Teach kids how to recognize and verbalize their feelings with this fun emotions matching activity free printable. All you have to do is print and laminate! Flashcards are in bilingual Mandarin and English with zhuying and pin yin.
The latest thing I’ve been trying to teach my 3 year old is to put a name on his emotions. I want him to be able to say “I’m happy” or “I’m mad” when he is having those feelings. This way he can recognize he has different emotions and that they are part of being human.
On top of that, it helps others around him (us, grandparents, peers, teachers, etc) to know what he is feeling. I’m no child education specialist, nor do I have any formal training in this area, but after talking to other moms and gathering information online, here are some useful tips I have used to teach my toddler about his emotions.
4 Tips to Teaching A Toddler about His/Her Feelings:
- Point out the emotions that your child is feeling at the moment. For example, “We are going to the zoo tomorrow, so you feel very excited!” or “You are feeling angry right now because mommy said no more crackers”.
Being in the moment and pointing out your child’s feeling is probably the best way to teach them, because they are experiencing that feeling right now! At the beginning I would think in my head “oh he’s upset right now” but never remember to point it out to him. However, with practice that has become easier and I don’t forget as often.
- Point our your own emotions to your child. For example, “Mommy feels very happy right now because you put away your toys.” or “Mommy feels sad when you don’t share your toys.”
- Read books about emotions and point out the different facial expressions of each emotion. For example, point out which way the eyebrows fall when someone is sad, or which direction the lips arch when someone is happy. Over time, your child will start to recognize these facial expressions.
- Play a game – Stand in front of a mirror and make different facial expressions with your child. You can say “Let’s pretend we are very very happy right now! What does a happy face look like?”
Then you make a happy face and ask the child to follow making his own happy face. Overtime, you can prompt your child to make the face first without copying your facial expression
With these things in mind, I decided to create a little emotions activity so my toddler can practice matching facial expressions with different emotions. Since we are mainly speaking mandarin at home, I also added Chinese characters to the labels. There’s a set of 8 emotion cards with the emotions labeled.
However, the fun part about this emotions matching activity is that your child can create new facial expressions and call them whatever he/she wants.
At this point I think my toddler is only into finding the exact mouth and eye combination that matches the emotions card like making a puzzle. Nevertheless, I can see older kids having a blast coming up with silly facial expressions.
What is Included in the Kid’s Emotions Matching Activity Free Printable?
When you download the Bilingual Emotions Activity Set (available in my Free Resource library), you will get the following:
- One set of 8 Emotions card with a Cartoon facial expression and labeled emotion name
- One page of blank kid’s face
- 8 Written Emotions cards in English, Mandarin, Zhu Yin, and Pinyin
- A set of 7 eyes and eyebrows facial expression
- A set of 5 Nose and mouth facial expressions
Kid’s Emotion Matching Activity: Materials
- Kid’s Emotion Activity Printable (Available in my Free Resource Library)
- Sticky velcro – I use this Sticky Velcro Roll in White because I like that I can cut the velcro to the size I want. However, Sticky Velcro Dots are also great if you just want to peel and stick without having to cut it first.
- (Optional) – Thermal Laminator and Thermal Laminating Pouches*
*I finally decided to buy a laminating machine for this project because it would cost me $5 to laminate 4 sheets at the local copy store. I figure that I’ll likely be using it to make more activities for my toddler moving forward, and this would be the more cost-efficient option.
Also, I got the 5 mil laminating pouches because I like that it’s thicker. I find the 3 mil Laminating Pouches to be a little flimsy. If you have a rough toddler like mine who tends to destroy everything, opt for the 5 mil laminating pouches. Alternatively, Self-adhering Laminating Sheets are a good option as well if you don’t want to use a hot laminator with a toddler at home.
Kid’s Emotion Matching Activity Free Printable: It’s easy to Make!
- Print out the Kid’s Emotion Activity Printable (Available in my Free Resource Library)
- Cut out all the printable (except the blank kid’s face, don’t need to cut)
- Laminate all printable including blank kids face
- Place sticky velcro on the following:
- Blank face Page – one for eyes and one for nose and mouth – Place Hook side of velcro
- 8 Written Emotions Card – Use loop side of velcro
- 7 Eyes and eyebrows facial expression cut outs – Use the loop side of velcro
- 5 Nose and mouth facial expressions – Use the loop side of velcro
What are Some Ways to Play This Emotions Matching Activity With Kids?
- Lay out all the facial expression pieces and show your child a flashcard with a specific emotion. Have your child find the correct facial expressions and stick it onto the blank face.
- Turn all the flashcards facing down (or put them in a box) and have your child “draw” one. He/She then needs to find the correct facial expressions and create it on the blank face
- Create a facial expression on the blank face and ask your child “What do you think this little kid is feeling right now?”. You could also give the kid a name (we just used my toddler’s name) and ask them “What do you think ____________ is feeling right now?”
- After creating a facial expression on the blank face, hold a mirror up to your child and ask him/her to also imitate the facial expression into the mirror
- Say an emotion, for example “Let’s make a Happy Face!” and ask the child to create a happy facial expression
- You can also ask your child “What are you feeling right now?” and have them create their emotion on the blank face. Then, have the child ask you “What is Mommy feeling right now?” and you create your emotion on the blank face. Take turns with other kids/siblings present as well.
- Read a story together and stop at different points in the the story to ask your child “What do you think [Main Character] is feeling right now?” Then have your child create the facial expression he/she thinks the character is feeling.
- More Advanced (for kids who can read, or starting to learn to read). Place the emotion-name card in the blank slot under the blank face and ask the child to create the facial expression associated with that emotion. Alternatively, you can have the child “draw” for an emotion-name card, read the card, stick it in the blank slot, and create the correct facial expression.
Are there Other ways of Saying these Emotions in Chinese?
For my Bilingual speakers, yes there is! Just as there are many ways to describe similar emotions in English (i.e. mad and angry), it’s the same in Chinese.
To be honest, I really had a hard time choosing which mandarin phrase to use for each of the different emotions! I ended up choosing the phrase that is in between what I would say and what is more formal. The one you’re accustomed could definitely be very different.
I’ve included a list of other common phrases that could be also be used as a translation for each of the emotions. If there are others that you commonly use, I would love to hear about them!
- 生氣/ 生气(shēng qì):
- 憤怒/愤怒 (fèn nù)，火大(huǒ dà)
- 害怕(hài pà):
- 恐懼/恐惧 (kǒng jù)
- 快樂/快乐 (kuài lè):
- 高興/高兴 (gāo xìng)，愉快 (yú kuài)，歡喜/欢喜 (huān xǐ)
- 興奮/兴奋 (xīng fèn):
- 等不及(děng bù jí)
- 驚訝/惊讶 (jīng yà)
- 出人意料 (chū rén yì liào)
- 難過/难过 (nán guò):
- 傷心/伤心 (shāng xīn) ，憂傷/忧伤 (yōu shāng)，悲傷/悲伤 (bēi shāng)
- 尷尬/尴尬 (gān gà):
- 很糗 (hěn qiǔ)，
- 不愉快(bù yú kuài):
A surprised boy (left) and an excited boy (right)
I hope your child enjoyed this activity as much as mine did, and also got to learn some different emotions. Don’t forget to save this image for later!
Also, if you’d like this activity with a little girl blank face please let me know and I will try my best to accommodate! Or if you would like an English-only Version lplease et me know in the comments as well.