All Kinds of Feelings: A Lesson for PreK–2nd Grade

All Kinds of Feelings: A Lesson for PreK–2nd Grade

[adapted from article published by ADL; link below]

Help young children learn to identify their own and others’ feelings and emotions. This creative lesson plan uses reflection, discussion, art and dance to explore feelings and teach children to promote positive feelings in one another by practicing kindness in their daily lives. Working together, children create visual representations of feelings to use as catalysts for discussions throughout the year.


Children will reflect on, explore, and share their feelings about starting a new school year, meeting new children and teachers, and experiencing new environments.

Children will learn about the connection between words, actions and feelings.

Children will create visual representations to depict a variety of feelings, which can be used as a catalyst for future discussions.

Children will develop empathy for other children through sharing personal experiences and exploring commonly-shared emotions and feelings.

Estimated Time: 1-3 class meetings (approximately 20 minutes each)

Materials Needed: Chart paper, markers or crayons, magazines containing pictures of diverse people showing a wide range of emotions, glue, instruments or music and cassette or CD player. [NOTE: If magazines are not available, use  drawing supplies such as paper, crayons, pencils or markers so children can draw their own pictures of people with different emotions].

Preparation: Ask children to bring in magazines that they can use to create the “Class Collage” part of this lesson. If magazines are not available, have children draw pictures to use in the collage.

Group Discussion Component

1. Explore the concept of “feelings” by leading a discussion that invites children to reflect on their own feelings (e.g., about starting a new school year, meeting new children and teachers, and experiencing new environments — or any relevant theme ). Use some of the questions below to prompt discussion, modifying questions when necessary. Avoid equating feelings of sadness and/or anger as wrong or bad with children; reassure children that all people experience anger and sadness sometimes.

What are feelings?

Does everyone have feelings?

Does everyone have the same feelings? Does everyone express them the same way?

How did you feel about meeting new children in your class this year?

How did you feel about already knowing some of the children in your class?

How did you feel about having a new teacher?

How did you feel about already knowing some of the teachers you have this year?

How did you feel coming to a new place for school?

How did you feel coming to a familiar place?

2. List all the feelings discussed on a large sheet of poster board or chart paper, leaving adequate space between the words for the “Class Collage” component of this activity.

3. Lead a discussion to help children gain an understanding of how their words and actions can promote certain feelings and/or actions. While all feelings are acceptable, help children understand that some actions are not acceptable. For example, name-calling, hitting, biting may be a result of feeling angry or hurt, but these actions do not help lead to a resolution of the original problem. Use some of the questions below to prompt discussion.

How do you feel when someone shares his or her toy with you? What might you do?

How do you feel when someone will not share his or her toy with you? What might you do?

How do you feel when someone says that he or she likes the block tower you just built? What might you do?

How do you feel if someone knocks down the block tower you just built? What might you do?

How do you feel if someone calls you a name? What might you do?

4. Ask children to identify the feelings on their list that result from different behaviors and actions (such as being kind to one another, inviting or excluding someone from play, etc). Circle those particular words using a brightly colored marker or crayon.

5. Ask children to think about or demonstrate the facial and body expressions they might have while experiencing each of the circled feelings.

“Class Collage”

1. Explain to the children that they will work together to create a “Class Collage” that depicts the various feelings on the list they created during the group discussion component of this lesson. Explain that they will hang the collage in a prominent place in the room so it can be used as a visual catalyst throughout the year to continue reflection about how their behaviors towards one another can trigger various feelings. Explain that it will also be used to help them create a “Feelings Dance.”

2. To create the collage, separate the children into several small groups and distribute magazines containing pictures of diverse people showing a wide range of emotions. [ If magazines are not available, use drawing supplies.]

3. One word at a time, point to each feeling on the list; as you read the word, have children search through their magazines and cut out (or tear) pictures of people showing that emotion. [If magazines are not available, have children draw pictures that express that emotion.]

4. One by one, have the children paste their pictures next to the word of the corresponding feeling on the group list.

“Feelings Dance”

1. Lead the children in a discussion of the different expressions and body language illustrated in each picture on the “Class Collage.” Use some of the below questions to prompt discussion.

Which feelings do you see in people’s faces? Tell us more about that.

What other parts of the body were used to express feelings? Describe and have children pantomime.

How is posture used in expressing feelings?

What feelings are easy to express through pantomime?

What feelings are easy to express in real life?

2. Explain that children will work together to create a “Feelings Dance” of the words listed on the collage.

3. Read each word on the “Class Collage” and have children pantomime each emotion using facial expressions and body language. Repeat the list of words and again have children move their bodies and faces to express the feeling; this series of words and movements becomes their “Feelings Dance.”

4. Help children play musical tapes, CD’s or use instruments to accompany the movements for their dance.

Extended Activities:

1. Have children make a “Feelings” book by having them draw or cut out pictures of places, things, or people that make them feel different emotions. Assemble all the pictures into one “Class Feelings Book” which can be shared during group time. For a home/school connection, display the completed book where adults who pick up children at the end of the day can see it.

2. Have children use art supplies to create “Feelings Masks” that depict the emotions listed on the “Class Collage” from the previous lesson. Provide an opportunity for children to share their masks with a partner or in small groups. Then display the masks in the room.

3. Invite children to paint or color pictures of people showing different feelings and emotions. Have them discuss how colors can be used to express emotion. Ask them how each color makes them feel.

4. Play music with different tempos and moods and ask the children to describe how the music makes them feel. Have them move to the different music while expressing the mood the music evokes.

To see which National Standards the lesson plan meets, go to:

Please share your experiences here or on Visiting Feelings’ Facebook page!


iRest Yoga Nidra: the foundation for Visiting Feelings

iRest Yoga Nidra is a 4,000 year-old old form of meditation that allows us to connect with the stillness and peace that is always present within.  This research-based transformative practice of deep relaxation and meditative inquiry:

  • releases negative emotions and thought patterns
  • calms the nervous system
  • develops a deep capacity to meet any and all circumstances that may arise in life

Children’s iRest is a wonderfully creative assemblage of activities which use the senses as the doorways to children’s development of lifelong skills. Flexibility underlies the beauty of iRest. The various components can be tailored to meet the needs of children of all ages, and easily blend into the regular array of classroom activities. For example, while studying the human body, iRest BodySensing is introduced using the five senses, each sense becoming a portal for sensing the entire body.

Ingredients of iRest for Children:

  • Intention
  • Heartfelt Desire
  • Inner Resource—Safe Place
  • BodySensing
  • BreathSensing
  • Experiencing Feelings, Emotions and their opposites
  • Experiencing Beliefs, images and memories and their opposites
  • Experiencing Joy and well-being
  • Experiencing Silence
  • Experiencing Pure Awareness
  • Children’s Literature

iRest teaches children about emotions and beliefs through hands-on activities and literature. During a year-long iRest program in a Kindergarten classroom in California, children’s senses were developed and refined through sequential exercises with sensorial materials that range in weight, texture, temperature, color, sound and smell. An array of smiley faces offers opportunities to explore and experience emotions and beliefs in a safe and constructive environment. Children gain experience in locating emotions in their body as tactile sensation, discovering various kinesthetic qualities of emotions (sharp, smooth, rough, prickly, hot, cold, etc.). They develop vocabulary while describing, discussing, and respectfully expressing their emotions.  They discover opposite emotions (positive and negative) as well as beliefs associated with their emotions.

An eating exercise explores and enlivens the sense of taste.  Children connect emotions and memories awakened by the tastes. Having children listen to the gentle ringing sound of a meditation bowl develops and heightens their sense of hearing. Essential oils stimulate and develop the olfactory sense of smell. Vanilla, for example, often awakens memories of baked goods, holidays, and warm, pleasurable feelings.

Movement is another entry point that iRest develops and refines through BodySensing.  A favorite game of children is to imagine that they are snowflakes, dancing and falling from the sky, softly landing on the ground, and slowly melting into motionless stillness.

The breath (BreathSensing) offers another portal. Once the children are settled in comfortable positions, they place a small stuffed animal on their stomachs and are invited to gently rock the animal to sleep with the rise and fall of each breath.

As children become sensitive to their internal environment they become aware of subtle sensations such as “tingling” or flows of “energy” coursing through their body. They often express wonder and delight when they discover their bodies as systems of energy.  A foundation in BodySensing benefits children in many ways. It’s an excellent tool children can use when, for example, they feel “nervous” energy in their bodies. Simple question such as, “What are you are feeling right now?” or, “Where in your body do you feel it?” or, “Can you describe it?” help cultivate the child’s self-awareness. In the process, children also develop skillfulness in describing their immediate experience. When they encounter strong emotions within themselves or another, they are able to locate the emotion in their body and describe in detail the type and texture of the emotion.

iRest is a wonderful tool to help students explore their feelings, emotions, thoughts and states of mind.  iRest does not impose, but rather gently guides children to come to their own understanding and resolution, in their own way. This helps them build self-esteem and their ability to find solutions to the problems they encounter in life.

Adapted from