20 Social emotional learning activities (A Complete Guide)
Asking yourself what ‘social emotional learning’ is? Well, look at this quote as a challenge. Or a journey.
The process of providing social emotional activities is all about acquiring essential skills, knowledge, and healthy identities by young people (and adults too – we learn every day!) to live their lives as good people.
Experts and educators from all around the world create special activities and exercises that will help to improve the development of social skills and empathy.
It can be acquired by doing different kinds of tasks which will help to develop emotions and feelings such as gratitude, kindness, social, and self-awareness.
Via social emotional learning, we can help our children to achieve personal goals and establish relationships based on friendship, trust, and love.
That is what we call the entire process through which young people expand their abilities to function in a larger society. But that’s not all of it.
We learn about our emotions throughout our whole life. As always, the first step is the most important one to make.
We have to be sure that we support the development of our youngest citizens by adapting tools and exercises that have been prepared by specialists. To make the world a better place – is the goal.
We live in a complex world. Let’s be sure that we can pass the social knowledge to our children. Start now and just watch. A change will be quick. And it will be quite a ride!
See below and check our choice of 20 social emotional learning activities. Some of them are PDF files and some are websites with suitable activities schedules.
Part 1: Guidebooks
1. Social Emotional Learning Toolkit
A toolkit for tutors is a must! Social Emotional Learning Toolkit helps students to develop social emotional learning competencies by providing learning strategies forged by educators. The toolkit will be handy to increase educator’s awareness, and skills regarding social emotional learning.
The handbook is created to be a starting point for school staff to begin integrating SEL into their teaching practices and to implement a way of systematic social emotional learning technique.
It’s a comprehensive guide to the discussed material. Check it!
2. Social Emotional Learning Guidebook
The Social Emotional Learning Guidebook content is preceded by a quote from Aristotle: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. This is a good introduction to this paper.
An additional advantage is the wide selection of the cited bibliography. The guide can be used to supplement the knowledge of teachers implementing SEL.
3. Social Emotional Activities Workbook
Divided into five sections: ‘Self-Awareness’, ‘Self-Management Activities’, ‘Social Awareness Activities’, ‘Relationship Skills’, and ‘Responsible Decision-Making’, the Social Emotional Activities Workbook is one of the most advanced guides available on the web.
Each task is described by purpose, age range, group format, and needed equipment. Teachers will find a prominent level of professionalism in the presented activities.
If you are interested in the book that will show you the full potential of social emotional learning activities, you should check this workbook.
4. Social Emotional Learning Choice Board
A choice of over 30 SEL activities that serve as an educator’s guide. You can use the provided activity logs – they look great! – to track progress and to record each completed task.
The Social Emotional Learning Choice Boards worksheets are divided into sections such as ‘Strength & Challenges’, ‘Managing Emotions’, ‘Kindness & Compassion’, and ‘Responsibility’. You can also use the assignment log and blank space for SEL understanding training.
Part 2: Exercises
5. Affirmation Cards for Kids
Time for some practice!
Grab the Affirmation Cards for Kids and help them to build self-esteem and overcome doubts. It’s the best way to never hear “I can’t” again!
We recommend checking the above and other courses from Centervention.com. Worksheets are provided as a PDF file, so you can share them with your students with ease.
6. Anger Thermometer
It consists of a lesson and a printable thermometer template. The Anger Thermometer will help with dealing with anger and being upset.
Remember that everyone feels angry sometimes. It all depends on how we deal with it.
The best way to complete the task is to discuss with students additional calming strategies.
7. Acts of Kindness for Kids
Small gestures can mean a lot. Experts are confident that by doing good deeds for others, we can reduce our own anxiety.
The Acts of Kindness for Kids worksheet allows you to train those activities with your kids.
It’s a two-part task: begin with a conversation with your students and translate their ideas into action.
8. Feelings Wheel Worksheet to Help Students Explore Emotions
The Feelings Wheel Worksheet to Help Students Explore Emotions is a part of the Centervention.com course. Feelings can be a struggle. Parents and teachers can use the Feelings Worksheet to help kids explain what they might feel and need at the moment.
A simple daily check is something bigger – a way to reach your child’s world.
9. Grades 6-8: Social Emotional Skills
A great pack of worksheets. Explore the world of emotions, setting boundaries, conflicts & cooperation, and different human behavior.
You can easily download the papers (print or save them to your computer as PDF files)
10. Emotional Check-in Worksheet
The Emotional Check-in Worksheet is all about bringing up some emotions. The provided lesson will help you understand your child. You can add this worksheet to add it to the student’s Social Emotional Learning Journal.
A way to practice and improve social emotional skills.
11. Teach Your Child to Operate with Optimism
Written by Doctor Katherine Larson, the Teach Your Child to Operate with Optimism document is a learning technique that will help your child to master the process of operating with optimism.
Learning how to maintain optimism is key to your child’s future – just as the Teach Your Child to Operate with Optimism says.
Check out www.raiseinspiredkids.com to get free tips!
12. Social Emotional Learning Activities Calendar
How to train all those needful skills? The best way is to do it according to a schedule!
On Monday we will learn about self-awareness, on Tuesday about self-management, on Wednesday… And so on!
Check the Social Emotional Learning Activity Calendar and try it.
13. Social Emotional Learning for Early Learning
A 28-week course that is divided into 5 units: Skills for Learning, Empathy, Emotion Management, Friendship Skills, and Problem Solving, and Transitioning to Kindergarten.
The weekly lessons are fully scripted to make teaching as easy as possible. Perfect practice for early learning!
Take a look at the other Second Step SEL social-emotional learning activities here.
Part 3: Science approach
14. Sample Teaching Activities to Support Core Competencies of Social and Emotional Learning
Need some sample teaching activities that support the core competencies of social and emotional learning? Check the work of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Team from Pennsylvania.
The creators of three unique SEL evidence-based program guides are promoting the idea and four complex strategies: step-by-step free-standing lessons, general teaching practices, skill integration, and public administration guidance.
15. Best Practices In Social Emotional Learning
The paper is designed to support the improvement of social emotional learning activities and techniques.
Created by scientists from Hanover Research, follows the topic from the definition to SEL frameworks and performance tasks.
Read it and become an expert!
16. Social and Emotional Learning: Primary Years (Year 3 – Year 6)
A fine piece of science approach from the Land Down Under!
Social and Emotional Learning: Primary Years (Year 3 – Year 6) is a complex study of social emotional learning activities performed in younger classes.
The presented content intertwines scientific knowledge and practical exercises.
17. Early Childhood to Grade 12 Social and Emotional Learning
Provided by the Michigan Department of Education, the document is focused to present Competencies and Indicators about the SEL activities.
Each skill is described by a set of benchmarks and strategies. Students are using positive communication and social skills to interact with each other and to demonstrate their own feelings and strong points.
Part 4: The future of social emotional learning activities
18. The Contribution of Virtual Reality to Social and Emotional Learning in Pre-Service Teachers
Let’s get some knowledge first – we recommend reading The Contribution of Virtual Reality to Social and Emotional Learning in Pre-Service Teachers, as the quoted paper describes the future of education with a massive chunk of bibliography.
VR in education? Yes, it’s possible. And it’s already happening.
Computing social emotional learning activities with interacting with movies, taking a quiz or
BrainPOP contains SEL-themed collections such as Emotions, Empathy, and Respect, Courage, and Perseverance, Teamwork, Conflict Resolution, Mental Health, and more. Now you can make progress and set goals using the latest online tools and gaming methods.
The page is committed to developing SEL content that supports the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) framework.
Try BrainPOP – it works!
20. Photon – Special Educational Needs Module
Have you wondered if modern technologies can be used in SEL education? Of course, they can! And here is the perfect solution.
Meet Photon Robot – the most modern educational robot on the market introducing children to the world of newest technologies. It was created for children of all ages offering various tools for each stage of education, children’s perception, and capabilities.
Support children’s emotional development and communication skills with the Photon Special Educational Needs Kit.
Inclusive education – the first such Kit in the world!
Photon SEN Kit was designed for teachers and therapists who work with special needs children at preschool age, with early childhood education students and with primary school students.
You can easily adapt these proposed activities to each student’s particular needs and focus on developing specific skills or deficits. Assigning age groups to activities is only a proposition, and you can quickly adapt them to your needs.
You do not need any programming experience to use this Kit.
What are the benefits?
- The SEN Kit was developed by hugely experienced therapists. It contains 50 lesson scenarios intended for educational therapy classes and remedial classes focusing on children with autism spectrum disorders and emotional and social disorders
- This Kit provides everything you need to conduct classes and individual sessions
- All the necessary teaching aids come in one portable box
- You will be able to prepare 30 activities for children with autism spectrum disorders focusing on three areas (communication, cognitive development, social development)
- You will receive 20 additional activities to improve your student’s social and emotional competencies