Prep: None / Activity Time: 5 Minutes

Here’s a game that can be done anywhere and any time you have a few minutes to spare. It’s a simple way to help your child recognize facial expressions and talk about feelings and emotions.

Step 1: Tell your child that you are going to play a game that’s like peek-a-boo. In this game, you‘ll hide your face behind your hands. Make a facial expression and open your hands. See if your child can describe your facial expression. You might say:

I’m going to hide my face behind my hands. Then, I’ll change the way I look. I might look happy, sad, excited or angry. When I take my hands away, tell me how you think I am feeling by looking at my face.

Step 2: After your child identifies the feeling, ask her to tell you some things that might make her feel the same way.

Step 3: Continue with other facial expressions.

Step 4: Trade places with your child. Ask him to cover her face with her hands and make a facial expression. See if you can tell the emotion she is trying to portray.

Start with more common and familiar emotions like happy, sad and mad.

Give your child paper and crayons and ask her to draw a picture that shows a feeling. Let her independently use color, lines, and images to portray the feeling. Encourage her to be imaginative. Art is expressive. There are no right or wrong answers.

You might also check out these books on feelings and emotions: