I have a family fitness background and I have a son who is a major sensory seeker. Any time we can add movement into a learning activity, we do!
We’re wrapped up a preschool feelings unit this week (watch for that post next week!), and I created this simple movement mimicking activity to accompany our emotions-themed activities this week.
“Move Like You Feel” Movement Game
This activity allowed my son to differentiate his movements to pretend acting out these emotions. My son has multiple special needs, and, though he can distinguish many emotions, he can’t really copy them himself unless he’s actually feeling them.
To help him be able to model different emotions, we used this game to incorporate big motor movements he could associate with each feeling.
How to Play
Just have enough space to move a bit. Classroom teachers can use this activity with a little space in between desks, in a reading around, or outside.
Optional: You can also have a photo-filled feelings book in hand to help, like Lots of Feelings by Shelley Rotner.
The first round, I talked the kids through each emotion and modeled how we can move to act out that emotion. In the second and third rounds, I suggest trying to see if the kids remember each movement when you call out each emotion. Play 3-5 rounds for a total of roughly 10 minutes (just enough to get some wiggles out and get hearts pumping!).
Modification: If you’re using this activity with advanced preschoolers or early elementary ages, you can ask the kids to create their own movements!
Here are the movements and emotions we used:
- Happy – move bouncy and smiling, with a march
- Sad – move low and slow
- Excited – jump!
- Frustrated – move tight and stomping
- Tired – crawl on hands and knees
- Nervous – move on tiptoes very cautiously
- Silly – silly dancing!
We completed each movement for 30-60 seconds. We stopped at just these seven emotions for our first go-round. I hope to add a few more about my son is able to express when he feels these seven emotions with more frequency.
Modification for special needs: We signed each emotion first. I also suggest either showing a picture of each emotion or having a chart of emotions and first asking the kids to point out which emotion you call out. Then complete the movement.
Since playing this game, my son has already expressed “tired” and “happy” (yay!) and my daughter has talked about “nervous.” We might need to play this game once a week or so!
I shared our whole preschool feelings unit here, including the books and activities we used.
If you’re looking for a song about emotions, we love the “feelings song” from this episode of Signing Time. It’s good for dancing, too!
How do you help your kids learn to express different emotions?
This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten Corner, Tuesday Tots, Toddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-op, Show and Share Saturday, Free Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.
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