Hands-on activities teach children how to identify and deal with different emotions. The activities also enable kids to identify the different emotions in their friends and classmates. Teaching about feelings helps kids gain a sense of empathy, allowing them to show sensitivity toward peers when they experience different emotions.
A homemade book works well for young kids who are learning the differences in emotions. Each page of the book highlights a different emotion. You can create page templates to make the project easier. Write the name of the emotion at the top of the page, and leave a space for the kids to draw a picture relating to the emotion. The child might draw a person's face showing the emotion such as a child crying for sadness. Another option is to draw a situation that might cause the emotion, such as the child's favorite toy getting broken. Older kids can also write a description of the emotion on the page. Staple the pages together inside a construction paper cover. The kids can use the book to review different emotions.
Collages add a creative aspect to feelings activities. Each child starts with a large piece of construction paper or poster board as the collage base. The kids cut out pictures that relate to emotions from magazines. Encourage them to find many different emotions to show the full range of feelings. Another option is to create class collages. Use a different piece of paper for each emotion. Write the name of the feeling in large letters in the middle of the paper. The kids find pictures relating to the different feelings. They glue the pictures to the correct paper based on the emotion displayed in the picture. You can hang the collages around the room as a reference for the kids.
Role playing helps kids identify different emotions and situations that might cause those emotions. A teacher or adult can create a list of different scenarios, focusing on events that might cause strong emotions. A child being left out of an activity, a surprise birthday party, a favorite possession being broken or a family trip to an amusement park are a few examples that work for the role playing activity. Write each event on a separate piece of paper.
To complete the activity, divide the kids into small groups. Each group draws a slip of paper to determine what they will act out. The kids act out the situation focusing on the emotions that it causes. The rest of the kids observe the reactions and identify the emotions they see.
Feelings charades is a quick game you can play any time. Write different emotions on cards. One at a time, a child draws a card to select an emotion. He acts out the emotion without using any words. The other kids guess the emotion based on the child's facial expressions and other non-verbal clues.
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