One of the most important things you can teach a child is how to communicate and manage his or her emotions. In this storytime, we will explore books about a variety of different emotions and do some emotional regulation activities. I have also included a video of a virtual emotions storytime I have done!
Book 1: Georgie’s Best Bad Day by Ruth Chan
When Georgie the Cat wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, he knows it’s going to be “one of those days.” His friends are all having grumpy days too. They try various activities to cheer them up, before discovering that laughter is the best medicine. This book is great for teaching children that they can improve a bad mood by doing something they love.
Book 2: My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
This classic from Dr. Seuss features a gentle rhyming story paired with vibrant paintings. A child discusses how he can feel different each day, connecting emotions to colors and animals. I like to use this book to get kids moving, having them mimic the animals depicted on each page.
Book 3: The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
This is one of my favorite read aloud books of all time! Sesame Street’s Grover is worried when he reads that there is a monster at the end of the book, so he does everything in his power to prevent the reader from getting to the end. This book is hilarious and interactive with a character most kids will recognize. I highly, highly recommend it!
Movement Song: If You're (Emotion) & You Know It!
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.
If you’re angry and you know it stomp your feet.
If you’re sad and you know it say boo-hoo.
If you’re scared and you know it, hide your face (aaah!)
If you’re excited and you know it shout hooray!
Discussion: Emotion Scenarios
Here are some different emotional scenarios that kids can relate to. Read out the scenario and have the children share how they would feel if they were in this situation. Bonus: For difficult situations, ask them what they might do to help them feel better.
Scenario 1 (angry, frustrated, jealous, etc.):
You go over to your friends house to play with his new train set. It looks like a lot of fun, but your friend barely lets you touch the trains. He hogs them the whole time! When you ask him to share, he says no and stomps off. How might you feel?
Scenario 2 (sad & lonely):
You go to school and become best friends with a girl named Sarah. At the end of the school year, Sarah tells you that she will be moving over the summer and may never see you again.
Scenario 3 (happy & proud):
You enter a coloring contest at school. Out of all the kids, your picture is chosen as the best and you win a special prize!
Breathing Exercise: Hot Chocolate (From Breathe Like a Bear)
Explain to your kiddos that when they feel angry or frustrated, they can try to calm themselves down by focusing on their breathing. Here is a fun breathing exercise that is easy to remember and can be done anywhere!
We are going to pretend we have a hot cup of hot chocolate in our hands. [make a cup with your hands] It is too hot to drink right now, so we will have to cool it down by blowing on it.
Bring your cup close to your lips, take a long breath in, and slowly blow the air out to cool your hot chocolate. (repeat)
Now take a tiny sip of your hot chocolate and say “mmmmm!” Make the mmmm last as long as you can. Rub your tummy if you'd like!
(Repeat again as many times as you want.)
Game Time: Emotions Charades
Here is a simple game of charades that is quick and easy for children. Do an action to represent each emotion and have the children guess how you are feeling. Some examples:
Excited: Jump up and down! Say "ooh" and "yay!"
Tired: Yawn and stretch.
Shy: Hide behind your hands and peek at them.
Angry: Stomp around and make an angry face!
Scared: Squeal and hide behind something!
Embarrassed: Pretend to trip on a banana!
Sensory Activity: Play-Doh Emotions Mats
I explain how to do this activity in the storytime video. You will need to create maps shaped like faces. I used tin foil. Have the kids use Play-Doh to create eyes, mouths, and eyebrows to represent different emotions. You can also do this with dry erase markers by drawing a head on a sheet of paper and putting it inside a plastic page protector.