A fun way to explore feelings with preschoolers is through stories and interactive play. One of my favorite books for this topic is “Glad Monster, Sad Monster” by Ed Emberley and Anne Miranda. The book illustrations are vibrant and fun, and it’s a good learning opportunity to have the children guess the feeling of each monster as you read (based on the expression on the monster’s face).
Glad, sad, silly, mad – monsters have different feelings just like we do. Use the opportunity to talk with the children about things that make them feel glad, mad, etc. The favorite part of the story experience for the kids was when I would try on each monster mask as I read!
Follow-up on exploring feelings after storytime by making “feeling puppets”. For our puppets, we made one side “Glad” (yellow) and the other side “Sad” (blue) – and used the same colors to represent those feelings as the story did.
We had some cutout shapes for eyes and mouth that children glued onto the yellow and blue circle shapes. We did this activity with younger 3 year olds – so we kept it basic as far as the feelings we explored and the way we made the puppets. For older preschoolers, you can expand the activity by exploring more complex feelings (like “worried”) and making a variety of feeling puppets.
We attached the two faces together (back to back) and adhered it to a large craft stick. So they can easily flip it from happy to sad. We then had some time for the children to explore their feelings through a puppet play!
What favorite books and activities do you use with your preschoolers to learn about feelings and emotions?
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