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.

    Exercise and Mood: Why Does my Child Need to Exercise?

    Exercise and mood in kids

    Years of research and personal experience can tell us that adults tend to function better with regular exercise. Exercise helps us sleep better, reduce our stress, and manage our weight2. But what about our kids – how do they benefit from exercise? Today we are going to dive deep into the research and see why and how our kids should exercise to better their mood. Let’s look at the link between exercise and mood, and establishing healthy habits that lead to function and independence in kids.

    Related: Emotional Regulation and Executive Functioning Skills.

    Exercise and mood in children. Kids benefit from exercise to help with tantrums, behaviors, and confidence.

    Exercise and Mood: Managing TEMPER TANTRUMS

    If your child is having issues with emotional regulation, it may come out as a temper tantrum. You know the feeling of having no control over your emotions; being taken on a ride of sadness, aggression, and pounds of heavy frustration. Most adults have had enough practice honing their emotional regulation skills to keep them from screaming in the middle of the grocery store after a long day. Children, however, are still working on developing emotional regulation skills, and because of that, their overall mood can suffer.

    According to research new and old, exercise can help a child better regulate their mood9. Next time your child is screaming in the middle of Target, think to yourself – have they gotten enough physical activity recently? I have found that 30 mins of exercise in the morning can help even out moods for the whole day. Plus, you are bound to get a good nap time out of them if they have gotten enough physical activity – double whammy for everyone’s mood!

    Tips for Exercise and Mood

    Try these tips for encouraging exercise to reduce tantrums in toddlers:

    • Instead of pushing your toddler in a scroller on neighborhood walks, encourage them to walk next to you for a while.
    • Use classic movement songs to incorporate movement into their day – our favorites are “Animal Action” By Greg and Steve, “Jim Along Josie” By Pete Seeger, and “Pet Parade” by Hoyt Axton.
    • If screen time is a part of your routine, use videos like Cosmic Kids Yoga  to make the screen time more valuable.

    Exercise to REDUCe ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

    Research shows that regular exercise in youth can treat anxiety and depression in the short term and long-term 3,4. Some studies suggest that high-intensity exercises, that will increase cardiorespiratory activity, improve mood more than low-impact exercises, like yoga5.

    While there is lots of evidence to support that exercise can improve mood in both adults and children, some of the research points to other affects that exercise programs can have on children. For example, when children are enrolled in sports or other physical activity programs, they are also socially active and get attention from adults, which may also positively impact their mood7.

    Whatever way you look at it, exercise is likely to improve their mood and guard against anxiety and depression.

    Exercise for self-CONFIDENCE

    One way that exercise improves mood is through raising self-esteem – physical activity gives you a confidence boost! Research shows that all kinds of physical activity contribute to a rise in self-esteem5.

    Self-esteem is so important in all the occupations that children have, particularly in school. Academic and social success are partially dependent on self-esteem and self-worth, and both contribute to a positive mood.

    “Psychological and behavioural problems in children and adolescents are common, and improving self‐esteem may help to prevent the development of such problems” (Ekeland et al., 2004).

    Exercise and positive BEHAVIORS

    In one study, researchers found that teachers reported an increase in wanted behaviors for children enrolled in both high and low-intensity exercise programs5. The theory here is that when a child’s physical activity needs are met, they are better able to regulate their emotions, attention, and behaviors9.

    This comes with the awesome effects that exercise has for executive functioning, which controls many cognitive abilities6. With this increase in desirable behaviors, they will be more likely to develop positive relationships with their peers, teachers, and family members8.

    “Exercise…is highly relevant in preadolescent children… given the importance of well-developed executive functions for daily life functioning” (Verburgh et al., 2014). 

    Exercise has been shown to increase self-esteem, cognition and academic success, and decrease depression and anxiety in children3. Not to mention the obvious health factors associated with physical activity like heart and respiratory function. All said, exercise is integral to the overall health and wellness of our children.

    EXERCISES FOR KIDS

    After all that exercise talk, we have to offer some great ideas to add to your list! Most important to any exercise routine – you have to do what you love! Find what your kids like and encourage them to try new activities.

    Another key strategy to encourage exercise in kids is to model healthy habits as the child’s parent. When parents model healthy choices, fitness, and regular exercise, kids see that and are more likely to follow suit with their own healthy choices.

    One way that adults can model healthy choices is through exercising in the home. When kids see adults exercising, they have that positive interaction with physical activity.

    Having a treadmill in the home is one sure-fire way to encourage movement, exercise, and healthy habits that are integrated into the day-to-day. With  Horizon Fitness treadmills and fitness equipment, you get the availablity of cardio equiptment right in the home. It’s there as a visable option for adding movement and regular cardio exercise on a daily or weekly basis.

    Plus, parents of children can benefit from the fitness programs for quick and effective workouts that fit into the busy family’s schedule. Horizon offers a number of entertainment apps and streaming options, including Bluetooth speakers,  live or on-demand fitness apps, and other streaming fitness opportunities. All of these extras are designed to promote improved physical exercise and meaningful motivation.

    Click here to join me in using Horizon Fitness equipment as a tool to ensure healthy families.

    References

    1. Ekeland, E., Heian, F., Hagen, K. B., Abbott, J. M. & Nordheim, L. (2004). Exercise to improve self‐esteem in children and young people. Cochrane Libary of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003683.pub

    2. Oaten, M. & Cheng, K. (2010). Longitudinal gains in self‐regulation from regular physical exercise. The British Journal of Health Psychology,11(4). https://doi.org/10.1348/135910706X96481

    3. Ortega, F. B., Ruiz, J. R., Castillo, M. J. & Sjöström, M. (2008). Physical fitness in childhood and adolescence: a powerful marker of health. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0803774

    4. Pascoe, M. C. & Parker, A. G. (2018). Physical activity and exercise as a universal depression prevention in young people: A narrative review. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.1111/eip.12737

    5. Telles, S., Singh, N., Bhardwaj, A. D., Kumar, A. & Balkrishna, A. (2013). Effect of yoga or physical exercise on physical, cognitive and emotional measures in children: a randomized controlled trial. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health,7(37). https://doi.org/10.1186/1753-2000-7-37

    6. Verburgh, L., Königs, M., Scherder, E. J. A., & Oosterlaan, J. (2014). Physical exercise and executive functions in preadolescent children, adolescents and young adults: a meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine,48, 973-979. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/48/12/973

    7. Williams, C. F., Bustamante, E. E., Waller, J. L. & Davis, C. L. (2019). Exercise effects on quality of life, mood, and self-worth in overweight children: the SMART randomized controlled trial. Translational Behavioral Medicine,9(3), 451–459. https://doi.org/10.1093/tbm/ibz015

    8. Xue, Y., Yang, Y. & Huang, T. (2019). Effects of chronic exercise interventions on executive function among children and adolescents: A systematic review with meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine,53, 1397-1404. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-097600

    9. Zhang, Y., Fu, R., Sun, L., Gong, Y., & Tang, D. (2019). How does exercise improve implicit emotion regulation ability: Preliminary evidence of mind-body exercise intervention combined with aerobic jogging and mindfulness-based yoga. Frontiers in Psychology,10. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01888

    Sydney Rearick, OTS, is an occupational therapy graduate student at Concordia University Wisconsin. Her background is in Human Development and Family Studies, and she is passionate about meeting your family’s needs. After working as a nanny for the last decade, Sydney is prepared to handle just about anything an infant, toddler, or child could throw at her. She is also a newly established children’s author and illustrator and is always working on new and exciting projects.

    Exercise and Mood Resources for Kids

    You’ll love these resources designed to help kids get moving, exercising, and building skills, and kids won’t even realize they are “exercising”!

    Designed to use fun themes, these heavy work activity cards add proprioceptive input to help kids become more aware of their body’s position in space.

    Heavy work input allows kids to gain more awareness of motor planning skills, coordination, AND strengthening in fun and creative ways.

    Incorporate the themed exercise cards into learning themes or play.

    Grab your set of heavy work exercise cards, now.

    Includes themes:

    1. Trucks Heavy Work Activities
    2. Insects Heavy Work Activities
    3. Sea Animals Heavy Work Activities
    4. Farm Animals Heavy Work Activities
    5. Jungle Animals Heavy Work Activities
    6. Woodland Animals Heavy Work Activities
    7. Superheroes Heavy Work Activities
    8. Sports Heavy Work Activities
    9. Monsters Heavy Work Activities
    10. Summer Heavy Work Activities
    11. Butterfly Life Cycle Heavy Work Activities
    heavy work activity card example

    Friendship Activities

    friendship activities

    Today, 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: Teaching Friendship Skills to Kids

    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.

    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.

    Friendship Activities

    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 Recipes

    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

    Crafts are a creative way for children to express themselves, share and create with others, and develop their skills.

    These 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 download 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!

    Writing About Friendship Slide Deck

    Writing about friendship google slide deck for teletherapy

    Today, I have another free Google slide deck to share with you. This one is perfect for writing about friendship. In this teletherapy occupational therapy activity, kids can explore social emotional learning while working on handwriting skills. Kids can use this slide deck to write about the qualities of a friend, and use the friendship words and friendship writing prompts for developing social skills that is important for making friends. Also try this friendship skills for personal space and body awareness slide deck.

    Write about friendship with this free Google slide deck that helps kids with social emotional skills, resiliency, and handwriting skills.

    Writing about Friendship

    I have had this friendship activity on my mind for a while now. After noting the lack of social interaction that we’ve been seeing in kids more this past year, I’ve had this friendship writing activity planned as a tool to support kids’ social emotional needs.

    We know the power that socialization has on child development, mood, and

    When it comes to hybrid learning, virtual classrooms, and online activities and social events, kids are losing out on the social aspect of sports and activities that they have had in the past. This lack of face-to-face interaction impacts a child’s ability to make friends.

    And, children that struggle with social-emotional development are impacted by the added complexity of seeing face masks on faces. They can’t get social cues like smiles or other facial expressions that are a sign of a friend.

    To help children better understand facial expressions and emotional learning skills, grab this facial expressions worksheet.

    Additionally, children that are in virtual learning situations and those in hybrid classes are seeing all or half of their peers virtually. This isolation can potentially impact a child’s social participation, and may be especially impactful for children with social, emotional, or communication challenges.

    Participation in virtual classrooms and activities limits social participation in a way that limits the opportunities to make friends and nurture friendship relationships.

    Children who struggle with social skills or social participation in a typical school setting can have a difficult time with making friends.

    Even more to consider is the impact that this past year has had on a child’s perspective of interacting with others socially. One study took a look at children’s perspectives as a result of this year’s events.

    The study also noted that children expressed concern, anxiety, and worry about leaving their home after being on a lockdown mode. Because, here’s the thing: staying at home is safe, right? It’s where kids are protected. Staying home and interacting with others virtually has a sense of security.

    But, when kids are asked to leave the home, we are starting to see an emergence fear of going outside. There can be a fear of interacting with others.

    And that’s where an issue with making friends could come into play that REALLY impacts our kids down the line.

    It’s really interesting when you think about it.

    Because of the need for virtual interaction, kids are bored, angry, overwhelmed, tired, and lonely because they have to stay at home without being able to go out. Because there are so many unknowns related to the current situation, it’s hard to identify specific strategies to help kids struggling.

    But, there are options to assist with social and emotional supports. There are tools for mental health supports.

    attention must also be paid to the emotions of fear, worry, guilt, loneliness, boredom, and anger, with an emphasis on strengthening resilience and offering psychological support to parents and children, a point that has already been emphasized by a number of scholars during this crisis (Coyne et al., 2020)

    One thing that has been determined that we need to do for sure is to foster children’s resilience.

    Resilience refers to specific personal attributes that help children manage disappointments and even traumas to a point. In part, resilience involves emotional regulation and social emotional development.

    One specific way to foster resilience and social emotional development is through the discussion of friendships, specifically relationships that may be missing as a result of needing to work and learn online and in virutal settings.

    That’s where this writing about friendship activity comes into play. Use the interactive slide deck and Jamboard activity to drive discussion on friendships and offer a source of discussion points for building friendships during this strange time.

    Friendship Writing activity for handwriting and developing resilience in kids as part of social emotional learning.

    Free Writing About Friendship Slide Deck

    In the friendship writing activity slide deck, you’ll see that there are several aspects of friendship that kids can write about and dive into. These handwriting tasks each dive into aspects of social development, making friends, and understanding friendship. The writing activity can even be used as a tool for social supports during a time when kids are not interacting with freinds on a face-to-face basis.

    Maybe the slide deck is a starting point for coming up with ways to interact with friends virtually. Or, kids can explore how they can maintain friendships even when they do not see their friends for a while. This is all part of resilience that we can help to foster in kids.

    Help kids to identify  and write about qualities of a true friend paragraph writing that can develop social emotional skills.

    Sort the qualities of a good friend

    The first part of this slide deck is two slides that allow kids to sort aspects of good friends from qualities of “could be better” friends. The slide deck is interactive when it’s used on edit mode of Google drive, so kids can actually slide the images into the correct category.

    Use this friendship writing slide deck to work on handwriting and writing about friends.

    Identify ways you are a good friend

    Users can then identify ways that they are good friends to others. This is a place where users can type in their responses, making the ways to be a friend very open-ended.

    This is a nice space to identify novel ways of maintiaing friendship during a time where virtual interactions are necessary. How can kids interact and maintain friendships with others when there is not face-to-face school or activities?

    Children can use this space to identify aspects of friendship that can be maintained virtually or from a distance.

    Kids can work on typing skills here. Or, take the writing piece off the computer and ask that children work on handwriting on paper. Focus on letter formation, letter size, margin use, etc.

    A friendship mind map to explore social emotional skills.

    Friendship mind map

    The next slides ask kids to copy onto paper, a mind map. This is a great visual motor activity as they see the image and break it apart into pieces so that they can copy the shapes. Work on visual motor integration and ensure the child doesn’t miss any pieces, overlap lines, and copies all aspects of the mind map. This is a great way to work on the skills needed for reading and writing.

    Then, on their own friendship mind map, kids can write qualities of a friend. This visual exploration turns friendship into a picture as kids brain dump various aspects of social friendships.

    Friendship words for working on handwriting skills, in a free Google slide deck for therapy.

    Friendship words handwriting activity

    The next slides on the deck are spaces where kids can copy various friendship words. This part of the friendship writing activity can meet various needs.

    Children can work on copying words with accuracy, and correct letter formation, without omitting or adding letters. This is an exercise in visual perceptual skills.

    Kids can work on letter formation as they write the letters on their paper. I’ve included directional arrows for proper letter formation.

    Cursive writing activity with a friendship theme, in a Google slide deck for occupational therapy.

    There are slides with cursive writing, too, for older children working on their cursive handwriting.

    And, finally, there is a visual cue of lined writing space with highlighted portions for smaller letters. In these spaces, kids can type right onto the slide to copy the friendship terms.

    AND, maybe my favorite part, is that when you download this free deck, you’ll also get access to the JAMBOARD version, so kids can “write” right on the screen using a fingertip, stylus, or mouse. Then, they can write the words on the lines with they highlighted spaces. Therapists, teachers, or parents could also use the lined spaces to correct or star good use of the lines.

    Friendship writing prompts for social emotional development and handwriting.

    Friendship writing prompts

    The next aspect of the slide deck is a writing prompt. Kids can use the writing prompts to write sentences or a paragraph onto paper to further extend the activity.

    Free Friendship Activity Slide Deck

    Want access to this free Google slide deck?

    You can get access to this free slide deck and JAMBOARD by entering your email into the form below. This is necessary to deliver the PDF containing a link to the slide deck to your Google Drive. Save the PDF because you can add it to your toolbox for future use.

    Save that PDF file, 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.

    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.

    FREE Writing About Friendship Slide Deck

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      More Social Emotional Learning Resources

      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.

      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.

      Coyne, L. W., Gould, E. R., Grimaldi, M., Wilson, K. G., Baffuto, G., and Biglan, A. (2020). First things first: parent psychological flexibility and self-compassion during COVID-19. Behav. Anal. Pract. 6, 1–7. doi: 10.1007/s40617-020-00435-w

      Penguin Emotions Game

      Emotions game for social emotional development with a penguin theme

      Today, I have a very fun virtual therapy slide deck to share. This emotions game is designed with a penguins theme, and can help kids identify emotions based on facial expressions, specifically the eyes. There is a lot of emotion in the eyes! Kids may or may not pick up on this emotional expression, depending on their development in social emotional learning. I created a penguins gross motor slide deck this week, and got a little carried away with the penguin theme…but how cute are these little guys, right? Use them for helping kids identify feelings and emotions based on expressions, and a few other skills that are addressed in therapy. Let’s break this activity down…

      This emotions game has a penguins theme and helps kids learn about identifying emotions and feelings.

      Teach Emotions with a Game

      Ok, this therapy game is very fun to play, and it will be a huge hit, depending on the testers in my own home. But first, let’s break this down on the various skills that this emotions game addresses:

      • Identifying emotions
      • Naming feelings
      • Identifying facial expressions
      • Exploring emotional expression in the eyes
      • Social emotional learning

      Then, there are the other skills that are addressed, because of the way that this therapy slide deck is presented and organized:

      • Visual discrimination
      • Visual scanning
      • Visual attention
      • Visual memory
      • Form constancy

      This game is such a fun way to build skills in a variety of areas. Games for emotions and feelings are sometimes difficult to find, and so this free resource should be a great starting point for helping children with the areas listed above.

      Emotion Matching Game

      To play this emotional expression game, you’ll just need to load the slide deck onto your Google drive. Then, you can play in virtual therapy sessions with clients, or in home therapy programs, or even as a fun brain break in the distance learning classroom.

      Kids can identify emotions and facial expressions in this emotions game using a penguin theme.

      Next, ask children to complete the first slide in the deck. You’ll notice that there are text boxes on the slide where kids can identify the feelings or emotions based on the penguin’s expressions. Kids can type them into the box or they can say or write the feelings words.

      On the next slides in the deck, kids can find the matching facial expressions for each penguin. Each slide has four penguins with different emotions expressed with their eyes. There are only penguins that match between the two circles.

      This slide deck is so useful in helping kids work on visual perceptual skills, too. By visually scanning for the matching penguins, they are using visual discrimination, form constancy, visual attention, and visual memory. All of these skills are important not only in social emotional skills, but handwriting, reading, math, and other learning tasks as well.

      Kids can move the ice cube to cover the matching penguins. The ice cube is an interactive piece on the Google slide deck. You will notice that there are two ice cubes. One is over top the other, so once you move the first ice cube to cover one of the penguins, the other ice cube is right below that. Kids can slide both ice cubes to cover the matching penguins.

      I love this game for the emotions matching. It’s set up as an “I Spy” game for emotions and facial expressions, and kids will LOVE it!

      More Emotional Learning Resources

      This activity goes really well with some of the other emotions and feelings tools here on the website. These emotional learning tools can be used together:

      1. Identifying emotions can be hard for kids who are early in social emotional learning development. Try this identifying emotion faces worksheet. It’s another free resource, so you can download it and begin using the printable right away.

      2. Kids respond well to the stories in children’s books. Pair social emotional learning with popular kids’ books and hands-on activities. Here is information on how to teach social emotional development with children’s’ books.

      3. Emotions and empathy are very closely related. Use this hands-on activity to teach empathy.

      4. What is social emotional learning? Here are resources and information to help.

      5. Emotional development occurs through play. This blog post includes examples of social emotional development and strategies to help kids develop these essential skills. Check out the comments on that post for strategies that The OT Toolbox community uses to develop social emotional skills.

      6. Emotional regulation and executive functioning skills go hand-in-hand. Here is information on executive functioning and emotional development. You’ll find information on these connections, the research involved, and strategies to help.

      Emotions Game for Teletherapy

      Want to add this emotions game to your therapy toolbox?

      You can grab a copy of this Google slide deck and use it to work on specific skills.

      Enter your email address below and you will receive a PDF containing a link to copy the slide deck onto your Google drive.

      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.

      FREE Emotions Game -Penguin Theme!

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        Enjoy!

        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 Development Toys

        emotional development toy

        Today, I’m excited to share information on emotional development toys that you can add to your emotional skills toolbox! Toys and play are powerful tools to teach children about emotions. Add these emotional skills toys to support social emotional learning in kids.

        emotional development toys

        Emotional Development Toys

        When you take a look at social emotional skills, there is a lot to it! Emotional development contributes to one’s ability to regulate behaviors, participate in learning or social situations, make and keep friends, and management of emotions in everyday situations. Also, social emotional development is a precursor to learning and has been linked to academic performance.

        Here are more friendship activities to use as well in promoting development of these skills.

        Emotional development occurs from a very young age. In fact, social emotional learning develops from infancy!

        This site has some great graphics that break down development of emotional skills by age.

        Social Emotional Development Examples

        When you think of emotional development, you probably think about a child’s ability to react and respond to situations with emotional maturity. But, in fact, that part of emotional development occurs much later in childhood. Social emotional development looks like many things leading up to emotional maturity!

        Emotional development examples include things such as:

        • Facial expressions in response to interactions
        • Positive attachments at the infants and toddler stage
        • Eye contact (but not always an indicator for all children)
        • Identifying different expressions in others
        • Identifying and labeling emotions based on words, expressions, actions in others
        • Identifying emotions and feelings in self based on situations or responses to situation
        • Paying attention and using self-control
        • Expression of a variety of emotions
        • Copying facial expressions
        • Uses words to express feelings
        • Empathy for others
        • Having and recovering from temper tantrums
        • Pretend play with emotions
        • Using and identifying a variety of emotions
        • Making friends
        • Social awareness
        • Positive self-image
        • Healthy self-talk or inner voice
        • Managing emotions
        • Emotional regulation
        • Asks for help when needed
        • Impulse control in social situations
        • Identifying emotions in the situation and responding with functional regulation strategies

        How to support emotional development

        There are many ways to support social emotional skills using emotional development toys and activities. Some examples include modeling emotional regulation and strategies a child can use. Using describing language to put words to emotions and feelings is another strategy parents can use to support emotional development.

        One important way to support a child’s social emotional skills is through play.

        Play and emotional development

        Through play, it is possible to identify emotions, practice emotions, model interactions, and show empathy. Play offers the chance for children to practice skills in a “safe” environment.

        Try this free social emotional learning worksheet with children to help them identify emotions.

        Children can learn so much about emotional development through play! Try these strategies to use play as a medium for developing social emotional skills:

        • Use imaginative play to practice emotions and responses- Imaginative play offers a variety of situations where emotions, feelings, empathy, and responses can be practiced. Practicing emotions, language, and regulation strategies by playing “house”, doctor, school, shopping, pretend kitchen, or pretend construction, or any other pretend play environment offers so many opportunities for development of skills.
        • Play games to build emotional skills- Games offer children the chance to win or lose, where they can respond to that status in different ways. This offers a great opportunity to talk about expectations, impulse control, attention, turn-taking, expectations, and responding to other’s wins or losses.
        • Read books to support emotional development- Books offer a chance to put yourself in another’s place. Reading books with children offers an opportunity to open up conversations on how a character acted in a situation and what the child might have done in that situation. It’s a great way to practice social responses, empathy, and self-regulation strategies. Here are great children’s books (and fun activities based on the books) related to social emotional learning:

        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 in Exploring Books through Play 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.

        • Talk about choices, emotions, and responses in play- Using play as a means to work on development of these skills. Play offers a chance for children to make choices and opens opportunities to practice sensory regulation strategies for emotional responses.
        • Use emotional development toys– Toys that offer a way for children to identify facial expressions, practice empathy in imaginative play, and the opportunity to practice regulation are powerful tools.

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

        Whatsitsface Emotional Development Toy

        Recently, I came across the Whatsitsface plush toy on Instagram. This emotional development toy helps children develop emotions through imaginative play. Kids can adjust the moveable parts to change the toy’s facial expression and practice emotional development skills through play.

        Kids can practice their understanding of emotions in a safe and interactive way. Whatsitsface allows children to put emotions into a language they understand and provides a chance to practice management of emotions.

        The plush emotional development toy has 6 different facial expressions that children can easily change themselves in two different ways.

        Check out the blog comments below to learn about reader strategies for teaching children about emotions and emotional development.

        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.

        Gratitude Activities

        gratitude activities

        Gratitude activities and specific ways to teach gratitude is an important part of child development. But gratitude can be a complex and abstract topic for kids. Sometimes, putting together a few hands-on activities can be a helpful way to show children how to express gratitude for the people, things, and places in their lives that they are thankful for. There’s more; Gratitude is an early social-emotional skill that fosters children’s social emotional learning as well as a core skill that relates to successes and relationship skills later in life. Use the gratitude ideas described here to help children build this essential soft skill while targeting motor development, making activities for gratitude development fun and functional.

        Gratitude activities for children and families

        Gratitude Activities

        These gratitude games, activities, and hands-on play ideas help children foster this soft skill.

        I’ve tried to pull together several activities and ideas that help children understand thankfulness and see that feeling in action through play and activities.

        You’ll find book-related thankfulness activities, gratitude games, thankfulness crafts, and other gratefulness activities to teach gratitude to children and even adults.

        You’ll find a teaching gratitude therapy slide deck that occupational therapists and other child professionals can use in teletherapy to teach this skill, while targeting other areas like fine motor skills, gross motor, mindfulness, and even handwriting.

        There’s more to it, though. Helping children foster gratitude helps them later in life.

        Gratitude Activities Foster Social Emotional Learning

        I mentioned in the first paragraph, the significance of teaching gratitude to children. This soft skill is a powerful one to start early with toddlers and preschoolers. But, teaching the ability to be self-aware, and cognizant of one’s well-being, even in difficult times is a powerful instrument in fostering grit and resilience.

        More so, teaching gratitude to children allows them to build essential roadmaps to social emotional learning and prepares them for successes later in their life.

        Social and emotional skills are founded on self-awareness, emotions, and the connection between the emotions, thoughts, actions that we see in children. The ability for children to manage their behaviors, thoughts, and actions (or behaviors) rests in perspective, impulse control, and self-awareness.

        When children can connect the dots between other people’s perspectives and having empathy for others, they are able to maintain and build relationships. And, when children are in that mindset of being mindful of others and how their own actions, thoughts, behaviors, and actions impact others, social emotional awareness takes place. That ability to make responsible decisions about their choices can flourish when a child is grateful for what the have and their ownership in any given situation.

        Gratitude leads to self-awareness, perspective of others, kindness, and empathy.

        For children, having and expressing gratitude helps them to recognize the tools they have already as a way to be resilient against obstacles and challenges. When kids are aware of the things they have, the special skills they posses, or people they have in their corner, they can use those things so they are empowered, and not overwhelmed.

        These are big concepts and deep connections for children!

        Many adults struggle with these very same concepts. But, to say that these ideas are too deep or advanced for children doesn’t mean that we can’t work on gratitude as a building block for social emotional awareness and development. Instead, we can provide gratitude activities that help children build and establish these skills.

        Research tells us that positive emotions, including gratitude, promote happiness and flourishing, creating an upward spiral (Fredrickson, 2009Seligman, 2011). This upward spiral is a tool in a child (or adult’s) toolbox for learning, development, interaction with others, and day to day success.

        Gratitude Activities for Children

        So, how can we foster this appreciation for the world around us? Below, you’ll find gratitude activities and gratefulness activities to help children become genuinely more thankful for people, things, and their own self-awareness.

        Discuss thankfulness- Talk with children about the things, people, situations, and skills they have available to them which are things to be thankful for. Expressing gratitude for the smallest gifts that we have in our lives, of any kind, helps children communicate and establish gratitude. Try this gratitude craft to help children count their blessings and to create a physical reminder of all that they have to be thankful for.

        Model gratitude- Parents can express their gratitude and be a visible example to children so they can be thankful in any given situation, even when things seem difficult or challenging. Parental examples of thankfulness despite challenging situations is a powerful reinforcement that allows children to learn gratitude by “seeing” and “doing” as they learn to use the skills and “tools” they have available to them. In this way, kids learn in the moment and see gratitude in action. This can be shown in many ways:

        • Parents can tackle difficult situations with positivity.
        • By saying thank you to others, kids see an example of gratitude in action.
        • Say things like, “I’m so grateful for…”
        • Put a positive spin on difficult situations as an example of a positive mindset: “this is hard, but I am thankful I can…”

        Express gratitude on a daily basis- Being consistent with thankfulness can help children learn this abstract concepts in very concrete ways. These gratitude printable worksheets and activities can be part of a daily gratitude exercise, as a family.

        Incorporate books- This Bear Says Thanks activity helps children to see gratitude in action in a childhood book and then pair the book with a fine motor activity that allows them to count their blessings.

        Make gratitude part of the home- Make a gratitude tree as a way to express family gratitude. The daily reminder will become part of the home and is a reminder of all the things in life that there are to be thankful for.

        Teach gratitude- Helping kids to understand what gratitude means and looks like can involve the whole body. This teaching gratitude slide deck targets fine and gross motor skills, mindfulness, and even handwriting.

        Journal gratitude- We know that writing down the things that we are thankful for promotes a better mindset and overall wellbeing.  Keeping a daily journal with children can be a way wot foster the positive impact of daily gratitude. Ask children to write down just one or two things each day that they are thankful for. What would you add to that list for today?

        The Impulse Control Journal is a child-friendly way to write down gratitude and to use that journaling to foster mindset and self-awareness through quick checklists where kids can write out their strengths, qualities, supports, and insights.

        Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox
        • Fredrickson B.L. Crown; New York: 2009. Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace The Hidden Strength Of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, And Thrive. [Google Scholar]

        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.

        Social Emotional Learning

        Occupational therapists and parents can use these social emotional learning activities to help children develop positive relationships, behaving ethically, and handling challenging situations effectively.

        Social emotional learning is defined as a process for helping children gain critical social 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 social emotional learning 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.

        Social emotional learning is an important part of child development and an essential skill that kids need to accomplish daily tasks.

        Social Emotional Learning

        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 regulation 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.

        Occupational therapists and parents can use these social emotional learning activities to help children develop positive relationships, behaving ethically, and handling challenging situations effectively.

        Social Emotional Learning Activities

        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. We can foster social emotional development through play and interactions.

        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.

        Use this social emotional learning worksheet to help kids match emotions to behaviors and coping strategies.

        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.

        4. Try specific social skills activities- Social skills activities are those that help kids build underlying emotional and regulation strategies so that making friends, emotions, kindness, empathy, self-awareness, self-management, and other socio emotional tools are built at the foundation.

        A recent post here on The OT Toolbox has more ideas to develop social emotional learning by engaging in activities that foster emotional regulation and executive functioning skills.

        …it’s ALL connected!

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

        This digital, E-BOOK download 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.