Social and Emotional Learning

5 Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Elementary School

3 Min Read
August Best Versions Of Ourselves 1 4C284B73B1B0834026B992B9Ac93D6Bd

Implementing social-emotional learning in schools is important for many reasons, whether to improve school culture, address discipline problems, or build strong relationships.

As teachers, we know that teaching is a social science, and the better students feel about themselves and their community, the better they will perform academically. In fact, in HMH’s 6th Annual Educator Confidence Report, published in collaboration with YouGov, 77% of educators said they are concerned about students’ social-emotional well-being, and 94% agree that students need more social and emotional support.

So how do we teach students to be the best versions of themselves? To help, we’ve compiled some Hero Academy social-emotional learning activities for elementary students in Grades Pre-K–4!

SEL Activities for Elementary School

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), there are five core competencies that enhance students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision-making

Credit: CASEL, 2017


When it comes to teaching students about self-awareness, our job as educators is to set high ethical standards and help students believe in themselves in order to drive them forward. It’s also about teaching gratitude and appreciating the good in others, ourselves, and positive aspects of our lives.

Use this SEL lesson for elementary students to teach your class to appreciate their own strengths but also ask for help when they need it. Download the activity.


Self-management is the next SEL competency that students should master to regulate their own emotions, manage stress, and work toward personal and academic goals. If we teach students to approach everything as learners, they will internalize a growth mindset and not give up in the face of challenges.

Use this activity to teach students the power of trying again. Download the activity.

Social Awareness

This competency is extremely important for helping students gain the life skills of collaborating in groups, having empathy, respecting others, and appreciating diversity. Realizing that we are all interconnected and responsible for one another will help students feel a sense of community in and outside of the classroom.

Use this worksheet to show students that we all have special talents that add up to great communities. Download the activity.

Relationship Skills

Having good relationship skills will help students succeed throughout their lives. We can teach them this competency by focusing on communication and teamwork. Whether students are defending their opinions, negotiating a turn on the swings, or collaborating together on an assignment, having healthy relationships is vital!

Use this lesson to teach students about resilience and that asking for help shows willingness to learn. Download the activity.

Responsible Decision-Making

This is the culmination of all the life skills that we try to teach our students. We can teach our students to make good choices by helping them analyze situations, plan ahead, weigh options, solve problems, and step out of their comfort zone to help others.

Use this SEL activity for elementary students to help young learners seek challenges and put their decision-making skills to the test. Download the activity.

More SEL Lessons for Elementary Students

Social and emotional skills are essential to personal and academic growth. What social- emotional learning activities do you incorporate into your classroom? Share your ideas with us! Reach out on Twitter (@HMHCo) or email us at


Discover how HMH can meet your needs regarding an SEL curriculum for elementary students.

Get our free SEL guide for the latest statistics and guidance on implementing SEL in your classroom.

Explore all of the SEL resources on Shaped.

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