I can never have too many books and activities for waiting and self-control. It is such an important skill! It’s also the one my elementary students struggle with the most. I spend a lot of time teaching and addressing it, particularly with preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. But that’s because regulating at that age is really difficult, and many of my students just aren’t capable yet. You too? Below is a list of my favorite books and activities for waiting and self-control.
Waiting is Not Forever
If you are looking for something simple and basic to introduce waiting, this is a great pick. I love using this with PreK
Waiting is Not Easy
In this book, Gerald has to wait for a surprise and learns it’s not easy. I love this book because his reactions are super relatable, and there is a lot of repetition of the word waiting. I would recommend this book for PreK-1st
I’ll Wait Mr. Panda
This is a very cute story to introduce waiting. Mr. Panda is baking something special, but no one wants to wait for it to be done
This is a staple for self-control material. I always use it for individual or group lessons and it is part of my curriculum map for class lessons. In this book, Chicken is supposed to be going to sleep, but can’t sit through a whole bedtime story! She constantly interrupts and tells the ending, and eventually they run out of stories to read! I would recommend this book for PreK-2nd
Bear Can’t Wait
This is my favorite book about waiting. In this cute story, Bear is excited for a party and can’t wait. But, he gets so excited, that he ruins the cake! Up until this point, Bear was trying to wait patiently, but now he has to think and act quickly to fix things – not wait! I would recommend this book for PreK-1st
I Have Ants in My Pants
Have a student who can’t sit still? This book is perfect for that! It uses the metaphor “ants in your pants” to help students understand their wiggles and strategies they can use to control them. I would recommend this book for K-2nd grade
I Just Want to Do it My Way
RJ just wants to do things his way, but it doesn’t seem to be working out. In this story, he learns strategies to help him stay on task and ask for help when he needs it. I would recommend this book for 1st-4th grade
Hunter and the Amazing Remote Control
This is more of a curriculum. While it does include a storybook, there is also a computer game, activity book, and matching remote you can buy. The idea behind it is you can control your choices and stay on-task with the use of a remote for your brain. Some of the strategies include a channel changer for getting back on track and an inner coach. This works well with K-4th grade
Practicing waiting and self-control doesn’t have to be hard or complex. Any game that requires turn-taking is a great opportunity to work on these skills. If you want to take things to another level, games where the outcome can’t necessarily be controlled, are even better. Some of my favorites include Don’t Break the Ice, Jenga, and The Fuzzies
Red Light Green Light
This is a great one for my youngest students. It’s easy to understand and has simple directions to listen for
I love using this with Kindergarten and 1st grade! Some of my PreK students understand it, but it usually takes some time. Simon Says helps students control their next move and also helps them practice following directions carefully. PLUS it’s a game!
Sesame Street: These are always a hit with my students! There are many different videos about waiting and patience, but these are my favorites (all cookie monster):
- Ian McKellen Teaches Cookie Monster to Resist
- The Waiting Game (you can even get your students in on the challenge with their own cookies)
- Me Want It (But Me Wait)
Play Kids: My Walrus Doesn’t Want to Wait
Sorting activities are great because they have a clear ending, can be hands-on, and give the opportunity for data collection if you are working on a categorization IEP goal. Because of this, I created a series of sorting activities, including one for self-control. The idea is to help Snowball the polar bear cross the ice to his family by sorting the self-control statements. My students love it!
Some other really great activities include guided drawing and spot the difference which help students practice patience.
I hope you found this list helpful! Interested in other ways to support these students? Check out my 6 strategies for students who are impulsive.