Activities & Projects For Home & School | Coping Skills For Kids

What if Our Brains Could Talk? An Imaginary Dialogue between Three Brain Levels Students Can Act Out in Groups of Three Reptilian
Learning About Brain Strain Using Brain Imaging

What if Our Brains Could Talk?

An Imaginary Dialogue between Three Brain Levels Students Can Act Out in Groups of Three

Reptilian (survival) Brain:

  • Danger, danger, danger.
  • Watch out and get ready to attack to protect myself!
  • I”d better get ready to run and hide if I want to be alive.
  • Oh, Oh, I think I”m going to die from an emotional wound!
  • I better watch out. Something is going to happen to me.
  • When I am filled with ANGER, it”s because I worry about being in D-ANGER.
  • I”m so strong I sometimes overpower the feelings brain, then I DON”T CARE.
  • When I get a hurt feeling, I just want revenge – to hurt other people.

Emotional or Mammalian (feelings) Brain:

  • I feel close to my mother since she feeds and comforts me.
  • I depend upon my parents to protect me.
  • I want other people to like me because it makes me feel safe.
  • I feel bad when my parents get angry at me. I really need them to love me.
  • My feelings get hurt when people disappoint or make fun of me.
  • I want to belong and feel part of a group, so it really hurts when I am rejected.
  • Sometimes when people are mean to me, I tell my reptilian brain to get revenge.
  • Deep down I really do care about others; and that”s why my feelings get hurt.

Neo-Cortex (thinking) Brain:

  • When I can”t cope with an painful experience it feels like I”ll never get over it.
  • If I haven”t learned to cope with hurt feelings, I can pretend I don”t have ANY feelings.
  • I”ll try to think why I am feeling so upset.
  • I know I can work this out and get over my hurt feelings because I”m smart.
  • Let”s see if I can name the type of hurt I have inside.
  • If I can just give a name to my hurt feelings they won”t seem so bad.
  • There”s nothing wrong with me when my feelings are hurt; it just shows how much I really care about someone or something.
  • Sometimes I just have to tell the lizards brain to “shut up!” I won”t really die since it”s only my feelings that are hurt.

Brain-Based Coping Skills Vocabulary Words for Kids

These are in alphabetical order

If you don”t know a definition, you can look it up on this website by using the “Site Search” feature and entering the word or term. If the term or word isn”t understandable on this website you can always use a dictionary or try finding a definition using the website “Wikipedia“. If you still don”t understand or find the meaning of a term, you can always ask us for help by clicking Comments & ?”s.

Tip: Print out words and terms before you research and write your definitions

  • ambivalence
  • anxiety
  • betrayal
  • brain imaging (functional MRI)
  • coping skills (Can Overcome Painful Experiences)
  • emotions
  • emotional (mammalian) brain
  • emotional pain vs.physical pain
  • emotional resilience
  • empathy
  • four core wounding experiences: loss, rejection, betrayal, humiliation
  • healing help questions (see Healing Help card text)
  • harmful behavior toward myself
  • harmful behavior toward others
  • helpful behavior toward others
  • humiliation
  • impulses
  • instinctive behavior
  • learned behavior
  • loss
  • neocortex (human thinking) brain
  • neural networks
  • neurological connections in thinking brain (10,000,000,000)
  • neuroscience
  • rejection
  • reptilian (survival) brain
  • resilience
  • self-acceptance
  • survival instinct
  • sympathy
  • turning an upset upside down
  • why bullies and other hurt people hurt people
  • vulnerable

Analyzing Advertising Project: How advertising targets your brain


This student project helps to understand how advertising often targets separate parts of our coping brain to sell products they want you to buy. Companies spend from thousands to millions of dollars on advertising that quite often targets your emotional or reptilian brain functions. Since lots of advertising is directed at young people, this activity helps students to understand how “instinctive” coping brains, rather than our thinking brain (neocortex), are often the target of these ads. This type of advertising must work, or companies wouldn”t spend so much money trying to reach our instinctive brains to sell their products.

Steps for this Project

1. Students should first learn about and discuss in class all three coping brain functions (see “The Coping Brain“).

Which is better these days?
SchoolHome education

2. Divide the class into three advertising analysis teams:

One team will look for examples of actual ads for products in magazines, newspapers or junk mail that targets our thinking brain (neocortex). These ads use lots of information, statistics and “research” results to convince you to buy their product.

Another team will also look for examples of ads that target our emotional brain. These ads appeal to our need to be attractive, smart or popular. Since emotional brain wants others to like and admire us, advertisers use words or pictures that suggest if we buy and use their product that”s exactly what will happen.

The third team looks for examples of ads that target our reptilian brain.These ads appeal to our reptilian instincts that include primitive survival needs to be strong, be more powerful than others, or have more sex appeal to find a mate.

3. Students glue each ad they find onto a large sheet of paper. On a sheet of lined paper next to each ad students explain why this particular ad appeals to one or more of our thinking, emotional or reptilian brain functions.

4. After all the ads are collected and analyzed by each student team, students take turns explaining why they think their ads they clipped out target one or another of our three coping brains.

5. Finally, teachers may want to display these team ads and students written analysis of how they target our brain. These examples can make up a bulletin board exhibit so that other 4th, 5th or 6th graders (and their parents) can learn how much of advertising we all see every day in magazines, mailers, newspapers and TV targets the coping brains students have just learned about. After displaying these ads with the student analysis of brain functions targeted, the class can evaluate which of our three coping brains are most often targeted by advertising to kids and adults.This project helps students better understand how to be smarter consumers

The Coping & Caring Crocodile Rap

Activities & Projects For Home & School | Coping Skills For Kids

A 4th grader holds “Coping & Caring Crocodile, while assisting Coping Skills for Kids director Ronald Brill leading a class reading of the C.C. Croc Rap. Words to the rap are shown below.

Suggestion: Students may want to use rhythm instruments to keep up the beat while reciting this rap as a group.

I was the meanest reptile in the bunch

Who ate whole animals just for lunch

I didn”t know what made me so vicious (pronounced vish -us)

Cause what I ate just seemed so delicious (pronounced dee-lish”-us)

I hid in the swamp feeling oh so miserable

Just my head and snout were all that was visible

If something came near I”d show ‘em my choppers

So I had no friends, not even grass hoppers

Then I met Lizard Wizard who makes feelings talk

That”s how I got over being an angry and sad croc

Now I don”t blame or hide when I”m hurting or fearful

I know hurt feelings are normal — and so is being tearful

When my feelings are hurt I get over upsets lots faster

Using my brain”s coping skills keeps me from disaster

Now I”m loving and caring and feel like a million

That”s why I”m now one happy crocodilian (pronounced crocko-dil”-ee-en)

2008, Ronald R. Brill, Emotional Health Education


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