A Preschool Feelings Theme can help children identify and name their emotions. Throughout each day, children experience a wide range of feelings. Sometimes they experience them from hour to hour or sometimes from minute to minute! You can use this theme to teach the children how to react to their emotions as well. This theme page is filled with preschool lesson plans, activities and ideas for all areas of your classroom.
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Happy Face, Sad Face
Materials Needed: small paper plate or circle shape per child, crayons, large craft stick per child, hand mirror
The children look in the mirror and make a happy face. They draw themselves on one side of the plate or circle including eyes, nose, hair and smiling mouth.
On the opposite side they draw themselves with a sad face.
Glue craft stick on the bottom.
EXTENSION: Use these at circle time or a large/small group time later in the day asking questions about feelings. They turn their "faces" to show the side that corresponds to the question or statement.
Examples: You need to go to bed early. Are you happy or sad?
You find your favorite toy that you thought was lost. Are you happy or sad?
Paint a Feeling
Materials Needed: Paint, brushes and paper!
This is a completely free art choice. Just let them paint! No expectations, no "adult decided" outcome! When they are done, ask them to name their picture with a feeling.
"Let's name our pictures with a feeling. When you were painting today, how were you feeling, happy, sad, angry, scared, etc. and why"
Hang paintings with thier descriptions.
Use different types of blocks--wood, foam, cardboard--and talk about the different feelings of the textures and which they like better.
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
If You're Happy and You Know It!
Classic Song! Make up additional lines for different emotions that you think of! It might help to have a Feelings or Emotions poster or chart at your circle area to refer to.
How Are You Feeling?
In advance, make a chart with different emotions going across the top row (one emotion for each column).
Cut out a piece of paper with each child's name on it.
Give each child their name paper.
Ask each child how they feel today, pointing to each emotion and naming it for them.
The child comes up and tapes their name under the emotion that describes how they feel.
EXTENSION: Ask each child what made them feel that emotion today (a friend yelled at me, etc.)
EXTENSION: Count up the number of children in each column and list it. Discuss which emotion has more children's names, which one has less.
Pair the children up. One child makes an emotion face and their partner identifies the emotion and duplicates it.
Fingerplays and Songs
The More We Get Together
The more we get together,
The more we get together,
The happier we'll be.
Because your friends are my friends,
And my friends are your friends.
The more we get together,
The happier we'll be!
Italic Sung to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
I have feelings (point to self)
So do you (point to children)
Let's all sing about a few.
I am happy (smile).
I am sad (frown).
I get scared. (Wrap arms around self and make scared face).
I get mad (make a fist and shake it or stomp feet).
I am proud of being me (hands on hips, shoulders straight, smile)
That's a feeling too, you see.
I have feelings (point to self)
You do, too (Point to children)
We just sang about a few.
EXTENSION: There are sign language motions for this song. Perform a Google search to find them!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Go crackers over this snack! No? My attempt at some humor.
Ingredients and Items needed: Round crackers, slices of cheese, shredded cheese, raisins, paper plates.
The children arrange crackers as facial features on the paper plate and use the raisins for eyes, nostrils, etc. and shredded cheese for smiles and/or hair!
English Muffin Pizzas
The children use the toppings to make faces on the sauce before cooking!
You could go in many directions with this one! Dramatic play with dress up clothes should be enough to act out many emotions!
Or you could add a hospital or doctor's office to help children deal with their apprehension of doctors.
Provide a table with paper and crayons, markers, stamps, etc.
The children go to the card shop to make cards to cheer others up. You could use these to mail to children when they are out sick, to family members, etc.
(Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
Painting to the Emotional Beat
In advance, make a CD that has different tempos of music: classical, reggae, hard rock, jazz, big band
The children paint to the beat. During this time, ask them how this music makes them feel--happy, sad, excited, angry, etc.
Play a game of Feelings Parade (much like Follow the Leader) and tell a story as you walk and act out the feeling as you walk.
"I was walking to school and saw a butterfly and it made me so happy" (everyone walks with a huge smile!)
"But then it started raining and I didn't have my umbrella and that made me angry." (stomp as you walk).
This is the same idea as the above Feelings Parade. As you tell your story, show the children how to move the parachute to match the emotion such as:
Slowly up and down for happy.
Very fast up and down for angry.
Up and down four times for sad as you say boo, hoo, hoo, hoo.
Play this game of Simon Says to explore emotions. Simon Says walk in a circle feeling happy...sad...angry
Book Suggestions for the LibraryAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Group Feelings Mural
Materials: On the manipulatives table, place several large pieces of newsprint with an emotion listed on each (happy, sad, angry, etc.); provide magazines, scissors and glue sticks.
The children look through the magazine, find and cut out a person's face and glue it to the appropriate newsprint paper.
If this is a week long theme, place out one newsprint paper each day to focus on a specific emotion and encourage the children to look for THAT type of face on people in the magazines.
Shape Feeling Faces
Materials: Provide large paper plates and scraps of construction paper, scissors and glue.
The children use the scraps to design their own Feeling face.
VARIATION: You may want to precut facial features for the children to choose from.
Sort the Feelings
Materials: In advance, cut out and laminate faces with different feelings (these could be from clip art, magazines or copies of pictures of the children throughout the year).
Provide several bowls or bins. Encourage the children sort the faces by feeling.
Keep in mind that they may sort by other attributes such as hair color, skin color, eye color, etc. This should be encouraged! Visual discrimination is a great skill to develop. Some children may not be able to identify or properly "translate" facial features. That is a developing skill.
What you could do if they sort by attributes other than feelings, is point one of them out and discuss it:
"You're right! That child does have blue eyes! Hmmm, look at her face. How do you think she feels?"..if no response add, "Happy? Sad?"...you get the picture!
Match the Feelings
Materials: In advance, cut out and laminate duplicate faces with varying feelings.
The children may place all the pictures face up to match them.
Older children may want to flip them over and play a Concentration type memory game.
Play different types of music and encourage the children to dance in the way it makes them feel!
This has been a favorite for YEARS! When we played a slow tempo of music, we'd ask "How does this sound?" and respond "Happy!" and they would dance around slowly with smiles.
A very fast beat song would be exciting and the kids would run in place super fast (this was their favorite track on the CD!).
Water and Textures
Add different textured items to your water table (cotton ball, pom pom, sand paper, etc.). Although this is more of a Five Senses idea, the children can name how the items feel (rough, soft) and if they like the feeling or not like the feeling.
Prior to the theme, record the children making different sounds such as laughing, growling, crying, yelling, etc.
Place the CD or tape in the Science area along with pictures of the different emotions.
The children then listen to the sound and point to the emotion.
The Story of My _______ Day
Encourage the children to draw a picture of a day that made them happy. Write down their story when they are done and display.
You could make one each day and make them into individual books to take home.
Visit the Staff! Thank you Maria N. for this idea!
Visit each staff at the center asking how they feel. Children record feeling on paper.
This is a GREAT idea Maria!!! You could print each staff members name on a paper and attach to a clipboard. The children use stickers or stamp markers to record happy, sad, etc. faces!
Or, just print what the staff members say (such as tired, happy, etc.). When you return to the classroom, the children can draw a picture of a staff member with that feeling!
Child Counselors or the Guidance Counselor from the local public school may have some fun Feelings activities to bring in and share with your class!