Activities Exploring Feelings

Here you will find a range of ideas and activities for exploring feelings with your class.

Drama and role-play is a brilliant way of helping children understand the different ways of displaying and reading emotions. For example using:

  • The face
  • The body
  • The voice


Walking in a space

Ask the children to walk around the space showing a single emotion using their face or their body, or both. Try some more complex emotions or a mixture of emotions. You could even get them to show one emotion on their face and a contrasting emotion using their body. Using different music can help by suggesting a particular emotion.


Emotion Charades

Pair the children up and name them A and B.

A pulls and face and B guesses the emotion. Once guessed correctly B pulls a face and A guesses the emotion. They count how many right answers they get within a minute. This can be repeated using body language rather than facial expressions.

This game is a brilliant way of learning how to recognise emotion on another person while in a non-competitive environment. They will learn that emotions may read differently on each other.

Development – A picture of Billy or Bally is shown on the IWB or computer screen displaying an emotion. Encourage the children to think of a scenario where they may feel that emotion. Then, either as a group, in pairs, or individually act out the scenario.

You could make this a team game where groups guess each other’s scenarios. That way it can become a tool for recognising emotion on other people and learning what makes certain people feel certain feelings. It can also show that everyone is different and may react differently to certain scenarios.

Alternatively, you can make it an all-inclusive group improvisation where everyone acts together. The aim of this being to explore in a less pressured environment how everyone may portray feeling differently and the many causes of emotions.

Version B – Write different emotions on cards and put in to a bowl or hat. A child takes a card and must act out the emotion. The rest of the class must guess by putting their hands up.



The class sit in a cluster. One member of the class walks out to the front of a group and closes their eyes – they are the detective. The teacher will tap someone in the cluster on the shoulder. They then say “ABRACADABRA” in a funny voice. The detective guesses who said it. This can be adapted to explore emotion using the voice. Not only does the detective guess the person, but also the emotion they are talking in. The detective gets three guesses before the identity of the voice is revealed.



The children stand in a line and one child is chosen to stand in front of the line with their back to the line. They throw a foam ball over their shoulder and someone in the line catches it and conceals it. The rest of the group shout “Queenio, queenio, who’s got the ballio?” the thrower turns around and guesses who is hiding the ball behind their back. This game is all about concealing emotion or over exaggerating emotion to act as a red herring.


Pass the face

Sit the class on the floor in a circle.

With very little explanation simply say that we’re going to pass a smile around the circle. Start this off by passing a big smile to the person sat to your left, and then encourage it all the way around.

Using the same principle, pass further emotions or feelings.

  • Sad
  • Excited
  • Angry
  • Hungry
  • Scared
  • Worried
  • Confused
  • Happy
  • Shocked


The Beach Ball game

This is a game best played with a small group in a circle. You will need a multi coloured beach ball. Decide as a group which emotion each of the different colours on the beach ball could represent. Play catch around the circle and wherever the catcher’s right thumb lands determines what emotion is shared with a facial expression or noise. The game can be quite slow to begin with but when it speeds up it is really fun!

Suggestions of emotions and colour combinations:

  • Red – angry
  • Orange – happy
  • Yellow – scared
  • Pink – embarrassed
  • Blue – sad
  • Green – jealous


DIY Balloon Stress Balls

Information video:

You will need:

  • 1 Balloon per child
  • Funnels that fit into the opening of the balloon
  • Marker pens to draw on the balloon
  • Flour


Stretch out your balloon to test the elasticity.

Put your funnel in the opening of the balloon and start adding the flour a tablespoon at a time.

You will need about 4 tablespoons of flour per balloon.

You may need to push the flour through the funnel with a pencil.

Remove the funnel and tie the balloon right at the top of the flour so there is no air.

Pull the knot really tight.

Chop off any excess above the knot.

Decorate balloons with funny faces and if you like, tie ribbon or string round the knot to make a hair do!

Enjoy squishing and moulding your stress balls!


And Relax…

This is a stretching and relaxing activity.

Get the children to lie in a space on the floor and close their eyes. Name a body part and tell them to tense that body part as tight as they can. Then tell them to release the tension and notice how relaxed it feels. Repeat with other body parts until you are telling them to tense and release their whole body.

You can also ask them to visualise they are in a scenario, for example:

  • Floating in an empty swimming pool
  • Lying in the sun on the beach
  • Lying on a bed of marshmallows
  • Lying on a bed of nails that turn to jelly

This BBC bitesize video talks about how group massage can help relax a class or individual while also promoting team work and co-operation.


Anger coping strategies

These can simply be discussed or practiced using role-play. You could even role-play them in context using Billy and Bally’s characters.

  • Simply walk away
  • Go to a private space or “happy” space

(You could have a discussion on what a “happy” space may be to different people. You could even talk about creating a “Calm corner” in your classroom)

  • Tell a friend how you feel
  • Shout into a cushion
  • Count backwards from 10
  • Tell yourself stop

Share and Enjoy

| More

Comments are closed.