I don’t know what it is about gingerbread men, but I just adore them! Kids seem to love these little characters too. Today, I’m sharing a fun gingerbread emotions board game that you can easily print, laminate and enjoy with preschoolers over and over again. Readers have been loving our emotions board game for years and this NEW printable emotions board game is gingerbread themed just in time for the holiday season. This is a fun way to help kids in preschool and kindergarten learn about emotions in and out of the classroom.

Two images showing pieces of a gingerbread themed emotions board game.

Recommended Grade Level:

Materials for the Gingerbread Emotions Board Game for Kids

  • Paper
  • Laminating Supplies
  • Tape
  • Paper Cutter
  • Game Markers

How Do You Teach Emotions Through Play?

From facial expressions and body language, to emotional vocabulary and everything in between, social emotional learning is a tall order. You can help children learn to express their emotions correctly when you play this free printable board game together.

It’s really not easy being a kid. Mental health is an important part of overall wellbeing for all of us, and it starts early in life.

I know that my kids go through so many emotions that sometimes I have no idea how to keep up. Kids are constantly growing and switching how they feel about different things. Combine that with coping with friendship and other social skills, you never know what emotion the kids may walk in the door with.

I love creating games that put a new twist on important topics, like this gingerbread emotions board game! When I created our more traditional emotions board game a few years ago, I had no idea how popular it would become. Every month, thousands of readers download the fun printable board game to play with their kids.

Adding a new theme is a great way to keep emotional kids interested in a topic that takes a lot of lessons and practice before it’s mastered.

This gingerbread theme emotions board game is a fun way to help kids learn how to embrace big emotions and express them in healthy ways. It’s so much easier to be a mom, dad, caregiver, or teacher to children (and teens) who’ve learned positive coping skills!

Overhead image of the ginger bread theme emotions game with plastic people figures as game markers and a card showing an excited gingerbread face.

Preparing the Gingerbread Emotions Board Game

Materials for the Gingerbread Emotions Board Game for Kids

  • Paper
  • Laminating Supplies
  • Tape
  • Paper Cutter
  • Game Markers

How to Prepare the Emotions Board Game

First, print the gingerbread emotions board game template on paper or cardstock. Then, print the gingerbread emotions game pieces. No dice required.

After you’ve printed all of your game pieces and the game board for your gingerbread emotions board game, laminate the pieces for durability.

Finally, cut out each of the game pieces, so that they’re able to be used as playing cards for the gingerbread emotions board game.

Two halves of paper put together make up the game board.

Instructions To Play the Gingerbread Emotions Board Game:

Step-by-Step Instructions for the Emotions Board Game

Step 1: Place your marker on the “Start” of the board game. Place all the cards upside-down on the “Card Draw Pile”.

Step 2: Choose a player to go first.

Photo showing how to play the gingerbread emotions board game.

Step 3: The first person will draw a card from the pile and read the emotion from the card. Then the player will move his game marker to the next space that matches that emotion.

Step 4: If a “Christmas Present” card is drawn the player will head to the closest Christmas Present space, even if it is behind him. He should answer the question that is on the Christmas present card.

Step 5: The first player to reach the end is the winner!

I recommend playing in small groups as a way to encourage conversation and build game-playing skills with your kids.

Close-up image of the discard pile and a card that says "tell about a time when you were happy."

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence definition:

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

Psychology Today

Breaking it down further, emotional intelligence is includes social emotional skills, such as:

Emotional awareness: The ability to identify and name your own emotions

Utilizing emotions: Having the ability to use those emotions and apply them to thinking and problem solving

Managing emotions: Regulating your own emotions and helping others regulate their emotions.

How Does a Child Learn Emotional Intelligence Through Play?

Instead of punishing your tantrum-throwing preschooler every time there’s a meltdown, it’s much more productive to teach kids how to identify emotions and cope with them.

Playing emotions games for preschoolers offers a non-confrontational opportunity to discuss big feelings while your preschoolers are not in the middle of a system overload.

List of Emotions for Kids

Emotions List for Kids:

While the list of emotions is endless, with social emotional activities for preschoolers we often focus on the major emotions rather than trying to help them define the difference between confused and perplexed.

Sample List of Emotions for Kids

  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Excited
  • Mad/Angry
  • Tired
  • Worried
  • Silly
  • Proud
  • Frustrated

Providing Emotional Intelligence Activities for Kids

Emotions games for kids are a great way to open up a dialogue about how your children are feeling. Playing this gingerbread emotions game will help you discuss emotions with the kids and how different situations make you feel.

Younger children may have a difficult time expressing the correct vocabulary to match complex emotions because emotional intelligence for kids is a work in progress, but they can use the gingerbread emotions board game cards to identify a picture of what they’re feeling.

Being able to have a feelings activities for preschool like this for younger children to point to an object that shows how they’re feeling is a wonderful way to help your child be better at sharing how they feel throughout the day.

Photo showing the game markers moving along the path on the game board and a card with a crying gingerbread face.

Playing a preschool emotions board game with children and encouraging them to share their feelings is an excellent way to build a high level of emotional intelligence. It helps them become self-aware and begin to learn emotional regulation skills as well.

Add some fun gingerbread books your gingerbread preschool theme and continue the conversation about emotions as you talk about the way the characters in the books are feeling.

What Are Role Play Activities for Emotions?

I love that this emotions board game can be a springboard for further discussions and role playing to practice important coping skills.

Here are some ideas to use the game cards without the board:

  1. Emotion Charades:
    • Act out an assigned emotion for others to guess, enhancing empathy and emotional recognition.
  2. Emotion Storytelling:
    • Create short stories based on assigned emotion cards, fostering creativity and emotional understanding.
  3. Emotion Interview:
    • Role play an interviewer understanding a character’s emotion, promoting communication and empathy.
  4. Emotion Puppet Theater:
    • Use puppets to enact scenes with different emotions, encouraging creativity and expressive play.

Emotions Activities and Games for Kids

Picture of a printed board game with gingerbread faces on the game spaces. Playing card showing smiling gingerbread face and the word excited. Family math counters on board game spaces as game markers.
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author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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  1. Thank you for this great game. It fit in perfectly for our gingerbread theme and our Second Step social emotional curriculum lessons. One noticing I had though was that the kids had a hard time differentiating happy, excited, and proud. It would be great if these emotion games had a few other emotions that weren’t all showing a “happy” face.
    We will definitely play again and they really did enjoy it.