Activities for Children on Expressing Emotions

Written by kathryn walsh
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Activities for Children on Expressing Emotions
If you know what they're feeling, you'll know how to help. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Expressing emotions can be difficult for anyone, but children may have no idea how to let others know how they feel. This is a skill that can be taught, but children must understand that having and expressing feelings is OK. Broach the subject by offering some examples of emotions that you frequently feel.


Puppets are a fun art project to make that can also be used to help children show their feelings. Help each child make several puppets by colouring faces onto paper bags. Ask her make one puppet for each emotion that she experiences regularly. For instance, she might make puppets that are happy, sad, angry, frustrated, excited and nervous. Whenever she's struggling with an emotion that's uncomfortable, she can put on the appropriate puppet. Put on your own puppet and have it "talk" to her puppet about what she's feeling.


Whether it's a preschooler's scribbling or a detailed sketch done by a middle-schooler, creating any type of artwork allows children to express their feelings. Artwork can also help children talk about their emotions. When a child finishes a picture, ask him to explain it to you. As he talks, gently probe him by asking questions about how he was feeling as he created it. You may also ask questions about how the characters in the picture are feeling. Chances are that if the dinosaur in the painting feels angry, so does the child who painted it.


Acting helps children get comfortable with public speaking, even if they're doing it at home. Find a script of a children's play for children to act out together, or ask children to improvise a play. Give them a situation to act out, such as a fight among friends. When they're acting, children may be able to demonstrate feelings more freely without feeling embarrassed, giving each child a chance to see that everyone has emotions.

Movement and Music

Even if a child can't name his emotions or doesn't want to talk about them, he can express them to others using music. Create makeshift drums out of empty oatmeal containers or coffee cans and encourage children to play them in a way that matches how they feel. An angry child may bang firmly and quickly on the drums; a sad child may tap a slow beat. Dancing also helps children express themselves. Play a variety of music from fast to slow and ask children to dance along. They may find that dancing to happy music makes them feel happy.

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