How to Make a Feelings Tree with Preschoolers
Expressing feelings is not always easy, especially for young children. Grownups can help kids verbalize emotions by participating in activities like this feelings tree.
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Often kids have not developed the language skills required to talk about how they feel.
Activities that are fun and engaging provide kids with opportunities to learn to understand and respect feelings, in themselves and in others.
A feelings tree is easy to set up and can help kids express feelings with games and conversation.
- Cut heart shapes from construction paper.
- Draw faces on the hearts with black marker.
- Cover with clear contact paper for durability.
- Hole punch the top of each heart and add a yarn or ribbon loop for a hanger.
- Cover an empty coffee can with red construction paper or wallpaper.
- Fill the can with sand.
- Insert a large branch. (Or tie three small branches together with masking tape or elastics. Wrap washi tape around the masking tape.)
As an added activity, kids can help decorate the can with heart cut-outs, old Valentine cards, or markers.
How to use the feelings tree:
- Put all the heart faces in a small box or bag.
- Kids take turns reaching into the bag to remove a face and describe the emotion.
- Help kids relate an incident when they may have felt the same way.
- Hang each heart on the tree as kids talk about the different feelings.
- Turn heart shapes face down on the table.
- The first child turns over two hearts to see if the faces match.
- If they are a match, hang them on the tree.
- Talk about the emotions on the faces as the hearts are turned over.
When talking about emotions with kids you may have to lead the conversation by providing prompts.
Ask kids about recent events, such as holidays or family visits. Draw attention to specific happenings that they can identify with.
How did you feel when your sister fell off the swing?
I felt sad when I saw my sister crying.
How did you feel when we heard the fire truck siren when we were in the playground?
I was scared of the loud noise.
Helping kids understand and verbalize emotions prepares them for social interaction. If they can express when they are afraid or sad or even confused, they are more able to engage in appropriate responses, instead of feeling frustrated and acting out in less appropriate ways.
Have fun with your feelings tree!
Visit our Valentine's Day Pinterest board for more Valentine crafts and activities.
Learning About Emotions and Feelings / Mamas Happy Hive
Circle Time Lessons About Emotions / Not Time for Flash Cards
9 Ways to Teach Children About Feelings / Kiddie Matters