10 Activities and games to work on emotions in children

The importance of working on emotions with children is that they learn to know themselves better, to distinguish why and how they feel and thus gradually learn to regulate and control their emotional states, something essential for their well-being and proper functioning throughout lifelong.

With the activities and games that I propose, you will be able to work with your children: emotional expression, interpersonal emotional awareness, trust, empathy and solidarity.



Activities and games to work on emotional expression and / or self-awareness

And I … what do I feel?

It is very important that you facilitate the way so that the child can connect with his inner world. The most common way that children express themselves is through drawing.
The child’s drawing shows us so much that there are psychometric tests where through a drawing we can know the emotional state of the child, his family relationships, his level of impulsivity, even his level of maturity.

At home, we can take every opportunity for children to talk to us about how they are feeling. If he draws in isolation, ask him if he feels alone or if he draws a scene of war, ask him calmly if he is angry.

We can use music, books, made-up stories, to take advantage and talk about how that song or story makes you feel …
trabajar las emociones con los niños

I feel-think-act

  1. Ask your child to remember a situation that has generated a great emotional sensation. It can be sadness, anger, joy, surprise … If it doesn’t come to mind, you can help him with an example.
  2. Take him to that situation and imagine it with all the details.
  3. Tell him to try to remember what he felt on a body level (sweating, increased heartbeat, tense muscles) and what he thought (he will pay me … I can’t take it anymore … it was the most incredible day)
  4. Once in the role, try to be able to compare this with another feeling produced for other reasons. Example: When I managed to tie my shoes by myself, I felt something similar to when we won for the first time with my soccer team.
  5. Tell him to put a name or label on that emotion and to relate it to a situation that always generates it.
  6. Help him specify what the consequences and actions he takes when he is in this emotional state tend to be.  
  7. You can help him think of other types of simpler and more adaptive responses to the same emotion, for example frustration.


Activities to work on interpersonal emotional awareness

The observer

Suggest that your child observe the emotional expressions of other people such as family or friends.

Ask him to watch out for:

  • Verbal aspects: what it says, how it says it
  • Non-verbal aspects: facial gestures, grimaces, tones of voice, tics, etc.

According to the age of the child, you can analyze if there is a relationship between what the person says (Verbal Communication) with his gestures (Non-verbal Communication) or if he expresses more than one emotion at the same time.

The other look of my favorite characters

Take advantage of the moments when he is watching television or a movie so that he puts on the “detective suit” and analyzes the emotional states of these characters.
Ask them how you think they feel and how they show it.
You can pay attention to both verbal and non-verbal communication.

You can argue with him, if he thinks he would react in the same way or they are exaggerated or unreal reactions.

Here is an example to analyze different fragments of movies known to children.

Guide the blind

Children like adventures and exciting situations. In this game the child will be blindfolded and holding hands, we will guide him through a path of “obstacles” indicating where to walk.

To do this, he has to trust us and have the certainty that we will see for him, that is why it is a game to generate trust.

Then, we can reverse the roles and be the guides, while we let ourselves be guided by the instructions and care of our children.

Falling back

Stand behind the child and tell him to drop back. Take it gently under the armpits.

For safety it is important that we verify that we can with the weight and height of the child.

We can do this activity between parents or siblings, always pending any possible accident.

There are many variations to this activity, but a very fun one, when the child is young, is for the adult to be on the ground supported by his back and lift the child with his legs so that the child can fly.

trabajar empatia


Activities to work Empathy

I imagine how you felt when …

  1. Tell your child a story (preferably real) describing the situation, in detail, but in an objective way. “Last week I was able to travel and be close to my parents. Because of the distance we can’t see much of each other and I brought them a cheese cake, their favorite … ”
  2. The child has to try to guess the affective states in each of the events reported. “I imagine you felt… ..when”
  3. Confirm if your feelings are correct
  4. If something is wrong, explain your reasons. I have felt happy to be with them, but also sad, because I also saw them tired.

How others think-feel-act

It is important both to distinguish what they feel and think themselves, and what others feel and think. Through stories or stories, you can always add the emotional component

And how do you think he felt…? From his face, how do you think he feels?

There are some pages on the net with stories to work on children’s emotions or short stories to work with different situations that trigger different emotional states.
Telling a story will always help make the task easier for us to ask how the character feels and then access what happens to him.

Generosity starts from home

If we want to promote empathy and a feeling of solidarity, children must see us act by example and begin to collaborate at home from a young age.

Make sure the children do simple housework, according to their age. How to clean up or set the table, put away the dishes in the dishwasher, let them help us sweep, vacuum … even if they don’t do it the way we want, they’ll learn.

Help other family members or people close to their environment, according to their abilities.

Out of my bubble

It seems that we want to protect our children by putting a blindfold on them so that they do not see other realities harsher than the ones they live and keeping them in a bubble.

But the truth is that being able to see the other “side of the coin” where there are hospitalized children, who do not have toys or even clothes or food, homeless abused animals … makes them more empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others.

It is good for children to do some kind of social or volunteer work. There are several NGOs where you can carry out different activities as a family, in religious associations or clubs, such as scouts who carry out this type of selfless and altruistic work.

The feeling of helping someone, getting a smile, solving a problem … takes us away from selfishness, makes us feel useful and makes us value what we have more.


  • Original source: deorugasymariposas.com
  • Written by: Katy Gutiérrez Herrera

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