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Feeling big emotions is perfectly healthy. However, for young children, this can be scary because they feel and are out of control. This play, inspired by Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall, will give you new ideas for how to be brave even in the face of big challenges.

Bravery Breathing

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Bravery Breathing

Image of a young child reaching her arm and hand out in front of her with palm and fingers stretched. She is facing the camera looking brave and ready to try these out these social-emotional learning ideas and breathing techniques.


  • Hands    
  • A willingness to try something new
Image of a mother and child looking lovingly at a stuffed animal while snuggling on a bed. This is a suggested set-up for families to establish a safe foundation for social-emotional learning ideas.


  • Find a safe place to experiment with these techniques before big feelings arise so that they become practiced tools that you can pull out of your “toolbox” the next time you need them.


  • BREATHING HANDS: Use your index finger on one hand to trace the fingers on your other hand as you breathe in and out. Let’s try it together!
  • SHARK BREATH: Use one hand, your face, and your breath to voice the word ‘shhh’ as you try this breathing technique. Let’s try it together!
Image of a young child looking upwards in his room practicing a social-emotional strategy: Balloon breathing.
  • BALLOON BREATHING: Use your breath and your imagination to blow up a pretend balloon and watch it rise into the sky.

Why Play This Way?

Empowering your child to independently calm themselves will make being brave during scary moments a whole lot easier for all of you. If you enjoyed these techniques and find that they bring you peace of mind, work them into your daily routine. Developing strategies that can be accessed during times of stress or anxiety is like adding a powerful tool to your little one’s social emotional toolbox. These three techniques are simple, easy to use and can help refocus the mind and calm the heart.  

Discover the book that
inspired this play

Read While You Play & Play While You Read

Image of suggested book cover: Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall. This is an amazing book about bravery to be used in conjunction with these social-emotional learning ideas.

“Jabari Jumps” by Gaia Cornwall

This is just the tip of the iceberg! If you liked this activity, you’ll LOVE our Book Club.
Discover special books and bring them to life with activities that make meaningful connections between reading and playing. 

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