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9 Fall-Themed Self-Regulation Activities for Kids

What’s inside this article: Nine fall-themed self-regulation activities and (free) printables for kids designed to incorporate the essence of autumn to add variety to your social-emotional learning programming.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

As the leaves transform into their radiant hues of red, orange, and yellow, and the air becomes filled with the crisp essence of autumn, maybe you’re looking for some fall-themed activities to use as part of your SEL curriculum or to add some variety to your regular self-regulation activities.

Self-regulation is crucial for children as it enables them to manage their emotions, behavior, and body movements when they’re in a situation that’s tough to handle. It also helps them maintain focus and attention, control impulses, and cope with stress.

But children can’t learn self-regulation when they’re already upset – they need to practice self-regulation skills when they’re calm. Over time, this practice helps equip them with the tools they need to self-regulate successfully. 

I created these charming fall-themed self-regulation activities and printables, ideal for educators, parents, or anyone looking to provide children with enjoyable and meaningful learning experiences.

Be sure to grab the free printables to accompany the printable activities. They’re all together as one download; you’ll find the download link at the bottom of the printables list. 

Fall-Themed Self-Regulation Printables

1. Autumn Leaves Deep Breathing Practice

Objective: Teach children deep breathing techniques.


  • Hand out the corresponding printable.
  • Have the kids color their leaves using their favorite fall colors and then carefully cut them out.
  • Demonstrate how to take slow, deep breaths using the leaf as a visual tool, raising the leaf as you inhale and lowering the leaf as you exhale.
  • Instruct the kids to breathe in slowly while raising their leaf and breathe out while lowering it, following your lead.
  • Repeat the process for a few minutes, with the kids observing the leaf as they breathe.

Tip: You can have kids think about how when the leaves fall off the trees in the fall, the wind makes them slowly flutter to the ground. Tell them to imagine that their breath as they slowly exhale is lowering their leaf down to their lap. 

2. Jack-O-Lantern Feelings

Objective: Help kids practice identifying and expressing their emotions.


  • Hand out the corresponding printable.
  • Instruct the kids to draw a face on the pumpkin representing how they’re currently feeling. Encourage them to color and cut out the pumpkin.
  • Have kids share their pumpkin and explain why they chose that expression, how they feel, and why.
  • Alternatively, if your kids don’t like speaking in front of others, you could have them write about their jack-o-lantern and feelings. 

3. Gratitude Tree

Objective: Encourage a positive mindset and gratitude.


  • Create a large tree on a piece of poster board.
  • Hand out the corresponding printable.
  • Have each child write something they are thankful for on the leaves, then color and cut them out.
  • Direct the kids to glue their leaves to the tree and share their thoughts, if they wish.

4. Pumpkin Emotion Vocabulary Match

Objective: Identify emotions based on the pumpkin’s facial expressions.


  • Hand out the corresponding printable.
  • Have children look at each of the pictures and circle the corresponding emotion from the two choices.

5. Autumn Mindfulness Coloring

Objective: To engage in a calming and focused activity, allowing children to explore their creativity while developing mindfulness and concentration.


  • Set up a Calm Environment: 
    • Arrange a quiet, comfortable space with minimal distractions. You may want to dim the lights or quietly play calming music.
    • Provide a variety of coloring materials like colored pencils, crayons, or markers.
  • Introduce the Activity: 
    •  Hand out the coloring sheet and coloring materials.
    •  Explain that this is a mindful coloring activity where they will focus on the coloring and their feelings.
    •  Encourage them to notice the different colors they choose and the sensations as they color, such as the texture of the paper and the movement of their hands.
  • Guide the Children: 
    •  Instruct the children to start coloring, reminding them to stay aware of their thoughts, feelings, and sensations. 
    •  Encourage them to take their time, color within the lines (if they are able), and enjoy each stroke of color they apply.
    • It’s a good idea to color along with them and remain mainly quiet, besides occasional reminders to stay mindful, calm, and quiet if needed. 
  • Encourage Reflection: 
    • After the coloring activity, ask the children to share their artwork and reflect on how they felt during the activity. 
    • Discuss patterns, color choices, and whether the activity helped them feel calm and focused.
Fall-Themed Self-Regulation Activities

Fall-Themed Self-Regulation Activities

1. Acorn Stress Balls

Objective: Provide stress relief through a tactile activity.


  • Fill balloons with sand or flour and tie them off to make stress balls. 
  • Have the kids decorate them to look like acorns. 
  • Reflect with the kids on how their stress balls feel and how their hands feel as they squeeze tightly, tensing up, and then release and relax. (This can be a segue into progressive muscle relaxation as well)
  • Encourage children to squeeze their acorn stress ball when feeling overwhelmed.

2. Mindful Nature Walk

Objective: To foster mindfulness and enhance sensory perception.


  • Choose a safe and serene natural setting, such as a park or a nature reserve, with evident signs of fall, like colored leaves, acorns, etc.
  • Before starting, explain to the children the purpose of a mindful walk and what mindfulness means – being present and fully experiencing each moment.
  •  Request the children to remain silent during the walk, focusing on experiencing their surroundings rather than chatting. 
  • Walk slowly to allow children to absorb their surroundings thoroughly and avoid rushing them.
  • Guided Sensory Exploration:
    • Ask the children to observe the leaves and trees’ colors, shapes, and sizes. 
    • Instruct them to listen to the rustling of leaves or leaves crunching under their feet, birdsong, or any other natural sounds. 
    • Encourage them to gently feel the texture of leaves, bark, or rocks they come across. You may gather things like fallen leaves, pinecones, acorns, and moss to bring back from the walk.
    • Point out the smell of the fresh autumn air and, if possible, the scent of leaves and flowers.
  • After the walk, discuss what you felt, saw, heard, and smelt as a group. Encourage kids to share their unique experiences and feelings during the walk. 

3. Apple Balancing

Objective: To practice staying calm and patient, using self-control.


  • Provide each child with an apple. 
  • Challenge them to balance the apple on their heads for as long as possible. First, try this while staying still and then while walking slowly. 
  • Discuss the importance of patience, control, and staying calm when accomplishing tasks that might be challenging.

4. Fall or Halloween Themed Mindfulness Jar

Objective: Create a visual tool to help children calm down and focus their minds.


  • Provide each child with a clear jar filled with water. 
  • Have children add glitter and fall or Halloween-themed sequins to their jars.
  • Add 1-3 drops of dish soap and 2-3 drops of food coloring to the jars and secure the lids tightly. The more dish soap you add to the jar, the longer it will take for the glitter to settle when shaken.
  • When shaken, the sequins and glitter will swirl, then slowly settle, serving as a visual metaphor for calming turbulent emotions. 
  • Instruct kids to shake their jar whenever they feel overwhelmed and watch the contents slowly settle, imagining their thoughts and feelings settling similarly. 

 Note – you can find a large variety of affordable, differently shaped sequins and glitter sold on Amazon as nail art. Such as this Halloween glitter set, and this set of fall leaf sequins and glitter.

The fall-themed self-regulation activities and printables listed in this article are designed to intertwine social-emotional learning with the beauty of autumn, allowing children to explore, express, and understand their emotions better.

Here are some additional self-regulation resources that may interest you:

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