Stop & Think Activities & Games

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

Teaching your students to 'stop and think' is an important aspect of developing their social skills and self-regulation. Use these activities and games to help your students practice this skill.

Stop and Think

When you ask your students to 'stop and think', you're asking them to stop what they're doing and think to calm themselves down and act rationally. This technique will help your students develop their self-control and help them manage their impulses. Use the following activities and games to help your students practice this skill.



Have students develop a list of problem situations that they have encountered before. They might suggest someone taking a toy from you, a math problem that's really hard, or trouble finding someone to play with during recess. You can keep this list to use in future activities and games. Choose one of the situations and think aloud to show how you would stop and think before acting. Ask students to debrief what you acted out: What did they notice? Is there anything they would have done differently? Ask for student volunteers to think-aloud with another scenario and repeat the debrief.

Puppet Show

Set up a small puppet show area in your classroom with a variety of puppets. Alternatively, you can have students make their own puppets of themselves of their favorite animals. When you begin this activity, give your students different scenarios to act out. In pairs, students act out the scenario with the puppets and show how they'd stop and think about the situation to decide what to do next.

Class Book

Students choose a tough situation they'd like to stop and think about. Each student creates a page for a class book that shows the problem, and how a student can stop and think to solve the problem. You may consider having students work talk in a small group to brainstorm the best ways to stop and think about their particular problem. After students have illustrated and written their page, have them share their work with the class. Then compile the pages into a class book that you reference throughout the unit.

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