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Activity List for Kids

Like adults, children who are depressed often lose interest in their favorite activities. Also like adults, this can create a troubling cycle where inactivity causes depression to worsen.

Behavioral activation helps to reverse this cycle, making it an important part of depression treatment for kids. Simply getting up and getting moving can start to make a difference.

The Activity List for Kids is a list of fun, engaging, and healthy activities that kids can use during behavioral activation. Read the list with your client, circle activities that look fun, and collaborate with children and their caregivers to create a schedule of daily activities.

The goal of this handout is to be as simple as possible, fitting into any kids’ depression treatment. Activities were chosen for being fun and unique, but also practical.

This activity list pairs well with Rabbit’s Rainy Days, a digital story about depression. Follow along as Rabbit learns about depression, and coping skills such as get moving (behavioral activation for kids).

The usefulness of the kids’ activity list printout doesn’t end at behavioral activation. This list includes ideas that are great for parent-child bonding during family therapy, practical rewards for good behavior, or… it can simply be a list of fun ideas for kids!

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1. Brown, H. E., Pearson, N., Braithwaite, R. E., Brown, W. J., & Biddle, S. J. (2013). Physical activity interventions and depression in children and adolescents. Sports medicine, 43(3), 195-206.

2. Martin, F., & Oliver, T. (2019). Behavioral activation for children and adolescents: a systematic review of progress and promise. European child & adolescent psychiatry, 28(4), 427-441.

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