Skip to content

The 10 Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities in 2023!

Check out The 10 Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities in 2023! Let’s face it, being a preschooler can be hard. This is the time in life when your little ones are learning rules, boundaries, and limitations. Social emotional learning is an essential skill for your preschooler to master so that they communicate well with teachers and friends in the classroom, and on the playground. Check out some great ways to build those communication skills and have fun!

Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities
For your convenience this post contains affiliate links.

Why Social Emotional Learning is Important

Social Emotional Learning helps your little ones better identify and understand their emotions. Learning to respect, empathize, collaborate, and identify problems is great for curbing tantrums that come from frustration or displaced anger. By engaging in simple SEL activities your little ones will build healthy relationship skills, self-awareness, social-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, which will lead to positive academic performance.

The 10 Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities

Social Emotional Skills are great to practice at home, so when your little ones get to the classroom they are one step ahead of the rest! You can employ these activities throughout the day. Remember, emotional awareness is a process and takes patience, repetition, and kindness.

Number 1: Print A Feelings Chart

A feelings chart is a great way to cover your basics. Some preschoolers have a hard time working out facial expressions and body language. Being able to engage with a feelings chart will give you the opportunity to ask questions and start the conversation about communication skills. Print a free feelings chart and game from The Hollydog Blog and a free emotions chart from The Reading Roundup.

Use your feelings chart to ask questions! Pick an emotion from the chart and ask, “What is something that would make you feel excited, bored, or curious?”. Point to an emotion at random and have your little ones mimic the body language of someone who is angry, confident, or sad. Start each day with a check-in. How are you feeling as you enter the classroom?

Feelings Matching Game
Free Emotions Chart

Number 2: Yoga Time with Simple Poses

Yoga is a great way to focus on the body and calm down. Taking movement breaks and focusing on breathing skills is a great way to manage emotions and discover new techniques for calming down. This activity is not only fantastic for for social emotional learning, but your little ones will build gross motor skills while engaging in new poses. Check out this great resource from Social Emotional Workshop.

Yoga in Schools

Number 3: Create A Calm Down Jar

Calm-down Jars are super cool! Check out how to make a Calm-Down Jar from We Are Teachers. This is such a cool activity! The jar is made using water, oil, and two colors. When you shake the jar, the elements mix, separate, and create a third color! Set the jar down and watch the elements slowly settle. Time-out is no fun and a great way to encourage calmness, instead of stewing in anger, is to take your calm-down jar to your quiet place.

Calm Down Jar, Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities

Number 4: Manage Anxiety with Hearts and Monsters!

Some of our little ones have a lot of anxiety the first time they head to a preschool program and are surrounded by lots of new people. Check out these two awesome ideas for managing those scary thoughts. Make your own bag of worry hearts from Sunny Day Family. Help your child feel love even when they can’t be close to you. When they feel afraid or worried, simply hold a heart to feel extra encouragement. Put them in your pockets or backpack.

Another great way to manage anxiety is to make your own Worry Box from Very Special Tales. Bring your worry box out when your little ones feel afraid. Help them write down the things that are bothering them. Fold up the paper and feed it to the monster! This is a great way to communicate with your little ones about feelings and how to manage them.

Worry Hearts made of felt, Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities
Worry Box Craft

Number 5: Get Reading!

I can’t stress this activity enough! There is no better way to put yourself in someone else’s shoes than by picking up a good book. When you read with your little ones, you not only build their vocabulary skills, but you build a social bond throughout the activity. Check out three books that are great for discussing feelings. How do the characters feel? How would you feel in that situation? Read “The Rabbit Listened”, “Shy Willow”, and “Gustavo The Shy Ghost”.

"The Rabbit Listened"
"Shy Willow"
"Gustavo the Shy Ghost"

Number 6: Anger Management Strategy Cards

It’s essential that we teach our little ones ways to deal with anger that doesn’t involve shouting, punching, or screaming. Print 25 calming strategy cards from Liz’s Early Learning Spot. Discover which way of calming down works for each child. The cards include things like listening to music, playing with playdough, and doing jumping jacks. A great way to work through these cards is to start each morning with a new card.

Anger Management Calming Cards, Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities

Number 7: Play a Board Game

Playing a board game is a great way to build self-regulation skills and communication skills. Playing a board game incorporates listening skills, taking turns, and learning how to be a good loser (one of the hardest skills for some of our little ones). Chutes and Ladders a is a game of luck and a great way to practice winning and losing with kindness. Shark Bite is a great game for learning patience, taking turns, and giving encouragement to each player during their turn!

Chutes and Ladders, Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities
Shark Bite Game

Number 8: Play with Puppets

Puppets are a great way to act out emotions and a great way to practice responding the appropriate way to emotional situations. Give your little ones the chance to free play, or come up with a few role playing scenarios that deal with emotions. Playing with puppets gives your little ones the chance to explore different personalities and and themes that will develop imagination.

A Parent and Child Playing With Puppets

Number 9: Engage with Nature

Inside SEL explains how engaging with nature has many benefits for social emotional development. By allowing our little ones to connect meaningfully with the world around them, they will be able to develop their role upon the natural world. We live in a world that is full of technology and screens. While there are some great benefits to these new tools, there has also been research suggesting a negative impact on social relationships and communication skills. Engage with nature to build conversation skills and allow exploration of the beautiful world!

Young Boy Planting a Garden, Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities

Number 10: Do a Craft

When you engage with arts and crafts this is a great time to build social skills involving sharing, taking a turn, using words “please” and “thank you”, and learning to be patient. These skills are essential for having a good day in the classroom and cooperating with friends. Crafts are also a great way to discover your little ones potential interests.

Animal Paper Plate Crafts

We hope you enjoyed The 10 Best Social Emotional Preschool Activities. Be sure to check out The Best Self-Esteem Activities for Preschool to build confidence and develop independence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *