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This wheel shows a lot of feelings, starting with the basic ones in the center and getting more complex as you move out to the edges. You can use this wheel with older children who want to go deeper and learn more specific words for complex emotions.
We all experience a range of positive and negative emotions, and that’s just part of being human. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for everything, including emotions. There’s a time to feel happy, sad, angry, scared, jealous, excited, and more. It’s not fun to be sad or angry, but there’s nothing wrong with having those feelings, and no matter what we’re feeling we can pray and tell God all about it. Adults have more experience identifying emotions and expressing them in healthy ways; children are still learning how to name what they’re feeling and how to express it in appropriate ways. Use these activities and resources to talk to the children in your life about their emotions.
- Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in your favorite Bible or Storybook Bible.
- Wonder about the story together:
- I wonder what emotions are in this passage.
- I wonder what things we could add to this list. (i.e. There is a time for _______)
- I wonder if there is something that there is never a time for (in other words, do you agree or disagree that there is a time for everything?).
- I wonder what you favorite time is.
- I wonder when it is a good time to be angry, sad, or scared.
Dear God, thank you for all of our emotions, even the ones that we don’t like feeling. Thank you for feelings that make us feel good! Help us to remember that our negative feelings won’t last forever and that we can talk to you about anything. Amen.
1. Feelings Charades – Write down a bunch of different feelings/emotions on pieces of paper and take turns picking one and acting it out. The other players have to guess what emotion is being acted out. This can also be done like Pictionary by drawing the emotion instead of acting it out.
2. Emoji Exploration – Go through the emojis on your phone and talk about what emotion each one represents. Have some fun by trying to make the same face as the emoji!
3. Write Your Own Version of the Bible Story – Ecclesiates 3:1-8 is written like a poem. You can write your own version of it, or add on to it using the following formula: There is a time for _______ and a time for _______. Repeat this pattern as many times as you like.
4. Embodied Emotions – Our bodies and mind are connected, our emotions can often be felt in our bodies. Talk as a family about what it feels like in your body when you experience different emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear, anger, etc. Think about a time when you experienced that emotion – what was happening in your body? Was your heart beating faster? Was there a tightness in your chest? Did your stomach hurt? Did your heart feel full? Next time you’re experiencing a big emotion take a moment to notice where you feel it in your body. Knowing how emotions show up in our bodies can help us identify them early on and address them in healthy ways.
5. Body Scan Meditation – While not directly related to emotions, doing a body scan periodically can help you become more in tune with your body, which can help you recognize how different emotions feel in your body.
Here is a 3-minute video of a guided body scan meditation: