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Physical Boundaries and Consent Activities for Kids (Montessori-inspired)

Relationships are a complicated subject for adults.  It's no wonder that children struggle so much when trying to understand them.

Lately my kiddos have been asking a lot of questions.

How do I show someone I care about them?  

What do I NOT do?

How do I express emotions appropriately?

Is it okay if I don't feel comfortable with certain forms of physical affection?

If so, what do I do to show someone I care about them?

When I make a mistake, what do I do to show someone I'm sorry?

What if I want to be someone's friend but they look or act differently than I do and I'm frightened?

All of these questions and more can be answered as you enjoy these Physical Boundaries and Consent Activities for Kids.

Montessori-inspired Physical Boundaries and Consent Activities for Kids

All activities and printables in this post are from the Montessori-inspired Diversity and Inclusion Bundle.

Montessori-inspired Diversity and Inclusion Bundle

If the Montessori-inspired Diversity and Inclusion Bundle is unavailable or you do not want everything included, you can purchase the Montessori-inspired Friendship Printable Pack.  All printables in this post are from this pack specifically.

Montessori-inspired Friendship Printable Pack

Physical Boundaries and Consent Activities for Kids


Physical Boundaries: Touch vs. No Touch
Physical Boundaries: Touch vs. No Touch Activity

In our home we work on teaching appropriate physical boundaries for many reasons.  To help Sunshine and all of the other kiddos understand what physical signs of affection are appropriate, I created a set of Ways to Show Affection Nomenclature Cards.

These have been a HUGE hit with our kiddos and can be used in so many ways. 

The first way I presented these cards was introducing the concept of showing affection through touch versus no touch.

Sunshine LOVES to show affection through touch, but not everyone in the house enjoys that.  Dinomite and my husband are very sensitive to tactile input. They do not enjoy being touched, especially when they don't see it coming.

Princess feels unsafe when touched when she hasn't initiated it.

These cards were great at showing the kids there are many ways to show a person you care about them whether you like people touching you or not. 

Understanding this concept was so helpful to Dinomite especially.  He was so excited to learn new ways to show love, without having to touch someone.

The cards are also great at teaching Sunshine ways she can connect with people without touching them, which is HUGE for her.

Physical Affection: Family vs. Friends
Physical Affection: Family vs. Friends Activity

Sunshine really struggles with generalizing skills from one setting to another and one person to another.  When it comes to physical affection she doesn't think twice about giving anyone hugs and kisses. 

With this activity she can learn appropriate ways to show affection when it comes to family versus friends.  Depending on your own personal preferences you can include whichever affection cards you want.

When I presented this activity to the older three kiddos I asked them which ways of physical affection they preferred from family versus friends.  The cards led to great conversations about how ways of affection and preferences vary from person to person.  Ultimately they decided the best thing you can do is ask for permission first.

Physical Affection: Yes vs. No
Physical Affection: Yes vs. No-Teaching Consent

The last way we used the affection cards with the three older kids was to teach about consent. 

Teaching Consent-Physical Affection: Yes vs. No Activity

Each kiddo sorted through the affection cards, sorting them into ways of affection they felt comfortable receiving and which ones they didn't.  They observed each other's yes and no piles, making note of ways that others felt uncomfortable.  It was such a fantastic activity filled with so much discussion.

Physical Affection: Yes vs. No Card Sorting-Teaching Consent

When presenting the yes and no cards to Sunshine, I will add the Inappropriate Interactions Cards. She will sort what behaviors are appropriate and what behaviors are not and also do the consent activity.

Teaching Consent: Physical Affection-What's okay and what's not

Practicing Ways to Show Affection to Others

One thing I did not expect from my older kiddos while presenting these lessons, was their desire to practice all of the different ways to show affection.  I was blown away by how much fun they had during this process.  

Ways to Show Affection: Happy Hands

Their interactions with each other elevated these lessons to a whole new level of fun.

Ways to Show Affection: First Bumps

 I'm so glad I had my camera on hand to capture these precious moments.  I loved that they had such a desire to learn about ways to show affection to others and have fun with it.

Ways to Show Affection: Blowing a Kiss

Through the true to life images and modeling on the cards and their desire to practice, the kiddos became so comfortable with touch in a way they wouldn't have been in another setting.

Ways to Show Affection: Side Hug

Lately, I've been quite mindful about following the child's lead when it comes to lesson presentations.  Boy oh boy am I glad I was able to just go with it.  There were so many smiles!

Ways to Show Affection: Thumbs Up

One physical affection card that may be a little unfamiliar to some is the thumb touch.  Princess and I developed this way of showing affection to each other years ago.  It felt safe to her and not to overwhelming.  We've used it ever since!

Ways to Show Affection: Thumb Touch

I feel... when you...


The very last way we used the Ways to Show Affection Cards was with our new I feel... when you... chart.  We combined the six basic emotion cards included in the Friendship Printable Pack, along with the picture chart.  We also threw in the Inappropriate Interaction Cards.

I feel... when you... Chart and Cards

The kids first practiced with the Inappropriate Interaction cards.  I was so impressed with the emotions they chose to go along with each card they selected.

I feel.. when you... Picture Prompts with Emotion and Action Cards

I can't wait to use these with Sunshine when she returns from residential.  The visuals will be such a huge help to her.

I feel... when you... Picture Prompt with Cards

After using the Inappropriate Interaction Cards I brought back the Ways to Show Affection Cards and the kids practiced with those.

Emotional Regulation Refrigerator Display

Once all of the lessons had been presented, I placed the materials on our refrigerator for use in the home when we need them.  We've had them available for the month and they're used every day.

As we presented the "I feel... when you..." chart, Dinomite asked for more emotion cards.  Thankfully I knew exactly where I could find some.  The extra emotion cards have now been printed out and laminated for use with the writing version of the chart. 

The cards are bigger than the ones that I created, but they work perfectly alongside the writing prompt.

Emotion Cards for Kids from And Next Comes L

If you're looking for more emotion cards as well, because you have a child who's ready for them, be sure to grab your own copy at And Next Comes L.  There are 80 different emotions included, all in true to life image fashion.  They are absolutely beautiful and adorable.

Teaching emotions, physical boundaries and consent can be so much fun with kids.  With the printables in the Montessori-inspired Friendship Printable Pack, (included in the Diversity and Inclusion Bundle) you have everything you need to meet the needs of every child!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
Anger Management for Kids Four Prompts to Encourage Mindfulness in Children 4 Steps to Managing Aggressive Behaviors One Sure Way to Help Your Child Work Through Emotions 5 Lessons to Teach Kids About Balancing Emotions

Physical Boundaries and Consent Activities for Kids (Montessori-inspired)

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