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Teaching Feelings and Emotions to Children: Materials with Velcro

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.


This list is not all inclusive but was effective for the needs in my classroom.

Feelings to Include















When I taught special education, I adapted a set of materials from the Feelings Game on the Do2Learn web site. I really like this game but wanted more scenarios and feelings. I also wanted materials that I could use for small group lessons away from the computer. I have worked with a number of students on the autism spectrum who enjoy Velcro materials, which is why I decided to use Velcro for this. You don't have to do that. I followed the 4 parts that the game on the web site has. I included additional feelings, additional faces from other sources, and wrote all of the scenarios for parts 3 and 4 myself.

I have included a list of feelings that I used for my materials on the right. This is certainly not an all inclusive list. If you decide to create similar materials, you're welcome to add more feelings.

Writing Tips & Teaching Strategies : Teaching Kids to Identify Emotions


Part 1: Who is ____?

Part 1 consists of prompts that say, "Who is ____?" with different feelings filled in the blank. The students are given three different facial expressions and must choose the correct one. As you can see in the example below, I used Mayer-Johnson Boardmaker pictures for answer spaces. I only used these for Part 1.


Part 2: How does this person feel?

Part 2 consists of prompts that say "How does this person feel?" There is a facial expression given and the students must choose from two written feelings. I thought that I would have to modify the words with corresponding Boardmaker pictures. But even my non- or low readers learned the feelings words quickly and did not have trouble choosing the correct words once they understood the feelings.


Part 3: Scenario with the feeling given

In Part 3, students are presented with different scenarios. In each scenario, the feeling is given. The students must then choose the facial expression that coordinates with the given feeling.


Part 4: Scenario without the feeling given

In Part 4, students are presented with different scenarios. I used similar formats for many of the scenarios that I wrote for Part 3. This time, the feelings are not given. The students must identify the feeling for the scenario and then choose the coordinating facial expression.

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If you would like copies of the scenarios for part 3 and/or 4 or would simply like a few more examples, please leave me a comment or contact me directly.

Emotion and Behavior Resources

Additional Notes

  • Special education vs. general education. I developed these materials for special education students. They are also appropriate for any kindergarten through second grade general education classrooms and any other elementary age students who need this sort of work with feelings. I wrote the scenarios with elementary age students in mind and would modify them accordingly for older students.
  • Time frame for teaching. It depends on how quickly your students understand the feelings and master the different parts as how quickly you'll move through them. There is no set time line. You can also determine what additional work your students will need with specific feelings. Some feelings such as happy and angry are easier for students to understand than other feelings such as jealous and ashamed. I have not developed lessons for these harder feelings but I may in the future if I feel that it's necessary to do so.
  • Tips for creating the materials. This is a time intensive project. I created approximately 30 cards for part 1, 30 cards for part 2, 16 scenarios for part 3, and 16 scenarios for part 4. It is time consuming to develop all of these materials. I printed the pictures and wrote the scenarios over one summer, and with the help of one of my teacher aides, assembled the 4 parts over an entire school year. Do not get overwhelmed trying to make everything at once. Make what you need as you need it. Once it's created, you will have to do very little work to keep it up. It's well worth the effort, especially for the enthusiasm that your students will have for using the Velcro choices.

Another example of using pictures to work on expressing emotions and feelings.

Feelings Lesson

Additional Emotions and Feelings Resources

Are you looking for more teaching material ideas? Check this out!


Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 28, 2013:

The school where I taught special education didn't have a lot of technology resources so Velcro was my go to for so many academic materials. Across the board, all of my kiddos loved it so I would recommend it to elementary school teachers.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on February 28, 2013:

I'm going back to the velcro drawing board. The new school where I work doesn't like for us to use technology (and instead use tactile and outdoor activities in its place) and reading this, I have rediscovered velcro. Yes, this is on my "supply" list, LOL.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 27, 2013:

It's great to hear that, nifwlseirff! Thanks for sharing.

Kymberly Fergusson from Germany on February 27, 2013:

Velcro activities would have worked wonderfully in my special ed English classes in Japan! I used hand drawn pictures and photos extensively, teaching only vocabulary (nouns / verbs), and avoided adjectives (at the suggestion of my assistant teacher). This would have been a fantastic activity to fill this gap!

Thanks for sharing!

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