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Lesson Plans for Preschool: Exploring Feelings

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Patricia Gable • updated: 9/11/2012

Preschool kids get mad, sad, and glad for so many reasons, and they're just starting to understand just what those emotions mean. These preschool lesson plans on feelings are the perfect way to help your students discuss what feelings are and why they happen.

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    Freeze Frame

    Some preschool lesson plans on feelings use an outside component, such as a video, in order to teach about emotions. Kids in today's world watch plenty of television, but it is up to parents and teachers to show them how to think about TV shows critically. One way to do this is to discuss different feelings that are portrayed in the shows, as well as what caused those feelings. Choose a preschool-friendly video with positive messages and a lot of emotion for this activity. As students watch the video, pause it at times when one of the characters is showing an intense emotion, especially when the character's face is in full view. Discuss which emotion words you might use to describe the look on the character's face. Then discuss why the character feels that way. This activity about feelings will give preschool kids practice in understanding what can cause certain feelings and how people can affect each other's emotions.

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    Mix and Match Faces

    Kids can flip through magazines to find people with strong expressions of feeling on their faces. Encourage them to cut out these pictures and put them into a large pile. Then go through the pile to find the best expressions of different types of emotion (trying to pick the ones that are approximately the same size and are relatively large). Tape each of the pictures to the board or to a wall and discuss which emotion each one shows.

    Then cut the papers into two or three pieces - one containing the mouth and chin, one containing the eyes and nose, and a possible third including the eyebrows and forehead. (Use three pieces for more advanced preschool classes, and two for those who would benefit from an easier activity.) Mix and match the parts of the faces and ask students to discuss which expression each one shows now. Use this as a springboard to discuss how different facial features (even including forehead wrinkles and eyebrow slants) can tell something about the person's emotions.

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    Feeling Charades

    Make a pile of "emotion" cards, in which one feeling word is written on each notecard. Call one student up to act out the emotion on the first card (which you will need to read to her), while the rest of the preschool class tries to guess which emotion she is acting out. For example, if the word on the notecard is "bored," she might sigh very slowly, yawn, roll her eyes, and have a morose look on her face. The first student to guess the feeling correctly gets to act out the next emotion card.

    These preschool lesson plans on feelings will help students learn about what causes certain feelings, what those feelings look like on a person's face, and how to react to those feelings. For a unique take on teaching feelings, take a look at this article on using "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to teach emotions.