Early years mental health activities
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Early years mental health activities

26 October 2020 By Yellow Door

Early years

Emotional well-being and resilience are vital to the development of young children, providing them with foundational skills for their adult life. Children who can understand, express, and regulate their emotions are well equipped for facing challenges, learning effectively, and planning how to manage themselves when experiencing emotional difficulties. Featured below are activities that you can complete with children to help aid this process.

Sensory First Aid Box


Sensory stimulation enables children to focus on something other than their distressing thoughts or emotions. A first aid kit of sensory resources can help an anxious or distressed child to regain a sense of calm. Include resources that the children can touch, smell and listen to.

What you’ll need:
801218 – Bubble Mixture
530949 - Emotions Stones
741922 - Stress ball
Lavender oil
Scented playdough
Raisins/dried fruit
Calming music to listen to using headphones

Music Makers


Music stimulates more parts of the brain than almost any other activity. It reduces feelings of anxiety and stress, and helps children regulate their emotions. Use of rhythm connects the left and right brain hemispheres and calms the traumatised nervous system. Provide opportunities for children to create music, listen to it, identify how it makes them feel, and dance to it.

What you’ll need:
530949 - Emotion Stones
790556 - Small Maraca (set of 6)
520061 Make your Own Drum Kit
520063 Make Your Own Rain Stick
… and any other craft resources to make instruments

Show Me How You Feel


Having a good range of arts and crafts resources easily available gives children the opportunity to communicate and understand their emotions, especially when they cannot find the words to do so. Provide standard resources such as paint, brushes, crayons, and paper, but include some more unusual ones too.

803022 – YPO Play Sand
530351 - Jumbo Emotion Stones
302204 – Clear Trigger Sprayers
804310 - YPO Mini Play Tray
742740 - Play-Doh

Story time

Story telling

Use picture books, puppets, and small world characters to present children with scenarios that they may face in real life - Situations that the children have recently experienced work well. Listen carefully to the children’s responses as they will help you understand how they approach challenges, and how you may be able to support them.

What you’ll need:

530949 – Emotions stones
532317 - Wooden Character Set
804340 - Pet Puppet Buddies
532321 - Story Talk Sequencing Cards

These activities have been taken from Little Learners, a FREE magazine full of early years resources and activities. Click here to subscribe for free!


Useful Blogs:

Top tips on how to keep children safe online

Making friends with your feelings

The health and wellbeing benefits of outdoor play

Categories: Early Years , Education

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