How to Make a Feelings Tree with Preschoolers

A feelings tree is easy to make to help kids' learn about emotions. Engage kids in activities like this feelings tree to identify and name emotions. Make this little tree together to encourage conversation and learning with hands-on play.

Feelings tree activity to explore emotions with preschoolers

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How do you feel? This is not an easy question for kids to answer. Expressing feelings can be difficult, especially for young children. Often kids have not developed the language skills required to talk about how they feel.

Activities that are fun and engaging, like this Feelings Tree, provide kids with opportunities to learn to recognize and respect emotions, in themselves and in others.

If they can express what makes them feel 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, they can verbalize what is going on inside.

A feelings tree is easy to set up to promote awareness and discussion about emotions. It can help kids express feelings through games and conversation.

The heart shaped cut-outs are perfect for a Valentine theme, but the activities can be adapted for any theme throughout the year.

Feelings Tree Activity

This feelings tree is easy to make with tree branch. If a natural branch is not available, use what ever you have on hand such as a dowel with pipe cleaners wound around it for tree limbs.


Draw expressions on paper cutouts for preschool activities


How to make the Feelings Tree

  • Draw faces with different expressions on the hearts with black marker.
  • Hole punch  the top of each heart and add a yarn or ribbon loop for a hanger.
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Support tree branch in sand to make a feelings tree

  • Cover an empty coffee can with red construction paper or wallpaper.
  • Fill the can with sand.
  • Insert one large branch, or tie three small branches together with masking tape or elastics. Wrap washi tape around the masking tape as shown in the photo.

Kids can help decorate the can with heart cut-outs, stickers, recycled Valentine cards, or crayons and markers.

Make a feelings tree with a tree branch for exploring emotions with preschool activities


Activities using the feelings tree

1. How Did You Feel?

  • Put all the heart faces in a small box or bag.
  • Invite kids to take turns reaching into the bag to remove a face, then describing the emotion.
  • Help kids relate an incident when they may have felt this emotion.
  • Hang each heart on the tree as kids talk about the different feelings.

 2. Name the Emotion

  • Turn heart shapes face down on the table.
  • Invite kids to take turns turning over two hearts to see if the faces match.
  • If they are a match, hang them on the tree.
  • Name the emotions on the faces as the hearts are turned over.


Feelings tree activities to support learning about emotions with kids


When talking about emotions with kids you may have to lead the conversation by providing prompts.

Questions should be open-ended but also guide the child to think about an emotion.

Ask kids about recent events, such as holidays or family visits.

  • Were you happy to see your cousin come for a visit?
  • I bet you were upset when your favorite toy got broken.

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.

Get the conversation started, and have fun with your Feelings Tree!


Valentine Feelings tree for exploring emotions with preschoolers

 Valentine's Day Pinterest board 


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


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