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Happy or Sad? Surprised or Mad? Five Fun Crafts for Preschoolers

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 7/12/2012

Now that preschoolers are becoming social beings it is important that they learn that they will not always feel happy. And that's ok! When you talk about emotions, crafts for preschoolers get them talking and sharing. Here are several easy choices to include.

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    If you are working on a special theme with your preschoolers, it is always good to include a craft. The children will have something concrete to take home which will act as a catalyst for conversation with parents about the lesson. As a side benefit it strengthens fine motor skills like cutting, drawing and gluing.

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    Let's Face It!







    Jumbo craft sticks

    Brainstorm feelings with your students and keep a list on the board as you do. Then assign an emotion to each student and practice making faces to display that emotion. Take pictures of each student’s emotional face. Print the pictures in either 5"x 7" or 8"x10" size. Depending on the ability level of your students, they may cut around the face or you may choose to do this. Glue the photo to tag board to make it sturdy. Then glue the picture to a large flat craft stick.


    1. Pass out the sticks to each child. Call out an emotion and the student with that face should raise it in the air.

    2. Read a book and when a feeling is mentioned or implied the student holding that emotion can raise the stick.

    3. Relate a short scenario, such as a time when a child gets a present or falls down and gets hurt, the corresponding emotion should be raised up in the air. Can more than one feeling be correct? Yes!

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    Puzzle Time!

    puzzle pieces Child's photo Materials

    Tagboard cut in 5"x7" pieces

    5"x 7" pictures of students (Use the same ones from the “Let’s Face It!" craft)

    Rubber cement

    Quart Size zippered plastic bags

    Use the rubber cement to affix individual pictures to the tagboard. On the back draw lines to delineate 6 -9 puzzle pieces. Instruct students to cut on the lines. Place the pieces in the zippered plastic bags.

    Pass the bags out in random order. Instruct students to assemble the puzzle. Depending on the ability level of your students you may want to have the students work in pairs.

    Walk around the room assisting the students and discuss what feeling the puzzle portrays.

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    Rainbow of Emotions!


    White drawing paper


    A copy of the book I Am a Rainbow by Dolly Parton

    DSC01787 Here’s a good activity that incorporates the study of feelings, listening skills and practice in following directions.

    Provide a piece of white paper and crayons for each student. Then tell the students that they will be listening to a book and following directions as each page is read. You may choose to do the same thing on a white board or chart paper in front of the class for the students to see.

    Next begin the book I Am a Rainbow. Each page describes an emotion and a color to go with it. Red means angry, blue means sad and so on. After each page instruct the children to use the specific color mentioned to make a stripe in a rainbow on their papers. Allow a few minutes for them to color each stripe and remind them that crayons should not be in use while you are reading. At the end each student will have a beautiful rainbow. Then ask them to point to each color as you say the feeling again as a review.

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    Group Work


    Old magazines

    Large poster boards

    Safe school glue

    Safe scissors

    Adult volunteers if available

    Assign students to groups with one adult in each group. Give each group a stack of old magazines. The assignment is to find and cut out pictures of faces from the magazine. The goal is to find a variety of emotions. Students should take turns gluing the pictures on the poster board to make a collage.

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    My Feelings Booklet


    White drawing paper

    Construction paper in variety of colors

    Hole punch



    Over a period of a few days, choose individual feelings on which to focus. Each time give the students a blank piece of paper and have each child draw what could happen to cause that specific feeling. A child might draw a picture of a birthday cake and presents to represent a happy feeling. A sad feeling might show a picture of the child falling down.

    When the child completes the picture you can write a sentence at the bottom:

    “I am sad when I fall off my bike."

    “I am happy when it is my birthday."

    Collect the drawings and assemble them in a booklet for each student. Add colored construction paper to the front and back. Punch holes on the left side and thread with yarn to assemble the booklet. Add a photo of the child to the cover.

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    Use these book suggestions as springboards to your craft projects.

    Leghorn, Lindsay. Proud of Our Feelings. Magination Press, 1995.

    Parton, Dolly. I Am a Rainbow.G.P.Putam’s Sons, 2009.

    Curtis, Jamie Lee. Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day. Joanna Cotler Books, 1998.


  • Parton, Dolly. I Am a Rainbow.G.P.Putam’s Sons, 2009.

    Images provided by the writer.

    Ideas and activities come from the writer's twenty-five years of teaching experience.