Core beliefs speak to each student in the most personal way. They dictate how they see themselves; directing self-efficacy, self-esteem, and how students approach communication. These beliefs reach out into the world; affecting what students believe about it, the people in it, and their own personal futures. Developing these skills with positive connotations will help students find success in the future- especially in interpersonal relationships. Strengthening these skills can help your classroom thrive so check out this round-up of 12 captivating activities.
Emotional kids often name-call, which creates an environment of hostility and distrust. Have kids brainstorm a list of names that they might call someone. Then, go deeper by asking what emotion prompted this outburst. Finally, reframe with a new approach, such as “I see you’re upset. Spitting on me is not okay.”
Learn More: YMC
Examining the negative can help us discover the positive. This activity helps students brainstorm attributes they’d want in a friend, which speaks a lot to their current friends or situations they find themselves in. They can then share with a group to see where their ideals overlap. It also provides insight for educators and parents.
Learn More: MyleMarks
3. Game Time
Basic board games can help students practice socio-emotional skills as a unit. Develop your own board games based on the needs of your classroom, or challenge students to create their own after a core belief lesson. Repurpose the basics of a classic game, but include SEL options to strengthen belief.
Learn More: The Pathway 2 Success
4. Check-In Jar
Often, group work presents a time of struggle, so be sure to check in with your students’ emotions without interrupting too much. Use colored sticky notes that they can put on the corner of their desks- green signaling that they’re okay, yellow signaling that they’d like help, and red displaying they’re angry. Alternatively, they can use the check-in jar activity for more complex feelings.
Learn More: Owl Kids
Social anxiety can plague all students at one time or another, so be sure to find ways to alleviate it and help them work through the stress in a safe manner. This classic fortune-teller origami game can help kids verbalize their stress by choosing an identifying emotion, and then counting to see which calming solution they should try.
Learn More: National Institute of Mental Health
6. Emotion Charades
Everyone loves to play games! Involve the whole class in a game of charades with emotional situations as clues. Each person will act out an emotional situation and, once guessed, the group will then discuss what emotions might arise in this particular situation.
Learn More: The Joys of Boys
7. Shared Positive Self-Talk
Working on our own self-talk is difficult, but what if we asked a group for help? Have everyone write down something negative that they might say to themselves. Then, have the group refute this with more positive statements and examples. Kids can begin their own self-talk journals to keep track.
Learn More: Moments a Day
8. Social Filter Challenge
Social media threatens the mental health of our kids on a daily basis. Prepare kids with the tools to counteract the negativity- is this something I think or something I say aloud? Is this okay to post? Develop empathy and forward thinking with repetition of this game.
Learn More: Meraki Lane
Dice games are a simple way of providing options. This game allows kids to practice strategies for calming themselves down when worry threatens to take over their thought processes. It covers a range of coping strategies and helps them practice together. It will help kids learn new mechanisms and practice them together.
Learn More: Sunrise ES
10. SEL Art Choice Board
Creatively incorporate more than just words into the exploration of SEL. This allows kids to use their artistic talents to better their emotional health while blessing the world with creativity. This bingo-type board gives kids activities to try when they need an emotional outlet.
Learn More: Ms. Ava’s Art Room
11. Size of the Problem Game
Kids need to recognize the severity of certain issues and assess the need for help. Using a stoplight as a guide, students are given examples of problem situations and then assign a traffic light color. Green lights mean they’re ready to move forward. Yellow signals that they require a moment to think, and red means they need to stop and move forward with the help of an adult.
Learn More: Counselor Keri
12. Use Candy
Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? Use candy to motivate students in a variety of activities that support positive group thinking and individual awareness. From mindfulness to anxiety, diversity to self-control, games are a fun way to discover truths about ourselves and others.
Learn More: Confident Counselors