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Teaching kids about emotions is an important part of helping them face their strong feelings and deal with them in a way that is beneficial for them.
Emotional intelligence helps kids overcome difficult moments a lot easier, interact better with other people, and adapt quickly to new situations. When children understand their emotions they are able to control them better. And to make right choices even when they deal with intense feelings.
An important part of helping my son deal with strong emotions was teaching him how to name and understand them. So I searched for different feelings activities to make this process easy and playful!
We started by reading a few children books about emotions. They were the perfect way to start talking with him about how different situations make us feel!
Here are some of our favorite books about emotions:
– Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney: We love all the Llama Llama book but this one was great for talking with my son about anger and temper tantrums.
– Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberley: This book offers a playful way of approaching feelings. My son loved it!
– The Way I Feel by Janan Cain: This book is a very good resource for teaching kids how to name their emotions.
Games and toys about feelings
Also, I’ve discovered several interesting games and toys about feelings on Amazon and I was curious to try some of them. Here are the ones that caught my attention:
1 – Hape Eggspressions Wooden Learning Toy – a toy that helps toddlers identify emotions and name them
2 – Thoughts and Feelings: A Sentence Completion Card Game – a therapeutic card game for kids aged 5+ that can also be used as a playful way to discuss with young kids about feelings
3 – Feelings Playing Cards – these cards can be used in 15 fun games that will familiarize kids with a wide range of emotions (and bring a lot of fun too)
4 – Emotion Mania Thumball – a great idea for active kids that is both easy and fun (When the child catches the ball, you can invite them to talk about the feeling on which their thumb landed on.)
After checking out these books and games, I decided to create some more activities to encourage my son to learn about emotions.
You can discover them here and you can try them with your kids using the printable activity pack at the end of the article.
1. “How does this make you feel?” – a game to help kids identify feelings
This game is designed to help kids identify and name their emotions. It includes cards with different situations and an Emotions Poster.
Here are some examples of situations included on the cards:
- A friend comes to visit you and you play together.
- You need to sing a song in front of many people at a school celebration.
- You lost one of your favorite toys at the playground.
- A child takes one of your toys and breaks it.
- You need to go for the first time to a new school.
How we played the game:
I put all the cards in a little box and I placed the Emotions Poster on the table, in front of my son.
Then I invited him to take out a card from the box. I read it aloud and invited him to say how that situation makes him feel. Also, I invited him to point the corresponding image on the poster.
We took turns and played the game until there were no more cards left.
This game was a perfect opportunity to approach different daily life situations and discuss the feelings that they bring us. My son learned to identify how different situations make him feel and name the emotions.
2. Feelings memory game
My son loves memory game and they always offer us a fun time together. So I used this as a chance to talk about emotions.
I’ve created a Feelings Memory Game that includes 12 different feelings. I’ve cut the pairs of cards and put them face down on the table.
Then we took turns trying to find as many pairs as we could. Every time we turned one of the cards we named the emotion on it and by the end of the game my son could quickly name all of them.
3. Finding solutions for dealing with intense feelings
I’ve used this activity to encourage my son to find positive solutions for the situations when he is overwhelmed by a strong emotion.
I’ve created 4 cards with the main emotions that he faces as a child. Then I invited him to discuss each of the situations and come up with 3 things to do for dealing with each situation. I helped him find nice solutions and he enjoyed the activity a lot!
I felt that this activity helped him feel more prepared for handling difficult situations. And I was very glad about it!
We kept the cards at hand to review them anytime I feel that he needs some additional help with dealing with a specific emotion.
The Feelings and Emotions poster
After doing the first activity I realized that having a visual list of emotions at hand is an easy and helpful way to teach kids about emotions.
So I’ve created a poster including 9 common emotions and I’ve displayed it in our house. My son liked the idea! We use it to talk about emotions and to review them from time to time.
Also, if I see that my son is struggling with handling strong emotions, I use the poster to start a discussion about the things that concern him.
Download the activity pack and try these feelings activities with your kids
If you want to try these activities with your kids, you can download our activity pack using the below link. Inside you’ll find all the printable files and the instructions to prepare the games.
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