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THINGS I CAN CONTROL: Print + Digital Social Emotional Learning Group Game



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Looking for a great self-control game kids and teens?  You’ll love our Things I Can Control Game! The questions and prompts invite students to identify and reflect on what’s in their control, the kind of choices they can make, and the steps they can take.

Ways You Can Use The Things I Can Control Game:

  • Small Groups for Social Emotional Learning Support and Skills Practice
  • Individual counseling sessions as an assessment tool.
  • The actual act of playing the game provides insight into children’s social skills, decision-making process, frustration tolerance, level of respect for rules & boundaries, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Playing also builds social skills!
  • Fun for Family Game Night!
  • Community and relationship building classroom group activity


Now Available in Both Print and Digital Game Formats

You now get to choose between playing the printable card game format or the digital Google Slides™ version.  So whether you are in person or need an interactive self-control activity for distance learning, teletherapy, or virtual small groups, we got you covered!


How to Play The Things I Can Control Connect Game

Taking turns, players/teams choose a number based on the spot they would like to place their pawn. Then answer the corresponding question/prompt about things you can control. Move game pawn to cover the number just answered. Players continue to take turns answering questions/prompts and moving their pawn pieces until the first player/team has completed a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line of either 4 or 5 in a row.

For a Free “Sample Example” of how the digital game works, please download my Conversation Starter Connect Game!


How to Play The Printable Things I Can Control Game

In the spirit of other popular shedding-type card games, the player to get rid of all their cards first by wins. Players try to “match” the top card in the discard pile, by either laying down the same number, color (or shape, if using the black & white set), or type of action card. If the card contains a things you can control question or prompt, that player shares their response. The player may choose to decline responding by using 1 of their 2 Pass Tickets. Actions cards add fun twists and turns to the game. Actions include:

  •  TAKE 3: The next person in line must take 3 cards before taking their turn.
  • ROTATE RIGHT / ROTATE LEFT: All players pass on, or “rotate,” their cards to either the left or right, so that everyone exchanges hands with each other.
  • GO AGAIN: Player gets to “go again,” gaining an additional turn.
  • FREE!: Player who discards a FREE card is “free” to choose a new color (or shape) for the discard pile and then discard an additional card based on the color (or shape) they changed it to.
  • FREE + SPY!: Player who discards a FREE+SPY card can spy on one player by peeking at their cards and then is “free” to choose a new color (or shape) for the discard pile and then discard an additional card based on the color (or shape) they changed it to.


Make sure to check out our FREE 50 Things I Can Control Checklist!

Additional information

Product Categories

Self-Efficacy + Self-Esteem, Individual + Group Counseling

File Type


Used By

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Grade Level

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✔ The Things I Can Control Connect Game on Google Slides™


✔ TWO sets of The Things I Can Control Card Game: in both color AND black and white! So if you don’t have access to a color printer, no problem! You can download and print in black and white too! Instead of color, players match up cards with shapes!

✔ Detailed Game Directions

✔ Tips on how to use the game as a Therapeutic Intervention

✔ Over 75 Questions & Prompts

✔ Action Cards

✔ Pass Tickets


Such a wonderful resource! SEL lessons are a must, and this is a common issue I see students struggle with. Thanks so much!

-Claire F.

September 6, 2021, TPT Review



These cards are wonderful – great quality for the price. They are helpful in initial sessions – building rapport and getting to know one another for assessments in therapy – the kids love them

These cards games are incredible! My students love playing them, and they encourage open communication between students and teachers. Thank you!

-Katie B.

April 9, 2021, TPT Review


I am using this with some of my clients that struggle with anxiety, anger, and feeling out of control. The simplicity of it is awesome. Laminating and getting covid ready is a little tedious due to the sheer amount of cards. I chose to leave some cards out as I am using them for distance learning at this time.

This was great for Fun Fridays with my JH character education classes. They enjoyed being able to play a game and it sparked some great discussion and interaction at the same time. It was also easy to implement because so many students already know how to play the game Uno and this is so similar.

-Tabitha M.

August 30, 2020, TPT Review

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