The key to successfully teaching the Zones of Regulation is to spend lots of time solidifying the Zones concepts through play-based learning activities.
These Zones of Regulation activities and printables will help you do just that.
If the Zones of Regulation is new to you, make sure you read this overview of the Zones for parents, first.
There are a few main components to the Zones that your child should learn sequentially to be successful.
Zones of Regulation Learning Objectives:
- What the four zones are and which emotions belong to each zone.
- How to identify which zone you are in
- What your triggers are that cause you to move out of the green zone.
- How to recognize what zone others are in
- Strategies to move back to the green zone from yellow, blue, or red
- How your actions affect what zone other people are in
Zones of Regulation Activities
These Zones of Regulation activities and printables all support the learning objectives above.
1. Which Zone Would I Be In If…
This is a simple, printable matching game to help children think about the zones. There are 30 cards, each with a different scenario on it and a main matching page with the four zones, and instructions.
Get your child to choose a card, read it, and then place it on top of the color zone that they think they would be in if the scenario happened to them.
There are no right or wrong answers in the game, the sole purpose is to get children thinking about the zones and about their feelings.Which Zone Would I Be In If…
2. Which Zone are THEY in?
This game is a lot like the first game, only this time there are different images on the cards of various characters’ faces.
The goal of the game is for your child to analyze the character’s face to determine which zone they’re in.
Then they should place the image on top of the correct color zone.
This game helps children with perspective-taking and encourages them to pay attention to and recognize how other people are feeling.What Zone are THEY In?
3. Zones of Regulation Bingo
Zones Bingo from The Zones of Regulation has been adapted by Alex Hirsh for students familiar with Boardmaker® feelings visuals.
You can print the Zones Bingo from the official Zones website here.
4. When I Get Angry…
Help your child recognize what angry (red zone) feels like in their body.
Not everyone has the same physiological response to anger. Still, there are some pretty common responses, and we all experience some of them.
Go through each of the anger cues on the free printable with your child, and if they feel that the statement is true for them when they’re angry, color it red.
There are no right or wrong answers, everyone experiences anger differently, and this helps your child be more aware of what happens to them when they’re in the red zone.When I Feel Angry…
5. When I Feel Sad
A lot of times when children feel sad, they actually behave angrily. It may be because they don’t really know what’s going on inside them.
This coloring activity helps get kids thinking about some of the hard feelings associated with sadness that they may feel too vulnerable to share aloud with others.
It creates an opportunity to open a conversation around sadness, where you can reinforce that sadness is normal, temporary, and they can share that feeling with you safely.When I Feel Sad…
6. Anger and Sadness Booklet for Kids
Social scripts, lessons, discussion questions, and activities related to coping with anger and sadness. Fillable PDF format.Anger & Sadness Booklet
7. Expressing Anger
This 22-page booklet dives into a lot more detail about how to express anger respectfully, recognizing your triggers, coping skills, and how your words are powerful and can impact somebody for a long time.
It also covers communicating aggressively vs assertively.
8. Interactive Zones Package
This package is available from Teachers Pay Teachers. It includes:
This package is excellently illustrated, and the interactive activities and reference visuals are great for elementary age kiddos.
9. Don’t Take The Bait
Don’t Take The Bait is a game that I first played with my own kids after my son brought it home from school. They played this game at school as part of their Zones of Regulation curriculum.
This game helps children learn to identify their triggers. In the game, the “bait” is the trigger.
Kids have to choose an effective coping strategy to use, rather than negative reacting to the trigger (bait).
10. Wheel of Emotions for Kids
This wheel of emotions is loosely based on Plutchik’s emotion wheel but themed around the zones of regulation. making it kid-friendly.
It’s created to be used as a tool for kids who can identify which zone they’re in, to start using more complex emotive words to describe their emotions.Emotions Wheel
11. Communication: Aggressive vs. Assertive
This four-page printable can be used as a tool for teaching children to communicate assertively, rather than aggressively.
This is helpful for children who become explosive when they don’t get their way.Assertive Vs Aggressive Communication Skills
12. Name One Thing…
This activity comes in fillable PDF format which is great for those doing distance ed or teletherapy.
Children are shown different, common emotions, and asked to name one thing that makes them feel that way.
This is free to download here.Name One Thing…
13. Draw A Face – Zones Activity
Kids draw faces on four different, blank character illustrations – each one is wearing a shirt to represent one of the four Zones of Regulation.Draw a Face – Zones Activity
80 Pages of Printable Activities and Visual Supports
For Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Feelings
Official Zones of Regulation Posters
The official Zones of Regulation Posters are only available by purchasing them from Social Thinking.
This is where you can also access the curriculum and all of the other official learning resources.
The activities within this blog post are all adapted from the original Zones created by Leah Kuypers.
Schools, clinics, therapists, and counselors worldwide use the Zones Framework and activities such as these ones, to teach emotional self-regulation to children.