App Name: Breathe, Think, Do With Sesame
Developer: Sesame Street
Recommended Age: 4-6. Some 3-year-olds could use with support, and it would be useful for older children but they may find the Sesame Street characters too juvenile.
Description: This app is designed to build resilience and help children regulate, problem solve, and learn strategies to work through challenging situations and strong emotions. The blue monster character is presented in five different situations and children are taught the breathe, think, do strategy as they help him work through these problems. In the breathe step, children tap on the monster’s belly to encourage him to take slow, deep breaths. The narrator encourages the child to breathe along with the monster. The next step, think, has children pop thought bubbles on the screen to help the monster think of three solutions to his problem. The final step, do, shows the monster putting his ideas into practice and attempting to solve the problem using one of his solutions created in the “think” step. The app also includes a guide with strategies for parents, as well as the option to record either your voice or a child’s voice saying encouraging phrases to be played back during the “think” step.
Skills: self-regulation, mindfulness, problem-solving, persistence, resilience, social-emotional learning, critical thinking.
Curriculum connections: Social Studies, Physical and Health Education, Career Education.
My thoughts: This app is a great tool for working students through challenging, frustrating, or upsetting situations. It gives concrete strategies to working through relatable problems for young children and allows them to practice these skills. The strategies are broken down into small steps and instructions are easy to follow and presented in child-friendly language. The parent guide is incredibly detailed and provides excellent ideas for going beyond the app and exploring self-regulation and problem-solving in greater detail. I can definitely see being able to refer to the phrase “breathe, think, do” being helpful in reminding children how to work through a problem. The app has the potential to become boring for children once they have worked their way through all five scenarios, but I think perhaps by then it would have served its purpose in teaching the strategy and would then be more worthwhile only revisiting from time to time in order to review. My 4-year-old daughter really liked this app. She found it easy to follow and needed very little guidance or direction as she worked her way through the steps. She loved being able to record her own voice and hear herself cheering the monster on as he tried to think of solutions to his problem.
Ideas for use: As a parent, I can see this app being tremendously useful at home. I haven’t yet tried using it when my daughter finds herself in a frustrating or upsetting situation and needs some assistance with self-regulation, but I think that perhaps the app is better used as front-loading to teach the strategy and help children work through it, rather than using the app when children are in a heightened emotional state. In the classroom, I could see this app being useful in having children individually work through it. It could also be used in a whole class lesson and teachers could extend thinking by having students come up with ideas other than those in the app for solving the problems presented. After working through all five scenarios, students could also come up with their own problems and show how they would solve them by working through the steps of “breathe, think, do”. Students could be encouraged to apply this technique in practice to a variety of situations.