Committee for Children Blog

Week 2: Wednesday’s Summer Camp Activities

social-emotional learning 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

Strong Feelings in Your Body

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

Directions
Use this activity’s worksheet to talk to your child about what happens to different parts of their bodies when they have strong feelings.

Ask: What does your heart do when you feel angry? (It beats faster.) Go through other body parts with the same feeling.

Then ask: What does your heart do when you’ve calmed down? (It beats slower.)

Go through the rest of the body parts with the same question. Repeat with other feelings words.


Kindergarten–Grade 1

Feelings of the Day Measurement

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

Directions
Print out the Feelings of the Day Thermometer worksheet. Have your child keep it with them throughout the day.

As they’re going through their daily routine, have them choose a feeling from the list (or use one of their own). Write it on their thermometer next to the corresponding intensity level. For example, if it’s a strong feeling, then write that emotion on the strong end of the thermometer.

If you notice your child experiencing strong feelings throughout the day, remind them to mark it on their thermometer. At the end of the day, go over the worksheet together and talk about how and why your child’s feelings changed throughout the day.


Grades 2–3

Stormy Weather

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

Directions
Strong feelings have strong effects on our brains and bodies. We can measure some of these effects by taking our pulse or our temperature. Just as strong feelings can affect our bodies, strong weather patterns can have an effect on the earth and its inhabitants.

Using the Stormy Weather worksheet, have your child look up how each weather phenomenon is measured and with which instruments.

For example, we would measure a hurricane’s wind velocity and precipitation using anemometers and rain gauges.


Grades 4–5

Animal Clues

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil

Directions
How can you tell what a dog or other animal is feeling? Have your child come up with a list of physical reactions an animal might have when it’s distressed. For example, when a dog feels threatened, its tail stops wagging, its fur stands up, it bares its teeth, and it snarls.

Then, have your child come up with a list of physical reactions humans might have when they’re distressed. Ask your child: How are the physical reactions on the two lists the same? How are they different?


Middle School

Can Anger Be Positive?

SEL Skill: Emotion management

What You’ll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Online access

Directions
Anger is not a good or bad emotion. It’s what we do with our anger that can be good or bad.

If people did not get angry about situations such as oppression, slavery, or abuse, then many positive changes would not have come about.

Have your child research nonaggressive responses to unjust situations by people such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), Aung San Suu Kyi, or Rosa Parks. Then, have them write a brief summary of how the leader they selected used anger to make a positive change.