Allows children and youth to name and identify feelings and notice where they hold feelings in their own body. This can be an opportunity to help normalize the myriad of emotions youth and children are feeling and give them a way to begin to process them.
Colored markers and pencils – for coloring
Permanent markers – for writing words
Handout of paper doll made up of puzzle pieces – 1 or 2 for each participant
Handout with various emotions that the child can refer to – click here for Emotions Handout
Music- something upbeat, such as “Putamayo World Beats”
Intro: 10 minutes
Warm Up: 10 minutes
Creation: 25 minutes
Closing: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Age Range: 3 and up.
Lay out colored markers and pencils around the table. Make sure that there is a person outline template and emotions handout for each child. These can be placed where the child will be sitting or handed out to them after the warm-up exercise.
Today we are going to talk about how we feel. Each of us have feelings or emotions. Sometimes emotions makes us feel good or bad, but there are actually no right or wrong feelings. Sometimes we may feel lots of different feelings at once; we can feel confused or overwhelmed by not knowing how we really feel. This is part of being human, and there are ways to learn how to understand our feelings and even how to get through ones that feel hard.
Lets start by thinking about the different kinds of feelings we have. Can you think of different kinds of feelings? Has anyone ever felt more than one feeling at the same time?
Encourage participants to think of a feeling or feelings that they have in this very moment. (You may even want to use a warm like Feelings Target for older kids or Feeling Faces for younger feelings to start this workshop.)
Do an exercise with the children with music to shake their feelings out. Have them dance around the room and ask them to make a face that they make when they feel a certain emotion.
What face do you make when you feel happy? Now shake it out! What face do you make when you feel sad? Now shake it out! What face do you make when you feel angry, tired, excited? Repeat and shake it out!
Then have them dance their way back to their seats!
Now, let’s take a moment and breathe with our eyes closed, if that feels good to you, or keep your eyes open and focus them on an object in the room. Notice your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Let them do this for 3 breaths.
Now see if you feel any feelings in your body. How do you feel right now? Where do you feel that feeling? Is it in you shoulders, stomach, neck?
For example, if you are nervous, does your stomach feel funny or is your heart racing? Are any parts of your body stiffening up? If you are happy, do you feel it in your face or a tingling in your stomach? Take a moment and notice your feelings. As you notice how you feel, ask yourself, would that feeling have a certain color? Do different feelings or groups of feelings have different colors or shades?
Show the children the person outline template that they will be writing and coloring their feelings on. You may want to show them an example of one that you created or explain that they can use color or words to show where they feel different feelings. Remind them that just like there are no right or wrong emotions, there is no right or wrong way of creating their art.
Have the children write inside each puzzle piece a word that describes a feeling that they have right now or feelings that they had sometime today. You will have to help the younger children write these words on their puzzle pieces if they want words, but it’s not necessary. You can encourage the older children to think of where in their body they might feel their different feelings; they can then write that feeling in the place that they feel it.
After the puzzle pieces are filled with the words of emotions, then have the children color in each puzzle piece with a color that portrays each feeling. There is no right or wrong color for different feelings. We all share the same feelings like sad, mad, happy or fear but it feels and may look different for each person.
Older children may want to create two feeling puzzles in one workshop; one to represent their feelings in the present moment and one to represent what they want their feelings to be in the future. This leaves them with an empowered feeling of “putting themselves back together” with the feelings they want to have!
At the end, give all the children a chance to share their creation. For children who chose to create a second feeling puzzle, ask if they want to share how it felt to notice the feelings they wish to feel in the future. This can be an empowering process! If they don’t want to share, be sure to let them know that it’s okay. Remind them to respect each others art and feelings while they share. Have them notice how many different feelings and colors there are on everyone’s creation. Even though each creation is different and unique, they all share similar feelings. At the end, congratulate them for such wonderful work and for sharing their feelings!