to the colour that corresponds to how they are feeling that day – low energy, just right energy, slightly high energy or off the chart energy levels.

With a reluctant child I might get the ball rolling by sharing how I am feeling that day and using the mood meter to plot my energy levels. I also have a feeling chart called ‘How does your jellybean feel today?” adapted from a book by Susan Jelleberg (Jellybean Jamboree).

This introduces the idea of naming emotions and of expanding our vocabulary related to emotions. In this way I feel I am working on the self-awareness component of emotional intelligence. 

The next step is ensuring that the child is in a good space to learn and this means aiming for a calm-alert level of arousal. The Zones of Regulation offer a number of tools to help children reach that just right space. Some children need activities to lift their energy and some children need activities to lower their energy levels. I find deep pressure or proprioceptive activities work like a charm and I also use breathing activities frequently in my therapy sessions.

In this way we tackle some of the self-management aspects of emotional intelligence. 

Social management is a tricky one for young children to pick you. Learning that the people around them do not always think and feel the same is them is an on-going process. There are some lovely activities to encourage empathy in children and to help them become aware of other people’s feelings.

Finally relationship management is encouraged through appropriate interactions between myself and the child during the therapy session. For some children this means learning how to deal with losing a game or competition, learning how to take turns or share or learning to give and receive complements.  

So within the confines of a short therapy session, while working on other specific OT goals, it is very possible to facilitate and encourage a child’s emotional intelligence. An understanding of emotional intelligence and is various elements means that it is also possible to encourage its growth in the classroom and in our homes.

And it is with this well-developed emotional intelligence that I believe our children will be able to successfully navigate the world they are growing up in and find meaning in their lives. 

For further information on some of the component skills and activities related to emotional intelligence have a look at the following links. There are numerous resources on the OT Toolbox that deal with developing different components of emotional intelligence.  

Self-Awareness Activities for Kids

To develop self-awareness it is important to be able to understand what you are feeling. Children can participate in some of the following activities in increase their awareness of emotions.

These self-awareness activities promote social emotional development through the awareness and process of practicing identification of emotions:

Penguin emotions game– Use this penguin theme emotions activity to support emotional intelligence in kids.

Social emotional learning– This social emotional skills worksheet supports the development of emotional intelligence by allowing children to draw in facial expressions that match various emotional states.

Social emotional learning 2– This comprehensive resource on social emotional learning supports development of emotional intelligence by offering resources and information on how children develop emotional skills and ways to support that development.

Spring matching emotions slide deck game– This Spring themed emotions activity supports the development of emotional skills by offering practice and matching of facial expressions.

Self-Management Activities for Kids

To develop self-management skills you need to move beyond identifying emotions and figure out strategies that will help to regulate these emotions and subsequent behaviours. 

This Zones of regulation toolbox offers a collection of activities and resources designed to promote self-regulation and self-management skills for kids.

Breath control is an important skill for kids to achieve in developing and refining self-management skills.

Deep breathing exercise cards are a powerful tool to use in building and developing self-management skills for kids. Print off these cards and use them over and over again to meet the interests and needs of a whole classroom or clinic of children.

Proprioception activities are heavy work movement activities that provide children with a sense of awareness when it comes to how their body moves through space or in a given situation.

Social Awareness Activities

To develop social awareness you will need to understand other people’s emotions effectively. These hands-on social awareness activities are strategies that children can use to develop emotional intelligence in social situations.

Empathy for others- Developing empathy requires practice and awareness. This Quick as cricket activity for Empathy helps children to understand the perspectives of others through a classic children’s book. The hands-on accompaniment activity gives kids a chance to practice their empathy skills and put them to work in social situations or through the social interaction with others.

Try these friendship activities to work on specific skills in developing social awareness, relationships skills, and interpersonal skills in children.

Through books, families can look at the pictures and come back to specific concepts again and again. And, adding hands-on, multi-sensory play experiences brings those concepts home.

In the resource, Exploring Books Through Play, you’ll do just that.

This digital, E-BOOK is an amazing resource for anyone helping kids learn about acceptance, empathy, compassion, and friendship. In Exploring Books through Play, you’ll find therapist-approved resources, activities, crafts, projects, and play ideas based on 10 popular children’s books. Each book covered contains activities designed to develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory exploration, handwriting, and more. Help kids understand complex topics of social/emotional skills, empathy, compassion, and friendship through books and hands-on play.

Click here to get your copy of Exploring Books Through Play.

Relationship Management Activities

To develop relationship management skills you will need to know how to develop and maintain good relationships with other people. These relationship management activities are strategies to work on emotional intelligence during interactions and relationships with others. 

These Social skills interventions are therapy activities designed to promote relationships with others through hands-on activities that give kids practice to support relationship skills with others.

This resource on Executive functioning in school is helpful in addressing relationships with peers, mentors, and teachers.

To work on emotional development requires many executive functioning skills, including impulse control, working memory, mindset, attention, planning, self-talk, inhibition, and more. To address these skills in kids, using a fun, hands-on approach to talking about these skills through lists, drawing, and goal-setting is key. You’ll find the exact tools to address these needs in the printable, Impulse Control Journal.

Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.

Contributor to The OT Toolbox: Janet Potterton is an occupational therapist working predominantly in school-based settings and I love, love, love my job. I have two children (if you don’t count my husband!), two dogs, one cat, two guinea pigs and one fish. When I am not with my family or at work I try to spend time in nature. The beach is my happy place.

Social Skills Checklist

social skills checklist

Everyday, social skills are a part of every interaction we have with other people. Today, I have a social skills checklist that can be used to identify areas of difficulty and areas of successes related to social interactions, social emotional development, and a way to identify specific areas that impact in social emotional learning. This list of social skills for children can be helpful in breaking down social learning and social skill development.

Social skills checklist for kids development from preschool through adulthood.

Social Skills Checklist

Before we get to the social skills checklist, let’s break down social skills into the components.

This social skills checklist breaks down social abilities and social development in kids.

Included in this checklist are the individual components of social emotional skill areas, or social abilities:

  • Conversational Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Emotional Skills
  • Social Play
  • Emotional Development
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Peer Interactions
  • Self-Awareness Skills
  • Self-Confidence

You’ll see each of these social and emotional skills areas listed below with a checklist of each area related to social emotional learning. Use this list of social skills to support social emotional development in children.

How to Use a Social Skills Checklist

When we can identify specific aspects of our behavior and actions related to what’s happening around us, we can identify specific thoughts feelings, reactions and responses that impact our interaction in the environment and with others.

Having an awareness of each aspect of social and behavioral responses and internal thinking is a helpful place to start when it comes to promoting social emotional development. Then, we can know where to start by identifying specific areas of need in kids.

By helping individuals identify aspects of social skills, observing social emotional skills in others, identifying expected and unexpected behaviors, we can help the kids we serve to notice and the impact they have on others’ thoughts, emotions, reactions and responses.

By having individuals observe their own behavior, they can recognize how it impacts others, how it impacts participation in functional tasks in various environments, and they can make the connection between emotions, regulation, social skills, and functioning.

A Note About this Social Skills List

Remember that all children develop differently, and when it comes to social emotional learning, there is a close compont of executive functioning. Executive functioning skills down’t fully develop until adulthood. And so, social skill development can occur through adulthood as well.

This list of social skills is meant to be comprehensive. Not all aspects of social skills will be achieved and steps can be skipped or developed in various orders based on experiences. In general, the lists are written in a developmental order, but the segments of social skills (Conversational skills, Interpersonal skills, Emotional Skills, Social Play, Emotional Regulation, Peer Interactions, Self-Awareness skill, and Self-Confidence) can all be developing and occurring at once. These social abilities are all happening at once and are fluid in development.

Use this social skills checklist to identify areas of development, including self and social awareness in one-on-one tasks, peer tasks to function, learn, and play.

conversational Skills

Conversational skills occur throughout almost all functional tasks and environments. From the home, to school, to the community, conversational skills are needed for social interactions all day long.

  • Participates in conversation (verbal and/or non-verbal)
  • Responds to yes/no questions
  • Answers questions
  • Initiate conversation when it is appropriate to do so
  • Initiates conversation around specific topic
  • Adds to a conversation around a specific topic
  • Asks questions around a specific topic
  • Responds to questions around a specific topic without getting off track
  • Makes a variety of comments, related to the topic, without getting off track
  • Ends conversations appropriately
  • Waits to interject in a conversation
  • Maintains appropriate proximity to conversation partner
  • Recognizes the facial expressions of others
  • Recognizes the nonverbal cues, or “body language” of others
  • Requests assistance from others when needed
  • Understands the jokes of others
  • Maintains eye contact during conversations (able or unable)
  • Maintains an appropriate distance when interacting with peers
  • Speaks at an appropriate volume in conversations
  • Speaks at an appropriate volume on virtual/digital conversations online or via a device
  • Considers the perspective of others
  • Notices when others may be struggling
  • Offers assistance to others
  • Verbally expresses their feelings
  • Responds to greetings expressed by others
  • Joins a conversation with two or more people without interrupting
  • Maintains back and forth conversation
  • Initiates greetings to others
  • Provides compliments to others
  • Introduces self to others
  • Politely asks others to move out of their way
  • Acknowledges the Compliments Directed at Him/Her by Others
  • Allows Peers to Join Him/Her in Activities
  • Responds to the Invitations of Peers to Join Them in Activities
  • Allows Others to Assist Him/Her With Tasks
  • Responds to Questions Directed at Him/Her by Others
  • Experiences Positive Peer Interactions
  • Compromises During Disagreements With Others
  • Responds Slowly in Conversations
  • Changes the Topic of Conversation to Fit Self-Interests
  • Misinterprets the Intentions of Others
  • Makes Inappropriate Comments
  • Engages in Solitary Interests and Hobbies
  • Ends Conversations Abruptly
  • Fails to Read Cues to Terminate Conversations
  • Exhibits Fear or Anxiety
  • Regarding Social Interactions
  • Experiences Negative Peer Interactions
  • Engages in Socially Inappropriate Behaviors
  • Exhibits Poor Timing With His/Her Social Initiations
  • Is Manipulated by Peers Engages in Solitary Activities in the Presence of Peers
  • Conversational skills online in email or text messages
  • Conversational skills during times of stress such as tests, games, etc.

Interpersonal skills

Part of interpersonal skills is the self awareness and social awareness involved in peer interactions. Interpersonal skills refers to interacting with others in social situations, classrooms, homes, and the community. Also involved is interpersonal skills on a digital manner, which is a new ballgame for many adults who are raising children in this digital era.

Types of Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills can be broken into several areas:

  1. Listening
  2. Collaboration
  3. Empathy
  4. Problem solving
  5. Conflict resolution
  6. Constructive feedback
  7. Diplomacy

Interpersonal skills enable us to interact with others. These social skill checklist includes aspects of interpersonal skills.

  • Introduces him/herself to someone new
  • Introduces people to each other
  • Makes eye contact (if able/willing)
  • Uses manners
  • Problem Solving related to others in a specific situation
  • Referring back to previous situations where they needed to use problem solving (working memory)
  • Seeks help from peers in a one-on-one setting
  • Seeks help from peers in a group setting
  • Seeks help from adult
  • Accepts consequences
  • Plays a game successfully
  • Wins a game with appropriate behavior
  • Wins a game with appropriate conversation to others
  • Loses a game with appropriate behavior
  • Loses a game with appropriate conversation to others
  • Responds to constructive criticism
  • Shows self-confidence in group situations
  • Shows self-confidence in one-on-one situations
  • Shares with others (when appropriate)
  • Shows ability to compromise
  • Shows ability to cooperate on a problem
  • Shows ability to cooperate on a disagreement
  • Listens to others
  • Takes turns
  • Uses personal space
  • Respects the personal space of others
  • Follows directions in a given situation
  • Works with others to follow directions as a group (walking on one side of the hallway)
  • Identifies/defines problems
  • Generates solutions to problems
  • Carries out solutions by negotiating or compromising
  • Understands impact his/her behavior has on peers
  • Interprets body language in others
  • Interprets or recognizes body language in self
  • Clearly communicates
  • Offers constructive feedback to others in a one-on-one basis
  • Offers constructive feedback to others in a group setting
  • Responds to constructive feedback from others in a one-on-one setting
  • Responds to constructive feedback from others in a group setting
  • Offers input to problem solve
  • Accepts input from others to problem solve
  • Uses given information to problem solve with flexibility

Emotions and Social Skills

  • Understanding emotions in general
  • Identifies emotions in others
  • Identifies emotions in self
  • Able to identify a potential reason for emotional displays in others
  • Able to identify a potential reason for emotional displays in self
  • Justifies emotions once identified
  • Able to regulate emotions with appropriate responses
  • Displays empathy towards others
  • Displays a variety of emotions
  • Identifies likes and dislikes
  • Demonstrates affection and empathy toward peers
  • Refrains from aggressive behaviors toward peers
  • Refrains from aggressive behaviors or self-talk toward self
  • Identify emotional state during a conversation or situation
  • Uses different tones of voice to convey messages
  • Compliments others
  • Appropriately receives compliments
  • Asks for a favor appropriately
  • Apologizes independently
  • Says thank you
  • Gives compliments to peers
  • Gives compliments to adults
  • Flexibility
  • Accepts making mistakes without becoming upset/angry
  • Accepts consequences of his/her behavior
  • Accepts unexpected changes
  • Continues to try when something is difficult
  • Ignores others or situations when it is desirable to do so
  • Conversational Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Compliments
  • Flexibility

SOCIAL PLAY AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Beginning Play Behaviors

  • Maintain proximity to peers within 1 foot
  • Observe peers in play vicinity within 3 feet
  • Parallel play near peers using the same or similar materials (Playing alongside a peer with own toys or games)
  • Imitate peer (physical or verbal)
  • Take turns during simple games (e.g., rolling ball back and forth)

Intermediate Play Behaviors

  • Play associatively with other children
  • Shares toys during play
  • Changes play with flexibility
  • Respond to interactions from peers such as accepting a toy from a peer;
  • Answers questions during play
  • Return and initiate greetings with peers (e.g., wave or say “hello”).
  • Know acceptable ways of joining in an activity with others (e.g., offering a toy to a peer or observe play and ask to join in).
  • Invite known peers to play
  • Take turns during structured games/activities (social games or board games)
  • Ask peers for toys, food, and materials

Advanced Play Behavior

  • Play cooperatively with peers
  • Game play with rule following
  • Game play with problem solving when rules are broken
  • Make comments about what he/she is playing to peers
  • Organize play by suggesting play plan
  • Plays the role of a leader during peer play
  • Follow another peers play ideas
  • Plays the role of a follower during peer play
  • Turn taking during structured activities
  • Take turns during unstructured activities
  • Invites unknown peers to play (age-appropriate unknown peers in settings such as playgrounds)
  • Give up toys, food and materials to peers
  • Offer toys, food, and materials to peers

EMOTIONAL REGULATION

Emotional regulation is broken down into several areas when it comes to different social skills. this includes internal self-regulation as well as self-regulation during peer interactions, group interactions, problem solving, and flexibility of emotional regulation. A component to these concepts is working memory.

In these ways emotional regulation is related to executive functioning skills.

  • Understanding emotions
  • Identify likes and dislikes
  • Identify emotions in self
  • Label emotions in self
  • Identify emotions in others
  • Label emotions in others
  • Justify an emotion once identified/labeled
  • Demonstrate affection toward peers
  • Demonstrate empathy toward peers
  • Ability to demonstrate intense fears
  • Uses tone of voice to convey a message

Self Regulation and Social Skills

  • Allow others to comfort him/her if upset or agitated
  • Self regulate when tense or upset (using self-regulation skills independently)
  • Self regulate when energy level is high (using self-regulation skills or strategies)
  • Use acceptable ways to express anger or frustration (e.g., states they are upset or asks to take a break)
  • Deal with being teased in acceptable ways (e.g., ignore, walk away, tell adult)
  • Deals with being left out of group
  • Request a “break” or to be all done when upset
  • Accept not being first at a game or activity
  • Say “no” in an acceptable way to things s/he doesn’t want to do
  • Accept losing at a game without becoming upset/angry
  • Deals with winning appropriately
  • Deals with losing appropriately
  • Accept being told “no” without becoming upset/angry
  • Able to say “I don’t know.”

Flexibility of social interactions

  • Accept making mistakes without becoming upset/angry
  • Accept consequences of his/her behaviors without becoming upset/angry
  • Ignore others or situations when it is desirable to do so
  • Accept unexpected changes
  • Accept changes in routine
  • Continue to try when something is difficult

Problem Solving in social situations

  • Claim and defend possessions.
  • Identify/define problems.
  • Generate solutions using working memory or with innovative thought generation
  • Carry out solutions by negotiating or compromising
  • Seek assistance from adults
  • Seek assistance from peers
  • Give assistance to peers
  • Identify when assistance is needed for self
  • Identify when assistance is needed by others

Self-Regulation and Group Interactions

  • Participate in group interactions
  • Respond/participate when one other child is present.
  • Respond/participate when more than one other child is present.
  • Respond/participate in a group of children WITHOUT adult supervision
  • Respond/participate in a group of children WITH adult supervision
  • Use appropriate attention seeking behaviors (e.g., calling name, tapping
  • shoulder).
  • Follows the rules of a group
  • Remain with group during group tasks
  • Follow the group routine
  • Follow directions during group settings
  • Make transition to next activity when directed
  • Accept interruptions/unexpected change
  • Take turns with others in group settings
  • Work collectively as a group to solve a problem
  • Interact with group members
  • Refrain from breaking off into smaller groups
  • Refrain from gossip or turning other group members against one another

Peer Interactions

  • Invites peers to join them in activities
  • Joins peers in activities
  • Takes turns during games or activities
  • Takes turns in situations such as waiting in line, using the bathroom etc.
  • Maintains personal hygiene
  • Interacts with peers during unstructured activities
  • Interacts with peers during structured activities
  • Asks questions about others
  • Asks questions to to continue a conversation
  • Engages in one-on-one interactions with peers
  • Interacts in groups of peers
  • Maintains the “give-and-take” of conversations
  • Expresses sympathy for others
  • Expresses empathy for others in conversation
  • Expresses empathy for others in action
  • Acknowledges the interests of others
  • Limits negative conversations about others
  • Responds to negative conversations about others

Self-Awareness Skills

Self-awareness is an important part of social emotional learning and development of social skills. Self-awareness refers to the ability to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values. This ability to be self-aware influences how an individual responds to situations. Self-awareness also impacts behaviors.

Self-awareness is greatly related to emotional regulation, the limbic system, and fight/flight/freeze concepts.

Self-awareness involves body awareness, confidence, an awareness of interests, strengths, and weaknesses in given tasks.

Self-awareness skills include:

  • Identifying personal strengths
  • Identifying personal weaknesses
  • Identifying one’s emotions
  • Identifying and developing interests, likes, and dislikes
  • Demonstrating an awareness of feelings and values
  • Having self-confidence
  • Understanding the concept of over-confidence
  • Being able to differentiate between abilities and inabilities
  • Examining prejudices and biases
  • Experiencing self-efficacy
  • Having a growth mindset

Social Confidence

It’s through the development of self-awareness skills that social confidence forms. When we are able to be aware of ourselves and build in the areas listed above, confidences in our abilities to react, respond, and use regulation strategies follow. This is one aspect of social confidence.

Another aspect of social confidence refers to develop self-esteem and an ability to interact with others in a variety of situations. This can happen in established friendships, new friendships, established and known settings, and new or novel settings.

Social confidence refers to these aspects of social skills:

  • Having confidence in our emotional response
  • Being yourself
  • Participating in new settings
  • Participating in new activities
  • Reaching out to others who the child doesn’t know
  • Participating in activities even through there is a chance of failure
  • Trying again after failure
  • Learning new things
  • Being supportive to others
  • Not worrying about what others think of one’s actions
  • Not worrying about what others may think of one’s behaviors

How to promote Social Skills in Kids

Take a look at the lists of specific social skills in this checklist. It is hard to think of any daily task that doesn’t require some aspect of social skill development. From interacting with family, the community, peers, there are tasks occurring all day long that require social skills.

Use this social emotional learning worksheet to work on identifying emotions and to drive social skill development.

Use these social development toys to promote social skill progression.

For more ways to pinpoint areas of development in kids, try the Impulse Control Journal. This comprehensive resource outlines daily interactions and allows children to identify how they’ve behaved or responded to situations.

Children can identify aspects of social situations that have worked well, and aspects that they can improve upon.

The Impulse Control Journal has activities and tools to support and develop mindset, habits, goals, interactions, working memory, and much more.

Click here to get your copy of this resource today.

Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.

Another fantastic resource that can help develop social and emotional skills is the activity book, Exploring Books Through Play.

This digital E-BOOK is an amazing resource for anyone helping kids learn about acceptance, empathy, compassion, and friendship. In Exploring Books through Play, you’ll find therapist-approved resources, activities, crafts, projects, and play ideas based on 10 popular children’s books. Each book covered contains activities designed to develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory exploration, handwriting, and more. Help kids understand complex topics of social/emotional skills, empathy, compassion, and friendship through books and hands-on play.

The book Exploring Books Through Play, has 50 different activities based on popular children’s books. Each book is used for 5 different activities that cover a variety of areas: sensory play, crafts, gross motor activities, fine motor activities, handwriting, scissor skills, and so much more.

This book is designed to address emotional regulation and connecting with kids.

social emotional activities for kids

WHAT’S INSIDE EXPLORING BOOKS THROUGH PLAY?

We have handpicked these easy and hands-on activities to help kids develop essential social emotional learning skills.

As classroom curriculum becomes more focused on academics, social and emotional development can get lost in the shuffle. This book focuses on abstract concepts of friendship, acceptance and empathy. By using children’s books that foster understanding of these concepts through pictures and stories, we can help children understand and see these emotions in action. What if you could use books and interactive activities to teach friendship? What if you could read a book that centers on accepting differences and create or make an activity or craft that helps children see acceptance in action. What if you could explore emotions through story and interactive play? In this book, you will find books that cover abstract concepts and use play to build social and developmental skills.  The 10 books covered include:

  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee
  • Boy + Bot
  • Little Blue and Little Yellow
  • Red: A Crayon’s Story
  • Chrysanthemum
  • The Day the Crayons Quit
  • Leonardo the Terrible Monster
  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
  • Whoever You Are and Penguin and Pinecone

Want to help kids learn more about complex concepts such emotions, empathy, compassion, and differences?

Creative book activities that help kids develop fine motor skills and gross motor skills, while exploring books.

Exploring Books Through Play uses children’s literature as a theme to engage in fun, hands-on activities that help children and adults delve deeper into the characters and lessons, bringing the stories to life and falling further in love with literature. Read a story and then bring the characters to life while learning and building skills. Each story offers unique activities designed around central themes of friendship, empathy, and compassion.

Each chapter includes 5 activities for each of the 10 children’s books. The activities are perfect for children ages 3-8, can be used in small groups or as a whole class, and are easily adapted to a home or classroom setting.

Click here to get the Exploring Books Through Play resource.

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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

Friendship Activities

friendship activities

Today, we are covering friendship activities. These are friendship crafts and lessons that support the social emotional skill development of interacting with others by creating close relationships. Friendship activities are great for therapy interventions and as a supplement to social emotional skills. Friendship activities involve learning and using empathy, and activities to support friendship skills are a great way to develop these learned skills.

These friendship activities support the social emotional skill development of interacting with others by creating close relationships. Friendship activities are great for therapy interventions and as a supplement to social emotional skills. Friendship activities involve learning and using empathy, and activities to support friendship skills are a great way to develop these learned skills.

I am excited to share a collection of friendship activities designed to help children establish and build friendships. How do you teach friendship? This can be an abstract concept for kids, but by using friendship skills activities like games to teach social skills, friendship crafts, friendship recipes, and printables about friendship, we can teach children skills like empathy, perseverance, sharing, cooperation, and other essential components of friendship.

Be sure grab these friendship activities for teletherapy:

Writing about Friendship Slide Deck – writing prompts, writing letters to friends, and handwriting activities to develop friendship skills, all on a free interactive Google slide deck.

Personal Space Friendship Skills Slide Deck– Friendship involves allowing personal space, and body awareness and all of this is part of the social skill development that some kids struggle with. Use this free Google slide deck to work on body awareness and personal space.

Friendship activities to help kids develop social skills for friendship skills. Includes friendship recipes, friendship crafts, social stories information, and more.

Friendship Activities

Are you a good friend? Do you make a good friend? Do you have good friends? All of these are such important questions for children who are learning each day the necessary social skills that build lasting friendships. Strong social skills are an important piece of everyday life and the earlier this is recognized, the better social growth and development a child will experience. 

Strong social skills are an important piece of everyday life and the earlier this is recognized, the better social growth and development a child will experience.

Demonstrating and recognizing the friendship qualities that makes a good friend and keeps friendships strong is an important skill to have early on in childhood. Children will develop friendships with others from different backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, and abilities.

Adults have a responsibility to teach children about kindness and friendship to all. Learning this along with how a good friend acts and behaves and what is the right and wrong way to treat a friend is essential for strong social skill development.

Friendship activities can help children begin to explore the friendship qualities and behaviors that are important to learn how to be a good friend, if they make a good friend, and recognize do they have a good friend.

Read on for some creative ways to engage children in learning friendship skills.

Teaching Friendship Skills to Kids

There are many wonderful activities that can be used to help children develop friendship skills. What are some of the specific skills that are needed for building and maintaining friendships?

  • Empathy
  • Acceptance
  • Sharing
  • Listening
  • Asking questions/being interested
  • Helping others
  • Responding to social situations
  • Communicating
  • Turn-taking
  • Cooperating
  • Solving problems
  • Perseverance
  • Being supportive
  • Trustworthiness

Some of these concepts are very abstract.

Using concrete examples, modeling, social stories, and activities that provide examples of these social skills can be powerful.

One way that I’ve loved to help children with social skill development in hands-on, and memorable ways is through play. To bring real-life visual examples that provide an opportunity for conversation and discussion is to use children’s books to inspire exploration of friendship skill development. Here are children’s books and activities that develop friendship skills.

Use the books to inspire discussion and play-based exploration of concepts such as empathy, acceptance, and differences.

Another way to address abstract concepts is through play. Use everyday toys to explore and develop turn-taking, communication, sharing, and problem solving.

Or, address turn-taking with blocks as kids communicate and practice taking turns.

Explore differences with this friendship sensory bottle.

These other friendship activities will give children the time to play and read to help them build a better understanding of good friendship behaviors and how to demonstrate them. Let’s take a look…

Sensory Friendship Activity

Friendship Countdown Chain

Friendship Ice Cream Cone Throw

Friendship Recipe

Food is always a fun way for children to learn!  Using food is a great way to explore different friendship characteristics while making a tasty friendship treat to eat!

These recipes include food items like cereal, fruit, chocolate, and nuts. Be sure to always check for food allergies and especially peanut or nut allergies, if you include these in your treats. 

Freight Train Activity – This mesmerizing book teaches basic concepts of shapes and colors, but can be expanded to discuss differences, awareness of others.

Friendship Treat Recipe

Friendship Snack Mix

Friendship Snack Mix

Friendship Fruit Salad

Friendship Games

Games are another fun way for children to learn important skills like sharing, empathy, making friends, kindness, differences, and more.  What child doesn’t like games? 

Engage children in these fun games that include a version of I Spy with monsters, bean bag activities played in a group while in a line or a circle, tossing of a yarn ball to say why someone makes a good friend, and activity ideas in a cooperation blog post that includes elements of friendship.

What Makes a Friend? Monster Game

Core Strengthening Friendship Activity

Friendship Yarn Game

Cooperation: 12 Group Activities for Kids

Friendship Crafts

Friendship activities such as those that support the development of social emotional skills through crafts are always a hit. In occupational therapy, crafts are a creative way for children develop motor skills, executive functioning, and emotional regulation, but they are also a fantastic way for kids to express themselves, share and create with others, and develop their skills.

These friendship crafts incorporate all of these elements while focusing on friendship to include spreading kindness, sharing, turn taking, and giving.

Empathy Activity– Use beads and a children’s book to explore empathy.

Super Friend Capes made with tee shirts.

Friendship Rocks Fingerprint Hearts made with rocks and fingerprints.

Friendship Flowers made with construction paper.

Foam Heart Friendship Necklaces made with foam hearts, beads, and yarn.

Beaded Friendship Bracelets made with beads and stretchy cords.

Friendship High Fives made with handprints and construction paper.

Secret Friendship Messages made with white crayons and revealed with watercolor paints.

Friendship Printables

In the classroom, therapy room, and hallway are great places to display friendship posters that show the importance of friendship and help create a positive classroom and school community. They show how to be a good friend and how not to be a good friend as well as help children to gain an understanding of good friendship qualities.

Friendship Posters

How to Be a Friend Posters

Friends Play Dough Printable

Friendship social stories

Social stories, or printable, hand-held stories that describe situations can give kids a concrete plan for everyday tasks. Using social stories to explain social situations is a great way to help kids with abstract concepts.

There are many nice templates out there that cover aspects of friendship, but for the most part, a social story should be individualized for each child.

This article on Autism and Friendship Skills includes important research on this topic to explore, but when it comes to using online social stories, they may not always be appropriate. Writing a social story for your child will be far more effective when you use the images, vocabulary, and terms that make sense to YOUR child or client, and the specific situations that are appropriate to your individual child or client.

Friendship Activities with Books

Mentioned briefly above, using books to help kids explore friendship is an incredibly rewarding way to pair friendship activities with the world of books.

Parents can cozy up with a child under a cozy blanket, for a calming and regulating experience of reading books togeter. Then, there is the oppourtunity to communicate about the characters, their friendships, and their conflicts, and their social situations that they had to navigate.

Through books, families can look at the pictures and come back to specific concepts again and again. And, adding hands-on, multi-sensory play experiences brings those concepts home.

In the resource, Exploring Books Through Play, you’ll do just that.

This digital, E-BOOK is an amazing resource for anyone helping kids learn about acceptance, empathy, compassion, and friendship. In Exploring Books through Play, you’ll find therapist-approved resources, activities, crafts, projects, and play ideas based on 10 popular children’s books. Each book covered contains activities designed to develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory exploration, handwriting, and more. Help kids understand complex topics of social/emotional skills, empathy, compassion, and friendship through books and hands-on play.

Click here to get your copy of Exploring Books Through Play.

social emotional activities for kids
Regina Allen

Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!

The Limbic System and Function

fight, flight, fright, and function based on the limbic system

Did you know that the limbic system plays an important role in everything we do? As occupational therapists, educators, and parents, understanding the role of the limbic system and function is not only practical information…it’s essential to understand when it comes to child development and day to day functioning as children learn, play, participate in household tasks, and interact with peers.

Today I am sharing really interesting information on the brain, the limbic system, and emotional regulation. I’m hoping to make this explanation of neuroscience super easy to understand so you can take this info and run with it!

Resources and tools for understanding the limbic system and functional tasks.

Let’s do this! Recently, we covered emotional regulation and executive functioning skills. When it comes to emotions, regulating behaviors, and the mental skills of executive functioning, you can see how all of these areas play a role in everything we do on a day to day basis. Social emotional learning is part of this. The limbic system is an important brain structure involved in each of these areas.

What is the Limbic System?

The limbic system is an area of the brain including several brain structures. These include the amygdala, the hippocampus, the hypothalamus, thalamus, and olfactory bulb. There are some really important hormones associated with these structures and their responses as well.

These structures and their hormones control functions such as emotions, behavior, motivation, sleep, appetite, olfaction, stress response. This is really interesting, because you may connect the dots with this list and see that social emotional skills, executive functioning, inner drives, and sensory processing (including the sense of smell and interoception) all centered in one place in the brain! (This is not to say that these are the only places in the brain that operate these functions as well.)

Generally speaking, the limbic system is the emotional brain.

It’s the space where survival behavior occurs. It’s the place in the brain that coordinated emotions, fear, aggression, basic inner drives, and episodic memories.

You know how the smell of freshly baked chocolate cookies brings back cozy memories of baking with Grandma all those years ago? Now, when you smell that ooey, gooey chocolate baked into chewy dough you might feel calm and at peace and picture yourself in your grandmother’s sunny kitchen when you were young. That’s the limbic system at work!

We all have limbic memories…maybe it’s the scent of vanilla that fosters a memory from childhood. Perhaps it’s the scent of glue that takes you back to peeling dried Elmers glue from the palm of your hand. Maybe it’s a certain scent that brings back scary or bad memories. Each one of us is unique in how those connections work in our brains!

“The emotional brain, the limbic system, has the power to open or close access to learning, memory, and the ability to make novel connections,” (Vail, 2017).

Fight, flight, fright, and function for behavioral regulation to get things done impacted by the limbic system.

How the Limbic System and Function are connected

When it comes to participating in daily tasks, emotional response, behavioral regulation, the limbic system plays a primary role.

Here’s how this inner brain emotional powerhouse works when it comes to the limbic system and function:

The Limbic System is a Fright, Flight, and Freeze Response Center

The limbic system and function are connected by the fight, flight, freeze system of the brain.

A stressful situation sends signals to activate the amygdala, which quickly processes that information. It activates the hypothalamus which tells the adrenal gland to send adrenaline into the blood stream. The hypothalamus also activates other hormones to alert the pituitary gland.

Several hormones work together to keep the body on high alert, while suppressing other body systems. The adrenal glands release hormones such as epinephrine that work to raise blood pressure and heart rate, increase blood flow to muscles and organs, and elevate breathing rate. All of these systems keep you on high alert.

When we are on that high alert state, it is difficult to accomplish everyday tasks.

Think about being in an over-responsive state and trying to read a book, concentrate on completing complex math problems, solving difficult scenarios, or reading a research article. All of these tasks require attention, focus, and the ability to block out other sensory and environmental input. For children, accomplishing day-to-day tasks like getting dressed, completing the morning routine, interacting with peers, or learning can be a similar scenario. For some, that fight/flight/freeze state interrupts the ability to initiate a task or follow through to accomplish a task.

Let’s look at this another way: Have you ever been startled by a deer jumping out in front of your car while driving? You probably recall that whole-body sense of alertness and maybe felt prickly sensation all over your arms and that JUMP of acute awareness. When the deer pranced away, your body probably settled and while you were still feeling that sense of alarm, your body was already settling down. That’s because after a stress response is over or dismissed, hypothalamus activates the parasympathetic nervous system and inhibits the stress response.

Similarly, when in a flight/fright/freeze state, it’s impossible to accomplish routine, mundane, or novel tasks.

The limbic system impacts emotions

The limbic system and functioning are connected by our emotional response and behavioral regulation.

As our “Emotional Center”, the limbic system impacts behavioral response and emotional regulation in everything we do. This inner area of the brain are also deeply associated with emotions. The amygdala and the hippocampus, in particular are the emotional centers. These two structures connect via the thalamus.

Together, these connections play a role in emotional activities like friendship, affection, and mood. Regulation of emotions also occurs here: particularly emotions that have a role in survival such as aggression, love, fear, or anxiety.

These brain organs also help the brain interpret the emotional content of memories. The amygdala assigns emotional meaning to memories and helps the brain form fear-based memories. The hippocampus helps form sensory memories, which are memories associated with sensory input.

The limbic system regulates those automatic responses to emotional stimuli and plays an important role in behavior. Other places in the brain, such as the frontal regions (executive functioning center) are recruited for modulation of amygdala activity. This is when self-regulation happens.

When it comes to self-regulation, many children have a difficult time learning and achieving without help. In any given moment, a child (and an adult) encounters multiple situations and circumstances that require an awareness of self and others as well as the ability to have or gain self-control.

Generally speaking, a child should achieve an optimal level of self-awareness and mindfulness to identify their inner feelings and emotions and be ready to regulate themselves when the time comes. They need to learn strategies and techniques that work for them to assist them in leaving a less optimal level in order to get back to a “ready-to-go” level of regulation so they can accomplish tasks like brushing teeth, reading a book, interacting with a friend, crossing the street…the list can go on and on!

Is this brain talk fascinating? Or are your eyes glazing over??

How to facilitate the limbic system for function

The main thing to remember is that we CAN help kids with regulation and modulation of those inner brain workings, so the can play, learn, interact with others, and complete day to day tasks.

  • We can teach them tools to help with the stress input and give them strategies so they are not in constant fright/flight/freeze mode.
  • We can offer sensory input that provides the movement that their body needs so the nervous system has what it needs.
  • We can give kids the words they can use so they can recognize their body’s emotions.
  • We can show them strategies to help regulate.
  • We can offer opportunities to connect with them.
  • we can help them build a personal toolbox of emotional regulation strategies.

Fostering connections and providing the right kind of tools facilitates emotional regulation, behavioral regulation, and functioning skills.

The Creating Connections Toolkit is powerful in working on the emotional regulation skills of kids. Not only does it offer resources to explain and better understand behaviors, but it offers solutions that kids want to use. It’s a goldmine in building social connections between friends, family, and social relationships…but also builds those essential brain connections, too!

Many of you have already purchased the Creating Connections toolkit. So many of you have reached out to get your copy of my added bonus after purchase. A lot of you have told me that the toolkit looks amazing and that you are exited to get started with it’s use in your practice, classroom, or home.

Creating Connections toolkit

Others have reached out with questions on the toolkit. I wanted to take a minute to answer some of those frequently asked questions in one place:

1 || What is included in the Creating Connections Toolkit?

There are 20+ amazing digital products included in this toolkit. Plus, we have some extra bonuses you will receive when you purchase. Here is a list of all the products included in this toolkit. To read a detailed description of each, you can click HERE to read more.

EMOTIONAL REGULATION ITEMS

  • Breathing Exercise Cards for Kids
  • Emotional Regulation Activities Pack
  • Sammy the Golden Dog Games
  • Emotional Regulation Bundle for Teens
  • Social Emotional Learning at Home
  • How to Teach Your Child Emotions and Increase Frustration Tolerance Through Play
  • Social Stories Shadow Puppet Kit

SENSORY PROCESSING ITEMS

  • Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators
  • My Senses Day Camp Program
  • Sensory Regulation “I Feel” and “I Need” Tools Board
  • The Newbie’s Guide to Sensory Processing
  • Play2Learn Sensory Bins eBook
  • Heavy Work Exercise Cards
  • Rewiring the Brain Handbook (Intermediate Guide)
  • Outdoor Visual Schedule and Supports for Kids Printable Pack

Growth Mindset & Affirmations Resources

  • Growth Mindset & Affirmations Journal for Kids
  • Growth Mindset & Affirmations Journal for Teens
  • Rainbow Mindfulness & Movement Packet
  • Teen Mindset Challenge
  • Superhero Affirmation Cards

Family Connection Tools and Resources

  • Family Game Night Social Skills Pack Family Connections eBook
  • Our Family Journal
  • Family Scavenger Hunts
  • Town Mouse, Country Mouse Activity Unit

BONUS ITEMS

  • Creating Connections Toolkit User Guide & Video
  • Special coupon codes totaling over $70 in value 
  • Collection of printable resources

THE OT TOOLBOX BONUS ITEMS

  • 20 Video Modeling Emotions Videos
  • Stop and Think Cards
  • Sensory Processing Handbook
  • Sensory Processing Handbook (Spanish Translation)
  • Sensory Diet Strategy Tools

2. What ages of kids will I be able to use these resources with?

The toolkit includes tools and strategies that can be used with toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school-aged children through middle and high school. 

Some products are recommended for specific ages and this will be included in the description of each product and also in the user guide.

3. Why is this only available for a limited time?

This digital toolkit is filled with 20+ products from many different authors and contributors. They have agreed to offer their products for this limited time at the special price of $19. After the sale is over, you won’t be able to get all these digital products again in one place or at this low price.

4. How will I be able to access the products?

All of the products in the toolkit will be digital downloads. Upon completion of your purchase, you will receive an email with links to download each of the products.

5. I work with children. Am I able to use the products for virtual classrooms?

Yes! All of the authors have graciously allowed this exception to their terms of use in light of the pandemic and distance learning. However, they ask that items are only uploaded for your own classroom use and not used in a school-wide or district wide capacity.

Are you ready to create meaningful connections and navigate big emotions together?

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW.

Navigate big emotions together with the Creating Connections Toolkit. You’ll save 90% and just pay $19 for 20+ digital products that will give you “quick wins” for addressing emotional regulation, mindset, regulation, sibling and family connection and so much more! Get yours here before it’s gone!

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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

Emotional Regulation and Executive Function

executive function and emotional regulation skills

Emotional regulation and executive function are connected in more ways than one. Development of social emotional skills includes an awareness of self and self-monitoring skills, among other areas. The regulation of those emotions is critical for executive functioning cognitive tasks. When we regulate behavior, the frontal lobe is at work with it’s impulse control, initiation, self-monitoring, and other cognitive skills. Furthermore, emotional skill development includes the ability to self-regulate. These skills mature and develop throughout childhood and into adulthood.

Executive function and emotional regulation is deeply connected. This article includes resources on executive functioning skills and emotions.

Emotional Regulation and Executive Function

In a previous blog post, shared a little background information on social emotional learning and regulation. We’ll go more into this relationship below. We’ll also cover social emotional learning and occupations that our kids participate in each day…and how executive functioning skills and regulation impacts functioning at home, work, and school. You will also want to check out these social skills activities for interventions to build areas related to social-emotional skills.

Here is a social emotional learning worksheet that can help kids identify emotions and begin to address emotional regulation needs.

Emotional regulation is essentially a person’s ability to manage stress. This is not a skill we are born with.

For children, particularly those who have anxiety, autism, ADHD, ASD, early childhood trauma, Sensory Processing Disorder, and other special needs, it can be especially challenging.

Poor emotional regulation can lead to social issues, meltdowns, problems at home and school, negative behavior, anxiety, and later in life, even addictions and difficulty with relationships. 

Sometimes, emotions become intense and out of control. They become dysregulated and impact the ability to manage behaviors and cognitive thought processes, or the executive functioning skills. Emotional dysregulation requires mental skills like focusing, following directions extremely difficult. When the emotions take over, our brain has trouble communicating between the limbic system and the frontal lobe.

Social emotional learning is defined as a process for helping children gain critical skills for life effectiveness, such as developing positive relationships, behaving ethically, and handling challenging situations effectively. The specific skills that allow kids to function and complete daily occupations (such as play, learning, participating in social situations, rest, dressing, writing, riding a bike, interacting with others…) are those social emotional skills that help children to recognize and manage emotions, interact with others, think about their feelings and how they should act, and regulate behavior based on thoughtful decision making.

One piece of addressing underlying needs in kids is the fact that the behaviors that we see have an underlying cause that can be found as a result of regulation of emotions, making decisions, and acting on impulses. Social emotional skills are not always a cut and dry aspect of development.

Today, I wanted to expand on that idea. So many times, we run into children on our therapy caseloads or in our classroom (or hey, even in our own homes!) who struggle with one area…or several. Remembering that beneath the behaviors, troubles with transitions, acting out, irritability, sleep issues, inflexible thoughts, frustrations, etc…can be emotional regulation components.

Let’s consider some of the ways our kids may struggle with social and emotional competencies. We might see kids with difficulty in some of these occupational performance areas (occupational performance = the things we do…the tasks we perform):

  • Academics/learning
  • Management of stress in learning/chores/daily tasks
  • Creating of personal goals in school work or personal interests and following through
  • Making decisions based on ethical and social norms in play, learning, or work
  • Understanding/Engaging in social expectations (social norms) in dressing, bathing, grooming, etc.
  • Social participation
  • Conflict resolution with friends
  • Empathizing with others
  • Responding to feedback in school, home, or work tasks
  • Making good judgement and safety decisions in the community
  • Showing manners
  • Understanding subtle social norms in the community or play
  • Transitions in tasks in school or at home
  • Ability to screen out input during tasks
  • Cooperation in play and in group learning
  • Considering context in communication
  • Emotional control during games

Wow! That list puts into perspective how our kids with sensory processing concerns really may be struggling. And, when you look at it from the flip-side, perhaps some of our children who struggle with, say, fine motor issues may have sensory concerns in the mix too.

Break it down

Let’s break this down even further. There is a connection between social emotional skills and executive functioning skills. When you read through that list of occupations, many of the areas of struggle have a component related to impulse control, working memory, attention, focus, metacognition, and persistence, etc. This chart explains more:

Executive function and social and emotional learning relationship in behavioral regulation and emotional regulation skills.

Image from here.

And, that is just one aspect of friendship/social participation. Consider the connection of social/emotional skills and executive functioning skills in activities of daily living, social participation, learning, play, or chores!

Emotional regulation is a topic that can get hairy, and fast. Emotional regulation is essentially a person’s ability to manage stress. This is not a skill we are born with. For children, particularly those who have anxiety, autism, ADHD, FASD, early childhood trauma, Sensory Processing Disorder, and other special needs, it can be especially challenging. Poor emotional regulation can lead to social issues, meltdowns, problems at home and school, negative behavior, anxiety, and later in life, even addictions and difficulty with relationships.

>>When you’re a parent or teacher watching a child you care about struggle, it can be a helpless feeling. Some kids just don’t know what to do with their big emotions.

>>Perhaps you’ve tried everything you can think of and you’re still being held hostage by your child’s emotional outbursts.

>>Or, maybe you are a therapist working with dysregulated children having emotional meltdowns and a fixed mindset who really need the tools to manage overwhelming emotions.

What we do know is that more and more research is showing that emotional regulation and learning are linked.

  • In 2007, researchers stated, “Our findings suggest that children who have difficulty regulating their emotions have trouble learning in the classroom and are less productive and accurate when completing assignments,” (Graziano, Reavis, Keane, & Calkins, 2007).
  • “The ability to regulate emotions is an essential prerequisite for adaptive development and behavior” (Sousa Machado & Pardal, 2013).
Emotional regulation and executive functioning are deeply connected and critical of each other in completion of most every task and childhood occupation.

Social Emotional Learning Strategies

When we equip our students with tools to identify their emotions and self-regulate, we are giving them tools for life and promoting a positive environment for learning.

What might this look like at home, in online schooling, or in a classroom setting?

1. Connect emotions to behavior- Children may not have the language knowledge or understand how to explain what they are feeling. They may need concrete examples or scenarios to help them understand how their emotions are tied to their behavior. Does a storm make them feel nervous or scared? How do they react when they feel anxious about a test or quiz? When they argue with a sibling, how do they react? Once they are able to understand their emotions and how they are feeling, they can start using emotional regulation tools and strategies, like in the Creating Connections Toolkit (more on that in a minute!).

2. Be flexible and patient- Flexibility is something we have all been thrown into more than usual lately. But working with children on emotional regulation and understanding their emotions takes patience and being flexible. You may need to change up how you introduce emotions, or maybe a strategy you thought would work isn’t.

3. Set the tone and share your own feelings- This may feel uncomfortable for some of us, but sharing our own feelings with our students and clients and modeling the responses and strategies we are encouraging them to use will have a huge impact.

…it’s ALL connected!

A Sensory Strategy Guide

Having a toolkit of ideas to pull from so you can change things as needed is why we created the Creating Connections Toolkit.

This collection of products is a huge resource of printable activities, movement cards, breathing information sheets, games, play mats, journals, and so much more. It’s a resource that covers all of the areas listed above…the areas that our kids struggle in!

Myself along with other professionals have created this bundle of social emotional products. The Creating Connections Toolkit includes over 20 incredible social emotional and emotional regulation products that you can use every day in your therapy practice, in the classroom, and at home…for $19.

The guides in this bundle will help to teach your child breathing exercises and help you tame tantrums. You’ll get a routine planner and visual chore chart. The resources will help you understand sensory in a whole new way, and have a wealth of sensory play ideas right at your fingertips!

Get the Creating Connections social-emotional skills bundle here.

Executive Function and Emotions

Let’s break this down even further. There is a connection between social emotional skills and executive functioning skills. Critical thinking is a huge part of this. When you consider the daily occupations of kids, many of the areas of struggle have a component related to impulse control, working memory, attention, focus, metacognition, and persistence, etc. Big emotions can impact task performance in each of these areas in different ways.

  • Play
  • Cleaning up after oneself
  • Social/family relationships
  • Learning
  • Chores
  • Homework
  • Schooling at home
  • Reading
  • Grooming/Hygiene
  • Dressing/Bathing
  • Caring for materials

And, that is just some of the daily jobs that occupy a child or teen’s day. When we consider the connection of social/emotional skills and executive functioning skills in activities of daily living, social participation, learning, play, or chores, there is a lot going on!

Self-regulation skills of both sensory regulation and emotional regulation depends on various subcategories of executive functioning skills, including inhibition/impulse control, task initiation, working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control. We know that all of these mental skills are deeply inter-connected and that executive functioning is like the air traffic control center of the brain…it keeps us operating as we should.

Impulse Control– Attention and impulses are another set of executive functioning skills that are very closely related.  When the distracted child can not focus on a specific task or conversation, or situation, then the tendency to impulsively respond is quite likely.  A great tool for assessing and monitoring impulses in the child with attention struggles is the impulse control journal.

Working memory– This executive functioning skill is the ability to act on past memories and manipulating the information in a new situation. Processing short term memories and using it allows us to respond in new situations. 

Attention– Executive functions are heavily dependent on attention. Distractions can come in many forms. The child who is overly sensitive to sensory input may over respond to the slightest sounds, textures, sights, scents, tastes, or motions.  Children who are excessively distracted by their sensory needs will struggle to attend to simple commands. Other children are able to “keep it together” in a classroom or home setting yet their concentration is challenged. 

Self-Monitoring– This executive functioning skill goes hand in hand with attention and focus. Self monitoring allows us to keep ourselves in check in a situation.  We need to stay on task and focus on that a person is saying and respond in appropriate ways.  If the child with attention issues can not focus on what a person is saying for more than a few minutes, than the ability to respond appropriately can be a real issue.

Emotional Control- Kids with attention issues may not be able to attend for extended periods of time on a situation that enables them to control their emotions.  They can perseverate on the emotions of a specific situation or may not be “up to speed” on the situation at hand or be able to process their emotions as they attend to a different situation.  Issues with emotional control can then lead to behavioral responses as they struggle to keep their emotions in check.

Prioritizing- Planning out and picking the most important tasks of a project can be a struggle for the child with attention issues.  It can be easy to become overwhelmed and distracted by the options for importance.

Processing Speed- Processing speed refers to the ability to receive, understand, and process information in order to make a decision or response.  It also involves using working memory in a situation or experience.  Children who experience attention struggles may experience difficulty in retrieval of information (using working memory) and responding using that information (initiation). This carries over to missed information, difficulty keeping up with a conversation or lesson in school, or a fast-moving game or activity. 

Task Initiation– Children with attention difficulties can be challenged to start tasks.  It can be difficult to pull out the starting point or the most important parts of a multi-step project so that just starting is a real struggle.

Task Completion- Similar to the initiation of specific tasks, completing a task or project can be a real challenge for the child who is limited in attention.  Reading a multiple chapter book can seem overwhelming and quite difficult and just never is finished.  Cleaning a room can be a big challenge when there are visual, auditory, or other sensory-related distractions that make up the project.

Emotional regulation is a topic that can get hairy, and fast. Emotional regulation is essentially a person’s ability to manage stress. This is not a skill we are born with. For children, particularly those who have anxiety, autism, ADHD, FASD, early childhood trauma, Sensory Processing Disorder, and other special needs, it can be especially challenging. Poor emotional regulation can lead to social issues, meltdowns, problems at home and school, negative behavior, anxiety, and later in life, even addictions and difficulty with relationships.

Executive function and emotional regulation activities for kids

Further development of executive functioning and emotional regulation can be fostered by the methods described here, as well as by some basic strategies:

  • Routines
  • Modeling behavior
  • Establishing a support system
  • Creative play
  • Emotional regulation strategies
  • Opportunities for movement and motor skill development
  • Practicing wellness, healthy habits, and wellbeing
  • Family Connection
  • Mindfulness and Growth Mindset
  • Social networks and interactive play
  • Coping tools for worries, stress, or changes to routines

All of these areas are covered in the 2021 Creating Connections Resources Bundle!

Emotional Regulation and Executive Function Strategies

Having a toolkit of ideas to pull from so you can change things as needed is why we created the Creating Connections Toolkit.

This collection of products is a huge resource of printable activities, movement cards, breathing information sheets, games, play mats, journals, and so much more. It’s a resource that covers all of the areas listed above…the areas that our kids struggle in!

Myself along with other professionals have created this bundle of social emotional products. The Creating Connections Toolkit includes over 20 incredible social emotional and emotional regulation products that you can use every day in your therapy practice, in the classroom, and at home…for $19.

The guides in this bundle will help to teach your child breathing exercises and help you tame tantrums. You’ll get a routine planner and visual chore chart. The resources will help you understand sensory in a whole new way, and have a wealth of sensory play ideas right at your fingertips!

Get the Creating Connections social-emotional skills bundle here.

P.S. This sale only goes from 7-8-21 through 7-13-21!

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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

Spring Emotions Matching Game Slide Deck

Emotions Matching game with a bug theme for Spring

Today, I have another free therapy slide deck for you to use in guiding teletherapy occupational therapy sessions. This activity is a Spring themed emotions matching game. The premise behind this emotions game is to help with teaching feelings to kids, as well as the social emotional learning involved in self-regulation. Because there are always other skill areas to work on, the occupational therapy activity addresses visual perceptual skills like visual discrimination and visual memory as well.

This teletherapy slide deck is one of the many free slides we have here on the website. Use them in your teletherapy activities for occupational therapy.

Emotions Matching game with a bug theme for Spring

Emotions Matching Game

This emotions matching game is a lot like our other spot it game activities. The idea is to work on teaching emotions by facial expression and to help kids with identifying different facial expressions that translate to feelings and emotions.

Spring bugs emotions matching game for teaching feelings

This slide deck has a bugs theme, making it a great activity for Spring (but anytime really…bugs are a fun theme to use in occupational therapy activities!)

When kids play this emotions matching activity, they can first, identify different emotions. On the slide deck children can actually type right into the space below each image.

Teach feelings and emotions with this emotion matching game.

The slides are set up so that kids can type the emotion they identify with each facial expression. Some kids might identify different emotions based on the images. Some of the bugs have silly expressions, and others have angry, worried, happy, or calm expressions. When kids go through this part of the emotional learning game, they can express the reasoning why they define each image as a specific feeling or emotion.

When kids identify emotions, it goes a long way in teaching feelings to kids. This can help them with empathy for others and to better understand why and how they feel certain ways in specific situations.

You can extend this part of the activity to further social emotional development and self evaluation. Help kids identify when they may feel that specific emotion, and what they have done about it in the past.

Then, you can help them identify coping strategies if needed (for feelings of anxiousness, worry, or anger) and when feelings get “too big” or out of control. For example, as the child to describe how they might act when they feel that type of feeling. There are so many ways to extend this part of the emotions game that works on an individual basis; Make the social emotional learning online game work for the child you are treating.

These kind of self-reflection strategies are addressed in the Impulse Control Journal, a printable resource for working on responses, coping mechanisms, and self-reflection that impacts our responses to specific situations in everyday situations. With the Impulse Control Journal, kids can journal their responses and identify ways they can respond and react differently in the future.

Emotions Game for teletherapy

Emotions Matching Activity

The next part of the slide deck includes a spot it game with the emotions and facial expressions images.

Kids will go through each slide and find two matching facial expression bugs that share the same emotion.

This visual discrimination activity helps with more social emotional skills (picturing the expression in different sizes or positioning) and working memory as it relates to emotional learning. They can recall the emotion that they defined for that particular expression and then go back and identify the self regulation strategies that they came up with in the precious part to the slide activity.

This part of the free slide deck is also interactive- Kids can click on the leaves on the slide and drag them over to cover the matching bugs.

This free social emotional worksheet goes well with this slide deck. Print it off and use it with kids to write in different facial expressions.

Visual Perceptual Skills with Matching Games

When kids play matching games like this spot it activity, they are developing and refining so many visual perceptual skills that carryover to reading, writing, math, handwriting, and other aspects of learning.

These are the visual perceptual skills and visual processing skills that this virtual game addresses:

  • Visual memory
  • Visual attention
  • Visual discrimination
  • Form constancy
  • Visual figure ground,
  • Visual scanning

There are different ways to extend this emotions game as well:

  1. Use it to teach empathy- Identify how others might feel when they have the visual expressions described in this slide deck.
  2. Work on coping strategies- Use the facial expressions to practice coping techniques.
  3. Work on handwriting- write down the emotions and work on letter formation, spacing, sizing, and legibility.
  4. Use the activity as a writing prompt- Kids can write about a time that they experienced one of the emotions on the slide deck. They can describe what led to those feelings and what they did about it if coping tools were needed.

How would you use this emotions game in teletherapy or to guide therapy sessions?

Emotions Slide Deck

Want to add this teaching feelings game to your social emotional skills toolbox? Need easy teletherapy activities that don’t require a ton of materials?

You’ve got it!

Enter your email into the form below. You’ll receive a link to add this slide deck to your Google drive. Then, start using it right away in therapy sessions.

Spring
Emotions Game Slide Deck!

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    More Social Emotional Tools

    Need strategies to work on self-regulation and coping mechanisms? Try the heavy work activity cards for proprioceptive input that calms and helps to regulate.

    Or, try the social emotional learning crafts, activities, and play ideas in the resource, Exploring Books Through Play, 50 Activities Based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy.

    Emotional Learning information– Use these social emotional learning activities to help children develop positive relationships, teach concepts of behaving ethically, and how to handle challenging emotions and behaviors.

    Zones of Regulation Activities– Strategies and hands-on activities to incorporate into self-reflection of feelingsemotions, and our response to situations is the ability to use emotional regulation. 

    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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Emotion Matching Game Slide Deck

    emotion matching game

    Today, I’ve got a fun emotion matching game that you can use in teletherapy sessions to teach emotions and feelings. This social emotional learning activity is an online game that kids will love to use in virtual therapy while working on things like identifying facial expressions as well as the visual perceptual skills like visual discrimination, visual scanning, and form constancy.

    Emotion Matching Game for helping kids identify emotions in a spot it game for occupational therapy teletherapy interventions.

    Emotion Matching Game

    If working on emotions in a spot it game is helpful in your occupational therapy interentions, this emotions matching game will do the trick.

    Emotion game to teach facial expressions and emotions to kids

    Kids can work through the slides and first, identify emotions based on facial expressions of the stars on each rainbow star.

    There is a text box under each facial expression where users can type the name of the facial expression.

    Next, kids can work through each slide to identify the matching emotions. There are only two facial expressions that match on each slide and kids can move the clouds over to cover the matching emotions.

    This slide deck covers a variety of skill areas:

    • Visual scanning
    • Visual form constancy
    • Visual discrimination
    • Visual attention
    • Visual memory
    • Social emotional learning
    • Identifying emotions
    • Eye hand coordination
    • Typing skills
    • Computer mouse skills

    Identifying and expressing emotions through play is an important part of social emotional development. This game offers an oppourtunity to work on these skills in virtual therapy sessions.

    For more ways to work on emotion matching, try these activities and resource pages:

    Want to add this emotion matching game to your therapy toolbox?

    Enter your email address into the form below and you’ll receive this Google slide deck game.

    Google Slide Deck TIPS:

    1. Save the PDF file that you receive once you enter your email below, because you can come back to it again and again and send it to the kids on your caseload (or classroom) so they can make their own copy on their Google drive.
    2. You will be prompted to make a copy of the slide deck. Before clicking that, be sure that you are logged into your Google account.
    3. Make a copy for each student’s Google Drive. When you share it, make sure you enable edit capabilities for users.
    4. The pieces will be moveable in “edit” mode. If you click “present”, the movable ice cubes won’t work.
    5. Be sure to make a copy of this slide deck and not change the url to indicate “edit” at the end. When you make a copy of the slide deck onto your Google drive, you will end up with your own version that you are free to adjust in order to meet your student’s needs. By changing the url to “edit”, you can potentially mess up the original version that many other therapists and The OT Toolbox users are given.
    6. To easily start a new game- Once you’ve gone through all of the slides, go to “history” on the top of the Google dashboard. You will be able to revert the slide to it’s original state using the history option, so all of the ice cubes go back to their original place. The history option is located on the top dashboard by clicking the link that says, “last edit was…”. When you click on that, you will see a list of edits made on the right side of your screen. Click on the edit titled, “New Game (Revert slides to their original state)”. This should move all of the movable ice cubes back to their original location on the slide deck. The typed in emotions on the text boxes will disappear as well. Note that you can delete edits from that list, so if several students are using the slides, you can keep the organization simple and delete edit versions that you no longer need.

    Emotion Matching Game Slide Deck!

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      MORE Emotions Games and Activities

      Want to help kids explore social and emotional learning through play? Exploring Books Through Play inspires social and emotional development though play based on children’s books. The specifically chosen books explore concepts such as differences, acceptance, empathy, and friendship.

      Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance and Empathy is filled with hands-on activities rooted in interactive, hands-on, sensory play that focus on creating a well-rounded early childhood education supporting growth in literacy, mathematics, science, emotional and social development, artistic expression, sensory exploration, gross motor development and fine motor skills. Kids can explore books while building specific skills in therapy sessions, as part of home programs, or in the home.

      Click here to explore acceptance, empathy, and friendship through play.