This free emotions chart is a great tool for helping kids express how they feel. Not just the actual emotions, but also the intensity and how their body is physically reacting. And who doesn’t love penguins!
As an extra bonus, if you scroll down you’ll find lots of other fun and educational penguin-themed activities from your favourite bloggers.
Why use an emotions chart?
As young children develop it’s important that they learn to deal with the emotions that are coursing through their bodies but they’re too little to articulate or understand. Even the most even-tempered child will experience emotions that make them feel upset or confused, bored or hyped-up with excitement.
As teachers we spend considerable time talking about feelings and encouraging children to learn vocabulary so they can express themselves.
An emotions chart is a handy tool in that in-between time when they’re learning about their feelings but are still learning how to talk about it.
How to prepare
Download the Emotions Chart (below) and print off the coloured or black and white version onto card. Laminate it (and the arrow) if you like. There are also emotions cards to print off and use, too!
Punch a hole in the arrow and in the small semicircle on the chart and attach the arrow with a brad or split pin.
Talk about the different emotions the penguins are displaying.
- How can we tell what they’re feeling?
- What might have made them feel that way?
- What makes you feel that way?
- What does my body do when I’m feeling these different emotions? Does my mouth purse? Can you see my teeth? Are my eyebrows drawn to the centre? Are my hands clenched? Is my breathing calm or am I taking short, quick breaths?
More prep help
Click on these links for more in depth articles and free printables for dealing with emotions and anger management.
- 23 free calming strategy cards (this is the most popular post on this site): In English and Estonian (Icelandic is coming soon)
- How to Calm an Angry Child: A research-based post/podcast
- 10 Activities and 10 Youtube Songs to Explore Emotions
- Talking about Feelings with Five Little Ducks
Using the three sections
You can choose to use all three sections at once, or just one section depending on the needs of your child. However, all three will help a child think about what they’re experiencing and give them clues as to how they might manage their emotions.
1. What am I feeling?
Go through the emotions on the chart – maybe not all at once, until your child understands what each emotion means. Read emotional-type picture books together, or watch some cartoons. Can your child explain what some of those characters are feeling? Is that affecting their decisions or actions in the book or on the TV?
Have them practice moving the arrow around to point at the different emotions. Are there other types of emotions they experience that they would like to add to the chart? If so, have them draw a face expressing their chosen emotion. Maybe they’d like to add ‘lonely’ or ‘crowded’ or ‘silly.’
2. What about my body?
Have a mirror handy so your child can look at their own reflection. Are there any signs on their face that they’re feeling emotional? Are their hands relaxed or tense? Is their breathing normal or shallow?
3. How strong are my feelings?
Do I feel calm and relaxed? Or am I like a crazy storm with crashing waves and lightning? Mostly we’re somewhere in the middle, hopefully closer to calm than stormy!
Help your kids look at the ladder and learn to consider the intensity of their feelings: for example, are they just a little sad, do they feel teary, or are they grief-stricken? It’s very helpful for kids to recognise the importance of moving toward calm from wherever they happen to be. If they’re just a little sad but don’t do anything to feel better they may inevitably become sadder and sadder until it becomes overwhelming.
If you’ve laminated the chart kids can use a dry erase marker to draw a line on the ladder showing how intense their emotions are.
Click on the following highlighted link and this HOW DO I FEEL EMOTIONS CHART will immediately be sent to your downloads folder or other device equivalent.
Looking for more penguin activities?
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Penguin Felt Busy Box // Teach Me Mommy
Penguin Sight Word Game – Editable // Playdough to Plato
How Penguins Stay Warm // Science Kiddo
Penguin Counting Mats // Mom Inspired Life
Penguin Letter Identification Freebie // The Simplified Classroom
Penguin Patterning Mats // Fairy Poppins
Penguin Labeling Printable // Letters of Literacy
Penguin Number Words // My Creative Inclusion
Feeding the Sight Word Penguin // Play & Learn Every Day
Penguin Pre-Writing Tracing Cards // Modern Preschool
Baby Penguin Alphabet Letter Matching // Fun with Mama
Penguin Shapes Roll and Graph // The Kindergarten Connection
Penguin Ice Races // Still Playing School
Penguin Rhyming Game // Sara J Creations
How Do I Feel Emotions Chart // Liz’s Early Learning Spot
Penguin Syllable Sort Printable // A Dab of Glue Will Do
Penguin Addition Problem // Recipe for Teaching
Penguin 10 Frame Worksheet // Schooling a Monkey
Penguin Number Puzzles // The STEM Laboratory
Penguin Dice Addition Game // Adventures of Adam