It is common to see movies, cartoons and songs that talk about the sensations we feel when something good or bad happens. And this is increasingly present in works aimed at children. To further strengthen this type of contact, it is possible to propose activities about feelings and emotions that can be done at school or at home.
Some exercises are performed in a group, others the child can develop alone, with the guidance of an adult. And at that moment, all kinds of creativity are valid: use the little ones’ favorite characters, emojis, colors and even events and people that belong to their reality.
Check out 10 activities about feelings and emotions that can be applied in early childhood education
1) Simulation of emotions
The typical mime can be customized for a game of emotions! In addition to training the little ones motor coordination, it is a way to contribute to socialization and increase their perception of how feelings are shown.
The first step can be taken by the teacher or guardian to encourage children to continue. Make happy faces , mimic crying and make noises , wrinkle your forehead to indicate anger, and widen your eyes to look scared.
One of the activities about feelings and emotions is storytelling. However, instead of just reading a story in a monotonous way, how about taking breaks and encouraging the little ones to think about the feelings of the characters in the narrative? Whether in a dramatic or euphoric moment, the important thing is for them to participate and reflect on the emotions that surround that story.
Remind them that in addition to the members of the tale, they as listeners also have various impressions , for example when they feel scared when they hear about a monster, or when they get excited about the hero who saves the world.
3) Relate everyday life to feelings
You know that board of rules you usually have in classrooms? It can be supplemented with emotions. For example: when saying that you shouldn’t take things from your friend secretly, reinforce that this action will make the person sad; in messages to avoid playing with nicknames, point out that this embarrasses the other person.
4) Use photographs
Not all children have contact with printed photographs these days. Innovate in materials and take this idea to the little ones. You can develop or print photos of children expressing feelings, from joy, sadness, surprise or fear. It’s a way for them to identify and normalize this type of situation.
5) Ask the children to draw
There is no rule for drawings, they can be abstract or realistic; made with pencil, paper, paints or complemented by collages. Colors play a key role in the perception of feelings. Have the little ones associate shades with emotions and demonstrate this by coloring something.
6) Keep an emotion journal
“How are you feeling today?” may be the default question at the top of the pages of this notebook. The idea of having an emotion diary is to help the child identify which emotions prevail in the day, as well as to make them create the habit of giving importance to their own feelings.
In some cases, recording these sensations can help those responsible to better understand their children. Leave the child free to complete the sheets with drawings, writings or collages that demonstrate what he is feeling.
7) Hidden emotions
For this activity, you can create stick figures on wooden sticks . Make the faces in a circle on paper or even a Styrofoam ball. Remember to put multiple expressions. The intention is that each side of the circle/ball has a different face, for example, a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other.
So, you show a side of the puppet to the child and invent a story on top of it, until you reach a point in the narrative when something happens and that character transforms. Let the child guess what has changed and what kind of feelings may have arisen.
8) Tricks to relieve or express feelings
When you are very happy, what do you like to do? And when you’re sad, is there a way to relieve this feeling that seems to hurt in your chest? Give the children alternatives to try what works best for them.
When angry, patting a soft pillow can help. When happiness appears, jump, run, spend that energy! In fearful situations, sharing what you’re thinking can help, as well as when sadness hits.
9) How do you feel when..?
It’s time to put the kids to think! Create situations, preferably realistic , and give them time to think about how they would react. For example: “How do you look when you take a tumble?” or “How do you feel when you receive a gift?”. The activity can be done manually or through conversation.
10) Keep the dialogue always open
At the end of the day, a conversation circle can serve as a support network for everyone, including adults. Encouraging children to talk about their feelings, and also listen to the emotion of those around them, is a way for them to realize that “feeling” is extremely normal, in addition to this exercise being a stimulus to empathy.
Keeping to yourself is not always good
Although some situations require a little more time to digest, it is important that children grow up knowing that there is nothing wrong with sharing what they are feeling. And just as we like to talk about our happiness to people, we also need to mention sadness.
Many individuals have difficulties dealing with emotions as adults precisely because of repressions they suffered in childhood. Don’t judge a child who is crying, instead embrace and ask what happened. This type of behavior can make all the difference in the emotional health of this human being.