If you are providing counseling to kids like I am, then teaching Coping Skills is likely your bread and butter. Coping skills help kids understand how to face tough situations, understand and manage their emotions, and work toward regulating stress in their minds and bodies.
From kids with poor anger management to children with anxiety in the classroom, helping children learn the skills for understanding and coping with their emotions can be taught with a variety of tools. Here are 10 different activities that can help you provide fun, engaging, and informational instruction to your students during their coping skills-focused counseling sessions.
1. The Ocean of Emotions Board Game
This board game is tons of fun for teaching students about Emotions and is a great for helping students learn about different emotions. Different prompts ask students to think about what coping skills they already have and learn ones that they may not yet know about. To play, students move their game piece around the game board and collect flags as they learn about and answer questions relate to emotions and coping skills. Play until every player has collected 5 flags. To check out this game, click HERE!
2. WORKSHEETS for Learning Coping Skills
These worksheets can be a great tool for teaching students new information as well as reinforcing already learned information. Younger children often enjoy coloring worksheets and older children can learn from working with their counselor on worksheets that require more critical thinking and reasoning skills. As a School Psychologist, I will often pair a worksheet with a video to further engage the child in learning about different coping skills. (See #3-SEL Videos below). These worksheets are all available in my 18-Week Coping Skills Curriculum in my TpT store if your looking for both worksheets and games to support your instruction for Coping Skills.
3. Social and Emotional Learning VIDEOS
Videos can make your life as a teacher a counselor much easier because they can be both fun and entertaining for kids as they learn a variety of SEL Topics. This list (seen above) has over 225 video links that includes Coping Skills Videos for Elementary and Middle School Students. It also has video links for Anger Management, Self-Esteem, Learning Emotions, Zones of Regulation, Social Media, Coping Skills, Growth Mindset, Improving Attention, Social Skills, Study Skills, Working in Groups, Transitioning to Middle School etc.). This list will hopefully save you hours and hours of research because I’ve already done it for you!
4. The Wheel of Coping Colors Coping Skills Game
You can play The Wheel of Colors Coping Skills game with your students who are learning how to use coping skills for stressful situations. You can play with 2-5 students ideally, but I have played with whole classrooms…just need students to take turns in each round.
To play, print the Color Wheel and score card and playing cards. Cut each game card out individually. Students pick their color for each round. Then pull the card and read the prompts related to the color each student picked. Give the students a point for each response….and have fun!
5. Mindfulness Coloring for Calming Strategies and Positive Affirmations
These 24 pages of Mindfulness Coloring Pictures are for helping students work on Mindfulness, Coping Strategies, Self-Esteem, and Positive Affirmations. Kids love coloring and Mindfulness focused coloring is a great counseling activity for students with anxiety, poor anger control, and high stress. To use, play some calming music in your classroom or counseling session and talk to your students about the meditative benefits of coloring mindfulness pictures. The pictures in this packet are fun, gender neutral, instructional, and motivational. Once done, they make a great counseling take-home art project, or keep them to decorate your office of classroom.
6. The Positive Thinking Game
The Positive Thinking board game is a fun and easy way to work with students on improving their positive thinking habits, growth mindset, and self-esteem. It’s perfect for small group counseling groups for ages 2-8.
•Roll the dice to figure out which player will start. (Highest number goes first. Then players go in clockwise direction.)
•When players land on a star, read the hexagon card’s question or prompt about positive thinking.
•When a player lands on an X, read the square cards with a question or prompt about a negative thinking or a negative behavior.
•If the player has to move up or back, their turn is over and they do not have to pull a card again.
•Play until all players have finished the game.
7. The Positive Thinking Super Heroes Game
This 2 page play is called the “Positive Thinking Super Heroes Play!” It can be a fun activity your counseling group or classroom as a fun way to facilitate learning about the benefits of positive thinking. The social story goes into how positive thinking can help our brains and body, and help make better decisions during the school day.
Included after the play are 2 reflection worksheets where students can answer questions about the story and themselves and then draw them-self as a positive thinking superhero.
8. The “My I Can’t Monster” video/worksheet activity and tool
I focus A LOT on teaching kids to change their negative thoughts into positive ones. This simple activity starts with a video by Zen Den. After the video, the students color their own “I Can’t Monster”. Then they keep it in or by their desk all week and put an X on their monster any time they catch themselves thinking “I can’t”.
9. The Coping Skills Board Game
You can help your students learn and practice coping skills with this easy and fun board game, The Coping Skills Board Game! Just print the game board, laminate and attach into a classic square shape. Students land on stars for positive coping strategies and question prompts and an X for negative coping strategies (hitting, lying, elopement, unhealthy habits, etc.)
This game is great for students with difficulty managing emotions (anxiety, anger, sadness, etc.) and behavioral issues (aggression, elopement, etc.).
10. Social Stories Coloring Books for Coping Skills
Help your students learn about emotions and strategies for controlling emotions with this Social Story Coloring Book. Children have a range of feelings and emotions during the school day. Some have to learn skills for managing their emotions, so that they can avoid having behaviors, such as aggression, yelling, crying, or eloping at school.
The goal of this social story to share information in a way that makes sense to children in order to help them understand their own experiences. This story is in first person, which encourages the development of empathy and understanding.
Book is great for teachers, school psychologists, and counselors of preschool through 5th grade students and/or students with disabilities who are working on learning a variety of social skills.
If you liked these activities and would like to save both time and money, then please check out the full, 18-Week, Curriculum for Counseling students for Coping Skills. Click HERE to check it out!
How to Get Counseling Activities… for FREE!
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If you are OK with spending $3-$5 on a few fun counseling activities for your students (Not including Bundles or 20+ week curriculums), please just click the pictures within this post and they will all link you to the product in my Counseling Fanny Pack of Fun store.