App review by Adirondack AccessAbility Inc., Common Sense Education | Updated February 2014
The Zones Of Regulation
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The Zones Of Regulation

Fun supplement for kids who struggle with social-emotional skills

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1–7 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Character & SEL
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Pros: Helps teach kids who struggle socially learn how to identify emotions and use strategies to deal with them.

Cons: It's likely to only be effective for those who read well, and for those who are engaged in the related curriculum and book.

Bottom Line: For solid readers using the Zone curriculum to learn about emotions, the great visuals will help teach these important skills.

Because of its nature, The Zones of Regulation is probably best used in one-on-one sessions with students who struggle with self-control. It's likely to be most effective for kids if teachers use similar and consistent vocabulary between the app and any real-life scenarios to help ensure transfer. 

Depending on students' social abilities, teachers may want to use the app in a small-group setting, encouraging students to assist each other in the learning of explicit skills, as well as in practicing real-life scenarios. Lastly, if teachers have access, they should review and use The Zones of Regulation book and curriculum as it's likely to increase the app's effectiveness.

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The Zones of Regulation is based on the book and curriculum Zones of Regulation by Leah Kuypers -- together, they're designed to support kids and adults who struggle with social and emotional control. The app presents users with a variety of situations and circumstances; this practice helps them understand and define their feelings, consider behavior options, and develop strategies to maintain appropriate behavior.

After selecting an avatar and identifying hot spots on the path, kids explore the four zones of emotions. As they play and answer questions, they'll earn tokens to exchange for rewards. Questions begin simply, progressing toward deeper levels of understanding. Learning is intended to help skills transfer to real life: emotional awareness; recognizing how behaviors impact others; self-regulation. In order to use the app independently, kids should be competent readers; it's recommended the app be used in conjunction with the adjoining book and curriculum.

Kids who struggle in social situations can certainly benefit from using The Zones of Regulation. The great graphics help students identify and understand emotions and specific scenarios that might otherwise cause them confusion. The premise is fantastic, but students will need to be competent readers to use the app independently.

Alternately, the app could be used one-on-one with a teacher, or it could make a good small class activity. In addition, it's challenging to use as a stand-alone app without the benefit of the Zone Curriculum. Nevertheless, it can be used alone, with teacher support, to the benefit of those who struggle in social situations.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

The avatars are cool and the graphics almost look 3-D. While they're engaging enough, the scenes don't offer much variety.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

The app does a great job addressing different emotions and scenarios, but kids will likely need guidance to transfer what they're learning to their real lives.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Feedback is generally immediate. However, to really understand the app Kids will need to have read the adjoining book or used the Zone Curriculum.


Common Sense reviewer
Adirondack AccessAbility Inc. Assistive Technology Consultants & Trainers

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