Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Kindergarten

In the bustling world of kindergarten, where curious minds and tender hearts come together, the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) cannot be overstated. As educators and parents, we play a crucial role in fostering emotional intelligence, empathy, and interpersonal skills in our little ones. To make this journey delightful and engaging, we’ve compiled a treasure trove of 75 social-emotional learning activities tailored for kindergarten children.

  1. Feelings Charades: Turn learning about emotions into a game! Act out various feelings, and have the children guess the emotion being portrayed.
  2. Emotion Collage: Encourage artistic expression by having kids create collages using different materials to represent various emotions.
  3. Emotion Puppets: Craft simple puppets with different facial expressions. Use them as tools to discuss and explore a range of emotions.
  4. Kindness Rocks: Decorate rocks with uplifting messages and place them in a communal “kindness garden” to promote empathy.
  5. Emotion Sorting: Provide images or flashcards of facial expressions and have children sort them into different emotion categories.
  6. Mirror, Mirror: Let kids practice identifying and expressing their emotions by making faces in front of a mirror.
  7. Empathy Circle: Create a circle and discuss scenarios where empathy is needed. Encourage children to share how they would feel in similar situations.
  8. Storytelling Time: Read books that highlight diverse emotions and discuss the characters’ feelings.
  9. Gratitude Journal: Foster a positive mindset by having children write or draw one thing they are grateful for each day.
  10. Emotion Bingo: Play a game of bingo using different emotions instead of numbers. It’s a fun way to reinforce emotional vocabulary.
  11. Friendship Bracelets: Engage in a craft activity by making friendship bracelets, emphasizing the values of friendship and cooperation.
  12. Musical Emotions: Play various tunes and have the kids express their feelings through movement. Discuss emotions associated with different music.
  13. Emotion Faces Craft: Let children create their own emotion face masks using paper plates and craft materials.
  14. Role-Playing Scenarios: Set up scenarios for role-playing to help children understand and respond to different emotions in social situations.
  15. The Emotion Walk: Create a path with different emotion faces and have kids walk through, expressing how they feel about each one.
  16. Emotion Puppet Theater: Take the puppet activity a step further by creating a mini puppet theater. Children can perform short skits that explore different emotions.
  17. Feeling Faces Snack: Use a variety of snacks to create facial expressions representing different emotions. It’s a tasty way to reinforce emotional vocabulary.
  18. Emotion Story Stones: Paint or draw emotions on stones and use them as prompts for collaborative storytelling, encouraging creativity and emotional exploration.
  19. SEL Board Games: Introduce board games that focus on emotions and social interactions, turning playtime into a valuable learning experience.
  20. Empathy Art Gallery: Showcase children’s artwork that reflects empathy and compassion. Discuss each piece as a class, emphasizing the positive impact of kindness.
    SEL Activities for Kindergarten
  21. Mindfulness Moments: Incorporate short mindfulness exercises into the daily routine, teaching kids to pause and connect with their emotions in the present moment.
  22. Feelings Bingo: Customize a bingo card with various emotions and play regularly to reinforce emotional recognition in a playful setting.
  23. SEL Story Cubes: Create story cubes with different emotions on each side. Roll the cubes and encourage children to build a story incorporating the emotions rolled.
  24. Emotion Color Hunt: Assign emotions to different colors and have a scavenger hunt where children find objects matching the designated colors.
  25. SEL Journal Prompts: Provide daily prompts in a journal for children to reflect on their feelings, fostering self-awareness and emotional expression.
  26. Calm Down Corner: Designate a cozy corner with soft pillows and calming activities for children to use when they need a moment to regulate their emotions.
  27. SEL Puzzles: Create puzzles that depict various emotions. As children assemble the puzzles, discuss the emotions portrayed in each piece.
  28. Emotion Memory Game: Play a memory game where pairs of cards feature images representing different emotions. It’s a fun way to enhance memory and emotional recognition.
  29. SEL Song Playlist: Curate a playlist of songs that explore emotions. Singing along to tunes can be a joyful way to connect with and express feelings.
  30. Friendship Flower Garden: Craft flowers with the names of classmates, emphasizing the importance of each friendship in building a beautiful classroom garden.
  31. SEL Story Time Capsule: Have children write or draw about their current feelings and experiences, then seal them in a time capsule to be revisited at the end of the school year.
  32. Emotion Twister: Adapt the classic game of Twister by assigning emotions to different colored circles. It’s a delightful way to combine movement and emotional expression.
  33. SEL Puppet Interview: Encourage children to interview their emotion puppets, fostering dialogue about why certain emotions might arise in different situations.
  34. Emotion Sculptures: Provide modeling clay or playdough and challenge children to sculpt different emotions, discussing their creations afterward.
  35. SEL Weather Check: Create a “weather chart” where children can use symbols or drawings to represent their emotional weather for the day – whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or stormy.
  36. Emotion Simon Says: Play a game of Simon Says, incorporating emotional expressions into the commands. It adds a creative twist to the classic game.
  37. SEL Feelings Map: Design a map with different “emotion zones.” Children can place stickers or drawings on the map to represent how they’re feeling throughout the day.
  38. Emotion Storytime Cube: Similar to story cubes, but with specific emotions tied to characters or events. Roll the cube and create a collaborative story based on the emotion rolled.
  39. SEL Emotion Relay: Organize a relay race where children must convey different emotions as they pass a figurative emotional “baton” to their teammates.
  40. Emotion Guess Who?: Create a customized Guess Who? game with cards featuring various emotions. It’s a fun way to enhance deductive reasoning while exploring feelings.
    Social-Emotional Growth in Kindergarten
  41. SEL Feelings Fortune Teller: Craft a fortune teller with emotions written inside. Children can play and discuss the emotion they land on.
  42. Emotion Hopscotch: Draw a hopscotch court with different emotions instead of numbers. Children can hop through while expressing the emotion they land on.
  43. SEL Feeling Faces Bingo: Create a bingo card with illustrated facial expressions, helping children recognize and differentiate between nuanced emotions.
  44. Emotion Story Stones Theater: Combine story stones with a small puppet theater, allowing children to create and act out stories based on the emotions depicted.
  45. SEL Emotion Balloon Pop: Write different emotions on balloons, and as each balloon pops, discuss the corresponding emotion and why someone might feel that way.
  46. Emotion Word Wall: Establish a word wall featuring a variety of emotion words. Encourage children to use these words when expressing themselves.
  47. SEL Emotion Charades Cards: Develop a set of charades cards with specific emotions for children to act out. It’s a dynamic way to enhance emotional vocabulary.
  48. Emotion Magnet Poetry: Provide magnetic words related to emotions. Children can create expressive poetry on a magnetic board, combining language and emotions.
  49. SEL Feelings Sculpture Garden: Using recycled materials, create a “sculpture garden” showcasing three-dimensional representations of different emotions.
  50. Emotion Freeze Dance: Play music and have children dance freely. When the music stops, they freeze and express the emotion they feel at that moment.
  51. SEL Emotion Detective: Turn the classroom into an investigation scene. Children can become emotion detectives, analyzing facial expressions and body language to identify different emotions.
  52. Emotion Story Cubes Collaboration: Have children roll emotion story cubes in groups, taking turns contributing to a collaborative story that explores a range of feelings.
  53. SEL Feelings Scavenger Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt with clues related to different emotions. As children solve each clue, discuss the associated emotions.
  54. Emotion Fortune Cookies: Craft paper fortune cookies with emotion prompts inside. Children can open them and discuss times when they’ve felt that particular emotion.
  55. SEL Emotion Yoga: Introduce simple yoga poses that represent different emotions. Practice the poses together, linking movement with emotional expression.
  56. Emotion Memory Jar: Have children write or draw a memorable moment tied to a specific emotion and place it in a “memory jar” to revisit later.
  57. SEL Feelings Dominoes: Create a domino game where each piece represents an emotion. Children match emotions while discussing when they might experience them.
  58. Emotion Balloon Volleyball: Play a friendly game of balloon volleyball, assigning emotions to each balloon. When a balloon is hit, discuss the corresponding emotion.
  59. Emotion Rainbow Art: Use different colors of the rainbow to represent emotions. Children create artwork with each color expressing a unique feeling.
  60. SEL Emotion Storytelling Cards: Develop a set of cards with characters, settings, and emotions. Children draw cards and use them as prompts to create imaginative stories.
    Social-Emotional Development in Kindergarten
  61. Emotion Building Blocks: Incorporate building blocks into SEL by assigning emotions to different colors. Children create structures that represent a mix of feelings.
  62. SEL Emotion Reflection Stones: Paint river stones with reflective surfaces and encourage children to look at their own expressions in the stones, fostering self-awareness.
  63. Emotion Rainbow Trail: Create a “rainbow trail” on the floor with different colored tape. As children walk the trail, discuss the emotions associated with each color.
  64. SEL Emotion Tic-Tac-Toe: Play a game of Tic-Tac-Toe using emotions instead of Xs and Os. Children discuss the emotions they choose during the game.
  65. Emotion Storytelling Dice: Craft storytelling dice with different emotions. Roll the dice and create a story incorporating the emotions rolled.
  66. SEL Emotion Relay Race: Organize a relay race where children pass a “feeling baton.” The baton represents different emotions as they run through the course.
  67. Emotion Mind Map: Collaboratively create a mind map of emotions, exploring connections between different feelings and their triggers.
  68. SEL Emotion Jigsaw Puzzle: Provide jigsaw puzzles with emotions depicted. As children assemble the puzzle, discuss the emotions and their nuances.
  69. Emotion Watercolor Resist: Combine art and emotions by using the watercolor resist technique. Children paint emotions, and the resist reveals hidden messages or symbols.
  70. SEL Emotion Mobiles: Create hanging mobiles with different emotions represented by colorful shapes. Hang them in the classroom to inspire conversations about feelings.
    SEL Games for Kindergarten


In the vibrant world of kindergarten, these 70 social-emotional learning activities provide a rich tapestry for nurturing emotional intelligence. By incorporating these activities into daily routines, we can create an environment where kindness, empathy, and self-awareness blossom, laying the foundation for lifelong social-emotional well-being. As we embark on this journey together, let’s celebrate the unique emotions of each child, fostering a generation of emotionally intelligent and socially adept individuals.

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