If you’re trying to find fun and creative ways to target self control in kids, look no further! These fun games are the perfect place to start!
Self-Regulation & Movement
Demonstrating regulation of sensory and movement responses is one important aspect of self control in kids. And many kids struggle with this area of development so much that it can impact their independence and success at school, at home, and out in the community.
When we talk about self control related to movement, we’re referring to the force, direction, and speed of movements, which requires healthy functioning of the proprioceptive and vestibular systems. It also involves responses to other sensory experiences, including tactile, olfactory, and visual input.
Activities where kids have to regulate the speed of their movements and/or where they have to control stopping and starting are a great way to practice and reinforce these skills.
Other Resources for Targeting Self Control in Kids
- Take a look at our child behavior and self-regulation red flags list, which can help hone in on the areas in which a child needs support so you can maximize and build on their strengths!
- And find all of our best self-regulation resources here, including free printables, tips, strategies, and more!
Red Light, Green Light as a Self Control Game
You may remember this fun and easy game from when you were a kid!
Red Light, Green Light is a classic kids game that can target so many different skills at once – especially if you use the variations in this post! Incorporate various motor skills like skipping, galloping, or jumping.
Use the attached stop/slow/go signs as visual cues in addition to verbal prompts for kids to stop, go, or move slowly. Or, use only the stop/slow/go signs without verbal prompting to challenge kids’ attention and focus.
Making unpredictable changes in the verbal and visual prompts throughout the game is the perfect way to target self regulation in kids!
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Classic Red Light/Green Light
One player acts as the leader, standing at one end of the space. All of the rest of the players gather at the starting line.
The leader stands facing the other players and then quickly turns their back to the players, yelling, “green light!” This gives permission to the other players to try to run toward the leader as fast as they can.
The leader can then turn around at any time unexpectedly, yelling, “red light!” This means that all of the player must stop running. If the leader catches them moving when they turn around, they send them back to the starting line. Whoever reaches the leader first gets to act the part in the next round!
Red Light/Green Light Variations
1 || Obstacle Course
This is a great way to work on impulse control, balance, reaction time, and self-regulation. When you call out “green light!”, kids begin moving through the obstacles. Call out “yellow light” to indicate that kids should move through the obstacles in slow motion. Call out “red light!” and that’s their cue to freeze – even if they’re teetering on the edge of an obstacle!
2 || Painting, Drawing, or Coloring
Call out “green light!” to indicate that kids can begin painting, drawing, or coloring. Call out either “red light!” or “yellow light!” at various times and see if kids can either stop their artwork quickly or create their drawing/painting in slow motion. This is a great opportunity to practice prewriting shapes or have kids practice writing their names. At the beginning of each round, call out which shape or which type of lines kids should draw repeatedly during that round (circles, vertical lines, horizontal lines). Or have them trace their names repeatedly during the rounds for name writing practice.
3 || Play With a Partner
Assign a partner to each child and have them move together in different ways as you play! Tell each set of partners that they have to hold hands or link arms and perform each movement together. This adds an extra social challenge to the game!
Other Resources About Self-Regulation
If you liked this post, be sure to check out all of our best self-regulation resources!
Learn what the research says about whether interventions and activities can positively impact self control and self regulation.
Find a few of our other favorites below:
- 30 Self-Regulation Games & Activities for Kids [FREE Printable]
- 10 Calming Breathing Techniques for Kids [FREE Printable]
- The Best Toys and Games for Self-Regulation
- 10 Calming Techniques & Transition Strategies for Kids