Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Feelings Walk: A Simple Activity for Teaching Emotions for Kids

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This simple mindfulness activity is a great way to teach emotions for kids. Toddlers and preschoolers will love this emotions activity because it encourages them to notice how different emotions feel in their body.

Getting your child to understand their emotions can be a long process.

Not only do they need to be able to identify and name their emotions, but they also need to learn how to recognize those emotions in their own bodies. Then eventually they have to learn how to manage and cope with those emotions.

Well, this simple emotions activity focuses on teaching kids how to recognize the signs of different emotions and feelings in their bodies, while encouraging some pretend play. It's a great mindfulness activity as well.

Emotions activity for preschoolers and toddlers to notice how feelings look and feel in their body

Teaching Kids About Emotions is Easy with this Mindfulness Activity!

This mindfulness and emotions activity focuses on teaching kids how different emotions present themselves in our bodies. It encourages kids to focus specifically on how our body changes when we are feeling a wide variety of emotions.

Here's how it works:

1. Pick an emotion or feeling

Try a variety of different emotions. You could try frustrated, excited, sad, angry, worried, happy, nervous...anything really!

2. Walk as if you are feeling that emotion

Now imagine that you are feeling the chosen emotion from step one. Start walking as if you were feeling that way.

3. Notice how your body changes

This step is all about being present and noticing how your body feels as you act out the emotion. Depending on the age of your child, you might need to help point out some of these movements and signs. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Do you drag your feet?
  • Do you have a slight bounce in your step?
  • Are you moving fast or slow?
  • Are you slouched over or do you hold your head up high?
  • What are your hands and/or arms doing?
  • What does your facial expression look like?
  • Are you making any noises as you walk? (e.g., sighing, grumbling, etc.) 

How to Adapt this Emotions Activity

If your child is having trouble noticing how their body changes, then you might need to adapt the activity.

One idea is to have you, an adult, do the movements so that your child can watch you do the feelings walks. I recommend exaggerating the movements and actions to really draw attention to how the body changes for the given emotion. Make it obvious for your child to spot how the body acts.

Another idea is to do these feelings walks in front of a large mirror so that your child can observe the changes in the way they walk.

You can also encourage your child to make notes about how the body changes for each emotion you walk to, kind of like an emotions journal or something. Basically, you want your child to write down the main features of how the body changes. For example, if you are doing a feelings walk for the emotion frustrated, your child might jot down notes about clenched fists, angry eyebrows, stomping feet, etc.

Finally, skip the walk and focus purely on facial expressions instead. To do this, you will need a mirror. Then have your child sit in front of the mirror and act out various emotions. Encourage them to notice what their face does when acting out that emotion.

Other Emotions Activities & Resources You'll Love

Emotions Activities & Printables for Kids

Free Printable LEGO Emotions Chart

5 Ways to Help an Angry Child Cope with Big Emotions

Use the feelings walk to teach emotions for kids - great for toddlers, preschoolers, and up!