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Expressing Emotions activities (for toddlers and preschoolers)

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Emotional regulation is an important aspect of a child’s social and emotional development.

Supporting children in learning, acknowledging, naming their emotions and teaching them positive ways to express their feelings and emotions will help them achieve a sense of control, be able to share experiences and build healthy relationships with others.

Expressing Emotions is our focus on Block 3.

This activity will help children and caregivers understand their emotions and make a personalized storybook out of it.

For this, we will need:

- Magazines, old photos and/or stickers

- Markers/crayons

- Scissors

- Glue

- Stapler (to put book together)

- Paper (with printed feelings phrases or you can write them in)

The pages can have the following phrases:

- When you cuddle me, I feel cozy as a bear.

- When you play with me, I feel like a playful puppy.

- When you rock me, I feel snug as a bug.

- When you sing to me, I feel like an eagle that is soaring high in the air.

- When you hug me, I feel warm and fuzzy like a soft bunny.

Or you can simplify this by writing:

- When I am sad or mad, I can …

- I am happy when…

- I am mad when…

And children can make their own book with their own ideas.
  • This can also be a class/group activity. Everyone can work on page or two each, and you have a class story.

  • This activity can be a continuous activity for a few days; it does not have to be done in one sitting. This gives you, as the parent/caregiver, time to expand on the emotion a bit more and for the children learn more about the emotion. This can be a ‘do it at your own pace’ activity.

When the book is completed, it can be:

- a bedtime story,

- a calm down book,

- a circle time book,

- a show and tell item.

For Toddlers:

It is important to keep exposing them to books, stories, language, photos and songs on emotions. 

You can still make a book for and with a toddler but using mainly just photos of them, family members, or from magazines. Paste picture on paper and you can add the emotion label, or you can just label when you read the book. Keep it simple and concise.

Other ideas for Toddlers:

- Use puppets and do pretend play (i.e. Oh, puppy fell. Puppy is sad.)

- Do Peek-a-boo game

- Use mirrors to watch their faces and see what emotions look like on their face

Teach them to express positively by:

- Taking Deep Breaths

- Hitting a cushion

- Jumping up and down when mad

- Have a calm/cozy corner

- Rip paper

- Offer to cuddle them

Adults are welcome to make their books along with the children, too. This shows that even adults have emotions and that we all have our own ways of expressing our emotions in a positive way.

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