Growth Mindset Lesson Plan

You might be wondering what a growth mindset is, so let’s start by defining it. A growth mindset is the believe that we can improve our abilities through effort, practice, and learning from mistakes. The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset which is the believe that our abilities are set in stone.

So why is having a growth mindset important?

Having a growth mindset is vital to development because it allows us to view challenges as a growing opportunity, rather than as an unclimbable mountain. When we approach issues with a growth mindset, we are more likely to achieve goals and try new things that may be difficult or unfamiliar to us. These situations help foster perseverance, problem-solving skills, and a stronger work ethic.

A growth mindset is something that is learned, and therefore, must first be taught. Teaching children this practice from a young age is a great way to help them navigate the coming challenges in their lives, and will also help them to better resolve social issues. Take a look at a few of our products we recommend for exploring growth mindsets.

Roylco Laminated Speech Bubbles:

Our Laminated Speech Bubbles allow children to write how they think someone would respond to a certain situation with a growth mindset vs. with a fixed mindset. This is a great tool to visually show kids how having a fixed mindset often leads to more frustration and limitations, while having a growth mindset leads to greater positivity and success.

Roylco Stand-Up Self Portraits:

Using the Stand-Up Self Portraits, children are able to express what they imagine someone with a fixed mindset looking like (facial expression, what they would say, etc.) and someone with a growth mindset. This allows parents and teachers the opportunity to ask children questions of why they think someone with that specific mindset would think and feel that way, which leads to greater conversation of the benefits of having a growth mindset.

See the Growth Mindset Lesson Plan for greater detail on how to most effectively utilize these tools, Laminated Speech Bubbles and Stand-Up Self Portraits, as a method of teaching young learners the importance of adopting a growth mindset.

We hope you too see the importance of both adults and children putting into practice a growth mindset. It is never too early to learn to effectively overcome challenges and expand your mind to the possibilities in front of you!

The Importance of Calm Down Corners

First things first: What are calm down corners?

We’re glad you asked! Calm down corners are a space that help kids learn to understand, control, and regulate their feelings in a safe and familiar environment.

Many of us do not think about the fact that controlling our emotions is something we once had to learn and practice. We are all aware though that this is a valuable skill throughout every stage of life, which is why it is such an important thing to guide your kids through starting from a young age.

For the best calm down corner, you will want to create a comfortable space in a quiet room, and as you may have guessed, a corner is often best. Making the space comfortable and familiar will help the child feel safe and will also help them to engage in activities that allow them to calm down and understand what it is that they are feeling. You can do this by filling the area with things such as books, comfortable seating such as a bean bag, crafts, and toys!

Why are they important?

They provide a designated, safe area where children can go when they feel overwhelmed, anxious, or upset. Having a physical space designated for calming down can help children feel secure and supported. Calm down corners also teach children self-regulation skills by giving them the opportunity to identify their emotions and choose healthy coping strategies to manage them. When children learn to recognize their feelings and regulate their reactions, they develop important emotional intelligence skills that benefit them throughout life. Providing children with a designated space to calm down empowers them to take control of their emotions and behavior. Instead of reacting impulsively to strong emotions, children learn to pause, self-soothe, and make more thoughtful choices about how to respond.

Tools to help increase your child’s mindfulness include:

Mindfulness Tracers

Our Mindfulness Tracers are inspired by nature, body, and mind and help bring mindfulness and art together to create the perfect meditative exercise for calm down corners! Trace the design to help center yourself and de-stress, and then follow it up with decorating the design to create a beautiful piece of art.

Emotion Tokens

Foster your child’s emotional intelligence with our Emotion Tokens that allow kids to explore what they’re feeling in the form of art! Use different stencils and colors to better express emotions while also promoting empathy and understanding.

Creating a calm down corner in your home or classroom is an invaluable practice for both you and your child(ren). It is never too early or late to develop emotional intelligence, self-management, and core relational skills. Let’s help our kids become the best versions of themselves one emotional moment at a time!

Spotlight On: Explore Emotions Super Doll

49591 Exploring Emotions Superdoll_Boy Sound 2.jpg

Be an emotions super hero with this snuggly doll!

This doll is an emotional super hero! Use it to encourage students to talk about their own moods and emotions. This cuddly doll comes with lots of different Velcro® facial features, allowing you to decide what the doll is feeling. Store other emotions on the doll’s cape. If you pull the cord on the doll’s back, you’ll hear 16 sounds (played randomly) that correspond with emotions. Ask students to match up the sounds with emotions!

Use the doll to encourage students to talk about their own moods and emotions. This cuddly doll comes with lots of different velcro facial features, allowing you to decide what the doll is feeling. Store other emotions on the doll’s cape. If you pull the cord on the doll’s back, you’ll hear 16 sounds (played randomly) that correspond with emotions. Ask students to match up the sounds with emotions! For a student having a difficult time expressing themselves verbally, this doll offers a way to explore emotions in a tactile and visual way. Students can express how they are feeling by superimposing their emotions on the doll and showing on the doll’s face how they feel. Changing the doll’s emotions also exercises fine motors skills.

Classroom Activities

  • Gather students together in a large group. Pull the cord on the back of the doll, and ask students to connect the sound with an emotion. Ask students why they connect that sound with that emotion, and finally have them create the emotion on the doll’s face.  Make an emotions chart! Use either a circle with the basic emotions or a variation on the graph described earlier in the guide.
  • Divide students into groups. Have one group either pull the cord to make a sound, or create an emotion on the doll’s face. Have the second group place the emotion the first group made on the chart. Do the two groups agree on the emotion? If they do, keep going! If the groups disagree on where an emotion should be placed on the chart, or what the emotion on the doll is, have the groups discuss the reasons behind their decisions.
  • Use the doll with our Roylco R49592 Explore Emotions Photo Cards. Students can discuss what emotion they see on the card, and replicate that emotion on the doll.

49591 Exploring Emotions Superdoll_Boy and faces.jpg

What are emotions? People have been trying to understand and categorize emotions for as long as there have been civilizations. In ancient China the belief was that excessive emotions damaged the Qi (”air” or “gas”), or essence of a human being. Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician who lived c. 460-c. 370 BC, made popular Humoral Theory. Humoral Theory was based on Ayurvedic Medicine (a type of medicine practiced in ancient India) and theorized that humans are made up of four essential humors, or bodily fluids. The four humors are: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. For a very long time, doctors believed that these four humors influenced health and emotions.

In the late 19th century, Charles Darwin published a book called The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals. This book, along with an increased understanding of how the human body functions, led to research on emotions and how the brain processes emotions. In the late 1880s, William James (an American psychologist and philosopher) and Carl Lange (a Danish psychologist) independently but at the same time proposed the idea that emotions and feelings are a result of a physiological (having to do with the physical body) experience. This idea, which would become known as the James-Lange Theory, essentially states that emotions come after we feel a change in our bodies. The James-Lange Theory says that we don’t cry because we feel sad, but we cry and therefore we feel sad. The physical action comes before the emotion.  Walter Bradford Cannon (a professor of physiology at Harvard Medical School) and Phillip Bard (a doctoral student of Cannon’s) agreed with the James-Lange Theory in that physiological responses play a role in emotions, however they did not agree that emotions come after the physiological response. The Cannon-Bard Theory argues that the body’s reaction and the emotion happen at the same time.

In the 1960s, the Two Factor Theory was put forward by Stanley Schachter and Jerome E. Singer. The Two Factor Theory argued that emotions are based on two factors: physiological arousal (the body’s response to the world around it) and cognitive labels (your brain consciously thinking about how to label what it is thinking). This was the first theory to bring cognition into the discussion about emotions. The Two Factor Theory is also the first theory to bring up the idea of misattributing emotions based on physiological signs. For example, tears can be a sign of happiness, but young children may misattribute the emotion because it is more common for tears to be attributed to sadness. The Two Factor Theory requires cognitive understanding of context and social cues to label the emotions that are connected with what the body is doing.  Once the Two Factor Theory had introduced cognition into the discussions about emotions, many cognitive-based theories of emotion sprang up. The most well-known of these theorists is Richard Lazarus, a psychologist.

Lazarus referred to emotions as a “marriage of emotion and thought.” He is best known for his cognitive-meditational theory. Lazarus’s theory of the way emotions work is threefold: first, the individual unconsciously assesses the situation and its potential consequences. Second, the body reacts in response to the unconscious appraisal and starts physical processes like the heart pumping faster. Finally, the person can choose how to react and label the emotion based on both the cognitive and physical input.  Once we understand how emotions work in the brain and physical body, we have to understand how emotions are communicated. Things like crying, blushing or sweating are physiological effects, and while they can function as cues for other people to know how you might be feeling, expressing emotions is always conscious behavior. An expressing of an emotion might be as easy as smiling at a friend, or saying “I am angry” to a trusted adult.

Is there a difference between an emotion and a feeling? It depends. Many people use “emotion” and “feeling” interchangeably. However, psychologists and behavioral analysts do distinguish between feelings and emotions. Strictly speaking, an emotion is a combination of a cognitive label and physiological responses to a situation. A feeling, on the other hand, is the subjective experience of an emotion after you have felt the emotion. To put it simply, you feel an emotion but you talk about a feeling. Moods are also discussed. The general definition of a mood is a feeling that is less strong than an emotion, lasts longer, and my not have any contextual cause.

There are many, many different emotions and those emotions can be nuanced in millions of different ways. To make things a little simpler, many psychologists recognizes six basic emotions based on the research of psychologist Paul Ekman: anger, happiness, fear, disgust, sadness and surprise. Other psychologists recognize Robert Plutchik’s eight basic emotions: anger, fear, trust, disgust, joy, sadness, surprise and anticipation. These basic emotions can be combined to create complex emotions. One way of visualizing complex emotions is on a two-dimensional coordinate plane, where the x-axis is labeled with valence (how positive or negative the experience is) and the y-axis is labeled with arousal (how energized the experience feels). A very active and very positive emotion, such as excitement, would be located in the upper left corner of quadrant 1 on such a graph. Despite all the theories and research, discovering how emotions work and learning how to organize them is still an ongoing process. Neuroscientists are studying the ways the brain interacts with emotions, psychologists work with people to help cope with emotions and emotional disorders and sociologists study emotions across cultures.


Like us on FacebookShare this post with your friends, or Subscribe to this blog today to receive original craft project updates every week

Art-A-Roni Emotions

finished craft three faces.jpg

Create colorful faces and use them to talk about emotions with young students!

Age: 3+

Duration: 10 minutes (not including drying time)

Learning Outcomes: Create beautiful take-home art. Talk about different emotions and the different ways people show emotions on their faces. Encourage empathy and emotional literacy. Exercise fine motor skills.

You’ll Need: 


This craft is fun for the whole class! Give each child a sheet from our face pad. The different skin tones will emphasize the diversity in your classroom as well as the universality of emotion. If students are at tables, we suggest putting the colored noodles in a bowl or bin to keep everything neat. Goo spreaders can help keep the glue mess to a minimum!

step 1.jpg

Students can choose to represent the emotion they are currently feeling, or you can assign a feeling to each individual student or group. Once they know what feeling they want to represent, students can use the differently shaped noodles to create their faces! For more information about the shapes of the noodles, check this out!

Encourage your students to place their noodles to make sure they like their design before gluing the noodles down. It’s hard to wipe glue off paper!

step 5.jpg

It can be hard for young students to manage and express emotions. By integrating emotional literacy and art, students have more avenues to express themselves!


Thanks for checking out this post! Like us on FacebookShare this post with your friends, or Subscribe to this blog today to receive original craft project updates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!

Craft Spotlight: Mix and Match Emotion Masks®


How are you feeling today? Pretty good or what?! Our art campers were feeling their very best while playing with our hilarious R4959 Mix and Match Emotion Masks®! 

The Mix and Match Emotion Masks are a unique set of masks that are divided between upper and lower face images. The upper face masks typically show the eyes in a variety of emotions (in the cover photo above, the camper is showing her eye mask that features surprise)–sad, happy, angry, surprised, for instance! The lower face masks show the mouth adjusted to reflect other emotions as well–such as contempt, interest, fear and so on.


Using individual mask pieces, you can talk with your students about existing emotions, and how they affect us and people around us.

By “mixing and matching” emotions, you can make up your own!

_DSC0262Regardless, children will have lots of fun changing their appearances with one of these ingenious masks. The material is tear-resistant and coated with protection for years of re-use! This will benefit you in pre-K classrooms as you can use them to teach young children about self-awareness and how feelings are important to our interactions with other human beings.

_DSC0302You can see by the picture above that it’s easy to inspire children to experience a range of different emotions with external things (such as masks). In a way, this is how regular emotions are experienced. There are multiple external things every day that happen to us. Each of these things–whether it be another person, an event, object, entertainment, etc–can cause us to react or respond in certain ways. Sometimes, certain persons experience different emotions simply because they can (don’t you wake up some days and feel happy that you are alive?)

_DSC0265All in all, learning about emotions is a great experience!

Line-10Thanks for checking out this post! Like us on FacebookShare this post with your friends, or Subscribe to this blog today to receive original craft project updates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!