18 Zones of Regulation Activities to Help Kids Manage Their Emotions

Managing emotions is an important skill for kids to develop. The Zones of Regulation framework provides a helpful way for children to understand their emotions and learn strategies for self-regulation. Here are 18 activities that can be incorporated into everyday life to support children in managing their emotions and improving emotional regulation skills.

  1. Take deep breaths: Teach children to take slow, deep breaths to calm their bodies and minds when they feel overwhelmed or upset.
  2. Emotional check-ins: Encourage children to regularly check in with their emotions by using a feelings chart or discussing how they are feeling.
  3. Zones charades: Play a game of charades where children act out different emotions corresponding to each zone of the Zones of Regulation framework.
  4. Sensory bottles: Create sensory bottles filled with different materials like glitter, water, or rice. Encourage children to shake the bottles and observe how the materials settle, helping them calm down.
  5. Feelings collage: Have children cut out pictures or write words representing different emotions and create a collage to visually explore and express their emotions.
  6. Emotional vocabulary: Help children expand their emotional vocabulary by introducing new words that describe different feelings.
  7. Journaling: Provide children with a journal or notebook where they can write or draw about their emotions and experiences.
  8. Mindful coloring: Engage children in mindful coloring activities to promote relaxation and focus.
  9. Yoga for emotions: Guide children through yoga poses that correspond to different emotions, helping them connect their bodies and minds.
  10. Body scan: Teach children to do a body scan, where they focus on different parts of their body, noticing sensations and releasing tension.
  11. Breathing buddies: Have children lie down with a stuffed animal or soft toy on their bellies and guide them to watch the toy rise and fall with their breath.
  12. Emotion dice: Create a dice with different emotions written on each side. Roll the dice and ask children to express or discuss the emotion shown.
  13. Zones charades: Play a game of charades where children act out different emotions corresponding to each zone of the Zones of Regulation framework.
  14. Calming corner: Set up a designated area in the classroom or at home with calming activities like soft pillows, stress balls, or quiet music.
  15. Reflection time: Provide children with dedicated reflection time to think about their actions, emotions, and how they can make positive choices.
  16. Breathing exercises: Teach children different breathing exercises, such as square breathing or bunny breaths, that can help them calm down and refocus.
  17. Expressive arts: Encourage children to express their emotions through various art forms like drawing, painting, or sculpting.
  18. Positive affirmations: Teach children to create and repeat positive affirmations to help build self-esteem and manage challenging emotions.

By incorporating these 18 Zones of Regulation activities into daily routines, children can develop important emotional regulation skills and improve their overall well-being.