One of the simplest emotional literacy games I have played for years with children is entertainingly called, ‘I am a potato.’ It is a game that not only helps broaden children’s emotion vocabulary, it also helps them understand how emotion can be expressed by facial expression, body language and tone of voice. It is very simple. A child (or adult) chooses an emotion from a list and can only use the words, ‘I am a potato’ to express the emotion. Children love it! As time goes on, you can add more and more sophisticated emotions and ways of describing how you feel. Obviously, I let children have as many guesses as they needed as the value was in understanding the nature of the different emotions and ways of feeling. And also, there’s always room for laughter; it is funny!
To develop their understanding of each emotions further, you can, after they have guessed each emotion:
- Ask if the emotion is a comfortable or uncomfortable one.
- Ask for an example of a time when someone might feel that way.
- Ask which weather the emotion is like.
- Ask if it seems like a loud or quiet emotion.
- Ask if it is a warm or a cold/cool emotion.
- Ask what the emotion feels like inside and where in the body you feel it.
- Ask how you would describe the emotion (actually very difficult sometimes).
- Ask for one coping strategy that could help when you feel that way.
Here’s a list of emotions with increasing difficulty that could be used for this game.
|Easy > Getting more difficult > Difficult|