Activity Array

Here you'll find an array of activities for elementary children that can be used in Children's Ministry, after-school programs, in the classroom and by homeschoolers.

Cool Off

Leave a comment

Cool Off is based on chapter 6 of the book, What to Do When Your Temper Flares by Dr. Dawn Huebner.  This chapter introduces the second anger-dousing method which is to think cool thoughts.  Cool thoughts help cool yourself down so that you can think and solve the problem.  “I can deal with this” and “This isn’t worth getting angry about” are examples of cool thoughts.

This theme has 5 mini-themes:

  • Cool thoughts
  • Staying Cool
  • Ice is Nice
  • Water, Water everywhere
  • Change it Around

Cool Thoughts

Getting Started:  An Overview

  1. Read What to Do When Your Temper Flares by Dr. Dawn Huebner Chapter 6
  2. Discuss: Cool thoughts vs. Hot Thoughts – make chart (with situations p. 40-41 and 44)  NOTE:  45 – giving an angry person a cool thought usually makes matters worse.  Instead note that it looks like they are thinking hot thoughts and ask them what cool thoughts they can think of.

Snack & Nutrition

  • Freeze some fruit such as fresh peaches or berries to eat tomorrow.  Wash and dry the fruit.  Lay them on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer.  Optional:  Save some of the fruit to eat fresh now.
  • Make a fruit salad with a mixture of canned, fresh, and frozen fruit or berries.  Pour off the juice from the canned fruit and mix it with a 3 oz. box of instant vanilla pudding.  Mix that and the rest of the fruit and berries together.  Recipe here.

Art & Crafts

  • cooloffpicframeCool thought plaques – using Popsicle sticks make a frame for a cool picture (cut a picture from a magazine of something cool like ice-cream/Popsicle/swimming pool & add eyes and mouth to personify the object OR of a person or two) – add a cool thought bubbles (see page 42-43)
  • Popsicle craft  — Make paper Popsicles.   Decorate them with fruit stickers, glitter sprinkles or paper shapes.  Add real Popsicle sticks.
    • Image result for popsicle crafts
    • Image result for popsicle crafts


  • Cool it down — How many ice-cubes does it take to cool down boiling or hot water?
    • Supplies:  food stick thermometer & a bag of ice-cubes
    • Directions:  Adult — heat 2 cups water to boiling (or another temp., like 100°) then pour water into a bowl;
    • Kid carefully put thermometer end in water and check temperature of water.  Do not touch hot water!
    • Add ice-cubes to bowl one at a time.  Keep an eye on the thermometer.   How many ice cubes does it take to bring boiling water down to 40°?  Can you bring it to 32°?
    • Talk point:  If you’re really hot (angry), might you have to say a cool thought more than once before you start to cool down?

Fun With Words

  • Cool thought chart — add cool thoughts and hot thoughts to the chart which was started during the overview time.
  • Do the activities on pages 40 and 44 of the book

Fitness Play

  • Cool off Challenge — You will need enough ice cubes so every participant has one.  The challenge is to see who can get their ice cube to melt first.  They can either choose to rub it on their arms and legs or hold it in their hands.

Staying Cool

Getting Started — An Overview

  1. Discuss: How many of you thought a cool thought during a hot situation yesterday or today?  We want to make cool thinking a habit.  You can think cool thoughts before you get hot. –
  2. Review cool thought chart made yesterday as suggested on pages 40-43

Snack & Nutrition

  • Make Popsicle to eat tomorrow or (about 6 hours) later:  Pour juice or pop into a Popsicle mold or Dixie cup.  Place a Popsicle handle, popsicle stick, or plastic spoon into it and place it in the freezer to freeze overnight.  For a fun variation, drop in a dollop of sherbet ice-cream before freezing it.  Level up with a gourmet versions using whizzed up fresh or frozen fruit, yogurt and juice as in recipes shown in the video below:

Art & Crafts

  • Water bottle cover — These covers help you identify your water bottle,  make it easy to carry a water bottle, and helps them stay cool.  You can add foam stickers.
    •  See directions by Amanda here
    • Variation:  Instead of sewing the seam or using lacing, use your choice of the fancy duct tape now available.  Duct tape the seam.  Extend the duct tape over the top of the holder in a high arc to make a handle, then tape the other side of the holder, opposite of the seam.  Finish your handle by folding  the edges towards the center of the duct tape so that the sticky part of the duct tape is covered up.
  • Fan craft — Either use a piece of pretty scrapbook paper, a page from a magazine, or decorate a plain white piece of paper.   Next fold the paper like an accordion (see the video below).   You can put several fans together to make it more full.

Engineering and Science

  • Water park — Design and draw a water park.  Features might include a water slide, pool, wave pool, water rides, spray park, large

    marble track

    water guns, and more.

  • Water slide demo — Using a marble track, make a ‘water’ slide.  A marble track uses the same physic principles of a water slide.  How can you keep the marble going?  How do you need to build the slide?  Level up:  If this were a real water slide, people would need to get up to the top.  How will you get them there?  Design a ramp, stairs, or other way and make it using blocks, Lego’s, K’nex or other building system.


  • Heat Exhaustion — If a person is in extreme heat too long without adequate water they can get heat exhaustion.  This is serious!  What can you do to help?  You need to get them cooled off inside and out by getting them to a cool place and giving them water and sports drink to drink and sponging them with water.
    • Role-play:  Person 1 acts as if they are suffering from heat exhaustion (hot, exhausted, feeling faint).  Person 2 comes to their aid with something to drink and then gets wet towels for their forehead and neck.
  • Heat Stroke — If a person had exhaustion, but didn’t cool off they may get a heat stroke.  Signs of a heat stroke are:  a temperature of 104 degrees, low blood pressure, high heart rate, a confused and agitated state of mind.   They need medical attention and to be cooled off quickly!  Immerse them in water and give them water & sports drink to drink.  Fan them and put ice packs on their neck and under their arm pits.

Fun with Words

  • How many words can you write that rhyme with “cool”?   Bonus:  Make a poem using some of the words.
  • Write a story about your experience in a water park, pool, or doing another ‘cooling off’ activity.

Sports Zone/Games/Physical Fitness

  • Water play — Get cool with some water play!  Here are some suggestions:
    • Have a water fight using cups of water, water balloons, hoses, water gun, or whatever you want to allow
    • Run thru some sprinklers
    • Go swimming
    • Slip and slide on either a purchased slip and slide or a long piece of plastic that is covered in water.  Make sure water is running on the plastic so that it stays slippery.

Ice is Nice

resource:  Ice theme activities by Jean Warren:

Getting Started:  An Overview

  1. Discuss: science investigations –
    1. What kind of questions do scientist ask? –
      • Why?
      • Do all…?
      • What if?
      • What is…?
      • How..?
    2. How do scientists find out the answers? They do an experiment and test their theory.  They have a control and then test 1 variable in each sample.
    3. They write down their questions, experiments, and results These may lead to other experiments.
  2. Introduce ice science experiment.
    1. Note that the activities for the day require ADVANCED PREPARATION:  Freeze colored water for ice painting and Freeze water balloons for ice balloon experiment.  See the activities for detailed instructions

Snack & Nutrition

  • Eat a Popsicle made yesterday

Art & Crafts

  • Ice painting –
    • Preparation:  Fill a Dixie cup (for each desired color) 2/3 full.  Add in a Tablespoon of liquid paint.  Insert a Popsicle sticks or plastic spoon for a handle.  Place in the freezer the day before doing the activity.  NOTE:  Write on the cups:  This is paint.  Do NOT eat!
    • When Ice painting is frozen.  Hold the cup upside down under warm water to warm the edges and make it easier to remove.  Take the ice painting out of the cup and your ready to start painting!
    • Provide paper to paint on and a place to put the ice painting pops when they are not being used.

Engineering and Science

  • Ice balloons
    • Preparation:  Fill water balloons and place them in the freezer.  Freeze a couple days so that they are completely frozen.
    • cool investigations – see activity print out and video by exploratorium
      • Place salt/food coloring on ice.  What happens?
      • Place ice in a container of water.  What does it do?
  • Ice Racing — make a ramp and have ice cube races (idea by Jean Warren) – measure which cube went the furthest

Fun With Words

  • Write out a possible experiment using the questions you came up with from the ice balloon activity
  • Ice is Nice — What rhymes with “ice”?  Make a list.   The person  with the most words (or everyone with x# of words) gets an extra Popsicle.

Fitness Play

  • Ice hockey – place block around the edge of a table.  On opposite ends make goals by putting an arch block in front of the other blocks or by putting blocks on either side of a space in the middle.  2 players play each other, each with a plastic spoon as a hockey stick.  The puck is an ice-cube.  Game plays like air-hockey

Water, water everywhere

Getting Started:  An Overview

  1. Watch the Water cycle (precipitation, water run-off in streams to ocean; evaporation; condensation in clouds; precipitation).
  1. Where can we find water?  Why do we need water?
  2. Discuss:  the benefit of water to good health: (See more at webmd here)
    1. maintain balance of body fluids to aid digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintain body temperature
    2. helps control calories – when substituted for higher calorie drink
    3. energize muscles
    4. keep skin looking good
    5. help your kidneys cleanse your body
    6. maintain normal bowel function

Snack & Nutrition

  • Hydrate – drink water!
    • Taste Test:  Which do you like better (have the following options available):  cold water (from fridge), water with ice in it, water at room temperature, or hot water.
    • How much water did you drink today?
    • Water Chart:  Draw a picture of a cup with 8 ice cubes or 8 horizontal lines.  Color a cube or a space each time you drink a cup of water.

Art & Crafts

  • Swim craft: choose own ‘swimmer’ to put onto stick: duck, dolphin, child, etc.
    • Image result for duck craft 1 option
    • Draw a circle and cut it out or use a paper plate.
    • Cover the circle with blue construction paper or you could paint or color it blue.
    • Optional:  add decoration to make the setting — such as:  reeds & lily pads for a pond or diving board & buoy string for a pool.
    • Choose what you want to be the swimmer (duck, frog, child, or whatever you wish).  You could choose to draw your swimmer, cut out a picture you printed from online, trace it from a stencil, or use a sticker.
    • Glue your swimmer to a Popsicle stick.
    • Cut a 1 inch slit in the pool or pond to insert the Popsicle stick in.  Another option would be to cut a longer slit so that you can make your swimmer puppet ‘swim’ from one end of the slit to the other.
  • water paint — paint a water scene using water color paints.  You might paint a picture of a lake, ocean, river, pool, rainy day, or other water scene.


  • Draw a water cycle picture
  • Water Cycle in a jar
    • Put about an inch of water in a glass jar
    • Microwave it for 1 minute
    • Fill a small bowl with ice
    • Place the bowl of ice over the glass jar with hot water
    • Watch what happens.  Do you see….
      • evaporation (you may need to remove the bowl for a bit)
      • condensation in or on the jar or bowl?
      • drops of water falling from the bowl? These are raindrops.
  • Water movement – using a cup of water and clear tubing and gravity, can you make the water go from the full cup to another empty cup without tipping either cup? Try putting the full cup at different heights.  Try putting the one end of the tubing in one cup and the other in the other cup.  Try putting a finger over the end of the tube in the empty cup in a tapping motions – on off on off (this may ‘prime the pump’ so that water flows from one to the other)

Fun With Words

  • Write a story, poem, rap or song about water

Fitness Play

  • Water relay – For each team have a full bucket of water, a cup or sponge, and an empty bucket. The team lines up behind the full bucket.  The empty bucket is placed a good running distance away (20-30 feet).  Each member of the team takes a turn using the cup or sponge to transfer water from the full bucket to the empty bucket.  The team with the most water in their ‘empty’ bucket at the end of the time limit is the winner.

Change it Around

Getting Started:  An Overview

  1. Review Cool Thoughts and assess how kids did; congratulate goal achievements.  Were you able to change your ‘hot’ thoughts to ‘cool’ thoughts?  Today we are going to experiment with making changes and being change detectives.
  2. Change Game – from iSixSigma —  See more here.
    1. Cross arms as if bored – change arms so that other one is on top
    2. Change your seat – do you feel comfortable sitting in a new place?
    3. Change your looks – get in partners; person A & B look at each other then turn back to back; person A makes 5 (or other #) changes; face each other; person B tries to point out all 5 (or other #) changes; then trade roles. — variation: have 1 person come up for viewing then go to another room and change something about their looks and return to front of room; others guess what they changed

Snack & Nutrition

  • Change it around – finger food must be eaten with a spoon/fork; food usually eaten with a spoon/fork must be eaten with the handle of the spoon or fork

Art & Crafts

  • Milk rainbows – pour milk in a plate with sides so that it just covers the bottom of the plate; drop food coloring (1-3 drops) in the middle of the milk so that each color is separate but close like the four leaves of a clover; dip a Q-tip in the middle of the drops of color; take it out and put a drop of dawn dish soap on the Q-tip and dip it again in the middle of the color drops; watch; dip the Q-tip in various places and watch the results — video at:


  • Magnets – Experiment putting magnets together.  Do they always stick or attract?  Do they ever push each other away or repel?
    • Think about it:  How do we attract others? — repel others?


Fun With Words

  • Cool it — change the word BOIL to COOL by changing 1 letter at a time. Each letter change needs to make a word — boil > coil > cool  Option 2  Change the word FIRE to COOL – fire > fore > fort > foot > fool > cool (write clues for each word);

Fitness Play

  • About face!  That is the command given to face the opposite direction when a soldier is standing still at attention.  If the soldier is marching, the command, “to the rear, march”  tells the soldier to turn around and march the opposite way.  Learn marching commands:  left face, right face, about face, forward march, to the rear march

Author: Janelle C

I enjoy planning lessons, directing VBS and child care programs. Children's ministry is my passion. God Almighty is my strength and inspiration. For fun I choose hiking, canoeing, camping, cooking, and reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s