Social Emotional Learning Toys and Resources For Parents and Kids

girl playing with plush animal

If you have a child with cognitive challenges, you are very familiar with the concept and the therapies around Social Emotional Learning (SEL). However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, SEL has risen to the forefront as a need and a tool for all parents and kids.

Many children have not gotten social opportunities in months as a result of school closures, mandated quarantines, and social gathering limits. Kids are not getting social experiences they would typically get at school, sports, parties, or family get-togethers. Plus, isolation can cause anxiety and other negative emotional impacts.

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The group Genius of Play recently surveyed 2000 parents to get their take on key questions relating to parenting, the pandemic, and social-emotional learning. The feedback from the survey showed that sixty-nine percent of parents thought the mandated quarantines will have a lasting impact on their children’s development. Over forty percent of parents thought their children will have trouble making friends in the future as a result of the pandemic.

Social Emotional Learning Resources

However, there are resources for parents and tools for kids to get through this time – and even establish a great SEL foundation for future years. So keep reading to get the tools and the toys to provide social-emotional learning for your family.

Here is a list of online Social Emotional Learning articles:

Here is a list of Social Emotional Learning books:

Other suggestions:

  • Follow the social media hashtag #GeniusofPlay to connect with fellow parents and find ways to get through this together!
  • Reach out to your child’s pediatrician or developmental pediatrician. Express your concerns so your child can be followed developmentally over the next few years.
  • Contact your health insurance company. Get a list of local behavioral therapists or social groups in the area and get on their list for social groups when they resume.

All in all, I can impart this one very personal piece of parenting advice – don’t worry – just do. I have engaged in social-emotional learning as a parent for over 7 years. I have seen tremendous strides in the impact taking these steps can have on children.

While it is not an overnight fix, it can be done. I have many people who have known my family for years and can attest to the dramatic (and positive) impact SEL can have on kids. It is worth the time and effort and will have a lasting impact on the positive future of our kiddos!

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Social Emotional Learning Toys

One of the simplest things you can do is just play! Play together as a family. Encourage your children to play outside, work on a play project, spend time playing with siblings. Even setting up virtual playdates and playgroups can be a positive step.

There are a lot of Social-Emotional Learning Toys that help foster emotional awareness in self and in others! Here are a few of my favorites that are available now! I’ll be updating this list as the year processes so bookmark this page or subscribe to my list below to get updates!

Big Feeling Pineapple (Learning Resources)

Credit: Learning Resources

The Big Feelings Pineapple from Learning Resources let’s kids explore emotion identification and expressions, in themselves and in others, by playing with their new tropical friend’s 26 changeable pieces, such as mouths, eyes, eyebrows, and hands. This pineapple is double-sided, so kids can build a face on each side. It also is good to show opposite emotions. Parents will love that the pieces store inside for easy cleanup, and that there is a guide with tips for introducing social-emotional learning (SEL) skills.

Credit: Hand2Mind

Mindful Maze Set (HAND2MIND)

The Mindful Maze boards support social-emotional learning (SEL)through fun, colorful graphics. The set includes three double-sided breathing boards with indented finger paths that incorporate tactile prompts for inhaling, exhaling, and pausing to guide the child through the breathing exercises from start to finish. Guided breathing exercises include the Rainbow Breath, Square Breath, Star Breath, Laddered Breath, and more.

toddler holding doll

Do you have any questions about Social Emotional Learning? Leave a comment below!

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