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Games Children Should Play

What’s Happening:

All Ages

Scientific research into learning and the human brain is currently exploding with discoveries about how humans learn best. It’s now widely recognized that neuroplasticity (the ability of the human brain to grow, learn, and change throughout life) can, and should be, positively enhanced by schooling. Compelling evidence suggests that if educators understand how the brain learns and implement the correct skill-building educational experiences, all students can experience success.

Movement and Stress:

This current research explosion has made it apparent that physical movement is critical to learning. Voluntary large motor activities such as games, team sports, dance, and running raise the good brain chemicals needed for learning, focus, thinking and memory access, and also help to reduce stress. Since chronic, acute stress negatively impacts learning and behavior, providing regular physical activity becomes a natural de-stressor and an important part of any school day. Research suggests that students benefit from 30 to 60 minutes per day of movement and organized physical activity.

Games and Learning:

Pro-social games of all kinds offer additional important ways to purposefully promote social and emotional learning. The natural desire of children to play together and have fun makes games an ideal delivery system for teaching important life skills. Through the structure, rules, and social interaction of games, children learn to share and take turns. They practice self-control and the effective management of negative emotions. They learn that motivation and persistence pay off. Games teach children the benefits of interacting with others in fair, just, and respectful ways, and help develop the critical life skills of collaboration and teamwork.

These important social and emotional skills are not innate talents, but learned abilities. The acquisition of social-emotional skills is facilitated by the structure and rules of games, by peer interaction, and also by adults modeling these behaviors and helping students to make appropriate learning connections. 

A Complimentary Activity

Today’s selected activity comes from the unit “GET-ACQUAINTED GAMES” in our book, EVERYBODY WINS! – 100 Social-Emotional Games That Children Should Play.

The games in this section were selected because they encourage self-disclosure and sharing in the non-threatening context of play.  They can be used to help students become better acquainted, to promote inclusion, to build team cohesiveness, or as preludes to more challenging tasks.  Players introduce themselves to one or more persons, focusing on the value of each individual and acknowledging similarities and differences.

Use this activity now, and purchase the book to have a whole library of instantly usable games to engage your students.

You can check the book out HERE, and you can open a reproducible PDF of your student activity HERE.

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Thanks so much for reading!


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Helping Your Students Take Initiative and Accept Responsibility


This Sharing Circle topic comes from the elementary resource book, Caring and Capable KidsIt  lets your students explore the differences between being asked or told to do something and choosing to do it just because it needs to be done. The topic also helps your students see the importance of taking personal responsibility for getting things done. Finally, students get to actually experience the positive feelings and other rewards for both taking initiative and accepting responsibility. The topic for this Sharing Circle is, A Time I Helped Without Being Asked…

  Here’s Your Monday Morning Sharing Circle.


A Time I Helped Without
Being Asked


The students will:
— describe the difference between choosing to do something and being told to do it.
— state the importance of assuming responsibility for things that need to be done.

Introduce the Topic:

Today we’re going to talk about taking the initiative — about accepting responsibility without being told to by an adult.  Our topic is, “A Time I Helped Without Being Asked.”

Think of a time when you saw something that needed to be done and took it upon yourself to do it.  No one had to tell you or ask you or even hint to you that it needed doing.  Maybe you walked into the kitchen one evening and saw a sink full of dirty dishes and, instead of just ignoring the mess, you cleaned it up.  Or maybe you saw someone drop and spill or break something and you got down and helped pick up the pieces.  Perhaps a neighbor was searching up and down the street for a missing pet and you joined in.  Or you might have stayed to help a teacher straighten up a classroom after school.  You can probably think of lots of times when you decided on your own to take responsibility.  Tell us about one of those times.  The topic is, “A Time I Helped Without Being Asked.” 

Discussion Questions:

1.  How did you feel when you helped without being asked?
2.  How would your feelings have been different if you had been asked, or even ordered, to do the same thing?
3.  What does it mean to be a responsible person?
4.  Why is it important for each of us to take responsibility for things that need to be done?

Do you want more information?
• Leading a Sharing Circle • Sharing Circle Rules
• Books and Resources   • Free Activities   • Subscribe

Here’s How It’s Done

Gather everyone into a circle.

Explain the rules for sharing, and get agreement from everyone that they will follow the rules.

Sharing Circle Rules:

•  Everyone gets a turn to share, including the leader.
•  You can skip your turn if you wish.
•  Listen to the person who is sharing.
•  There are no interruptions, probing, put-downs, or gossip.
•  Share the time equally.

After everyone has shared, who wants to share, ask the discussion questions.

Get more in-depth information here.

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this Sharing Circle activity…

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Thanks so much for reading!


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Counselors! Here’s a Social Skills Activity for Your Kids

Relating effectively to others is a challenge we all face.  People who are effective in their social interactions have the ability to understand others.  They know how to interact flexibly, skillfully, and responsibly.  At the same time, they recognize their own needs and maintain their own integrity. Socially effective people can process the nonverbal as well as verbal messages of others.  They possess the very important awareness that all people have the power to affect one another.  They are aware of not only how others affect them, but the effects their behaviors have on others.

In order to build healthy relationships, children need to have positive interpersonal experiences and to gain information concerning the social realm of life.  As a rule, we do not systematically teach children how to understand and get along with other people.  However, since social skills are fundamental to success in life, and are learned behaviors, children should be consistently and developmentally taught these important skills.

It is important to recognize that people who enjoy effective social relationships are exhibiting not just one ability, but many different skills, each at a different level of development with different nuances of understanding.

The activities in Social Skills Activities for the Elementary Grades are designed to help children become aware of the importance of effectively relating to others, and to teach them social interaction skills in a deliberate and enjoyable fashion.

Learn more about the book here 

For your FREE activity and reproducible student Experience Sheet from the Communicating Effectively unit in Social Skills Activities for the Elementary Grades just check out the link below.

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this  activity…

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe right here or on our website at

Thanks so much for reading!


PS: If a friend forwarded this to you, you can just sign up to get your own weekly Innerchoice Publishing Activity Blog.

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3 Easy Relaxation Strategies: Activities for Children and Teens

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Something New for You and
Something New for Us

A lot has happened recently.   A year has ended, we’ve celebrated the holidays, and now it’s a new year and a fresh start. Here at Innerchoice Publishing we’re starting something fresh and new too – a regular blog post designed to provide information on Social and Emotional Learning resources, as well as free activities, Sharing Circle lessons, and discounts on select books. The recent explosion of interest in SEL is steering education into ever deeper, richer and more challenging waters. We at Innerchoice Publishing are committed to helping you respond to these opportunities by offering outstanding Social and Emotional Learning materials for educators K-12 and beyond.

In our first post what better topic to address than stress, something that impacts the lives, and learning, of everyone – children, teens and adults. So, here’s off to a good year with three strategies to help your students (and you, too) manage stress a bit better.

Two great books to help you AND your students.

Stress is part of every student’s life. An argument with a friend, moving to a new neighborhood, a family breakup, tests, grades, pressure from parents—the parade starts early and never stops. However, contrary to popular belief, stress doesn’t come from the outside. The report card, the test, and the divorce are the stressors. The stress itself is in the person’s response to those incidents. Stressors are the daily events that challenge an individual to adapt. Stress is the person’s response as he or she attempts to make the adjustment, which is why the manifestations of stress are so variable from person to person.

Students benefit from some stress. Writing a report, preparing for an exam, rehearsing for a performance—all demand the stimulation of positive stress, which can help a student perform at his or her best. But stress can also be damaging. It can turn into distress. It can eat away at a student and consume so much energy that performance declines. Stress in the right proportions is a life enhancer. Excessive, prolonged stress is a life destroyer.

You will never eliminate stress from your classroom or counseling practice, nor should you. Stress management doesn’t mean getting rid of all stress. It means helping students understand the stress response, identify individual and collective stressors, and learn and practice effective strategies for reducing stress and minimizing its destructive consequences. That in a nutshell is the purpose of both Less Stress = More Success for Kids and Less Stress = More Success for Teens. To learn more just click on the title.

When you use the lessons in these books you’ll be providing your students with a solid foundation of relaxation and coping skills. These engaging activities help students to understand the effects of stress on the brain and body, take steps to de-stress the learning environment, identify sources of stress, practice breathing and relaxation exercises, adopt habits that promote successful learning, understand the effects of nutrition and exercise on stress, and learn to more effectively manage anger and worry.

With a Less Stress= More Success activity guide you’ll have 50 easy to use activities that provide your students with a broad range of stress management and relaxation experiences. Chose one of these books to help your students to manage their stress and find more success.

Less Stress = More Success for Grades 6-12
Less Stress = More Success for Grades 2-5

To get started here is an activity to use with your students right now—

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this activity…