Anger Management Activity: Free Problem Solving Cards

I work with angry kids every day I go to work (and sometimes at home with my own 3 kiddos). We all feel anger. Anger is not bad in of itself; it’s what we do when we are angry that matters.

Anger is a secondary emotion that is displayed in an effort to protect the person from feeling other emotions that may be more uncomfortable or less socially acceptable. For instance, it may be easier to feel angry at someone who shared a secret rather than to feel embarrassed.

This poster is a great visual aid when explaining how anger works as a secondary feeling:

The chemical changes that occur in our brain when we are angry give us a boost in adrenalin and make us feel more powerful and confident.

Remember learning about “fight or flight” in grade school? That’s the term given for the reaction we experience when we encounter a stressful situation.



The chemical changes in our body in the moment provides us with the ability to either confront the situation (fight) or get away as fast as possible (flight).  Identifying stressful situations is an excellent anger management strategy.


Samantha becomes angry when she doesn’t understand an assignment. More than likely, Samantha’s feelings of frustration (primary emotion) turns into feelings of anger.

Now that we know what the stressful situation is, or the “trigger”, we can begin to teach her anger management strategies.

The anger management freebie below helps students explore social situations that could lead to feelings of anger. Identifying these triggers is a vital step in developing anger management strategies. How can someone control their angry feelings when they are not even sure what is making them angry?

I highly recommend having the child create their own “what would you do deck” where they come up with their own situations that might make children mad.

Instructing my students to create cards that might help them (or other students) allows them to step outside of their own anger and view anger management from a different perspective.

While we review their deck, I have them rate how angry their situation would make them using the anger management gage. This allows me to understand the intensity of their feelings and provides me with the opportunity to point out when they are successful at managing their anger.

Example: Marcus makes a card about children getting mad when they do not get a turn on the tire swing, but he shares that this wouldn’t bother him because he would just do something different. <-Now that is a success to build upon (and explore further)!

We don’t always have to focus on angry outbursts or feelings of being out of control. Nobody enjoys losing control of themselves.

Focusing on times when they were able to control their anger is a great way to build self-esteem and empower them to take further responsibility for their behavior. Who doesn’t like the feeling of success?

If you would like more information about anger management strategies for children, check out  35 Simple Ways to Help an Angry Child.





10 responses to “Anger Management Activity: Free Problem Solving Cards”

  1. robin Avatar

    I can’t get the cards to print. They look great and I did sign up for your newsletter. Thanks!

    1. Helpful Counselor Avatar

      Hi Robin,

      Email me and I will send them to you

      Best Wishes,

  2. Chrissy Laing Avatar
    Chrissy Laing

    hell yeah what a awesome site …

    1. Helpful Counselor Avatar

      LOL! Why thank you Chrissy…gotta love your enthusiasm!

      Best Wishes,

  3. Alvin Avatar

    Calm down. Teach children to use some calming strategies when they feel the physical symptoms of anger. They can try taking deep breaths, drinking a glass of water, distracting herself with a song or a story, or playing alone. Anger may be harmful in their future so the parents should understand child’s behaviour and try to follow your suggestion about anger management for children

  4. Jeya Mary Avatar
    Jeya Mary


    Can you please forward that pdf to my email, i am uanble to print from the web.

    i work with kids till 18 and i think this card set will give a great hand in teacing kids anger management.

    my email id


    1. Heather Avatar

      Hello Jeya,

      Do to the large volume of requests, I am unable to email individual files at this time.

      Best Wishes,

  5. Anna Avatar

    These are genius!!! I’ve been looking for ideas on helping my son in the long term, not just talking to him “after the fact”. I’m so thankful that I found your website this morning! You seem to have some of the most down-to-earth, practical suggestions out there.

    1. Heather Avatar

      Yay! Glad to hear you are able to use these activities with your son. I wish you and your family the best!!!

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