Social Emotional Development with Books - The OT Toolbox (2022)

Want to help kids learn about empathy? Striving to make gains in socio emotional development? Want to teach kids acceptance? Want to work with children on friendship? Want to celebrate differences? I have a valuable tool to share with you! The great news is that guiding children to social development and emotional development as well as emotional literacy and social fluency is easy and fun! In this post, I’m sharing book activities to help kids develop skills in these very abstract concepts. Read a popular children’s book, talk about concepts, and do the play activity. It’s a powerful way to help kids thrive!

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Exploring Books Through Play is a guide to using books to help kids develop social emotional skills as well as other essential developmental areas (fine motor, gross motor, sensory exploration, handwriting, etc.) The book celebrates play-based learning with 50 unique, hands-on activities that explore social and emotional development, literacy, art, science, mathematics, sensory exploration, gross motor development and fine motor skills.

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Social Emotional Activities for Preschool

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You probably have seen book-related activities that I’ve shared in the past. It all started with a group of amazing women who are the most inspiring and creative bunch out there. Together, we shared hands-on learning and play activities that were inspired by simply awesome children’s books.

Here are just some of the great books we’ve read in the Preschool Book Club. Each book contains social emotional development activities for preschool (and older ages!) By using books to build socio-emotional development, kids can use concrete activities to develop abstract concepts.

(Video) The Social Emotional Toolbox

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Beautiful Oops– Use this book activity to help kids explore differences, acceptance, and individualism. In this book activity, we worked on visual motor skills, eye-hand coordination, fine motor work, and strengthening.


I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More– This book celebrates emotions and is a great starting point to emotional development. In this activity, we used sensory play to create art while working on eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, and more.


The Day The Crayons Quit– Kids can explore self-identity and self awareness in this children’s book. The book covers concepts such as differences, acceptance, and social norms. We explored the book with a fine motor activity that built awareness of self as well.


Freight Train– This mesmerizing book teaches basic concepts of shapes and colors. We used it in a food activity for kids to prepare a healthy snack. The book is a great one for identifying differences in shapes and colors and is a wonderful building block to awareness.


Ish – In this children’s book activity, we used blocks to work on various motor skills such as eye-hand coordination, visual motor skills, visual perception, and fine motor work. The book is a fan favorite and teaches kids to accept themselves and not to be so self-critical. What a great starting point to social development!


Goodnight Moon– This classic book for kids teaches kids about focus and imagination in a rhyming and calming manner. The book helps kids understand the imagination and addresses self-awareness and awareness of one’s surroundings. In our book activity, we worked on visual memory and concentration with a themed Memory game.


Little Blue and Little Yellow– This book helps kids understand color and builds fine motor skills when paired with play dough to act out the book. However, there are bigger social emotional development concepts at hand as well. Kids can discover emotional development awareness in the concepts of friendship, awareness of self and others, and identity. We used DIY puffy paint for an interactive book activity.

(Video) Introduction to the Book "the Emotional Toolbox"


Elmer– This book helps kids understand differences, acceptance, and social roles. The book can be used to work on social development in children as they talk about things that make them and others special or different. The book is a tool in building empathy. We used the book to work on fine motor skills, visual perception, and visual motor skill development in a fun book activity.

The Kissing Hand– This book is a building block in helping kids understand emotions. They can read the book and become more aware of how others might be feeling, helping them to develop empathy as well. We created a key chain craft to use as a grounding tool for emotions kids might have.

There are so many more!

The group of us bloggers decided that we wanted to come up with a better way to share our book-related ideas. With a real book of our own!

Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books about Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy

(Video) Books for Social Emotional Learning NOW

This book is full of creative learning and play ideas for kids and is based on amazing children’s books. These activities will inspire acceptance of those around us, enhance friendship, and provoke empathy.

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Social Emotional Development through Play

Check out the description on Amazon:

“Exploring Books Through Play: Friendship, Acceptance and Empathy celebrates play-based learning with 50 unique, hands-on activities that explore social and emotional development, literacy, art, science, mathematics, sensory exploration, gross motor development and fine motor skills. The activities are inspired by 10 children’s books including “A Sick Day for Amos McGee”, “The Adventures of Beekle”, “Little Blue and Little Yellow” and “The Day the Crayons Quit.” Focusing on high quality children’s literature centered on friendship, acceptance and empathy, this book is designed to be used in home and school settings and is perfect for large or small groups. Ideal for children ages 3-8 years old, the activities can be adapted for multiple skill levels and developmental stages. As you work through the activities in the book children will naturally be discussing the characters, delving deeper into the lessons, bringing the stories to life and falling further in love with literature.”

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The books that are explored in this resource were intentionally chosen for their social emotional aspects. Activities were designed that inspire learning and play through hands-on involvement.

Join the Club!

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(Video) Social Emotional Toolkit

Grab your copy today!

GET THE E-BOOK

Get the PRINT BOOK is available on Amazon for $26.99

This is a book that, if I saw it on the shelves of a bookstore, I would grab it up and totally buy it. The images are bright and colorful and the creative ideas are inspiring. Not only are the hands-on play and learning activities easy and fun to do, but they each inspire children and families to think about actions, how others feel, and how small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness can make a big difference in the lives of others.

The special launch prices will run for only one week, so be sure to grab the deals today!

E-book:
Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books about Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy

Printed Book:Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books about Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy

(Video) Back to School: Building Social-Emotional Learning Opportunities

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Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

FAQs

What are 3 main aspects of social emotional development? ›

Social-emotional development consists of three main areas of children's self-regulation: Acting: Behaving in socially appropriate ways and ways that foster learning. Feeling: Understanding others' emotions and regulation of one's own emotions. Thinking: Regulating attention and thoughts.

What are the 5 essential elements of social and emotional feelings? ›

The model defines five social and emotional skill areas essential for the development of good mental health.
...
Self-awareness
  • identifying emotions.
  • self-perception.
  • understanding strengths.
  • self-confidence.
  • self-efficacy.

What are the key characteristics of the social emotional development of 7 11 year olds? ›

At this stage, children will exhibit many of these characteristics:
  • Learn to cooperate in group settings and group games; dislike playing alone.
  • Spend a lot of time talking with peers.
  • Develop lasting friendships and begin to handle peer pressure.
  • Enjoy group activities and group games that focus on a common interest.

How can you improve social and emotional development in the classroom? ›

How to Incorporate Social-Emotional Learning in Your Classroom
  1. Be Present and Observant. In order to figure out what my students are struggling with, I have to be present and observant. ...
  2. Create a Supportive Atmosphere. ...
  3. Share Life Experiences. ...
  4. Stimulate Discussion. ...
  5. Give Your Students the Opportunity to Practice.
7 Jan 2020

What are the 3 pillars of SEL? ›

Three Pillars: Culture, Adult Skills, Curriculum. A culture where social emotional learning can thrive is one that provides a safe and healthy place for children to learn and grow.

What are 5 benefits of SEL? ›

6 benefits of social-emotional learning
  • SEL helps you regulate your emotions and manage stress. ...
  • SEL improves academic performance. ...
  • SEL promotes resilience. ...
  • SEL improves mental health. ...
  • SEL increases equity.
14 Dec 2021

What do 6 12 year olds need to experience for healthy social-emotional development? ›

Children Ages 5 to 12 Years Old
  • Develop greater empathy.
  • Establish and maintain positive relationships and friendships.
  • Start developing a sense of morality.
  • Control impulsive behavior.
  • Identify and manage emotions.
  • Form a positive self-concept and self-esteem (identity formation has begun)
  • Become resilient.

What are the stages of social-emotional development? ›

Erikson's Eight Stages of Development
  • Learning Basic Trust Versus Basic Mistrust (Hope) ...
  • Learning Autonomy Versus Shame (Will) ...
  • Learning Initiative Versus Guilt (Purpose) ...
  • Industry Versus Inferiority (Competence) ...
  • Learning Identity Versus Identity Diffusion (Fidelity) ...
  • Learning Intimacy Versus Isolation (Love)

What factors influence social and emotional development in childhood? ›

Socio-emotional development is influenced by three central factors: biology, including genetics and temperament, environment, including socioeconomic status and support, and relationships.

What are social emotional activities? ›

Social-emotional development activities offer a safe and supportive environment for students to learn prosocial behavior. The games encourage healthy relationships that reinforce empathy, sharing, and compassion.

What is an example of social emotional development? ›

Some examples of social-emotional skills in use are: Recognizing if someone is sad, and asking if they're ok. Expressing yourself with your friends in a different way than with your parents. Understanding your thoughts and feelings, and being able to relate to others.

What are some SEL topics? ›

Below, you'll find activities that address CASEL's core competencies of SEL:
  • Fist to Five (Self-Management)
  • Different Perspectives in Literature (Social Awareness)
  • Social Contract (Relationship Skills)
  • Meaningful Online Messages (Relationship Skills)
  • Responsible Citizens (Responsible Decision Making)

What does SEL look like in the classroom? ›

CASEL defines SEL as building skills to develop healthy identities; manage emotions; achieve personal and collective goals; feel and show empathy for others; establish and maintain supportive relationships; and make responsible and caring decisions.

What skills are taught in SEL programs? ›

Communication, getting along with others, assertiveness, and problem-solving are all skills taught in an SEL program. These skills help people and organizations build a healthy, supportive, and successful work environment.

How is social-emotional learning measured? ›

Here are the five keys we've found to assessing social-emotional learning:
  1. Choose which topics to measure. Which SEL skills, mindsets, and behaviors matter most to your district? ...
  2. Gather baseline data with an SEL assessment. ...
  3. Analyze the results. ...
  4. Take action to improve SEL. ...
  5. Evaluate and adjust.

What are the 4 zones of regulation? ›

The tool “Zones of Regulation” involves four phases of alertness and emotion- Blue,Green, Yellow, and Red. Most teachers who use this tool have a poster for each color in their classroom, with a small picture and label for different emotions that students can use to identify how they feel.

Why is SEL important in the classroom? ›

Social-emotional learning (SEL) helps improve kids' academic performance, curtail bullying, reduce dropout rates, and build character. Well-implemented SEL programs positively affect students' success in school.

Why is SEL important for students? ›

Social-emotional learning is vital for students because it teaches them crucial life skills, including the ability to understand themselves, develop a positive self-image, take responsibility for their actions, and forge relationships with the people around them.

How does SEL improve behavior? ›

By reducing misbehavior and the amount of time spent on classroom management, SEL programs create more time for teaching and learning. SEL also strengthens students' relationships with their peers, families, and teachers, who are mediators, collaborators, and encouragers of academic achievement.

What are the 3 competencies of social and emotional learning? ›

The five SEL competencies (self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, social awareness, and relationship skills), are vital to the teaching and understanding of social and emotional learning at school.

What are the aspects of socio emotional development? ›

Social-emotional development includes the child's experience, expression, and management of emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others (Cohen and others 2005). It encompasses both intra- and interpersonal processes.

What are examples of social and emotional development? ›

Some examples of social-emotional skills in use are: Recognizing if someone is sad, and asking if they're ok. Expressing yourself with your friends in a different way than with your parents. Understanding your thoughts and feelings, and being able to relate to others.

What is Erikson's theory of socioemotional development? ›

Erikson's view is that the social environment combined with biological maturation provides each individual with a set of "crises" that must be resolved. The individual is provided with a "sensitive period" in which to successfully resolve each crisis before a new crisis is presented.

What are the characteristics of emotional development? ›

According to the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments, strong emotional development leads to five key skills: self-awareness, social-awareness, emotional regulation, responsible decision making and relationship building.

Why is socioemotional development important? ›

Positive social and emotional development is important. This development influences a child's self-confidence, empathy, the ability to develop meaningful and lasting friendships and partnerships, and a sense of importance and value to those around him/her.

What are social-emotional activities? ›

Social-emotional development activities offer a safe and supportive environment for students to learn prosocial behavior. The games encourage healthy relationships that reinforce empathy, sharing, and compassion.

How can you support a child's social and emotional development? ›

Start by being supportive.
  1. Love your child and show your affection for them. ...
  2. Encourage your child to try new things. ...
  3. Give your child opportunities to play with other children their age. ...
  4. Show your feelings. ...
  5. Establish daily routines. ...
  6. Acknowledge your child's feelings.
27 Feb 2015

What is the first step in social and emotional development? ›

Build Awareness

Increasing social and emotional awareness in your daily life is the first step in developing social and emotional skills. This means noticing when your child is doing something right and letting them know that you noticed.

What are the 3 pillars of SEL? ›

Three Pillars: Culture, Adult Skills, Curriculum. A culture where social emotional learning can thrive is one that provides a safe and healthy place for children to learn and grow.

Which theory best explains children's social emotional development? ›

Erikson's Psychosocial Developmental Theory

Erikson's eight-stage theory of psychosocial development describes growth and change throughout life, focusing on social interaction and conflicts that arise during different stages of development.

What is Piaget's theory on social and emotional development? ›

Social development can be summarily described as the process of organizing human energies and activities at higher levels to achieve greater results. Development increases the utilization of human potential.

What is an example of Erikson's theory in real life? ›

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES OF ERIKSON THEORY AT WORK

And integrity is the key to trust. If your company claims to be green and to love the environment, for example, but your employees know you secretly dump waste into the ocean, they question your integrity. And that means they can't really trust you.

What factors affect emotional development? ›

Apart from family and school, there are a number of other factors that contribute to the emotional development of young children. These include biological make up, outside social and sporting interactions and modern communications such as computers and television.

How does emotional development affect learning? ›

How does social and emotional development affect learning? By providing a kind environment, it helps to encourage optimal brain development as well as social connection and collaboration. In other words, SEL affects learning by shaping children's developing neural circuitry, particularly the executive functions.

How can I improve my emotional development? ›

Emotional Intelligence
  1. #1) Practice observing how you feel. ...
  2. #2) Pay attention to how you behave. ...
  3. #3) Question your own opinions. ...
  4. #4) Take responsibility for your feelings. ...
  5. #5) Take time to celebrate the positive. ...
  6. #6) But don't ignore the negative.
  7. #7) Don't forget to breathe.
  8. #8) A lifetime process.

Videos

1. Social Emotional Toolbox with Melissa Mann
(Alabama Humanities Alliance)
2. HOW TO FIND YOUR MANIFESTING SUPERPOWER | LAW OF ATTRACTION | Emma Mumford
(Emma Mumford)
3. I Choose To Try Again by Elizabeth Estrada | A Story about Perseverance and Diligence | Read Aloud
(My Bedtime Stories)
4. The ESL & Bilingual Toolkit with Dr. ET
(Saddleback Educational Publishing)
5. EVAN-MOOR SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING Grades 3-4 || SECULAR HOMESCHOOL
(Project Happy Home)
6. Students' Social-Emotional Development – Chapter 2, The Best of the Marshall Memo, Book Two
(THE MAIN IDEA)

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