29+ Social Emotional Skills Activities for Kids (Printables + Reels)

Trying to find a way to help your preschoolers develop their social-emotional skills? Social-emotional skills are essential for kids to understand their emotions, build relationships, and interact well with others.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fun activities that you can do with your preschoolers to help them boost their social-emotional skills.

So, whether it’s practicing kindness through collaborative games or navigating through obstacle courses together, these activities provide valuable opportunities for children to develop essential social-emotional skills in an enjoyable and supportive environment.

Social-Emotional Skills Activities for Kids

Emotion Stamping Activity (2-4 Years)

Emotion Stamping Activity

The Emotion Stamping Activity is a bright and playful way for kids to express themselves and learn about emotions. By stamping different smiley faces that represent various feelings, children can explore emotional expressions.

Materials: Colorful ink pads, smiley face stamps with different expressions, and a sheet of paper.

How to Do:

  1. Set up your workspace with the sheet of paper and open the ink pads.
  2. Show your child how to press a stamp onto an ink pad and then onto the paper.
  3. Let them choose different stamps to create a variety of emotional faces.
  4. Encourage them to talk about what each face might be feeling as they stamp.

Emotion Stickers Activity (2-5 Years)

Emotion Stickers Activity

The Emotion Stickers Activity is a colorful and engaging way for children to learn about different emotions and the facial expressions that go along with them.

Materials: A sheet with emotional words printed on it..for that, you can use our printable, stickers of smiley faces showing different emotions and a pair of child-safe scissors.

How to Do:

  1. Look at the sheet with the names of different emotions printed on it.
  2. Cut out the smiley face stickers that show different emotions.
  3. Match and stick each smiley face next to the correct emotion word on the sheet.
  4. Talk about each emotion as you go along, discussing when you might feel that way.

Emotion Stone Painting Activity (3-5 Years)

Emotion Stone Painting Activity

The Emotion Stone Painting Activity is a creative and hands on way for kids to explore feelings through art. Painting different emotions on stones helps children recognize and understand a variety of facial expressions associated with emotions.

Materials: Smooth stones, white paint for the base coat, colored paints for facial features, and paintbrushes.

How to Do:

  1. Start by painting the stones white and wait for them to dry. This will be your blank canvas for the emotions.
  2. Choose which emotions you want to paint, like happy, sad, or surprised.
  3. Use the colored paints to carefully add facial features that show each emotion on the stones.
  4. Let the painted stones dry and then use them to talk about different emotions and when you might feel them.

Emotion Tree Activity (2-4 Years)

Emotion Tree Activity

The Emotion Tree Activity is a wonderfully imaginative way for kids to learn about emotions and associate them with the colors and shapes of nature.

Materials: Colored paper, markers or crayons, scissors, glue, branches or twigs, and a vase or jar to hold the tree.

How to Do:

  1. Cut out flower shapes from the colored paper. These will be your emotion blooms.
  2. Draw faces with different expressions on each flower to represent various emotions.
  3. Attach the emotion flowers to the branches using glue or tape.
  4. Place the branches in a vase or jar to display your very own Emotion Tree.

Emotional Story Telling Activity (2-4 Years)

Emotional Story Telling  Activity

The Emotional Story Telling Activity is a heartwarming way to bond with children while helping them understand and express their emotions. Reading stories and discussing the characters’ feelings can encourage empathy and emotional intelligence.

Materials: A storybook with rich, emotional narratives and illustrations, a comfortable reading spot, and an attentive listener.

How to Do:

  1. Choose a storybook that has a range of emotions expressed through its characters.
  2. Find a comfy place to sit together, like a couch or a bed, and open the book to start the journey.
  3. As you read, change your voice to match the emotions of the story, this helps bring the characters to life.
  4. Pause to talk about what the characters might be feeling at different points in the story and why.

Emotion Wheel Activity (3-5 Years)

Emotion Wheel Activity

The Emotion Wheel Activity is a fun way for kids to understand and talk about their feelings. They spin a wheel with different emotion faces and words to express how they feel, which helps them learn about emotions.

Materials: A spinning wheel divided into sections with different emotion faces and labels or use our printable, a movable arrow to point to the emotions, and a sturdy base to hold the wheel.

How to Do:

  1. Set up the emotion wheel on its stand so it can spin freely.
  2. Take turns spinning the wheel and watching where the arrow lands.
  3. When the arrow points to an emotion, talk about a time you felt that way and what might cause someone to feel that emotion.
  4. Use this as a chance to discuss healthy ways to respond to each feeling.

Emotion Word Search Activity (3-6 Years)

Emotion Word Search Activity

The Emotion Word Search Activity combines the fun of a classic word search with the exploration of feelings. It’s a puzzle that helps children learn to recognize and spell words related to emotions, boosting their vocabulary and understanding of different feelings.

Materials: A printed word search grid with a list of emotion words, a pencil, and an eraser.

How to Do:

  1. Look at the list of emotion words provided alongside the grid.
  2. Search the grid to find these words; they could be placed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
  3. When you find a word, circle it with your pencil.
  4. Keep going until you’ve found all the emotion words in the list.

Emotional Faces Coloring Activity (2-4 Years)

Emotional Faces Coloring Activity

The Emotional Faces Coloring Activity is a creative way to help kids connect colors with emotions. By coloring faces that represent different feelings, children can learn to identify and associate emotions with specific colors, which can be a helpful emotional learning tool.

Materials: A coloring sheet with different facial expressions, crayons or colored pencils, and a place to work.

How to Do:

  1. Look at each facial expression on the sheet and read the emotion it represents.
  2. Use the color mentioned in the description to color in the face. For example, if it says “This face is Happy. Color it Brown,” use a brown crayon or pencil.
  3. Fill in each face carefully, trying to stay within the lines.
  4. Once all the faces are colored, review the emotions and colors used.
  5. Watch our reel for better guidance.

Emotional Self Portrait Activity (2-6 Years)

Emotional Self Portrait Activity

The Emotional Self-Portrait Activity is a creative way for children to express their feelings through art. By decorating a portrait with materials that reflect different moods, kids can explore a range of emotions and how they can be represented visually.

Materials: A blank portrait template..for that, simply use our printable paper leaves or colorful feathers, glue, and additional decorative materials as desired.

How to Do:

  1. Start with a blank portrait template of a face.
  2. Discuss different emotions and what colors or types of leaves or feathers could represent those feelings.
  3. Choose leaves or feathers and arrange them on the portrait to create “hair” that reflects an emotion.
  4. Glue the leaves or feathers onto the template to complete the self-portrait.

Role Playing Activity (3-6 Years)

Role Playing Activity

Role Playing Activity is a lovely way for children to develop social skills and stretch their imaginations. Through interactive play, children act out roles and scenarios, which can improve their empathy and understanding of different perspectives.

Materials: A collection of props like toys or stuffed animals, costumes or accessories, and a safe space for play.

How to Do:

  1. Gather props and decide on roles or characters to act out, using toys or stuffed animals as additional characters.
  2. Dress up using costumes or accessories to get into character, if you like.
  3. Create a scenario and start acting it out, encouraging dialogue and interaction between the characters.
  4. After playing, discuss the different roles and what it felt like to be in someone else’s shoes.

Emotions Word Tracing Activity (2-4 Years)

Emotions Word Tracing Activity

The Emotions Word Tracing Activity is an excellent way for young children to practice writing while also learning to identify and name different emotions. This activity combines the development of fine motor skills with emotional education.

Materials: A worksheet with emotion words and matching images, pencils, and crayons.

How to Do:

  1. Provide the child with the worksheet which has images depicting different emotions alongside the words.
  2. Instruct the child to trace over each emotion word with a pencil, following the dotted lines.
  3. Once the word is traced, they can color in the corresponding emotion picture.
  4. Talk about each emotion as they go along, discussing what might make someone feel that way.

Empathy Map Activity (4-8 Years)

Empathy Map Activity

The Empathy Map Activity is a thought-provoking exercise designed to develop empathy and understanding in children. It guides them to consider not just their own thoughts and feelings, but also to recognize and respect those of others.

Materials: An Empathy Map worksheet divided into sections labeled “Says,” “Thinks,” “Does,” and “Feels,” sticky notes, and pens or markers.

How to Do:

  1. Explain each section of the Empathy Map and what kind of thoughts or actions they represent.
  2. Use sticky notes to write down or draw examples of what someone might say, think, do, or feel in different situations.
  3. Place the sticky notes in the corresponding sections on the Empathy Map.
  4. Discuss each note, why it belongs in that section, and how understanding this can help us relate to others.

Friendship Bracelets Activity (5-8 Years)

Friendship Bracelets Activity

The Friendship Bracelets Activity is a fun and creative way for kids to make a meaningful gift that symbolizes friendship. It’s also an excellent opportunity for them to practice fine motor skills and pattern making.

Materials: Beads of various colors, letter beads to spell out words, elastic string, and scissors.

How to Do:

  1. Cut a piece of elastic string to the desired length for the bracelet.
  2. Choose beads and letter beads to create a pattern or spell out a friend’s name or a word like “FRIEND.”
  3. Thread the beads onto the string, creating a design as you go.
  4. Once the bracelet is complete, tie the ends of the string together securely.

Emotional Sun Activity (3-5 Years)

Emotional Sun Activity

The Emotional Sun Activity is a bright and cheerful craft that helps children understand and express their emotions through art. Creating suns with different facial expressions allows kids to explore feelings in a visual and creative way.

Materials: Colored paper, scissors, glue, markers or paint for details, and a template of a sun if needed.

How to Do:

  1. Cut out circles from colored paper for the sun’s face.
  2. Cut out triangles or rays from different colored paper to surround the face.
  3. Glue the rays around the edge of the circle to create a sun.
  4. Use markers or paint to draw faces on the sun that show different emotions.
  5. Once dry, display the Emotional Suns to remind everyone of the wide range of feelings we all experience.

Feelings Collage Activity (2-4 Years)

Feelings Collage Activity

The Feelings Collage Activity is a wonderful way for children to explore and communicate a range of emotions through pictures. By creating a collage of different facial expressions, children can visually express how they feel and learn to recognize those feelings in themselves and others.

Materials: Multiple photos of different expressions, a large sheet of paper or poster board for the background, glue or tape, and markers or labels.

How to Do:

  1. Gather various photos showing different emotions.
  2. Arrange the pictures on a large sheet of paper or poster board to create a collage.
  3. Once satisfied with the arrangement, glue or tape the photos in place.
  4. Label each photo with the emotion it represents, using markers or printed labels.
  5. Display the collage and use it as a conversation starter to talk about feelings.

Emotions Charades Activity (3-5 Years)

Emotions Charades Activity

Emotions Charades Activity is a playful and interactive game that helps children learn to express and identify different emotions. It’s like the classic game of charades, but with a focus on feelings instead of objects or actions.

Materials: Cards with illustrations of different emotions, a container to hold the cards, and an open space for acting out the emotions.

How to Do:

  1. Place the emotion cards into a container.
  2. Have each child draw a card without showing it to the others.
  3. The child then acts out the emotion on the card without using any words.
  4. The other players guess the emotion based on the child’s expressions and body language.
  5. Take turns so that each child has a chance to act out an emotion and to guess.

Emotions Counting Activity (3-6 Years)

Emotions Counting Activity

The Emotions Counting Activity is a clever combination of math and social-emotional learning. Kids can practice counting while also recognizing and naming different emotions depicted by the faces on the worksheet.

Materials: A worksheet with various emotive faces and spaces to write numbers, a pencil, and possibly stickers or stamps for marking each emotion counted.

How to Do:

  1. Give each child a worksheet and a pencil.
  2. Ask them to count how many times each emotion appears on the worksheet.
  3. Write the correct number in the space provided under each emotion.
  4. Discuss what each emotion looks like and when someone might feel that way.

Emotions Cut Paste Activity (2-5 Years)

Emotions Cut Paste Activity

The Emotions Cut Paste Activity is a hands-on craft that helps kids learn about different facial expressions and the emotions they represent. It’s a fun way to work on fine motor skills and emotional recognition.

Materials: Printed worksheets with faces showing different emotions, blank faces to paste expressions onto, child-safe scissors, and glue or adhesive.

How to Do:

  1. Cut out the expressions associated with each emotion from the worksheet.
  2. Match the cut-out expressions to the correct emotion label on the blank faces.
  3. Paste the expressions onto the blank faces to complete the emotional look.
  4. Talk about what each emotion means and when one might feel that way.

Feeling Face Bingo Activity (3-5 Years)

Feeling Face Bingo Activity

Feeling Face Bingo Activity is a playful and educational game that teaches children to recognize and name different emotions. It’s like traditional bingo, but instead of numbers, players match emotive faces on their bingo cards.

Materials: Bingo cards with different emotive faces, counters or markers to cover the faces, a set of cards with the same emotive faces for drawing, and a container to mix and draw them from.

How to Do:

  1. Give each player a Feeling Face Bingo card and some counters or markers.
  2. Draw a face card from the container and show it to all players.
  3. Players look for the matching emotive face on their card and cover it with a counter if they have it.
  4. The first person to cover a set row or pattern shouts “Bingo!” and wins.
  5. Discuss the different emotions on the cards as they come up.

Mindful Breathing Activity (2-8 Years)

Mindful Breathing  Activity

Mindful Breathing Activity is a calming and centering exercise that can help children learn to manage their emotions and stress. It involves focusing on their breath, which can be a helpful tool for relaxation and concentration.

Materials: A quiet space, a comfortable place to sit or lie down, and optional soothing background music.

How to Do:

  1. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted.
  2. Sit down comfortably and close your eyes if you feel okay with that.
  3. Take deep breaths in through your nose, and feel your belly fill up like a balloon.
  4. Breathe out slowly through your mouth, and feel your belly go down.
  5. Do this several times, and with each breath, imagine any worries or busy thoughts floating away.

Feelings Scavenger Hunt Activity (3-5 Years)

Feelings Scavenger Hunt Activity

The Feelings Scavenger Hunt Activity is an exciting game that gets children moving and thinking about emotions. They’ll search for cards with different feelings depicted and identify them, which encourages emotional awareness and vocabulary development.

Materials: Printed cards with illustrations of various emotions, a space to hide the cards, and a container or bag to collect them.

How to Do:

  1. Hide the emotion cards around the room or outdoor space before the game starts.
  2. Give your child a bag or container for their found cards.
  3. On ‘Go’, the children start the hunt, looking for the hidden cards.
  4. When they find a card, they identify the emotion on it and collect it in their container.
  5. Once all cards are found, gather the children and discuss each emotion, talking about times they might have felt that way.

Gratitude Journal Activity (5-8 Years)

Gratitude Journal Activity

The Gratitude Journal Activity is a reflective exercise that encourages children and adults alike to think about the positives in their daily lives. Writing down things you’re thankful for can boost happiness and improve a sense of well-being.

Materials: A notebook or journal, colorful pens or pencils, and optional stickers or stamps for decoration.

How to Do:

  1. Choose a quiet time of the day, perhaps before bed or in the morning.
  2. Think about the things you are grateful for. It could be something that happened, someone you appreciate, or something you enjoy doing.
  3. Write down your thoughts in the journal. Try to be specific about why you are grateful for each item.
  4. Decorate your journal entries with drawings, stickers, or stamps if you like.
  5. Make it a regular practice to add to your Gratitude Journal.

Emotion Complete Drawing Activity (2-4 Years)

Emotion Complete Drawing Activity

The Emotion Complete Drawing Activity is a creative way for children to learn about emotions by completing drawings of different facial expressions. This helps in understanding and recognizing feelings by focusing on the details that make up an emotive face.

Materials: Printed worksheets with half-completed faces, crayons or colored pencils, and a comfortable place to draw.

How to Do:

  1. Look at the half-drawn face on the worksheet.
  2. Notice the emotion labeled below the face.
  3. Think about what features and expressions represent that emotion.
  4. Use crayons or colored pencils to complete the face to match the given emotion.
  5. After completing the drawing, discuss what each facial expression means and when one might feel that way.

Emotion Lacing Activity (4-8 Years)

Emotion Lacing Activity

The Emotion Lacing Activity combines crafting and learning about feelings. By threading strings through holes around emotive faces, children can improve their fine motor skills and explore different emotions.

Materials: Cards with different emotive faces and pre-punched holes around the edges, lace or yarn, and a safe, blunt needle or shoelace with a hard end for easy threading.

How to Do:

  1. Give your child an emotion card and a lace or piece of yarn.
  2. Explain how to thread the lace through the holes around the edge of the card, going in and out.
  3. Let them lace around the entire card, matching the movement with the emotion (e.g., slow for sad, fast for happy).
  4. As they work, talk about what each face represents and when they might have felt that emotion.

Sensory Play Activity (2-5 Years)

Sensory Play Activity

Sensory Play Activity is an engaging experience that stimulates children’s senses. It can involve a variety of materials for them to touch, see, smell, and hear, providing a wonderful opportunity for exploratory and imaginative play.

Materials: A sensory bin or container, rice or pasta dyed with food coloring for a vibrant visual experience, various objects for texture, and scooping or digging tools.

How to Do:

  1. Fill a bin with the dyed rice or pasta.
  2. Hide small toys or objects within the rice for the child to find.
  3. Provide tools like spoons, cups, or small shovels for digging and scooping.
  4. Encourage the child to explore the texture, find the hidden objects, and describe

Kindness Rocks Activity (5-12 Years)

Kindness Rocks Activity

The Kindness Rocks Activity is a heartwarming and creative project that encourages children to spread positivity. By painting rocks with uplifting messages and bright colors, they can share kindness with others in a unique way.

Materials: Smooth rocks, paint or paint pens in various colors, brushes, and sealant to protect the designs.

How to Do:

  1. Choose some smooth rocks and clean them so the paint will stick.
  2. Think of kind, encouraging words or phrases to write on your rocks.
  3. Paint the rocks with colorful designs and write your kind messages.
  4. Once the paint is dry, apply a sealant to protect your artwork.
  5. Place the rocks in public spaces to spread kindness to others who find them.

Emotion Matching Game Activity (3-5 Years)

Emotion Matching Game Activity

The Emotion Matching Game is an educational activity that helps children understand and recognize different emotions. Through matching facial expressions with the corresponding emotion words, kids learn to identify feelings in a fun and interactive way.

Materials: Game board with emotion words, set of cards with facial expressions describing different emotions, rubber bands, and colorful pegs.

How to Do:

  1. Spread out the cards with facial expressions on one side of the game board.
  2. Read the emotion words written on the other side.
  3. Use a rubber band to connect a facial expression card to the matching emotion word.
  4. Continue matching each expression with the right emotion word until all are connected.

Emotion Play Dough Activity (3-5 Years)

Emotion Play Dough Activity

The Emotion Play Dough Activity is a hands-on way for kids to explore and express their feelings. By molding and shaping play dough into different facial expressions, children can create and talk about various emotions in a creative way.

Materials: Worksheet that has kids’ faces or Plan sheet, Playdough in various colors, tools for cutting and shaping, and facial feature accessories or markers to add details.

How to Do:

  1. Give your child cut-out images from a worksheet, or you can draw on a plan sheet.
  2. Provide your child with a lump of play dough.
  3. Encourage them to shape the play dough into faces that show different emotions.
  4. They can use tools to add details like eyes, mouths, and eyebrows.
  5. Discuss each emotion as they work, talking about what might make someone feel that way.

Emotion Puzzles Activity (3-5 Years)

Emotion Puzzles Activity

The Emotion Puzzles Activity is a playful way for children to match facial expressions with corresponding emotions. This hands-on game improves their ability to recognize and name different feelings while enjoying the process of putting together puzzle pieces.

Materials: Puzzle pieces with different emotive faces printed on them and a flat surface for puzzle assembly.

How to Do:

  1. Scatter the puzzle pieces on a table or the floor.
  2. Tell your child to match the pieces to form faces showing different emotions.
  3. Each time a face is completed, talk about the emotion it represents and when someone might feel that way.
  4. Encourage the child to make the same face as the puzzle piece to further connect with the emotion.


So, consider trying out these fun activities next time you are looking for a way to help your preschoolers develop their social-emotional skills.

Your preschoolers will have a blast and you can be sure they will boost their social-emotional skills in the process.

Social Emotional Skills Activities for Preschoolers
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