Preschoolers have BIG emotions. I remember being amazed at the giggles and tears and screams my kids could cycle through in one hour. Sometimes even one minute.
Learning to understand their emotions and how to express them effectively is a big part of childhood.
It can definitely be exhausting and frustrating for parents and caregivers, but supporting kids as they learn about emotions is a big and important part of our job.
One of my favorite ways to talk to kids about emotions is with great picture books and that is the theme of today’s Virtual Book Club for Kids.
affiliate links may be included.
I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer
Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter is having quite the grumpy day in this classic, sweet books. Kids will see themselves in his challenges and experiences. A great book for teaching children about emotions.
A Simple Lesson about Emotions
This is a simple activity that we did during group time. It used only materials that we had on hand, a book we love, and required virtually zero prep – my very favorite kind of activity!
Step One: Make Your Emotions Cards
Start by making three boxes for each child. I used an 8X11 sheet of cardstock, drew two lines to separate it into 3 columns and then cut the paper in half so there was one for each child.
Have your child pick a marker and instruct them to draw a joyful, happy face in one of the boxes. When they were done I labeled that box JOY for them.
Continue filling the boxes, one with anger and one with sadness. These are the feelings that fit with the story we read. Make sure to pick emotions that will work with your story.
Once all the boxes are fillled, have your child use a pair of scissors to cut the boxes apart. Once they are separated you are ready to read the story!
Step Two: Read + Focus on Emotions
Explain that you are going to read the story and you want them to show you with their feelings cards how the character(s) is feeling. We read I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer.
For our lesson we focused on the strong emotions of Little Critter. As you read the story (very dramatically) pause every now and then to ask how the character is feeling.
Eventually the kids will start showing you the cards without prompting.
More Books about Emotions
There are a lot of children’s books that work well with this simple activity. Here are some of our favorites.
- Are You Ready to Play Outside? or any of the Elephant & Piggie Books by Mo Willems
- Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
More Emotions Activities
Are you a member of the amazing Weekly Virtual Book Club community on Facebook? It is free and fantastic weekly fun. Together a team of co-hosts (including yours truly) share a favorite children’s book and related activities each week. Join our community of over 6,000 creative parents, teachers, and childcare providers!
These are the activities from our team of co-hosts this week! I can’t wait to see what you do with our bookclub book this week.
- Simple Emotions Matching Game from Toddler Approved
Science, Technology and Engineering Activities
- A Sensory Emotional Intelligence Activity for Kids – from Mama Smiles
- Emotions Game with Sidewalk Chalk – from Rainy Day Mum