Social-Emotional Learning At Home: Why It Matters and How We Can Help

  1. Updates

Social-Emotional Learning (or SEL) is a buzzword that often floats around academic spheres, with growing attention to the importance of helping to develop this in kids. But, what really is SEL, why does it matter to you and your students, and, now that we are at home, how can we make sure that students are still developing SEL skills?

Social-Emotional Learning is the concept of how kids develop the skills to manage emotions, set goals, communicate with others, understand and nurture relationships, and make responsible decisions with empathy and attention for social and emotional needs and norms. In short, SEL helps kids learn how to manage emotions and live well with others in a social world.

Schools are an excellent setting for developing these skills, and recess is especially impactful as activities involving play, team games, and active socialization in a less structured atmosphere allow students to engage in SEL lessons. Now that families find themselves at home with limited opportunities for students to engage in similar social settings we run the risk of students unable to practice empathy, team communication, relationship management, individual goal setting and planning, and more. 

Playworks collaborates with leading experts and educators to develop games that are easy to learn, fun to play, and nurture important social-emotional learning skills. Check out the list below for some of our favorites to play at home, with little to no equipment and in small groups. 

Evolution: A game that practices using Ro-Sham-Bo to level up or down, playing Evolution supports learning conflict resolution skills and social awareness by looking for others who are moving like you.


Shadow Shadow: This fun partner game requires focused attention on one person to mimic their movements, engaging relationship skills, and practicing visual learning skills. (Tip: Add a basketball for more of a challenge!)


Tomato: The answer is always tomato! This game helps folks learn how to control facial expressions and emotional communication, growing their self-awareness.


Invent a Game: Creativity, teamwork, inclusion, big-picture thought… having kiddos invent a game provides them with the freedom and flexibility to grow in an array of social-emotional learning skills, especially supporting responsible decision-making and relationship skills in communicating!

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Teacher pushing cart
Teacher pushing cart

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