Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is considered central to a child’s long-term success. Introducing SEL in your classroom means you help skill your class with the knowledge, attitudes, and cognitive tools to understand and manage their emotions.

This can be daunting when you’re also powering through the usual curriculum. Luckily, specialty toymakers like Miniland have developed a catalog of educational toys that help you do what can seem impossible: covering curriculum content without neglecting pastoral care. We share 4 toys that promote SEL in your classroom:

Mindful Kids

Mindfulness training helps children practice focused, non-judgemental states of awareness. This allows them to maintain a sense of spaciousness even in the most stressful circumstances, which helps them manage, resolve, and integrate the experience in a healthy way. This is the principle at the heart of the practice that also helps you solve one of every teacher’s biggest challenges — maintaining healthy discipline.

With Miniland’s Mindful Kids you’re able to host 36 activities that develop mindfulness, without relying on you being an expert yogi. With just 20 minutes per day, you can lay the foundation for healthy social and emotional processing, which is the cornerstone of a successful SEL classroom.

BBQ Emotions!

Very young children have the most to learn when it comes to managing emotions. We developed BBQ Emotions! to help make this happen reliably in your classroom. With this educational toy, children learn to describe their emotional experiences in safe group contexts. They also develop empathy as they listen to and learn from their classmates.

Using a giant kebab stick, you facilitate a series of activities in which children share their stories and build a kebab that represents their emotional journey, with the emotions as ingredients. Facilitating with the support of a didactic guide means you’re well-prepared to manage when negative experiences come to light. For example, a child describing the emotional arc of a negative experience can explore potential alternative reactions through the roleplay opportunities that the game provides. With a little sensitive questioning, this painful experience can lead to a growing a host of core SEL competencies, including social awareness and self-management.

Follow the Big Foot

SEL calls for imagination, and like with any skill, you get better at imagining things with practice. Miniland’s Follow the Big Foot allows plenty of opportunity to grow this creative muscle in a fun way. It also calls for more than one SEL-centered skill-set. With this activity your children will need to work as a team to follow an obstacle course you’ve set up (with the help of the didactic guide), and find a mythical bigfoot. In this way, they grow their relationship skills, learn to solve problems, and self-manage. The best news is, you can easily integrate a lesson on local folklore or the natural environment into this game as you share the story of the original bigfoot with them or set up the obstacle course in a park. They’ll grow a sense of community and contextual understanding while you tick off additional curriculum subject aims!

Dictate & Shape

Growing each core SEL competency relies on the child’s ability to listen actively and communicate clearly. Miniland’s Dictate & Shape was designed as the perfect aid to stimulate this skills set. Integrating easily in your mathematics curriculum, this visual dictation game calls for your children to build a multitude of shapes, mosaics, and geometric objects based on your instruction.

Like with any educational toy, its full potential is unlocked through your active engagement as a teacher — grasping opportunities to invite them to describe their experiences, getting them to lead each other… No matter what your particular context, this game (like all of Miniland’s catalog) can be tweaked to suit your unique class dynamic.

It’s not about owning the world — with just a few key purchases you can open multiple worlds of learning for your class. To begin building your strategic collection of educational toys, head over to our site and learn more about Miniland’s range of specialty toys. We’ve also made sure you never have to break the bank or your brain when tending to your digital literacy curriculum: each of your purchases gives you access to Play Miniland, a platform packed with digital extensions of each game. Start exploring today!