Executive Function Activities (at the Beach!)

executive function activities

Executive functioning development is partly learning through experience, and partly trial and error. But did you know you could foster powerful executive function activities through everyday experiences? Here, we’re chatting how to foster executive functioning skills through play…and even at the beach! Add these ideas to improve executive functioning skills this summer.

Executive function activities don't need to be boring. Use these executive function activities at the beach or while on vacation.

Heading out of town on vacation to the beach soon? Check out these cool ways to work on executive functioning while you’re there! Once you get back, get to work on these seashell souvenirs!

Looking for engaging executive functioning activities doesn’t need a trip to the beach. Some of these ideas can be set up in your own backyard. But, if you are going on a vacation or trip this summer, why not use it to foster development of skills through executive functioning activities?

Executive Functioning Activities: Planning and Prioritizing for a Vacation

Trips to the beach can be a great opportunity for families to enjoy some time away! They can also be a fun way to integrate some therapy. Sensory processing, motor skills, executive functioning—the options are endless! Sensory processing and motor skills might seem more obvious than executive functioning. Let’s take a deeper look at a few popular activities at the beach and how they can use executive functioning!

You can start working on executive functioning even before you leave for the trip! These are excellent ways to work on planning and prioritization skills. Especially important in planning for a vacation is the prioritization aspect: when to pack, when to set aside time to wash necessary clothing, making the time to plan out a trip and make reservations can all impact the success of a vacation.

  • Have your child look up the forecast
  • Work on creating a packing list
  • Schedule time to gather needed items
  • Work together to organize vacation items into available bags.

This can be a great way to get them involved! It also challenges their ability to delay gratification, as they will need to wait until it is time to go, even if that is a few days away. Time management will also be necessary so that packing doesn’t take all day!

Executive Function Activities: Build Sandcastles

Kids love building sandcastles! This activity requires a lot of executive functioning skills.

A child needs to use impulse control so that no one gets sand thrown in their eyes and to avoid the castle from being smashed prior to completion.

The child also needs to develop a plan and organize their ideas prior to or as they build in order to get the product they would like.

They need to recall where they put their shovels or buckets, as well as sequence multiple components as they build.

They also need to problem solve, as the sand might not be their desired consistency! Sandcastles—a great, complex way to work on executive functioning!

Executive Function Activities: Skipping Stones

Remember trying to skip stones during calm days on the water? This is another great way to integrate the use of executive functioning skills.

Stones need to meet specific criteria in order to be the best candidates. Or, this can become an area for problem solving or making predictions (foresight) to see what type of stone might skip best.

Certainly, there is a significant amount of impulse control needed in order to ensure safety of others in the area! Work on emotional control through contests of who gets their stone the farthest, especially if a child has difficulty losing.

Don’t have the motor planning or coordination to skip stones? No problem! Toss stones into a pool of water instead.

Boogie boards/knee surfing Executive Function Activity

Boogie boarding or knee surfing can be another activity to work on executive functioning in a hidden way! A child needs to plan their motor movements before they take place, as well as consider timing of waves. Safety awareness will also be important, along with persistence, since this can be a challenging activity!

The beach is a great way to work on a variety of developmental skills, whether sensory processing, motor skills, or executive functioning! Enjoy some of these activities on your upcoming trip and enjoy the benefits of the beach!

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.

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.

Improve Executive Functioning Skills this Summer

improve executive functioning skills this summer

Summer is coming! And, I have some fun ways to improve executive functioning skills during the summer months, while the kids are on a break from school. Working on executive functioning doesn’t need to involve boring projects, long checklists, or tedious tasks that make the kids run. These executive functioning activities can help to improve the skills that translate to better planning, prioritization, and staying on task during day-to-day functional tasks and when back in the classroom.

How to Improve Executive Functioning Skills This Summer

When school ends for the year, we can all have wonderful intentions of a great summer filled with enriching activities to continue our student’s growth. Sometimes, that means having plans that are hard to achieve. Sometimes, that means having absolutely no plans, but then realizing this is a bit too unstructured!

Whatever camp you are in, a middle ground is a more attainable place to be. Check out these ways to work on executive functioning skills this summer.

Under each activity idea below, you’ll find strategies to improve executive functioning skills. Use these tips to work on areas like:

  • Planning
  • Prioritization
  • Organization
  • Task Completion
  • Attention
  • Working memory

Then, when children see success that they’ve made in fun and meaningful tasks, they can carry those skills over to other tasks. Be sure to point out hard work, worthy attempts, and small successes. This auditory input can help to get a point to stick later down the road.

Get started with some fun summer games. Planning a weekly game night with the family can get this on the calendar and make game playing an event. Think about even adding themes or special fun snacks to the game night events.

Interest Based Occupations to Work on Executive Functions

Occupational therapists use meaningful occupations (or the tasks that occupy one’s time) as a therapeutic tool to improve independence, functioning, safety, and meaning in one’s life. The use of motivating interests play a strong role in building essential executive functioning skills, too!

Use your child’s interests to improve executive functioning that carries over to less preferred activities (like school, homework, and even chores).

Whatever your child’s leisure interests, there is likely an easy way to integrate executive functioning growth opportunities!

sports to work on executive functioning skills

Do you have a budding athlete in your family?

  • Have them set up a tournament for your family or neighborhood: create the brackets (requires planning and organizing, working memory, and initiation)
  • Winning/losing (requires emotional regulation and impulse control)
  • Create the court or field (planning and organizing, organization of materials)

Art to work on executive functioning skills

How about your budding artist? There are so many fun summer-themed crafts for all ages!

  • Have your child think flexibly about different materials they can use, especially if you do not have all of the items needed to make a certain masterpiece!
  • Plan projects
  • Set a completion date and write out steps with small goals that need to be achieved before the next step can be accomplished
  • Use a large project such as a mural, pottery, or painting garden planters to expand executive functioning development over weeks or months

Reading to work on executive functioning skills

Have a bookworm?

  • A summer book club could be fun! They could create a plan for each club meeting, including creating the invitations and agenda, working on their skills of initiation, time management, planning and organizing, and working memory.
  • Mark off on a calendar when library books need to be returned
  • Schedule time daily for reading and make it relaxing: a book picnic in the yard, taking books to the park, or reading under twinkle lights can be fun and interesting, and all need to be planned out with thinking ahead.

Chores to Improve Executive Functioning Skills

Summer is a great time to start integrating family chores without the pressure of starting a new routine in the middle of a school year. Activities like cooking and recycling are approachable for many ages.

Cooking to work on executive Function

Find a recipe that works for your family’s ages, needs, and foods. Then, to work on executive function, try some of these tips:

If cooking is something that you would like to try with kids, be sure to pick out a recipe that is motivating to the child. Here are tons of cooking with kids recipe ideas.

  1. Break up the recipe into the planning stages, the executing stages, and the eating stages!
  2. With each step of the recipe (including preparation and clean-up), assign different family members different jobs, like making the list (while giving them 3 steps to remember and write down for a working memory challenge).
  3. Work on planning and prioritization by estimating when each step will need to start for more complex recipes (time management).
  4. Think about the items and recipe ingredients that are needed as well as steps of the process, including smaller tasks like emptying the sink or dishwasher after you finish cooking (organization of materials).

Recycling to work on executive function

Take the opportunity to teach your children about recycling. Here are tips to use recycling as an opportunity to build specific executive functions:

  1. Can they identify what items should go in the garbage versus the recycling (working memory)?
  2. Can they initiate and show impulse control in this task, such as taking the extra steps to the recycling bin, rather than just throwing that can in the garbage?
  3. Use a calendar to mark off the day when recycling materials should be collected and the bin taken to the curb or recycling center.
  4. Use a list to identify materials that can be recycled.

Summer Learning and Executive Functioning Skills

While neither a strong academic focus nor a lack of academic focus tends to be the best for any child, there are ways to integrate academics into the more relaxed environment of summer activities.

Have some sidewalk chalk? Work on sight words (both from previous grade and the soon-to-be grade), letter formation, math problems, you name it!

If slime is still a trend in your house, find a good recipe and have your child use their executive functioning skills to complete and reflect on the creation. What went well? What did they struggle with or would they change?

Make a ninja or obstacle course! This takes incredible amounts of executive functioning skills: initiation, shifting, impulse control (“No, Johnny, it probably would not be best to put that plank on top of the playground as a launchpad.”), emotional control/failure tolerance, time management, working memory, planning and organizing, and organization of materials.

Have fun this summer, stay safe, and keep the growth going!

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.

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.

Impulse Control Worksheets

impulse control worksheets

This past week, I’ve shared a few impulse control resources and these impulse control resources are just one more tool to add to the toolbox! I wanted to pull out a few of the helpful controlling impulsive behavior worksheets from The Impulse Control Journal to share with you. Use these in isolation, or grab the whole 80 page packet to use to help with areas such as habits, mindset, goal setting, and focusing on addressing impulsive behaviors that impact learning, social emotional learning, and more.

Free impulse control worksheets to help kids and teens with impulse control skills.

Impulse Control Worksheets

These free impulse control worksheets are just a snippet of the materials you’ll find in the Impulse Control Journal.

Included in this sample pack are 5 pages:

  • When is Impulse Control Hard
  • What Does Impulse Control Look Like Worksheet
  • BIG Emotions Journal Writing Page
  • Feelings Journal Writing Page
  • Coping Skills Journal Writing Page

Each page is printable and you can use them over and over again to target impulsive behaviors and actions.

Use the impulse control worksheets as teaching tools for kids and teens to show how responses to situations, emotions, and mindset impact impulsive actions, and how to use specific coping strategies to allow learning and functioning in situations. When is Impulse Control Hard

Free impulse control skills worksheets for teens and kids.

When is Impulse Control Hard Worksheet

This page in the packet describes situations when impulse control skills can be difficult. This is important because it helps individuals realize that they are not alone, and that controlling impulsive behaviors isn’t something to be worried about, ashamed of, or that they are the only ones having trouble controlling their impulses.

The worksheet includes a teaching portion: If you think about it, you might start to notice a pattern of times and places when using impulse control is hard.

Users can then check off any times or places that using impulse control is difficult. This can change depending on the day, the situation, emotions, events, etc. Users can also fill in any times not on the list.

Then, the worksheet asks about when using impulse control is easiest and when it is hardest. This is a good exercise to journal and build a toolbox of experiences using working memory. What are some strategies that DID help the user to be safe or make good choices in a a particular situation? What impacted poor choices? These are all areas that can be expanded upon.

What Does Impulse Control Look Like Worksheet

This worksheet helps kids understand what impulse control is and how specific situations can lead to different impulsive behaviors or actions to different people. The executive function worksheet then describes different ways to use impulse control skills in different situaitons. The worksheet allows users to check off different ways they have demonstrated impulse control skills in the past.

This is a great way to teach, but also to build working memory skills. What has worked in the past can be pulled from to use as a tool in the future.

Next, the worksheet asks about times that the individual has used good examples of impulse control. It also asks about specific times or events where poor impulse control was used. This worksheet can be used on a daily or weekly basis to help with working memory in building coping tools for impulse control.

BIG Emotions Journal Writing Page

Another worksheet in the packet is one on BIG emotions. These are the emotions that can be difficult to manage in a way that impacts actions and behaviors. The worksheet includes a quote from Fred Rogers:

“When we talk about our emotions, they become less
overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”

-quote by Fred Rogers

Kids can use the worksheet to journal about their biggest emotions, using the journal prompts. There is also a drawing prompt as well.

The big emotions prompts touch on interoception as well. Interoception, or the sense of the internal state of the body, is a sense that can impact how we “feel” on the inside with big emotions. Sensations connected with emotions might include:

  • Butterflies in the stomach
  • Heart racing
  • Holding your breath
  • Breathing fast
  • Stomach churning
  • “Seeing red”
  • Tensed muscles

Here is more information on emotions and interoception. The worksheet asks questions like this because it can help users to connect the dots between big emotions and impulsive actions.

There are also pieces on this worksheet that include concepts of empathy awareness. It asks users to recall times when others may have experienced big emotions. It can be helpful to connect to others and see that impulsive actions are something that everyone deals with at one time or another.

Feelings Journal Writing Page

There is also a feelings worksheet. This worksheet is intended to help users realized that feelings are great to experience, whether they are feelings of happiness, sadness, or anger, etc. Sometimes some of our kiddos might get into a thought process where if they are in a “red zone” (relating to the Zones of Regulation program), they might get it in their head that being in a red zone is a bad thing, when it’s definitely not!

There is a quote by Jonathan Martensson on this worksheet page:

Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf.

– quote by Jonathan Martensson

The journal page goes on to include writing and drawing prompts about feelings and emotions.

Coping Skills Journal Writing Page

And finally, there is a coping skills worksheet. This page includes writing prompts and a drawing prompt about coping tools that can be used in situations when impulse control might be needed. This worksheet page helps users draw from past experiences and to build their working memory “bucket” of tools they can use in the future. There is also a quote from John Wooden:

Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you
can do.

-quote by John Wooden

You may also want to grab the Impulse Control Journal, which is where these worksheets come from. It’s a huge resource designed to develop and strengthen executive functioning skills as well as habit building, goal setting, mindset, and of course, impulse control. I love this journal because it helps kids and teens to recognize their strengths, build upon them, and realize they have the capability to do what they need to do and what they want to do.

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.

Free Impulse Control Worksheets

So, what do you think? Would you like to add this printable worksheet set to your therapy toolbox? You’ll need to enter your email address into the form below to access this file.

Free Impulse Control Worksheets

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

    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.

    Stop and Think

    Stop and think worksheets

    This stop and think activity is just that: a resource to help kids stop and think! Getting kids to stop and think is a social emotional skill that is needed for self-regulation and emotional intelligence. I love to use these printable executive function worksheets to teach impulse control skills to children.

    Stop and think worksheets for kids to help them with working memory, impulse control and teaching strategies to stop and think before acting.

    Stop and Think Activities

    These stop and think worksheets are activity based, meaning you can print them off and use them again and again within games, functional tasks, classroom learning activities and everyday daily occupations.

    These worksheets can be used in collaboration with Zones of Regulation activities and strategies to help kids with emotional and behavioral regulation.

    Included in the Stop and Think worksheets are several pages of resources for teaching children the valuable self-regulation skill of stopping what they are doing and thinking before acting out impulsively. The free worksheet packet includes:

    • Impulse Control Red Flags
    • Stop and Think Questions for Kids
    • Stop and Think Cards
    • Tools to Stop and Think
    • Daily Reward Chart

    When to stop and think

    As we know, executive functioning skills do not fully develop until early adulthood. This is because the cognitive functioning center of the brain in the frontal lobe continues to develop into the twenties. You can probably think about specific incidents during your young adult years where impulse control, prioritization, planning, inhibition, and other executive functioning skills were not at their prime. You may have made some inappropriate or unwise decisions during those years.

    Our children are developing these skills and won’t fully be developed until much later, so it is natural to see issues with impulsivity, foresight, cognitive flexibility and other skills that are inappropriate. To help children develop these skills on an age-appropriate level, however allows kids to have the working memory for classroom lessons, the impulse control for safety and homework completion, and the self-monitoring skills to not interrupt. All of these skills and abilities take practice, modeling from adults, and repetition.

    When children are given opportunities to practice stopping and thinking before their actions, they have that chance to develop these skills effectively participate in occupations such as learning, self-care, social participation, and within safe environment.

    Some examples of red flags for when these skills can be addressed include the following:

    • Speaks out or blurts out answers
    • Interrupts others
    • Quits or gives up on tasks, assignments, games, etc.
    • Shoves in lines
    • Cuts in front of others while waiting in lines
    • Jumps up from seat
    • Asks questions about irrelevant topics
    • Shows physical impulses
    • Hyperactive behavior
    • Hypo-active behavior
    • Jumps to conclusions
    • Reacts strongly to criticisms
    • Gets sidetracked by strong emotions
    • Personal boundary issues
    • Jumps from one task to another
    • Easily distracted

    The Stop and Think worksheets includes these examples, as well as others. This page in the free packet can be a teaching list for children to see when they might apply the ability to stop and think before they act.

    Stop and Think Questions for Kids

    Also included in the worksheet set are stop and think questions. Children can use them within a situation, activity, game, or event to pause and answer the questions given the situation in which they find themselves.

    There is space to answer the questions in a blank writing area, and you can cut out the questions as a visual model for future situations. Sometimes having that visyal prompt listing out the questions is a good prompt for children, teens, and young adults. These stop and think questions can even be useful for adults to address mindfulness, mindset, emotional regulation, and executive functioing.

    Stop and Think Cards

    Next, you’ll find stop and think cards that can be cut out and used for students to write out their current situation, as they think through their emotions, behaviors, and the environment or situation. Questions include:

    • What am I supposed to be doing?
    • What am I doing?
    • I feel___because____.
    • What might happen?
    • What tools can I use to help me?

    These cards give users the chance to literally stop, and think!

    Try using the stop and think questions and cards within activities like these:

    Tools to Stop and Think

    Next, you’ll find a printable page that can help within the moment. These are the tools that kids (or teens or adults) can use after they pause and think. The list of coping tools are strategies that implement sensory input or input in the way of heavy work, oral motor input, or vestibular movement.

    These are calming and regulating sensory strategies that allow one to refocus and get to a calm and alert state of “ready to go”. There is also space to write in specific tools that work for the individual.

    Other tools to help kids stop and think include:

    Stop and Think Reward Chart

    Finally, the last page of the Stop and Think Worksheets set is a reward chart sheet. This is a visual prompt for achieving goals as a result of stopping and thinking in the moment. This reward chart may not work for every child or every individual using these stop and think strategies, but it is a tool that is available.

    Helping kids to set goals for stopping and thinking is so valuable and this reward chart page can be used in that process.

    Would you like to use this printable resource in your interventions, home programing, or classroom? You can grab this resource, print it off, and use over and over again.

    Simply enter your email address into the form below and the file will be delivered to your inbox. NOTE: Due to increases in email and internet security for those using work email addresses, the email that delivers this file may be blocked. If you typically use an email ending with .edu, .org, .uni, .gov, etc. consider using a personal email address instead for deliverability.

    Free Stop and Think Worksheets

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.
      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.

      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.

      Self-Monitoring Strategies for Kids

      self-monitoring strategies handouts

      One of the big executive functioning skills is the ability to self-monitor oneself. Self-monitoring strategies play a part in the ability to notice what is happening in the world around us and what is happening in our own body. The ability to “check” oneself and monitor actions, behaviors, and thoughts as they happen play into our ability to problem solve. Use the tips below to help kids learn how to self-monitor and problem solve. These self-monitoring strategies for kids are applicable in the classroom, home, sports field, or in social situations.

      Self-monitoring strategies and free handouts with self monitoring examples for parents, teachers, therapists.

      As a related resources, try these self-reflection activities for kids. You’ll also love these other free handouts for executive functioning skills: Organization Handouts.

      Use these self-monitoring strategies for kids to teach kids how to self-monitor their actions and behaviors for better learning, attention, and functional independence.

      Related read: Here are more executive functioning resources to fill your therapy toolbox!

      What is self-monitoring

      Self-monitoring is a process of metacognition. Metacognition is the ability to plan for and execute a task, monitor one’s actions, analyze a problem, apply a strategy, maintain attention, and evaluate or monitor completion of an activity. Ideally, metacognition should occur naturally and instinctively as we engage in an activity.

      The ability to self-monitor is made up of two main areas:

      1.) Observation- In this stage, a child is able to identify a specific behavior, thought, or action that occurred. This might happen during the action or afterwards.

      In a child who struggles with talking out in class, they may catch themselves as they are interrupting. Another child may realize they spoke out of turn only after the teacher mentions the interruption.

      In both cases, the child is able to identify what behavior has occurred through self-assessment. This level of self-monitoring is a real struggle for some students and working on the ability to notice the behaviors or actions that are inefficient or inappropriate for the situation. The ability to observe and recognize behaviors or actions is a skill, and that self-monitoring ability requires a lot of reflection, as well as the ability to recognize an ideal response or appropriate behavior for a specific situation.

      2.) Recording- This stage of self-monitoring is a means for moving from an awareness of actions and behaviors to function. In the recording stage of self-monitoring, children are able to note their actions and make changes based on what happened in specific situations.

      Having a set of strategies in place to address self-regulation needs, attention needs, or emotional supports is beneficial for use in the moment. Jotting down deviances of targeted behavior can help kids to become more aware of what happened in a specific situation and how they can make adjustments in the future to avoid specific behaviors, or how they can use accommodations and self-regulation tools to respond and react more appropriately.

      Self-Monitoring Strategies

      In talking about self-monitoring skills, let’s first discuss what exactly self-monitoring is and what it means for kids to self-monitor their actions, thoughts, and behaviors.

      Observation, or self-assessment may require work in order for the child to understand targeted behaviors.

      Recording or measurement of actions can occur through several methods:

      • Checklists
      • Parent/Teacher/Student communication sheets (where the child inputs behaviors throughout the day)
      • Journaling in a notebook or a tool such as the Impulse Control Journal
      • Data collection sheets
      • Frequency collection forms
      • Self-graphing

      Self-Monitoring Examples

      • Lists of appropriate actions or behaviors
      • Simple strategies to impact self-control
      • Visual cues
      • Verbal cues
      • Reminder notes
      • Goal setting
      • Journaling in a notebook or a tool such as the Impulse Control Journal
      • Coaching
      • Role-playing practice
      • Self-talk
      • Modeling from peers

      The goal of this stage is to get students to move from a teacher/parent/therapist/adult support of self-assessment to a self-assessment status where the child identifies behaviors and actions that are off-target.

      A child’s ability to stay organized can make a big impact on self-monitoring. Use the organization activities and strategies identified here.

      Why is Self-Monitoring important?

      When children self-monitor their actions and thoughts, so many areas are developed and progressed:

      • Attention
      • Behavior
      • Problem-solving abilities
      • Hindsight
      • Foresight
      • Persistence
      • Shift

      You can see how each of the executive functioning skills play into the ability to self-monitor and how self-monitoring skills play into the development and use of each of the other executive functioning skills.

      The ability to self-monitor actions, behaviors, thoughts impacts learning, mindset, social and emotional skills, and functional participation in everyday tasks.

      Self-Monitoring Impacts Function

      There are also functional skills that are developed and improved through self-monitoring:

      • Learning
      • Communication
      • Behavior
      • Task initiation
      • Task completion
      • Social-emotional interaction
      • Follow-through on learned skills

      Self-Monitoring Strategies

      Below, you will find additional self-monitoring strategies that can help children with the ability to identify and self-assess and self-adjust behaviors that may occur within the classroom, home, or other environment.

      These strategies should be viewed as supports that can be used independently by the child following instruction and input to teach strategy methods.

      • Make an outline for writing tasks, homework assignments, or multi-step assignments in order to keep the child on task.
      • Utilize a self-monitoring schedule- Ask the child to stop and self-check their actions, behaviors, or thoughts to make sure they are on-task.
      • Try an index card or other visual reminder on desks for a list of appropriate behaviors.
      • Use social stories to teach appropriate actions and reactions to specific situations in the home or classroom.
      • Incorporate a schedule of self-regulation strategies to address sensory, attention, and focusing needs. A sensory diet can help with this.
      • Teach the child to check and recheck- Teach children to stop and check and then re-check their behaviors.
      • Teach the child self-talk strategies.
      • Teach students to look at their finished assignment from their teacher’s eyes. This can help them have an outside view of completed work or actions in the classroom and adjust as appropriate.
      • Sensory or coping strategies scheduled throughout the day for sensory input or movement breaks.
      • Use a timer for scheduled self-assessment and self-reflection of behaviors or actions and recording of data.
      • Work toward fading self-monitoring visual and physical cues as well as data collection means.
      • Teach the child to journal experiences. The Impulse Control Journal can be a helpful tool for children who are able to write or dictate to an adult.

      Related read– Find many strategies and activities to boost attention in kids here.  

      Self-Monitoring Handout

      Want to access this article as a printable PDF to use as a handout? Use the printable version in education to parents, teachers, therapists, and other professionals. Simply print off the printable version and add it to your therapy toolbox.

      Note: In order to access this file, you will need to enter your email address. This allows us to send the PDF directly to your email. This is a 5 page printable self-monitoring strategy outline for educating those who work with kids with self-monitoring skills in kids.

      Free Self-Monitoring Strategies Handouts

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        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.

        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.

        What are Executive Functioning Skills?

        Executive functioning skills are an important component of skilled occupational therapy intervention, but they can be confusing to some. What are executive functioning skills? Executive functioning skills go beyond the basics like working memory and impulse control. In fact, there is not necessarily one agreed-upon definition for executive functioning! Ready to learn more? Keep reading!

        What are executive functioning skills

        What are executive FUNCTIONING Skills?

        Executive functioning (EF) skills are diverse. Typically, EF consists of skills including the ability to manage emotions, initiate activities within a timely manner, shift attention from topics or activities, control impulses and urges, retain information for use during functional activities, develop plans and formulate systems to perform a desired task, prevent missing materials, and being mindful of how our own behavior impacts others.

        Development of executive functioning skills

        When do executive functioning skills develop?

        Executive functioning skills take a long time to develop! As a result, different ages demonstrate different challenges when facing EF deficits.

        While a child in late elementary school may seem successful with their ability to manage classroom materials, turn in homework assignments on time, and engage in age-appropriate behaviors, the same child may demonstrate significant challenges upon the transition to middle school. For example, now they have to return to their locker between classes to exchange books, which is not just a simple stop-and-go activity.

        There are distractions, the desire to engage in social interactions, a time crunch to make it to the next class on time, the need to remember what class is next and what materials they need, and not to mention needing to remember the sequence for their combination lock! This all happens before they even make it into their next classroom or head home for the day.

        How can executive functioning skills improve?

        Thanks to the brain’s neuroplasticity, EF skills have potential for improvement! Many daily activities require diverse EF skills, making them a fantastic opportunity to integrate effective strategies.

        What are executive functioning skills

        Emotional regulation as an area of executive functioning:

        Emotional regulation is one of the first areas of executive functioning that many parents want to improve, since it can add significant stress to family life. Self-reflection is one way to improve emotional regulation. However, it’s important that this takes place after the big feelings pass, since learning takes place when bodies and minds are “just right.”

        This can easily be added to family routines. One way to encourage self-reflection is to have each family member share a positive and negative from the day when seated for dinner.

        This also allows for family members to support each other (“Good luck on your test today, Jacob, you studied very hard!”) and provides opportunities for continued conversation (“You mentioned having an argument with your friend at lunch today. Is there anything I can do to help?”). It can also normalize the big feelings we all experience!

        Initiation and executive functioning skills:

        We’ve all struggled with initiation at some point in our lives; we need to complete items on an ever-growing to-do list, but just don’t know where to start! Kids experience this, too.

        For children who are competitive, make a contest out of completing tasks. See who can complete their to-do list the fastest, but with the best quality, too! Teaching children and teens how to become more independent with initiation can be fun and successful.

        Shifting as an executive function:

        Shifting is often combined with attention, since shifting requires the individual to determine what is important and focus on that, rather than what they might have been doing or thinking before.

        Take, for example, a student who was writing a paper on a Shakespearean play for their English class. They’ve now finished the assignment and have moved on to a worksheet on the quadratic formula. Their mind needs to completely turn “off” Shakespeare and turn “on” the quadratic formula.

        Luckily, there are many activities for attention. One fun way is to build an obstacle course. Each time the child completes the course, change one of the rules!

        For example, the second time, they can only touch primary colors or can only hop on one foot in between obstacles. They will not only need to remember what the new rule is, but they will have to shift away from the old rules!

        Inhibition and executive functioning:

        Inhibition is often referred to as impulse control. It can be an exhausting component of executive functioning, as it can lead to significant safety concerns.

        One way to improve impulse control with younger children is through the game “Red Light, Green Light.” Many children (even early teenagers) enjoy playing versions of “Floor is Lava,” avoiding certain materials as they attempt to navigate a room. This can also be a great way to work on working memory!

        Working memory as an executive function:

        Working memory can be a significant challenge for many individuals. Working memory requires us to retain learned information and use it during daily activities.

        There are many ways to support working memory development and deficits. There are many task-management apps available, even for things like medication management. For activities to improve working memory, try playing games like Magic Labyrinth, Melissa and Doug’s Sandwich Stacking Game, or making a recipe!

        Planning/organizing for executive functioning success:

        Planning for projects and organizing ideas is stressful! It can be helpful to go through large assignments one at a time. Break the assignment into manageable pieces, including what materials are needed for that step and when that step needs to be completed.

        The good news is that these skills can experience definite improvements with practice. Check out this link for more information and strategies on prioritization and planning skill development.

        Organization of materials and executive functioning:

        Messy rooms with laundry covering the floor, desks and lockers overflowing with paper, expandable folders filled to the brim with assignments—these are the signs of a disorganized student! Organization is often the first thing to go when a person feels stressed or overwhelmed, as it can be time-consuming.

        To support a child’s organization skills development, try making checklists for their locker or desk. As they place each item into their backpack, they can check a box to make sure they have everything they need before they go! Or, use labels to clearly define where belongings go in a closet or on a bookshelf.

        Executive functioning skills in kids

        Monitoring for executive functioning success:

        Monitoring is important since we all interactive with others on a daily basis! Monitoring is the acknowledgement that we behave in certain ways and that these behaviors can affect other people.

        Self-reflection (mentioned above) can be a good way to promote monitoring. An individual can process through what they think went well, what they struggled with, and how they think others felt during these events. Behavior charts can also be helpful by clearly listing out what the expectation is and whether the individual demonstrated that skill area. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage self-monitoring as much as possible, rather than adults monitoring the child. The possibilities for monitoring strategies  are diverse and it’s possible to find something that works for each person.

        More Executive Functioning Skills Resources:

        • Free Executive Function Mini-Course- Wondering about what are executive functioning skills? This Executive Functioning Skills Course is a FREE, 5-day email course that will help you understand executive functioning and all that is included in the set of mental skills.
        • This collection of executive functioning skills resources outline many aspects of higher cognitive skills through various EF skill areas.
        • Getting organized can be a start to addressing several executive functioning skill areas. Here is a collection of organization strategies, tips, and tools.
        What are executive functioning skills? This resource on attention, organization, planning, and other executive functions helps kids develop skills needed for learning.

        For resources, tools, and printable activities to improve and strengthen the development of executive functioning skills, check out The Impulse Control Journal.

        Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

        Kindness Challenge

        7 day kindness challenge

        I was reminded that November 11th is World Kindness Day. It seems that the world needs a lot of kindness at the moment! This 7 day kindness challenge is an old family challenge that I had on this website. Today, you’ll find a free family kindness challenge, with free printable challenge cards, and extra kindness ideas and activities that the whole family can use in random acts of kindness. It’s cool to be kind, right? Pass on kindness and challenge the whole family to spread kindness!

         Kindness Challenge

        This kindness challenge is a free family kindness challenge to help kids and the whole family use random acts of kindness to pass on!

        Going through the routines and schedules of family, work, school, commitments, family obligations, and all that being part of a family entails…it is exhausting. For families of young children, there might be online learning, middle of the night wake-ups, diapers, sticky fingers, crusty faces, and the general mayhem of family life. For parents of older children, it’s dealing with online learning, technology, and the daily changes of 2020! Motherhood is a beautiful and messy job.  

        Between all that is happening in the world and life in general, there can be moments of gratitude, empathy, laughter, snuggles and peace.  Then there are the big whiffs of baby head and soft skin mixed with love.  (Every Mom knows that scent, right??)  The good hugely crushes the exhaustion and we keep going.

        7 Day Kindness Challenge

        When the outside world’s dangers and unpredictability nears the shelter of our homes, we can grow weary just when we need our strength…to smile through the difficulties.  It is SO good to hear of positive work being done in the world.  There are people who strive for kindness, bravely inspiring grace in the world.  Our kids’ world needs the good.

        We’ve got something very exciting to share today.  Going on the theme of being the good in the world and inspiring others with kindness and graciousness, we’ve got a challenge for you.  A challenge for your family.  Make that a Challenge. (Capitalized makes it sound more “official”, right??)  This is a Challenge for your family to take part in over 7 days, with kid-friendly kind acts and activities that will inspire good in you and good in others.  Gratitude, joy, giving, kindness, awareness, patience, and a positive outlook can inspire others to be the good too.  This is a short and easy challenge.  One week of ideas that can be fit into your family’s schedules and needs.  Get ready to inspire and be inspired.

        But first, you’ll want to hear how we were inspired to inspire others!  

        7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.




        To believe there is good in the world is to have ownership in that thought process and to be a part of the good. That’s what this family kindness challenge is all about. This is a challenge for your family, for kids, and for you to make a difference in small and meaningful ways, over a week’s time.  This is one week challenge (because let’s face it, any longer than a week is a lot of commitment when it comes to family time and kids needs.  Sometimes a commitment of 10 minutes is a lot to ask!)  

        The 7 Day Family Kindness Challenge

        This challenge is simple.  Gather your family and get ready to inspire and be inspired.  Get ready to be the change and inspire the change in this world!  Each day, you’ll open an envelope together as a family and inspire.  Inspire each other, inspire others, and inspire yourself with good. Your week of challenges will be a time of growth and intention for your family.  The great thing about growth is that growth doesn’t stop.  Whether we’re talking about children or weeds, growing doesn’t end.  And adults don’t stop growing either! This challenge is about being brave, being inspirational, and being full of intentional growth.  Get ready to have fun, too!

        Free kindness challenge printable for the 7 day kindness challenge.
        7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.

         First, print out the sheet above.  

        Next,  get your printable challenge cards (above).  You can find and print off this sheet for free, along with the other cards needed for this free 7 day challenge. Grab those at the bottom of this blog post.

         Cut along the black lines and fold each section into a long rectangle.  Place these, along with the printable daily instruction cards into an envelope.  Each day, gather as a family and read through the cards.  Be sure to allow time to do each day’s activities.  This doesn’t have to be a stressful–allow time to fill these activities into your schedule.  Remember that passing along positive changes to others is intentional and brave.  You are the change and it is starting with your family!

        7 day kindness challenge activities include noticing others and appreciating others.

        Print off this challenge card and all of the others in the 7 Day Family Challenge by entering your email HERE. You will be directed to your free printable.  OR just read from the info below 🙂


        Kindness Challenge DAY 1: Notice.


        Notice and appreciate others and the world around you.  Is a friend being helpful at school?  Did a stranger stop and pick up a piece of litter?  Observe and tell them “thank you.” for doing something helpful that makes a difference.  Does someone on the bus look sad? Ask them how they are feeling or if something happened that morning to make them sad.  Do you notice a mess in your classroom or house that needs cleaning?  Be the change and go beyond the expected.  Soon, others will notice you being the change and will follow your example.  And if no one notices your attempts?  Open your mouth!  Not to brag, but rather, invite others to notice their world, too.

        Extra Kindness Activities:

        • Make a card for someone you notice having a bad day.
        • Create a care package for a sick friend or neighbor.
        • Help a stranger by holding a door.

        Kindness Challenge DAY 2: Give.

        A surprise gift or little treat can change a person’s whole day.  A small dose of generosity can inspire a long string of kind acts.  Give a compliment, give a hand, or give away items to those in need. Being generous is giving what we have or what we are.  It can be easy to get swept up in schedules, homework, and household chores that need done.  Be generous with your time and intention as you inspire others by being giving to others despite busyness.  Share your time as you help a neighbor pull in trash cans. Or give your time by listening to a friend’s troubles with an open heart.    

        Extra Kindness Activities:

        • Give toys or clothes you no longer need to charity.
        • Give an unexpected gift of baked goods to a neighbor.
        • Give school supplies to a teacher to stock their classroom.

          We made candy jars and gifted them to neighbors and teachers.    

        Family kindness challenge

        Kindness Challenge DAY 3: Gratitude.

        Thanking someone lets a person know that you appreciate them.  When a person feels appreciated, they know they have a purpose and are loved.  Showing gratitude can be as simple as saying “Thank you.” to someone for letting you go first.  Don’t let an opportunity to show gratitude pass by without being a change, though–Look the person you are thanking in the eye and smile!  Or show gratitude in a bigger way by writing a card with a drawing or words that show your appreciation.  Tell them that they’ve made a difference in your life.  Leaving a positive imprint on someone can change the whole course of their day and those they come in contact with.   EXTRA

        Extra Kindness Activities:

        • Thank your postal worker for their hard work.  Give them a glass of water or a snack.
        • Thank your teacher.  They work hard and many days, get little appreciation.  Thank them with a jar of candy or a small gift along with a word of thanks.
        • Start a Gratitude Journal.  Each night before bed, write down a few things that you are thankful for.  This could be done as a family or individually.

        Kindness Challenge DAY 4: Positivity.

        Plant positivity in the lives of those around you with a smile and by going the extra mile.  A small dose of positivity spreads.  And a simple thing like a smile can inspire a wildfire of positive actions around you.  Smile as you hold a door for someone.  Compliment someone today with genuine words and leave conversations on a positive note.  Being positive requires bravery.  Choose to make a difference and inspire another person’s positive attitude as you hold open every door you come across today.  Smile at and greet people as they come through.    

        Extra Kindness Activities:

        • As you sit down to dinner, go around the table and name 3 positive things that happened for each person that day.   Discuss accomplishments and how you can help others in your family accomplish their goals.
        • Listen to a friend with a positive attitude.  If you notice negative words or complaining, turn it around with optimism.  Help your friend turn a big problem into a series of smaller, accomplish goals by writing down strategies to help.
        • Draw a family collage of happy thoughts.  Each family member can add to the artwork by drawing pictures and writing down things that make them happy.  Hang the collage art in a place that is always seen, like the living room wall.  You can even frame it!
        7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.

        Kindness Challenge DAY 5: Kindness.

        Small and random acts of kindness can change a person’s whole day.  It is easy to do a kind act or say kind words to others in a way that will allow them to grow and spread kindness.  It can be as simple as showing kindness to creatures by feeding the birds in your neighborhood or sharing bubbles with children at the park.  You can do many acts of kindness together as a family.  

        Extra Kindness Activities:

        • Deliver flowers to a neighbor you don’t know that well.
        • Donate books to the library.
        • Write kind notes for siblings.


        Kindness Challenge DAY 6: Patience.

        Being patient can be hard!  When a friend just isn’t listening to what you have to say, when a child demands attention with a tantrum, or when a driver blows their horn at you on the highway…patience is self-control in difficult situations.  Showing patience can have a real impact on other’s behavior and attitudes, though.  Today, purposefully and intentionally pause before speaking to others.  Ask yourself if you have a thoughtful and patient response.  They may not realize you are exercising patience in your interactions, but your meaningful words will resonate.

        Extra Kindness Activities:

        • Plant seeds together as a family.  Talk about how we need patience to wait for the plant to grow.  Water your plant every day!
        • Talk about times when you must be patient as a family: waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or waiting for an upcoming fun event.  How can you make these times of waiting more tolerable?  Make an action plan for situations where patience is required.


        Kindness Challenge DAY 7: Joy.

         The best thing about this 7 day Family Challenge is that doing and being aware, giving, gracious, positive, kind, and patient will lend itself to joy.  You will see joy in others around you and in yourself as you make and are the change in others.  By helping and doing kind acts for others, you will find that joy doesn’t come from what you own.  It is helping others.  Showing gratitude for blessings and blessing others is joy.  Your challenge for today is to show joy just by being you.  Be brave and intentionally spread joy through kindness.  How can you extend this seven day challenge to additional days in small and meaningful ways?    

        Extra Kindness Activities:  

        • Turn someone’s negative outlook into joy with a kind word, a small gift and word of thanks, or patience.  
        • Create Joy Art: Use watercolors, paints, and markers to create a work of art depicting joy.  What means joy to you?  Talk with your family about what Joy means to each family member and how possessions are not real sources of joy.


        I recently saw a quote that really inspired me.  

         “Nearly every moment of every day, we have the opportunity to give something to someone else- our time, our love, our resources.  I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”-S. Truett Cathy

        Kindness quote:  "Nearly every moment of every day, we have the opportunity to give something to someone else- our time, our love, our resources.  I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return."-S. Truett Cathy

          Get all of the challenge cards for free to print off and challenge your family again and again in these inspiring and brave ways.  

        Be intentional and be remarkable!  Lick here to GET YOUR PRINTABLE 7 DAY CHALLENGE CARDS by entering your email.  You’ll be added to our newsletter mailing list and will receive occasional emails from us with our latest blog posts.   

        7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.

           

         

         

        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.

        Fun Mindfulness Activities

        Here, you will find fun mindfulness activities to help kids with creative mindfulness exercises that can help kids feel better, reduce stress, address anxiety, and have a greater awareness of their body and mind. Mindfulness activities for kids can be used as a self-regulation tool or a coping strategy. The sky’s the limit!


        Looking for more ways to teach mindfulness? Here are winter themed mindfulness activities that kids will love. 

        These FUN Mindfulness activities are helpful self-regulation tools for kids.

         

        Fun Mindfulness Activities



        First, let’s talk about what mindfulness means.

        Mindfulness activities for kids can help kids with attention coping, learning, self-regulation, and more!

        What is mindfulness?



        Mindfulness is the ability to bring your attention to the events happening in the moment. It allows us to carefully observe our thoughts and feeling, to develop a sense of self awareness.  Mindfulness can be done anywhere. It does not require special equipment. It can be as easy as sitting and thinking or visualizing a place in your mind.

        Who is mindfulness good for?



        Mindfulness is great for any age, including kids. School can be a very overwhelming experience with expectations, rules, noises, crowds. Being able to do fun mindfulness activities can be a good way for children to self-regulate, focus and feel better emotionally and physically. Learning how to self-regulate (being able to manage your own emotions) is an important skill to learn at a young age.


        Mindfulness is a helpful tool in addressing executive functioning skills needs in kids.

         

        Mindfulness activities for kids



        Listed below are some easy, beginning mindfulness activities to try with kids.
        Looking for more ideas? Here are some mindfulness videos on YouTube.

        Mindfulness Activity #1: Mindful Breathing- 

        Taking deep breaths is so important in relaxation it brings awareness to your body. There are many different ways to teach kids to take deep breaths and then blow out. Using a pinwheel, blowing bubbles, blowing out candles, picturing a balloon opening and closing with breath. Even having your child breath in while you count to 5 and then breath out.

        Mindfulness Activity #2: Body Scan- 

        Have your child lay on his/her back. Tell them to tense up all muscles from head to toe and hold for 10-15 seconds. Then have them release and relax, ask them how they feel. This exercise helps kids to recognize how their body is feeling in a tense vs. Calm state.

        Mindfulness Activity #3: Visualization or Guided Imagery–

        This is a relaxation technique that is used to promote positive mental images. You can find guided imagery scripts online, pertaining to many different subjects from nature to emotions. Start by having your child close their eyes, while seated or lying down. Slowly read the script and have them visualize the image in their minds, then have them draw a picture of that place and keep it in their desk or at home as a reference to a calm place for them.

        Mindfulness Activity #4: Take a Walk- 

        Being outside and taking a walk is a great way for your child to be present in the moment. Point out the different sounds heard from birds chirping to leaves rustling. Notice the smell of the fresh cut grass or flowers. Feel the different textures of sand and rocks. Notice the sun, wind and clouds. Bring a blanket and lay on the grass, look up at the trees, look at the clouds.   Walk over to a pound and listen for frogs, look for fish and throw rocks in to make a splash.

        Mindfulness Activity # 5: Stretching/Yoga- 

        Taking deep breaths and stretching can be a very calming and teaches you to be aware of how your body is feeling.  Turn the lights down, put on relaxing music and help guide your child through bedtime relaxation stretches for kids.


        Use these mindfulness strategies for kids as a coping strategy, to help with attention in the classroom, to impact learning, or to address self-regulation needs. What’s very cool is that each awareness activity could be themed to fit classroom or homeschool lessons, the curriculum, or seasons. Make these mindfulness activities fit the needs of your classroom, clients, and kids!


        Mindfulness is a coping strategy used in The Impulse Control Journal.

        The Impulse control journal is a printable journal for kids that helps them to identify goals, assess successes, and address areas of needs. The Impulse Control Journal is a printable packet of sheets that help kids with impulse control needs.

        Read more about The Impulse Control Journal HERE.

        The Impulse Control Journal has been totally revamped to include 79 pages of tools to address the habits, mindst, routines, and strategies to address impulse control in kids.

        More about the Impulse Control Journal:

        • 30 Drawing Journal Pages to reflect and pinpoint individual strategies
        • 28 Journal Lists so kids can write quick checklists regarding strengths, qualities, supports, areas of need, and insights
        • 8 Journaling worksheets to pinpoint coping skills, feelings, emotions, and strategies that work for the individual
        • Daily and Weekly tracking sheets for keeping track of tasks and goals
        • Mindset,Vision, and Habit pages for helping kids make an impact
        • Self-evaluation sheets to self-reflect and identify when inhibition is hard and what choices look like
        • Daily tracker pages so your child can keep track of their day
        • Task lists to monitor chores and daily tasks so it gets done everyday
        • Journal pages to help improve new habits
        • Charts and guides for monitoring impulse control so your child can improve their self-confidence
        • Strategy journal pages to help kids use self-reflection and self-regulation so they can succeed at home and in the classroom
        • Goal sheets for setting goals and working to meet those goals while improving persistence
        • Tools for improving mindset to help kids create a set of coping strategies that work for their needs
        This is a HUGE digital resource that you can print to use over and over again.  



         

         
        These fun mindfulness activities for kids can help kids in so many ways!
        About Christina:
        Christina Komaniecki is a school based Occupational Therapist. I graduated from Governors State University with a master’s in occupational therapy.   I have been working in the pediatric setting for almost 6 years and have worked in early intervention, outpatient pediatrics, inpatient pediatrics, day rehab, private clinic and schools. My passion is working with children and I love to see them learn new things and grow. I love my two little girls, family, yoga and going on long walks.