Prep: 5 Minutes / Activity Time: 15-20 Minutes

There are so many feelings that can happen in a day. In this activity, your child will explore different emotions while also practicing beginning writing skills.

  • unlined paper, preferably 8.5” x 11” (printer paper)
  • crayons, pencils and/or markers
  • list of emotion words: happy, sad, angry, scared, worried, excited, surprised, hurt

Step 1: Take a sheet of the unlined paper and fold it in half, as if you’re making a card. Fold it in half again, so that it is a smaller version of the folded card. Unfold the piece of paper and you should have four rectangles.  

Step 2: At the top of each rectangle, write an emotion word (e.g., happy, sad, angry, scared, hurt, surprised, excited). As you write, say the letters you are writing and read the word when it is finished. Encourage your child to say the letters and words with you. Talk about how some words begin with the same letter: h for happy and hurt; s for sad, scared and surprised.

Step 3: Explain that these are words for four different feelings. Talk to your child about each of the feelings. In the book Yesterday I Had the Blues, a boy describes his and his family’s feelings as colors. Ask your child what color she thinks each one of the four feelings would be.

Step 4: In each box, ask your child to draw or write about what each feeling looks like. Encourage her to use the color that she thinks best fits each feeling. For example, she might choose the color blue for sad and the color red for angry. If she thinks that an emotion is more than one color, encourage her to color it the way that she sees it.

Step 5: Ask your child what she feels like right now and have her point to that feeling, if it is on the paper. Ask why she feels that way and if she likes to feel that way. Talk about the color(s) she chose for that feeling and ask why the color(s) were chosen. Talk about when she feels sad or hurt and things that help her feel better when she feels that way.

You can continue the conversation by reading books that explore emotions, such as Yesterday I Had the Blues.

After writing each word, draw a face in each rectangle that seems to best capture the feeling. Ask your child to choose a color for each emotion, like the color yellow for happy, and to color that rectangle’s face with the selected color.

Repeat the activity using less common vocabulary for emotions, such as curious, silly, shy, frustrated. Talk about these emotions like you did with the previous ones. You might also encourage your child to write the emotion words at the bottom of the rectangles or just the first letter of the word. If the activity makes your child feel a certain way, use that as a learning opportunity to talk about that feeling. If it is a word on the paper, point it out and talk about the color(s) she chose to represent that emotion.