Committee for Children Blog

Week 2: Thursday’s Summer Camp Activities

summer camp activities

This summer, your kids may have a lot of big feelings. Our DIY SEL Summer Camp is here to help! This three-week summer camp includes research-based activities that are modeled on our Second Step social-emotional learning (SEL) program and help your kids learn about science, social studies, math, and more. The activities also teach social-emotional skills that can help all kids ages 1–14 cope with big feelings and other challenges they may face. 

With age-appropriate instructions and easy-to-find household materials, these activities can help you and your family spend quality time together and keep your kids learning over the summer.


PreK

Waiting Ideas

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

  • Pencil or crayons
  • Paper

Directions
Have your child think of objects or things they can count when they’re waiting for something. Then, have them draw pictures that represent their ideas on a piece of paper.

For example, if your child thinks of counting square things, then you or your child could either write “square” or draw a square.


Kindergarten–Grade 1

How Would You Calm Down?

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

  • A picture book

Recommended Reading
When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman
White Dynamite and Curly Kidd by Bill Martin, Jr.
The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie Tantrum by Deborah Blumenthal

Directions
Select a book to read out loud where at least one character experiences a strong emotion and needs to calm down.

As you read the book, stop after each page or set of pages and ask your child:

  • How is this character feeling?
  • How can you tell?
  • Have you ever felt like that?
  • What do you think might happen if this character’s feelings got out of control?
  • What do you think this character could do to calm down?

Grades 2–3

Let’s Write a Letter!

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil

Directions
Have your child look up a few ways that strong emotions and stress can affect their brain and body.

Then, have them write a letter to you about what they learned and how to calm down when feeling strong feelings. Need a few ideas on how to calm down? Listen to this episode of our podcast, The Imagine Neighborhood, where Scotty and Count Vacula use their problem-solving skills to take on Tantrumus Maximus.


Grades 4–5

Feelings Words and Paragraphs

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil

Directions
Have your child write down a list of feelings words that describe strong feelings: angry, furious, anxious, worried, excited, scared.

Then, have them write a list of words that describe how they might feel after managing strong emotions: calm, relaxed, peaceful, happy, confident.

Then, have your child write a descriptive paragraph or paragraphs, using words from their lists, about a real or made-up situation in which they experienced strong emotions. Have them include the things they did to manage their strong emotions and how they felt after calming down.


Middle School

Do Animals Feel Emotions?

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Online access

Directions
Do animals feel emotions or do humans project their own emotions onto animals? Have your child consider the question by researching online, focusing on a specific animal.

Then, have them compare how animal and human brains process information and feel emotions. Have your child write down and share with you what they found out about the animal they researched.