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Navigating The Zones

Navigating The Zones


IMPORTANT—Please Note!

The Adult Facilitator and participants need to already be familiar with the core concepts and vocabulary taught in The Zones of Regulation curriculum to use this product. Navigating The Zones is NOT intended to be a stand-alone tool to teach The Zones of Regulation framework. Navigating The Zones highlights a few core concepts in the book, but does not begin to tackle all concepts taught!

About Navigating The Zones

Self-regulation is not “one thing” we do. It’s a series of thinking processes we go through that help us figure out what’s going on internally so we can figure out what behavior we show externally.

Navigating The Zones is an interactive teaching tool designed to extend Leah Kuypers' original teachings as described in the book The Zones of Regulation®. It engages participants in a problem-solving process at the heart of emotional self-regulation—while learning and collaborating along the way.

It walks participants through the “Zones Pathway”—a visual, sequential, and concrete road map that helps structure participants’ thinking and processing about the problem-solving sequence that is at the center of emotional self-regulation. This three-step process involves thinking about a Situation (where are we, who are we with?), thinking about and interpreting the Feeling we experience in response to the situation, and thinking about a Tool or strategy we can use to help us navigate the situation in an expected way.

Group collaboration and problem solving is a significant part of the journey in Navigating The Zones. Participants work together, under the guidance of the Adult Facilitator, to support each other and reach a shared goal. They can offer each other help, ask questions, suggests tools and strategies, and more—so that as a team, everyone is successful and the learning is rich!

Materials are adaptable to the learning needs of participants. This flexible teaching tool can be used in a therapeutic or nontherapeutic setting, in a classroom or a living room, by parents, educators, aides, counselors, clinical therapists, behaviorists, psychologists, social workers, etc. Adults (and participants) must already have a strong working knowledge of the concepts and vocabulary in The Zones of Regulation curriculum book to use this product successfully.

How it Works

The core teaching tool in Navigating The Zones is the interactive Navigation Board, which illustrates the Zones Pathway on each of the four colored Zones.

Participants take turns placing cards on the Navigation Board in a structured sequence on the Zones Pathway (Situation-Feeling-Tool) that helps them problem solve through emotional self-regulation. Once these three cards are played on a pathway, the turn-taker then talks out or role plays the Situation and Feeling, and explains how the Tool (or strategy) is effective for self-regulation in that instance. Participants cast their vote on whether or not the explanation makes sense, using their Checkpoint Cards. If it does, the turn-taker can proceed ahead; if it doesn’t, the turn-taker has to re-route and try the explanation again. Each time a participant successfully navigates through a Zones Pathway, he or she puts the cards on that specific Zone into a sleeve called "Destination Regulation!" These packets are pooled together in the middle of the board and the goal is for participants to support each other to earn as many packets as possible within the allotted time.

NOTE: Competition between players is not an option with Navigating The Zones, since kids often become distracted with “winning” which slows or halts the learning. However, the Advanced Extension Pack (coming soon, see below) for older or more advanced kids will accommodate competition.

Targets for Learning

  • Reinforce teaching The Zones of Regulation framework to encourage development of a self-regulation skill set
  • Recognize and communicate the internal feelings, levels of arousal, and sensory states that one experiences
  • Use a system to categorize feelings and emotions into four colored zones for improved self-awareness
  • Reflect on how various situations impact feelings and states and how they are managed
  • Practice identifying tools and strategies to regulate one’s internal feelings, states, and sensory needs
  • Reinforce a more concrete linear sequence (Zones Pathway) in thinking through and problem solving how to self-regulate in any given situation
  • Reinforce COLLABORATION: participants working together in a group to enhance and support each others’ learning experiences

What's in the Box

  • Zones Navigation Board
  • Instructions booklet with helpful tips to the Adult Facilitator for adaptations and modifications in using materials
  • 320 Situation Cards: 100 each, organized in Home, School, and Community decks, plus 20 Blank Cards to create your own situations
  • 60 Feeling Cards, each with word and visual illustrations of emotions that span the four Zones (includes 10 Blank Cards to write additional feelings)
  • 40 Tool Cards (10 per Zone color)
  • 6 sets of Checkpoint Cards (each set includes a Proceed Ahead & Re-Route Card)
  • 15 Destination Regulation! sleeves
  • 6 Toolbox Visuals (Tools per Zone are listed on one side; the other is blank to add your own tools)
  • Sticker Sheet to label the plastic trays (optional)

Authors: Leah Kuypers,Terri Rossman, Elizabeth Sautter


  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Think Social Publishing, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781936943449

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