35+ Emotional Regulation Activities for Kids the Ultimate Guide to Teach

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient, is one’s ability to recognize and regulate their own emotions 😁 while also being able to understand and become aware of others’ emotions. 

Emotional regulation – it’s like having a magic wand to navigate the rollercoaster of feelings. In early childhood, this skill is like a treasure chest, helping kids understand and manage their emotions.

Let’s dive into the world of emotional regulation and discover its importance in creating little emotional wizards.

Why is Emotional Regulation Important in Early Childhood?

Imagine emotions as colorful balloons floating around. Emotional regulation is the art of keeping those balloons from floating away or popping too soon.

It’s crucial for kids to learn how to handle their feelings, respond well to challenges, and build friendships like emotional architects.

Role of Emotional Regulation Development in Holistic Development

Alright, let’s connect the dots between emotional regulation and becoming a heart-savvy explorer!

Emotional development is like the heartbeat of your journey, and when emotional regulation joins the party, it’s like having a guide that helps you navigate the twists and turns of feelings. Together, they create a symphony of emotional well-being.

When it comes to Holistic Development, this one play’s crucial part for sure!

Key Aspects of Emotional Regulation Development

Understanding Emotions

Teaching Kids to Understand Emotions

Emotions are like colorful puzzle pieces. Understanding them is the first step to creating a masterpiece. Let’s play emotional literacy games, tell stories with different feelings, and pretend to be characters with diverse emotions.

This activity boosts self-awareness, grows empathy, and kickstarts the magical process of emotional regulation.

Mindful Exercises

Meditation for Kids

Time to embark on a mindful adventure! Imagine a calm sea where your mind can sail smoothly.

Mindful exercises like meditation, mindfulness coloring, and yoga are like little boats guiding you through the waves of emotions. These activities promote calmness, enhance focus, and equip you with tools to manage your feelings.

Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

Deep Breathing Exercise for Kids

When emotions storm in, deep breathing and relaxation techniques are your trusty anchors. Practice belly breathing like you’re inflating a balloon in your tummy, try progressive muscle relaxation, or picture yourself in a peaceful place with guided imagery.

These techniques promote relaxation, ease stress, and give you a powerful tool for emotional regulation.

Strategies to Foster Emotional Regulation

Parents and educators, get ready to be emotional guides! Teaching emotional regulation is like planting seeds of resilience and understanding in young hearts.

1. Teaching Emotion Identification

Teaching Kids to Identify Emotions

Encourage kids to recognize and name their feelings. Create a feelings chart with various emoticons or play emotion charades. This builds their emotional vocabulary, helping them express what’s in their hearts.

2. Modeling Emotional Regulation

Modeling Emotional Regulation for Kids

Be the emotional role model! Show kids how to handle different feelings by expressing your own emotions in healthy ways.

When they see you navigate ups and downs, they learn that it’s okay to feel and how to manage those feelings.

3. Providing a Calm and Supportive Environment

Calm Environment for Kids Development

Imagine emotions as delicate flowers – they bloom best in a peaceful garden. Create a safe space where kids feel heard and understood. This environment helps them explore and regulate their emotions without fear.

Emotional Regulation Activities for Your Kids

Emotional intelligence activities are beneficial for your kids to recognize, understand, and regulate their emotions appropriately through socio-emotional learning methods. 

These activities can help improve your kids’ emotional intelligence, which in turn helps them handle and navigate various situations in life.

In this blog, I have compiled a list of ways you can do to develop your kids’ emotional intelligence. 😊

Color Emotions Sheets

Coloring  Emotion Activity for Kids

My son loves coloring activities that are also calming to do.

Print templates with outlines of faces experiencing emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, fear, etc.

Kids can pick their crayons to color πŸ–οΈ their faces with different emotions, which helps them understand the facial expressions people make.

Practice Gratitude

Encourage kids to express their gratitude πŸ™πŸΌ regularly to help them improve their well-being, cope with their emotions better, and bring a positive outlook to their lives.

Kids can maintain a gratitude journal or make a gratitude jar to keep track of everything they’re grateful for.

Practice Mindfulness

 Mindfulness Practice for Kids Emotional  Development

Kids can benefit from practicing mindfulness activities to help your kids experience a sense of calm when they feel anxious, scared, angry, or overwhelmed due to difficult situations.

Kids can practice mindfulness by doing breathing exercises, sitting and walking meditations, and trying to live in the moment without worrying too much.

Practice Grounding Techniques

My son has benefited from practicing ground techniques to regulate his emotions.

The 5 4 3 2 1 grounding technique is effective in helping kids regulate and cope with anxiety and anger outbursts and calm the mind in such situations.

Instruct your kids to name – five things they can see, four things they can feel or touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste from the room.

Practice Deep Breathing Exercises

Practice Deep Breathing Exercise for Kids

Deep breathing exercises are essential in helping kids cope with their emotions and regulate them better.

Guide kids to take deep breaths and let out any negative thoughts and emotions as they breathe out to clear and calm their minds.

Pro Tip:

Kids can start with blowing bubbles, which are easy breathing exercises, before moving on to deep breathing exercises.

List Good Things

Good things should always be appreciated and celebrated with others for positivity and happiness. 

Kids can share something good in their lives ❀️ – something that happened recently, something they like about themselves, or something they look forward to in the future.

Practice Yoga

 Yoga Exercise for Kids Emotional Development

My son loves waking up early in the morning to practice yoga.

Practicing yoga πŸ§˜πŸ½β€β™€οΈ is an ideal way for kids to regulate their emotions and keep them in control when facing difficult situations or just for them to get flexible. 

Kids can practice different yoga poses with affirmations and deep-breathing sequences.

Maintain a Feelings Journal

My son enjoys journaling and putting his thoughts and emotions on paper.

Encourage your kids to maintain a journal πŸ“” as a part of their routine to write down their emotions, thoughts, good things that happened, gratitude list, and how they feel emotionally on that particular day.

Pro Tip:

Make journaling more fun for kids by letting them use stickers, shape punches, markers, and other art supplies to decorate their journals.

Match Emotion Cards

Match Emotion Card Game for Kids

Play a fun and engaging matching emotion game to allow kids to identify and understand the emotions of others around them.

Print cards with images of faces depicting various emotions like happy, sad, angry, bored, and so on in two sets for kids to pair up. 

Instruct kids to imitate the facial expressions of their emotion cards and go around the room looking for another person making the same expressions as them to match the cards. 

Repeat Positive Affirmations

Repeating positive affirmations πŸ˜‡ can go a long way in making your kids confident about themselves and help them overcome difficulties. 

“I am aware of my emotions,”

“I will acknowledge my emotions,”

“I am attentive to my emotions,”

“I am learning to be my best self.”

Pro Tip:

Kids can repeat 2-3 affirmations every day as a routine to develop their emotional intelligence.

Read Books

Reading Activities for Kids

My son enjoys curling up with a good book!

Children’s storybooks πŸ“– can play a vital role in helping your kids understand emotions and aid their socio-emotional learning through stories laced with pictures and illustrations.

Some books that are great additions to your kids’ reading shelf are 

Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival, The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee, The Color Monster by Anna Llenas, and Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker, to name a few.

Form Compliment Circles

Make kids stand together in a circle with their hands held together πŸ«±πŸ½β€πŸ«²πŸΌ for a simple yet impactful activity to learn the importance of kindness.

Encourage kids to stand in the circle and choose someone to compliment – something good about them and their personalities. Kids can then receive compliments back about themselves to create a kind and encouraging environment where kids feel loved and appreciated.

Play I Spy

 I Spy Game for Kids

Play the classic I Spy game that kids everywhere love, with a twist to allow your kids to identify and express their emotions through objects.

Frame questions in a way that kids have to choose objects that have the power to evoke some emotions πŸ˜„ within them. You can ask them to find things around the room that make them happy, sad, or angry to help them understand their emotions better.

Play Emotions Charades

Play a fun charades game for kids to recognize and guess the different emotions.

Split kids into pairs of two. You can provide one of them with flashcards with the name of the emotion for them to act out using facial expressions, and their partners can guess the correct emotions within a set time limit.

Make Paper Plate Masks

Paper Plate Masks Activity for Kids

My son enjoyed making a few emotion masks 🎭 with the paper plates lying at home for a fun craft activity.

Cut paper plates in preferred sizes into halves according to the number of masks you want. Kids can use a marker and draw a nose and mouth on each of the halves in various ways to depict different emotions. Glue an ice cream stick to the back for kids to hold the mask.

Pro Tip:

You can also make this into a guessing game by making different expressions for them to guess and draw on the paper plates.

conduct a Scavenger Hunt

My son enjoys being a part of scavenger hunts to find things around the house.

Print a list of the names of emotions on a sheet of paper and their emojis or facial expressions matching the emotions on individual cards. 

Hide the facial expression cards around the house and let kids go on a scavenger hunt in search πŸ” of them, ticking the ones they find off the list.

Watch Movies

Entertainment for Kids Development

Bring out some snacks and watch movies 🎞️ with your kids. You can choose movies that deal with emotions or ones that can lead to discussions about them.

Disney’s 2019 movie, Inside Out, is the perfect recommendation for a movie about the different emotions and their importance in our lives.

Spot the Emotions

You can pick up a picture book or magazine and let your kids try to spot πŸ•΅πŸ½β€β™€οΈ the different emotions people are going through for a fun activity to improve their ability to understand facial expressions.

Role Play Emotions

Role Play for Emotional Development in Kids

Role play is an effective way for kids to present a range of emotions, understanding them as they act their parts.

Present kids with different situations and guide them to role-play how they would tackle the presented situations in real life by using their emotions.

Play Emotions Pictionary 

My son enjoys playing Pictionary, which involves drawing and guessing.

Divide kids into pairs. Specify an emotion for one of the kids to draw ✍🏼 on the board, and their partners have to guess the correct names of the emotions based on the drawings of the facial expressions alone.

Pro Tip:

To increase the difficulty level of this game, kids can draw different situations to depict the emotions people feel for their partners to guess.

Play Board Games

Board Games for Kids Emotional Development

Kids can play various board gamesβ™ŸοΈwith their family or friends to learn how to effectively manage and express their emotions in a group setting with other people, which leads to better relationships. 

Engage in Conversations

Engage in deep and emotional conversations πŸ’¬ with your kids and create a safe space for them to express the extent of their emotions and feelings openly. 

Conversations also help you understand what your kids are going through, help them identify and regulate their emotions, and make them feel loved and seen.

Create a Face

Create A Face Activity for Kids

My son loved doing this hands-on activity to recognize facial expressions linked with different emotions.

Print a template of a face πŸ™‚ along with various sets of pairs of eyes and mouths on individual cards depicting different emotions.

Specify any emotion – happy, sad, angry, and so on, and get your kids to find and place the matching eye and mouth cards over the face template to complete the facial expressions.

Pro Tip:

Laminate the eyes and mouth printed cards to make it last longer.

Recite a Rhyme or Poem

Encourage kids to memorize and recite πŸ—£οΈ a simple and short rhyme or poem while standing before their peers. 

Some kids might get nervous and anxious, and doing this activity helps them regulate their emotions and overcome negative thoughts about speaking in front of a crowd.

Match Emotion Eggs

Match Emotion Eggs for Emotional Development in Kids

You will need plastic eggs that can be opened into two parts. Draw pairs of eyes on one side and mouths on the other.

Jumble them all and let your kids piece the matching parts of the eggs πŸ₯š together to learn to identify facial expressions of different emotions.

Check-In Emotions

Make an emotions check-in βœ… poster as a fun way for your kids to express the emotions they’re experiencing on that particular day.

On a thick piece of cardboard, encourage kids to paint the base and draw different faces depicting the few main categories of emotions. 

Every day, they can point to the faces that match the emotions they are going through on that day as a check-in routine.

Draw Emotions

Draw Emotional Activity for Kids

Get your kids to draw faces ✍🏼 experiencing different emotions on paper using crayons and colored pencils as an art activity to help them identify the various emotions people go through. 

You can also let them draw faces that look like emojis to make things simpler.

List Personal Strengths

Get your kids to write down a list πŸ“„ of their emotional strengths as an activity to analyze and understand themselves and the values they uphold to become better individuals and improve themselves.

Kids can include strengths like creativity, kindness, hope, gratitude, and so on to their strengths list.

Become a Role Model

 Role Model Activity for Kids

Kids are always watching the actions and listening to the words of their parents and adults around them. 

Parents and adults need to become good role models πŸ’― who know how to identify and manage their emotions and are emotionally aware so that kids can follow in their footsteps.

Build Communication Skills

Kids with good communication skills πŸ—―οΈ can successfully express their emotions and thoughts and appropriately regulate them rather than suppress them.

Have conversations with your kids to improve their communication skills and to help them express their feelings better.

Obstacles in Emotional Regulation Development and Solutions

Obstacles can be stepping stones! Let’s turn challenges into opportunities for growth.

1. Difficulty in Understanding Emotions

Engage in emotional literacy activities! Use emotion cards, read books that explore feelings, or play games that encourage emotional expression. These activities make understanding emotions an exciting adventure.

2. Lack of Coping Strategies

Teach relaxation techniques! Introduce deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness activities.

These tools give kids strategies to calm the emotional storms and find their emotional balance.

3. Limited Emotional Vocabulary

Expand the emotional vocabulary! Introduce new words for feelings, encouraging kids to express themselves with precision.

This enriches their emotional language, helping them communicate their inner worlds more effectively.

Emotional Regulation and School Readiness

Picture emotional regulation as a backpack filled with tools for school success!

1. Social Interactions

Emotionally regulated kids make friends easily. They understand their feelings and can empathize with others, creating strong connections in the classroom.

2. Behavioral Control

Imagine emotions as traffic lights. Emotional regulation helps kids navigate these lights, promoting positive behaviors and reducing meltdowns or disruptions.

3. Coping Skills

School days have ups and downs. Emotional regulation equips kids with coping skills, helping them handle challenges, stay focused, and enjoy the learning journey.


As we wrap up our emotional adventure, remember that teaching emotional regulation is a gift that keeps giving. Parents and educators, you are the architects of emotional resilience in these young hearts.

By fostering understanding, modeling healthy expressions, and providing a nurturing environment, you’re shaping a future where emotions are allies, not obstacles. So, be the emotional guides these kids need – the world will thank you for it!

Emotional Regulation Activities for Kids
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