I'm sharing with you a tutorial and game that you can play with kids ages 2 through 6. (Older kids would probably enjoy it, too, especially helping teach the younger ones.) Young children tend to relate well to animals. So why not use animals to help teach kids about emotions in a charades-style game?
I graduated with my Master's degree in School Psychology 2 weeks before Little Sweets was born and I became a stay-at-home-mom. Now that she is 2 years old, I've been enjoying finding ways to help her learn to recognize and deal with her emotions.
The Emotional Animals Game is played by rolling the "dice" and acting out whatever you roll. Let's let Little Sweets show you how it's done:
Easy as that!
All you really need for this game is a permanent marker and two square solid-colored blocks from a set like this:
I painted two of Little Sweets' unfinished wood square blocks with some craft store paint, but that is totally optional.
Now you're going to want to pick out some emotions to write on one of your dice. There are four basic emotions, from which most other emotions come: mad, sad, happy and scared. Then there are plenty of other options for you to pick from. Just think about which feelings or states you'd want to teach your child(ren) about.
Next, pick six animals that are relatively easy to mimic. We chose: cat, dog, monkey, cow, mouse and elephant. (Elephant is a little harder than the others...maybe a bird would've been easier?)
Now let's see your best "silly dog"!
Hmmm, what would a scared elephant look like?
This game can also be taken a step further, depending on your child's readiness to explore emotions deeper. For instance, when Little Sweets acts out a mad animal, we can talk about the best ways to handle anger. Put it in terms of how an animal might react because, again, young children tend to relate well to animals.
I hope you and your kids enjoy playing this game and learning about emotions together!