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Activities to Support Recognizing and Labeling Emotions

Using Disney’s Inside Out to Explore Emotions

Inside Out is a movie about a young girl who has to move to a new city and leave her old life behind. The girl’s emotions: Fear, Anger, Joy, Disgust, and Sadness, are actual characters in the movie as she learns how to live her new life in a new city. If your child has the opportunity to watch this movie, it is a great opportunity to discuss emotions with them and make connections to times when you felt certain emotions or they felt those kinds of emotions. Disney also has developed a number of connected activities that can be found at Disney.

Goldilocks Activity

During the early years, a lot of focus tends to be on teaching children the names of objects such as clothing, furniture, and food names. Although those are important, something equally important, that may be a little more difficult to point out in a room, are emotions. When a name is given to a particular feeling, children can better express, accept, and understand themselves. When children learn to recognize their own feelings, they can then recognize those same feelings in others as well.

One way to practice recognizing and labeling feelings and emotions is to read the well-known fairy tale of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and help your child acknowledge and label emotions.

  • Grab a piece of paper and pencil
  • Draw four circles with a happy, angry, sad and scared face on it
  • Read “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” story with emotion
  • You can talk like the characters and have your child point to the face with the emotion you are expressing and practice saying the emotion.
  • Each character depicts a different emotion such as:
    • Angry Papa Bear “WHO WAS SLEEPING IN MY BED!” or
    • A happy Mama Bear “Oh Yummy! I love Porridge!”, or
    • A scared Baby Bear “Oh mmyyyy…who…who…was in m-m-my chair?”
  • Have fun with it and let your child have a turn too!
working on the activity with paper, markers and drawings

If you would like to create “The Three Bears Mobile” activity as an extension to the activity previously mentioned, you can register on The Listening Room and download “The Three Bears Mobile” activity.