9 Fun and Effective Emotional Regulation Activities for Kids

We often hear that getting to know ourselves is a complex and long process, which sometimes lasts a lifetime because as adults we don’t always know how to understand what our emotions are. However, we also often hear that the more we know ourselves and ourselves, the more inner peace and happiness we will experience.

Now let’s put ourselves in the place of the little ones, if it is difficult for us to understand each other, imagine them. These simple activities that I propose will allow you to work on the emotions of kids from home. Which one do you start with?

Home proposals to work on kid’s emotions

Our little ones and little ones still do not have the social skills that the older ones have, and yet they bravely face their feelings every day. Many times, the fact of not understanding themselves leads them to feel a lot of frustration and to express it in ways that seem inappropriate to us.

The famous tantrums, for example, are usually moments of frustration at the impossibility of being able to understand their own feelings. These activities can help you work on them before they explode.


1-  EMOTIONAL AWARENESS: The album of emotions

This activity is very simple and fun. It consists of putting in front of the kid a series of nice characters. Each of them is expressing a different emotion that can be seen in their facial expression.

Afterwards, we will ask the kid: «How do you think the character feels? Also, we can help them a bit by suggesting emotions: «Do you think he feels sad? Do you think he is afraid? Can he be happy? Etc.

The objective of this activity is this:

  • On the one hand, to recognize in others the emotions of sadness, joy, fear, anger, and love-esteem. 
  • On the other hand, in this process, they can learn a specific emotional vocabulary.
  • Finally, globally, an attitude of empathy and interest in the emotions felt by others is promoted.

Another game that derives from this would be the mirror game, in which we develop the same skills in a very fun way.

2-  SOCIAL SKILLS: Messages from the heart

Feeling grateful is one of the keys in life to being happy. The objective of this simple emotional education game for Early Childhood Education is for kids to learn to feel grateful for something good and to be able to express it. 

Thus, to favour the attitude of reflection, we are going to start this activity in a resting position.

  1. You can have all the kids lie down and close their eyes, or just have them rest their heads on their arms if they are sitting.
  2. You can also help them relax by playing some calming music in the background.
  3. Next, they should think of something for which they are grateful. You can give them examples such as: “I feel grateful because it is sunny today or because my brother has left me his toy”. Ideally, give them examples that are related to people they love.

Once this reflection is done, we can all sit in a circle and each child, one by one, will stand up to express their gratitude out loud.

3-  SELF-ESTEEM: There is a friend in you

The objective of this emotional education activity for Early Childhood Education is to identify the qualities of the people around us.  

In a complementary way, it also helps to become aware of the importance of recognizing the qualities of people.

Logically, in this age range, the concept of quality can be somewhat limited. Therefore, to situate kids, we can explain that quality is something good that a person has. 

In addition, clear examples from a student will help us: “Juan is very tidy because he always keeps everything in his place.” 

kids like this game a lot because they all feel like protagonists and, thus, it helps to maintain attention.  

You can do so in the following order:

  • First, we sit everyone on the floor, in a circle, so that their faces can be seen.
  • Then, we start the game by saying out loud the example that we have given at the beginning, but without saying the name. “Someone is very tidy because they always keep everything in its place.”
  • So all the kids who think they are neat should stand up. There may be more than one.
  • Next, another child says the quality of a classmate, but also without saying the name of the aforementioned.

4-  Emotions cards

Place cards on a table with images of basic emotions and cards with related questions, both hidden. Uncover 2 at the same time, one that represents the emotion and the other with a question for the kids to reflect on, discuss and share their answers. 

  • What is this emotion called?
  • What happens in my body when I have that emotion? 
  • What do I feel like doing when I have that emotion? 
  • In what situations can that emotion appear? 
  • What can I do to keep or change that emotion?

5-  The history of the character

Select a representative story of emotions, through a video, film, puppets, play, or story. Talk about the story of one or more characters, about: 

  • What emotion did the character have? 
  • What situation led you to experience that emotion? 
  • What did you do when you were in that emotion? 
  • How did you resolve your situation? 
  • If you were there, how would you help him, what would you say, what would you do? 
  • Has something similar ever happened to you?

6-  Drawing emotions 

Put the kids to listen to the music of different melodies without lyrics so that they evoke emotions and can capture them in a drawing.  Then talk to them about what they do when they experience that emotion.

7-  The Revealing Bandana 

Represent with coloured handkerchiefs and music the action or manifestation of different emotions, like this: 

  • What does someone do when they are angry with a handkerchief? He squeezes it, stretches it, rolls it up, and shakes it against the floor or the wall. The rhythm of the music is  beaten 
  • With fear, the handkerchief is placed under a chair to hide it or throw it as if running or fleeing at high speed. You can also freeze or move as if shaking. Here the music is suspenseful 
  • With sadness, the handkerchief moves slowly or remains static. The music is slow and very soft 
  • With joy, the handkerchief jumps up, shakes, or propels itself with various movements. The music is nice, rhythmic, and dynamic. 

Kids can accompany the handkerchief with gestures and sounds of their voices and look at themselves in a mirror.

8-  Detail the emotion

To get the best profile of emotion, we can detail it with its bodily features or its sensory characteristics. You can use putty or plasticine and combine it with a description. 

  • What shape and colour would I give to my emotion? 
  • If I was excited to speak, what would I say, in what tone, and with what volume? 
  • What smell does my emotion have? 
  • In my body: where in my body do I feel it? How big is it? What is its intensity? What is its texture? What is its temperature? 

9-  Action for the exchange of emotion

Pretend to go to the emotion bank to exchange one emotion for another. The entry pass is the action taken. For example: 

  • Change sadness for joy –> Action: a hug 
  • Change anger for peace –> Action: Dialogue  

With these activities, kids will develop their skills for emotional well-being. In addition, later they will be able to interact in their social environment with greater self-control, and assertive, respectful, and empathetic communication. 

They will also understand the assessment of positive or negative behaviour, and the choice of decisions and will be able to solve challenging situations and achieve challenging goals.

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