Emotions in Motion

Explore feelings through books and simple games.

  • Target Age: 4-6
  • Skills/Subjects:
    • Creative Expression (Drama, Art)
    • Language and Literacy Development
  • Related Episodes:
    • #129: Giants and Cubs
    • #202: Humph, Humph, Humph
    • #219: But, Mama, But
    • #221: Rats


  • Hand mirror
  • Books about feelings (see titles suggested in Directions, Talk About It, and Related Books)


Being able to name different feelings can help children recognize and deal constructively with their own emotions, as well as to begin to understand and empathize with the emotional reactions of others. Books such as "The Feelings Book" by Todd Parr, "Feelings" by Aliki, "A to Z: Do You Ever Feel Like Me?" by Bonnie Hausman, and "Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day" by Jamie Lee Curtis help children build vocabulary pertaining to emotions, and are a good way to start discussions. Share stories about times you have felt delighted, frustrated, scared, brave, nervous, relieved, excited, disappointed, jealous or generous. Ask your child, "Have you ever felt (frustrated)? How did you look when you felt that way? What did you say or do?" Show your child how you looked when you felt that way and share what you did or said.

Try these simple "feelings games" with your family:

1. "Pull on a Mask." Cover your faces with your hands. Name an emotion. On the count of three ("One, two, three!"), players pull their hands away and reveal their faces with an expression (a "mask") that shows the specified emotion. Pass around a hand mirror so players can admire their own dramatic expressions.

2. "Guess the Emotion." One person chooses an emotion and acts out that feeling, using appropriate voice and body language as he or she recites "Happy Birthday to You" or another familiar song or rhyme. The other people playing the game try to guess the emotion. The person who guesses correctly becomes the next actor.

Talk about It 

With your child, discuss the changing feelings of the characters in the Between the Lions episodes you view and in books you read together. Recall times you felt the same way the character did. Encourage child to share stories about times she or he felt that way, too. Your child may be interested in drawing and dictating (or writing) a story about one of these situations, describing what happened and how she or he felt.

Some good books for exploring emotions are "Koala Lou" by Mem Fox, "My Name Is Yoon" by Helen Recorvits, "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" by Kevin Henkes, "Once Upon a Time" by Niki Daly, "When Sophie Gets Angry: Really, Really Angry" by Molly Bang, "Mama Elizabeti" by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, and "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst.

Related Books

  • Koala Lou by Mem Fox
  • My Name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
  • Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis

Wild Kratts Creature Power


Find more activities featuring your child’s favorite PBS KIDS character!