Expressing Emotions

Learn different ways to express how you are feeling.

About the Activity

Talking about how you feel isn’t always easy. Every person has a lot of different emotions throughout each day, which can make expressing emotions more challenging. Let’s learn about the ways you can share your emotions verbally and non-verbally and why it is important to share with others about how you are feeling. If you’d like, you could start this activity by watching the movie “Inside Out.”

Grades: 6-12
Topic: Mindfulness, Healthy Living, Creative Arts, and College Readiness
Estimated Time: 30 - 45 minutes

Brought to you by The Allstate Foundation and Ohio State University Extension

Two young friends laughing

These simple supplies are all you’ll need.

  • Cardstock or Construction Paper (8.5”x11” or larger)
  • Pencil or pen
  • Sticky note(s)
  • Magazines AND/OR Art Supplies (paper, glue, markers, colored pencils, crayons, etc.)
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Activity Steps

Expressing your emotions is a great way to take care of yourself. In this activity, you will create a chart to help you to uncover and share how you are feeling. You can use this chart to help yourself and your loved ones.

  1. Make a list of every emotion you can think of. Watching Inside Out might help you start your list.Did you know? An emotion is a state of feeling. Everyone has emotions and emotions are not wrong. Emotions do not make you “good” or “bad.” Emotions happen to everyone.
Arts and crafts supplies including paper and colored pencils
  1. Identify 10-12 emotions that are common for you. Using the art supplies and cardstock, draw pictures OR cut out pictures from magazines that represent these emotions.Did you know? It is important to let people know how you are feeling. Keeping your feelings inside can cause you stress. Some symptoms of stress are stomach aches, headaches, and difficulty sleeping.
  2. Label the emotions on your artwork to complete your emotion chart. Hang this on your refrigerator or in a common area of your house.Did you know? You can “talk” about your emotions with words, drawings, body language, music, tone of voice, posture, and pictures. Both verbal and non-verbal language are important for communication.
  3. Each day, move your sticky note to the emotion that represents how you feel. You could even give each family member a sticky note with their name on it so that they can share their emotions.Did you know? A protective factor, something or someone that helps to reduce stress. Having one safe adult in your life to share your emotions with is an example of a protective factor.

Bonus Activity (Optional)
Take a look at other creative ways to express your emotions.

  • Take time each day to share with your family or friends something that happened using emotional words. Talk about something funny, sad, silly, frustrating, exciting, etc. that happened during your day.
  • Make an emotional video using digital pictures or videos of you and your loved ones. Practice making faces or body stances for each emotion before you take your pictures. Label the emotions and use music to help you “set the tone.” Ask an adult for permission to post on social media.
  • Start an emotion journal. Use this journal to draw or write how you are feeling throughout the day. Every emotion is an important one. Journal when you are feeling happy, sad, frustrated, or any other emotion.

Reflection Questions
Questions for your kids and teens.

  1. Can you name a time when your emotions changed how you acted?
  2. Who can you share your thoughts and feelings with?
  3. What is your favorite feeling?
  4. How do you reset your feelings when you feel stressed?
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Investigate and Explore
Take what you've learned to the next level to learn more and explore the possibilities.

Sometimes, people react based on the emotions that they feel. If you are excited you will probably clap or cheer. But, when you feel negative emotions, you may react in ways that reflect those feelings. When people experience intense emotions, they may not always see a situation clearly. And sometimes when they do this, they can hurt the feelings of others or their own feelings get hurt. Try to take a step back and count to 10 before letting your emotions control your actions. And if you do act with your emotions first, and someone gets hurt, remember to say “I am sorry”.

A young girl drawing in a notebook

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