How to Create a Family First Aid Kit for Feelings

Author: Diana Bigham, LMFT-S, RPT-S

Families can boost emotional skills through playful activities, like the “Family First Aid Kit for Feelings” below.


  • shoe box
  • items for decorating box
  • small memo pad
  • box of crayons
  • pencil
  • travel sized activity book
  • tape
  • index cards
  • hole puncher
  • metal book ring
  • thermometer image (example on right)


Come up with ideas to take care of feelings that honor these rules.  Include items in the box to encourage healthy coping skills or write down (draw pictures for younger children) ideas on the remaining index cards.  Punch a hole in the corner of the index cards and bind them with the metal ring.  Place all items in the box.

Now you have coping cards to help generate ways to take care of your feelings, objects in the box as a quick resource, and a thermometer to help communicate how intense a feeling is and how it can get smaller with each coping skill used.  Get really creative and get your children involved.  Have fun!

Here are some examples:

  • Draw your feelings.
  • Write down what is bothering you.
  • Talk to a grown-up you trust, like a parent or teacher.
  • Try to calmly talk it out with the person that you are having problems with.
  • Take 10 slow and low breaths (Breathe in for count of 3, out for count of 4).
  • Do 10 jumping jacks to get the nervous or angry energy out.
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