6 Effective Social-Emotional learning activities for kids

6 effective social-emotional learning activities for kids

The necessity for social and emotional learning is increasing day by day. Read about 6 activities to boost SEL skills in your kid.


In today\’s world of AI, Social and emotional learning (SEL) is more relevant than ever. But most people are confused about the meaning of this term and the benefits of practicing SEL-related activities.

According to Dr. Roger Weissberg, a famous researcher and psychology professor at the University of Illinois,

\”Social-emotional learning is not just about how children feel but also how they behave and how they interact with others.”

After the Covid pandemic, the need for SEL has increased as the mental health of kids has been heavily affected. A study in the US showed children’s fear of illness has gone up over time. Further, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in one of their surveys that at least one-third of high school students were going through psychological issues during the lockdown.

Because of this, many educators are now taking the help of social-emotional learning to combat depression among students. 

In this article, we will discuss three main points. 

  • The meaning of Social and Emotional Learning. 
  • The perks of SEL activities.
  • 6 effective social-emotional learning activities.

The meaning of Social and Emotional Learning

In the 90s era researcher, Daniel Goleman popularized the concept of emotional intelligence and its importance. He discussed the benefits of SEL in both personal and professional life. This led to growing interest in this topic and its power to help kids develop essential life skills.

The term Social-Emotional Learning refers to the process of forming the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand emotions, set positive goals, show empathy for others, make responsible decisions and maintain relationships.

The lessons of SEL are broken down into five core competencies. These are as follows: 

  • Self-awareness: The ability to identify own feelings and how they impact behavior.
  • Self-regulation: Regulating thoughts in different situations and being able to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Social awareness: The capability to appreciate the diversity of human experience.
  • Relationship skills: Communicate effectively with others and resolve conflicts.
  • Responsible decision-making: The power to make informed choices about personal behavior and social interactions.

The perks of SEL activities


Research by Edutopia found social and emotional learning programs resulted in reduced aggression and mental distress among kids. Plus it infused positive attitudes towards self. There are other benefits too.

  • Enhanced communication skills: Through SEL activities, youngsters learn how to communicate persuasively.
  • Increased empathy: It helps kids to understand others\’ perspectives. This strengthens the bond with peers and adults.
  • Greater resilience: As children acquire knowledge about coping with stress and adversity, they grow deep emotional resilience.
  • Improved academic performance: Skills like self-management, focus, and motivation are important to succeed academically. SEL activities teach all of them in various ways. So kids with high social-emotional skills often get good grades in exams.

This brings us to our next topic which is 6 social-emotional learning activities for kids.

6 effective social-emotional activities

  1. Practicing art: Creating art is a fun way to reduce tension. It also allows kids to express their emotions in a safe and non-verbal way. Give them papers and drawing materials so that they can paint whatever they feel like. This will promote positive self-esteem.
  2. Reading storybooks: Reading exposes children to a wide range of characters and experiences that they may not have encountered in their real lives. For example, if your kid is studying a book where the main character is dealing with a difficult problem, your kid will learn to identify and manage that specific problem without facing it in reality. After the book ends, analyze the story with your kid to understand their thought process.
  3. Labelling emotions: Try to put words to the emotions you see in them or what they express. . Thus they will recognize their feelings better. You can also use facial expressions, flashcards, emotion wheels, or social stories to help them spot their reactions.
  4. Playing games: Though games have often been associated with negative effects such as addiction, recent studies have shown something else. It showcased playing games requires kids to manage their emotions, think critically, make decisions and work as a team. All these covers every aspect of SEL. This is why we have created a game-based learning platform Tomoclub. If you are doubtful about the learning potential of games, join one gaming round with us. You will experience the learning in the session itself.  We are hosting a gaming event on Saturday, 21Jan, at 11 AM PST. Register from this link:
  5. Journaling: Keeping a journal of their emotions can help children identify patterns and triggers. It is essential to predict and avoid situations that may cause burst outs or better prepare for them. Additionally, this practice prevents them from bottling up their feelings.
  6. My wish list and my dream jar activity: Encourage your kid to make a list of things, they would like to do, learn, and achieve, in the short-term or long-term. Then, help them to select one or two goals from their list and develop a plan to achieve them. You can also provide children with a jar and encourage them to write their dreams or wishes on small pieces of paper. Put the papers in the jar and review them regularly. Assist your little ones to pick one or two wishes to work on.

Each of these activities will help your kid to build 21st-century skills. It\’s important for parents, teachers, and caregivers to use a combination of these activities to ensure children are exposed to different ways of learning.


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