DIY Emotional Intelligence Card Games For Kids

emotional intelligence game for kids  I take a lot of pictures of my kids and not just for the blog. I wanted to use these pictures to help my children develop stronger emotional intelligence especially reading other people’s emotions. This may seem like an easy thing to do ” Just look at how they are feeling.” but it’s not. Young children are naturally self centered and giving them playful ways to stop and think about not only how someone is feeling but why someone is feeling like that is a really worthy activity. I decided to use their own faces because they are familiar with them, I am not quizzing them on reading emotions I am just trying to build this skill and using something comfortable and familiar helps them get to the heart of the lesson. These emotional intelligence card games were a cinch to make, let me show you how!

For a similar activity for a much younger audience try our DIY Emotions Photo Book.

Gather your materials. You will need some photos of your kids will all sorts of emotions. You can use other family members or friends as well but I would stick to familiar faces. You will also need  glue, card stock, scissors, and contact paper if you want to make these last for more than a few rounds of games.feelings game for kids

To make the photos a uniform size I find the easiest way is to use an online editing tool like picmonkey.com ( no I am not working with them, just a huge fan) and make a collage with all my photos, then print out two copies so I have a pair of each. I made a collage of 16 photos and then printed two copies.Emotion Memory Cards

Cut them out and glue to your card stock. Make sure there is room between each picture so in the next step the contact paper has a spot to adhere.feelings activity for kids

Place the whole sheet face side down on a sheet of contact paper.emotions match game for kids

Cut out and get ready to play.

emotions cards for kids

Before you play go through all the cards with your kids. Talk about the emotions and ask them to choose 2 cards each to talk about. Ask them what they were feeling in the cards, ask them if they can mimic the face and how it feels to do that. talking about emotions game for kids

 

Game #1

 

Emotional Intelligence Memoryemotions and feelings game for kids

Shuffle and place all the cards face down.

Take turns flipping over two cards. If it’s a match yell match and then IDENTIFY the emotion on the card. The game doesn’t continue until this step is taken. Spend time helping them read the emotion if you need to. you keep the cards. If it is not a match you return them to the exact location where you got them.emotion game for children

Keep playing until there are no more cards on the table ( or floor) and whoever has the highest number of pairs in their hand wins.

 

Game #2

 

Emotional Intelligence Go Fish

Shuffle the cards and give each person a few. Place the rest in a messy pile in the middle.

emotions and feelings go fish game

The youngest goes first asking one other player if they have a specific card. *** This is an important part of the game*** They must as for cards with the emotions. ” Do you have me feeling frustrated?” or ” Do you have you feeling happy?” this is where they will practice the skills we want them to.

If no one has the match go fish. When the player pulls out the card from the pile they must identify the emotion on it if it’s a match, if not place it back into the pile.

The winner is the person with the most matches.

emotions

 

Books About Emotions

Pair activities with great books to deepen learning and understanding. All our book lists include affiliate links.

feelings by aliki

 

Feelings  by Aliki is a book full of vignettes about emotions. From simple ones that make it clear what the children in them are feeling and how readers could see the situation to more complex and less clear ones that give readers a chance to discuss and decide for themselves what the people might be feeling. I love this book. Neither of my kids liked it as toddlers or preschoolers though. My son started really liking it at about 6 because that was when he could really talk about it all with experience and empathy. We rarely read it cover to cover instead picking and choosing pages and diving into the topic they are covering. It’s not a sugary sweet book but it’s an incredible tool.

when sophie gets angry really really angry

When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang is a book I bought while teaching. I had a lot of anger issues in my classroom and we spent a lot of time reading books about anger to diffuse it. When I suggest this book to parents I often get ” Really , kids like this?” as a response because the book seems much simpler than their expectations. It is simple. It is basic and yes it does include Sophie running away from the house to go be by herself which is something not all parents like. It also doesn’t include any discipline for her outburst which is also something that I hear complaints about. Here’s the thing what kids relate to is feeling angry, doing something about it , and becoming calm.  I think Sophie has great self control , she knows that she needs to go be alone for a bit to calm down and then re-join the group. It’s exaggerated for effect but really this book is about learning how to stop raging not about encouraging it. Kids LOVE it. They relate and love knowing that after you calm down you can be welcomed back into the group.

the way I feel

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain is a useful book. It labels feelings with a short rhyming piece of text and fanciful illustrations. While I wouldn’t suggest this as a book for a nightly read it is useful while specifically learning and talking about emotions. I like to have children show me their faces in the same feelings as the book progresses. If you are reading this with a small group or your child stop and talk about times when you felt these emotions.

For more books about feelings check out our full round up by clicking here. 

 

Help Manage Separation Anxiety with a Simple DIY Photo Book

separation anxiety tools for kidsWhen I stared this blog I never dreamed it would become my job or that I would go to conferences and speak about blogging to other bloggers. This week I am heading to BlogHer in San Jose to lead a writing lab about brainstorming. As I prepare I can see that my daughter is getting a little anxious. Over the years I have made different little activities for my children when I go away like this Kissing Hand Necklace and Mailbox Activity. I decided to make a little photo book because my daughter has always found peace in photos. When  she gets upset looking at photos of family has always helped her calm down. You can use this same tutorial for any kind of book not just one for when you are separated from your children.

Gather your materials. You will need some self laminating sheets ( or a laminator), photos or print outs of photo collages ( I used picmonkey.com to make mine) , a hole punch, scissors, and a small binder ring.separation anxiety

Start by making collages in a 4×6 size. As I said above I used picmonkey.com to make these because I like how easy it is to add text to the collages. When we are apart page layoutThis is the text I added :

Even if you aren’t tight in my arms, you are snug in my heart. My love for you is just the same when we are apart.

When I am gone build with cars and Lego, say hi to the deer, take care of your babies, and get some fro-yo.

When I am gone I am going to ride in a taxi, wait at the airport, fly on a plane, listen to speakers, teach some other bloggers, and see Ms. Maya.

If you miss me while I am gone look at all these photos and know that love can stretch all the way across the world.

My heart is always filled with you and I will hold your hand again in a few days.

Mama loves you no matter how far apart we are.

Create a cover page.

when we cover

Print them out and trim to a 4×6 sizephoto book tutorial

Use the self laminating sheets and laminate the photos. This step was SUPER easy and I picked up these sheets at RiteAid.photo book for kids

Time to punch the holes!photo book for children

Add the ring.when we are apart photo book for kids

Read the book.when we are part book for anxious kids I had my husband read the book to my daughter and I will read it to her many many times before I leave so that it’s familiar. We will talk about each photo and tell stories about them as well. I find it really helpful to tell my children what I will be doing while I am away as well. I never say I won’t miss them, instead I always say I will and then tell them how I handle the emotions and ask them how they do. Giving them control and not telling them what to do has always helped my children feel empowered with hard emotions. I love when they explain to me how they conquered something hard.  I also find the following books very helpful when dealing with any sort of separation anxiety.

Books For Separation Anxiety

All book lists include affiliate links.

kishand2

The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book.

Owl Babies

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell is perfectly written for toddlers who are eager to “do it myself” but still need a loving parent safely within view.  Three baby owls wake to find their mom away and as time passes the three all get more anxious in their own ways. My daughter loves this book and completely related to poor little Bill who repeats ” I want my mommy!” over and over.  At night she is very much like little Bill, but during the day she is braver like the other two owls Sarah and Percy. No matter what level of separation anxiety your child may have at times they will relate to one or all of the little owls. Of course the story ends with mama coming back and reassuring her little owl babies that she always will.

mama always comes home

Mama Always Comes Home by Karma Wilson was a last minute grab at the library that I am so thankful I saw. It starts off with animal mother’s leaving their babies, for all different reasons . A bird gathering food, a dog greeting his master and more. The animal mothers leave, but they also always return to their babies. Then it switches to a child and mother. She reassures the child that she will be back and we watch her leave, and return . I loved this book because my son isn’t the best when I leave him, he related to this book immediately and was repeating ” Mama always comes home!” half way through. { I originally reviewed this in 2009 and have since read it many times to my daughter who also needed those gentle reminders that I would always return. }

Create A Face Sticky Easel Activity

create a face sticky easel activity for preschool

This post was supposed to be about multiple things children could create on a sticky easel but when the first idea – make a face – was such a huge hit with my daughter I knew this would stand alone as a great easel activity. Seeing how she expanded this from a simple easel activity into storytelling and pretend play was a highlight of my week . The benefits to this activity aren’t just the creative ones, there are also language, emotional development, fine motor, and even opportunities to count. Oh and it was really fun too!

Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper and collage materials. We used beads, gems,craft sticks,feathers, googly eyes, and grabbed some pipe cleaners mid-way through the activity. While we used an easel with a white board you could simply tape the contact paper to a table or wall if you don’t have an easel, using a regular marker for the outline.create a face activity for kids supplies

Start by attaching your contact paper on the easel sticky side out.sticky easel make a face

Draw the outline of a face. I did ours on the white board but you can draw one right on the contact paper.sticky easel create a face storytelling activity

Set up the collage materials in the paint cup holders.create a face art activity for kids

Time to invite your creative genius to the easel… and sit back and watch.create a face and storytelling for preschool I am amazed at what happened. I expected her to create a face but I wasn’t expecting the level of storytelling that happened in our playroom. She immediately started talking to the face who was also almost four and had lost her mom at the store. This storyline began because she used a craft stick for the mouth which gave the face a sad look and mentioned ( to the easel not me) ” You look sad what’s wrong?” As she continued to add little bits and bobs the story got deeper but she never stopped adding things…create a face easel activity for preschool eventually they were at a store looking for their moms and trying on earrings, make up, and beautiful hats. create a face and encourage languageStill more gems and eyes were being added. Only when they found their moms did the activity end. I sat in our book nook quietly taking photos and enjoying being a spectator to her imagination.create a face easel activity for kids

What she may not have realized is that while she was creating this story she was working on literacy development, practicing empathy, and fine motor skills too.

Peace Sign Activity For Kids

peace poster activity for kidsTrying to explain inner peace to young kids is not easy. Trying to suggest creating a place for your child to recharge, think positively and find balance isn’t either. Last year my son went off to full day kindergarten. The academics weren’t a big challenge for him but the length of the school day was. He had very little time to recharge and when he got off the bus he was a tornado. He was struggling because he didn’t have all the tools he needed to find little ways to recharge throughout the day. He couldn’t find peace through all the activity.

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This week my son and I explored Playful Learning Ecademy ‘s Be A Peacemaker eCourse and after learning many new tools the activity in this post sponsored by Playful Learning was created to reinforce some of what we learned.

Of all the lesson in the course the one that we both connected most deeply to was one where participants are asked to describe what peace looks, feels,smells, tastes and sounds like. My son’s answers were on one hand wiser than his years and the next perfectly perfect for a 6 year old. After we took the course I decided to extend the learning by combining creating a peace spot and a sign or poster of what he thought peace looked like. My hope is that when is is out of control, anxious, or just unable to stop thinking he can see his peace poster and think about what peace looks like and all he learned about how to turn those negative thoughts and worries into positive ones and be at peace.

peace looks like love

Here is how you can make a peace sign ( as my son calls it)  with your child and use it as a conversation starter to talk about being a peacemaker. One of my hopes for this activity was for my son to take a moment of peace and create. Usually when we make things we do it together and when you get the two of us together you can bet at least one of us is talking. So going outside alone to create was as much the lesson as what he created.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need the a piece of paper , a clip board, some pencils and/ or pencil crayons. I had multiple copies of my poster outline so that if he wanted to start again he didn’t have to leave the yard and break his creative space. That is also why I had the clip board in case he wanted to take it off the deck and into our woods to complete.peace poster supplies
  2. Encourage your child to find a quiet spot outside to sit and think about peace. Bring them all the materials and make sure they know there are no right or wrong answers. Do not tell them to keep going if they are done in 2 seconds. This is their peace poster.peace poster activity for kindergarten
  3. Ask them to explain the poster to you even if you think you can figure it out. I found this so important. Knowing that love is how my son sees peace makes so much sense and I think you will find a certain insight into your children’s minds too.peace looks like love
  4. Put it up in the spot where your child feels the most peaceful. I love that his is by his bed because it gives me a chance to talk about it before he falls asleep at night. peace spot
  5. After he was done my daughter who is still a little young for the course proved she wasn’t too young to create her own peace. Her answer was pink. Peace looks like pink.future peacemaker

This exercise is just a tiny taste of what Playful Learning Ecademy Be A Peacemaker course can offer you and your kids. I really do believe in the value these course can offer families and know that my family has been helped by taking them. Before school starts and my son gets overwhelmed we will be reviewing the tools he has learned so he is better prepared for the long days ahead.

 

What tools do you use with your family use to practice finding peace and staying positive ? Share your ideas below or on our Facebook Page!

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This post was sponsored by Playful Learning and contains affiliate links.

 

Teaching About Emotions – It’s OK To Have A Bad Day

Yesterday was one of those days.  Almost everything that could go wrong while flying from one side of the country to the other did. All day I kept thinking about how this was my own real life version of Judith Viorst’s  classic Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good ,Very Bad Day. I kept telling myself and my kids each time I called that some days really are just like that and it’s OK to be frustrated, disappointed and mad that I wasn’t home when I said I would be. I was frustrated, disappointed and mad too.  I had a post planned for today but I am too exhausted to finish it and all I want to do today is snuggle my kids and wait for the airline to drop off my suitcase that somehow didn’t make it on to my flight with me. Let’s just hope it’s not in Australia.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst was another childhood favorite that I have enjoyed sharing with my own son. This book is beautiful, even though it may take a few reads to soo it’s not a story about a whining little boy so much a lesson that sometimes things do not go our way. Days can suck. It’s just the way it is. As a child I related to Alexander’s feelings of frustration and things being unfair. How often to you hear a child say “No Fair!” probably a lot. This book taps into that feeling, being little is hard but just because you are mad, or your day was bad doesn’t mean you get your way. Great book to talk about anger and frustration with your child, and it’s funny too

 

The book titles in this post are affiliate links.