Learning to recognise and understand feelings is an important skill to develop in early childhood as anyone living or working with little ones will know! We want to encourage children to:
- Recognise and label their own emotions
- Learn how to manage their feelings productively
- Understand that other children and adults have feelings too
Activities that can help
- Reading story books about emotions
- Using puppets to encourage conversation
- Putting up posters with emotional facial expressions that kids can relate to, or having them make posters by cutting ’emotional’ pictures out of newspapers and magazines (this blog post from No Time for Flash Cards has some excellent related activities)
- Having a special space for a child to sit when they want to calm down: keep a toy there, a ball to squeeze, a soft blanket… whatever you and your child feel is comforting.
- Listening is the most important activity. Listen in a non-judgemental way when little ones are trying to express how they feel. Let them know you understand and care.
- Being open about how you manage your own anger/sadness etc helps kids to know that big people can struggle with their feelings too.
- For links to over 10 creative ways to explore emotions plus links to 10 YouTube videos click over to this Activities and Songs post.
Please download the FREE poster of the lyrics for Five Little Ducks and their Feelings.
I love taking traditional songs and twisting them to fit a learning goal. This way, many of the kids are already familiar with the song so it’s easy to teach and learn. Over the past few weeks I adapted Five Little Ducks to incorporate their feelings and worked with PowToon to animate it. It’s the first time I’ve used PowToon so there was plenty of experimenting going on! I do hope you can use it and your kids enjoy it.
In my experience of teaching young children music I find that they LOVE to exaggerate their emotions when singing this kind of song, even the shy ones will start to emote if they feel safe and comfortable. This sets up a great atmosphere for chatting about feelings.
- Why might a duck feel sad when playing over the hills? How could we help her feel better.
- Why might a duck feel angry? What should the duck do to feel better?
- Why might a duck feel sleepy during playtime? What should he do so he’s not sleepy during the following day’s playtime?
- The happy duck went running back to Mother Duck. Is it easier to do what mum tells you when you’re happy? Why, or why not?
- It’s fun to be silly. The silly duck liked to dance. What do you do when you feel silly? How do you know if you’re being too silly?
Other helpful links and related free printables
- Anger Management: How to Calm an Angry Child
- 23 Free Calming Strategy Cards for Kids
- 10 Ways to Combat Bullying in the Early Years
Would you like some teaching & learning materials to go along with the Five Little Ducks video?
How else could we use this video to get children talking about feelings?
I wish you happy teaching and learning.