Skip to Content

8 Fun Feelings Activities for Preschoolers

Early childhood is as much about developing a child emotionally as it is about building physical and intellectual capabilities.

These feelings activities for preschoolers bring art, songs, discussion and stories together, to help kids experience their emotions in practical ways.

How do you teach preschoolers about feelings?

As children progress through the stages of emotional development, they naturally learn to identify their feelings and express them in healthy ways.

Much of a child’s emotional development happens during play. 

While children are playing dress-up or engaging in pretend play, they are imitating and acting out real-life scenarios, which are full of emotions.

Pretend play gives children a way to safely act out and practise big emotions such as fear, love, sorrow and anger.

However, parents and teachers can also find opportunities for teaching emotions to preschoolers by planning special feelings/emotions activities. 

Here are a few ideas.

how to teach your child about emotions pinterest image

1. Mirror Emotions

Give children a hand-held mirror or stand in front of a large mirror. Ask them to explore their emotions in their reflections.

Ask them to make different faces. Start with easier emotions to identify, such as sad, happy and angry. Ask how their faces change as their emotions change.

Then, try to play with emotions such as boredom, excitement and worry. What do those faces look like?

Tell children to think of a cute puppy, running away from a lion, a very sad baby, or a big gift they are about to unwrap. How and why do their faces change? 

child looking at their face in the mirror

2. Dance Your Feelings

Challenge kids to make up dances to show what various emotions feel like:

  • A tired dance (use scarves, slow movements and sleepy faces to slow music)
  • An angry dance (stomp around the room, making jerking movements with stern expressions to choppy music)
  • An excited dance (jump around with lit-up faces and a happy tune)

Choose music to match the mood and try out different emotions.

As a variation, play different kinds of music and ask children to show you, through their dancing, how the music makes them feel. 

3. Emotion Drawing

Ask kids to draw a picture that explains how they feel. 

Do not direct this activity too much. Rather allow children to express themselves with their own creativity. Different children will find different ways of representing their emotions.

Another way to do this is to play music (use the music from the dancing activity above) and ask your child to draw how the music makes them feel.

Tip: use clues from movies to help you choose the sounds, such as a choppy violin that’s used when a shark is approaching, or a slow, classical song that creates a sad atmosphere.

4. How Would You Feel?

Have a discussion about feelings and ask kids how they would feel in various situations. 

Here are some examples of questions about feelings:

  • How would you feel if…?
  • How did you feel when…?
  • How does it make you feel when…?
  • Tell me about a time when you felt really scared.
  • What does mom do that makes you feel loved?
mom and child talking

Learning to verbalize and express feelings is an important part of healthy development.

5. Paper Plate Faces

Creative art is a great way to make a physical representation of emotions.

One of the simplest emotions crafts for preschoolers is to make paper plate faces, depicting various emotions.

These can be turned into masks or you could attach a craft stick (or ice-cream stick) to the bottom and turn them into puppets for kids to use during their dramatic play.

6. Story Time

Story time is one of the easiest ways to incorporate teaching emotions. Books are filled with characters experiencing the full array of emotions and learning important life lessons.

As you read your stories in class or at bedtime, remember to ask questions about what the characters are feeling, why they are feeling that way, as well as how you would feel in the same situation.

mother reading her son a book on her lap

7. Feeling Faces

Challenge kids to page through a magazine, or a story book and identify faces that show strong emotions. Animals’ emotions are also often clearly depicted in drawings.

Cut out faces from a magazine and sort them into groups – happy faces, sad faces, angry faces, etc.

8. Emotion Songs

Music is an excellent medium for teaching skills in early childhood. These cute songs are all about emotions and kids will enjoy singing along to them.

If You’re Happy

This version of the popular song ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ is by Super Simple Songs and it incorporates more emotions. Use these or make it up as you go along.

If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.

If you’re angry angry angry, stomp your feet.
If you’re angry angry angry, stomp your feet.
If you’re angry angry angry, stomp your feet, stomp your feet.
If you’re angry angry angry, stomp your feet.

If you’re scared scared scared, say, “Oh no!”
If you’re scared scared scared, say, “Oh no!”
If you’re scared scared scared, say, “Oh no!” Say, “Oh no!”
If you’re scared scared scared, say, “Oh no!”

If you’re sleepy sleepy sleepy, take a nap.
If you’re sleepy sleepy sleepy, take a nap.
If you’re sleepy sleepy sleepy, take a nap, take a nap.
If you’re sleepy sleepy sleepy, take a nap.

If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.

preschoolers clapping hands to a song

This is a Happy Face

This is a good song to introduce the topic of emotions and how our facial expression often reflects how we’re feeling.

You can listen to the tune here. Watch it and then play it in the background as you sing along and make the faces. It has great music to accompany all the emotions.

This is a happy face.
This is a happy face.
This is a happy face.
This is my happy face.

This is a sleepy face.
This is a sleepy face.
This is a sleepy face.
This is my sleepy face.

This is an angry face.
This is an angry face.
This is an angry face.
This is my angry face.

This is a surprised face.
This is a surprised face.
This is a surprised face.
This is my surprised face.

Happy. Sleepy. Angry. Surprised.
Happy. Sleepy. Angry. Surprised.

This is an excited face.
This is an excited face.
This is an excited face.
This is my excited face.

This is a sad face.
This is a sad face.
This is a sad face.
This is my sad face.

This is a nervous face.
This is a nervous face.
This is a nervous face.
This is my nervous face.

This is a silly face.
This is a silly face.
This is a silly face.
This is my silly face.

Excited. Sad. Nervous. Silly.
Excited. Sad. Nervous. Silly

“Now, let me see those faces!”

Show me your happy face.
Show me your sleepy face.
Show me your angry face.
Show me your surprised face.
Show me your excited face.
Show me your sad face.
Show me your nervous face.
Show me your silly face.

This is a happy face.
This is a happy face.
This is a happy face.
This is my happy face.

I hope you liked these simple emotions activities for preschoolers. 

For more ideas, here are some social-emotional activities for preschoolers.


Would you like a year of done-for-you, ten-minute activities to teach your 3-5-year-old through play? Get your copy of the Learning Through Play Activity Pack for only $27.

Activity Pack for preschoolers

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.