“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine!” I don’t know about you, but singing that song before teaching this emotions game for kids is a MUST. I love that song, and I love this game! It’s bright and cheery, and best of all, it’s an excellent game to teach feelings and emotions to kids.

Sun Emotions Board Game for Kids pin-2

The Printable Summer Sun Identifying Emotions Board Game is easy to create. All you need to do is print the interactive emotions game board. Then, print and cut the cards. This game focuses on five key emotions: surprised, confused, proud, nervous, and excited. It’s the perfect way to teach kids to identify and cope with big emotions that often take over.

Importance of Social and Emotional Learning:

As children grow, they are constantly learning about the world around them and how they fit into it. Much of their behavior is based on the reaction they get from their environment. And those behaviors quickly become habits.

Adults play an important role in teaching children to identify strong emotions, label them, and cope with them. Kids need to understand that emotions are okay. They are normal and constant. However, they also need to understand that there are positive ways to deal with them!

Games for emotions and feelings engage kids in a hands-on way that is most effective. Psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller “Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships,” Daniel Goleman, urges educators to add emotional activities to lesson plans.

Emotional intelligence games and activities in early childhood are important because kids begin to develop emotional intelligence very early on in their lives. Daily interactions with parents, siblings, and caregivers contribute and form the basis for a child’s emotional outlook.

Feelings activities help children learn how to react in positive ways, which ultimately effects future relationships and interactions as children grow up.

Close up of a child moving a token on the sun emotions board game.

How to Use the Summer Sun Emotions Game Printable

After you download this adorable printable, it just takes a little prep work to prepare the emotions game for preschoolers.

Overhead view of the sun themed emotions board game.

How To Use This Board Game:

  1. Print and laminate the game board.
  2. Print and cut the emotion cards.
  3. Laminate the cards (optional), recommended if you plan to use them often or in the future.
  4. Mix up the cards that include facial expressions and “Tell about a time when…”
  5. Place cards in the Draw Pile.
Close up of a sun themed emotions game card for the emotion
Play the Summer Sun Identifying Emotions Game:

Playing the emotion identification game is easy! Children take turns drawing a card.

They must identify the emotion by looking at the expression on the sun’s face and/or the emotion word written on the card. Then, they move their marker to the next square on the game board with the matching emotion.

If they draw a card with sunglasses, they get to describe a time went they felt surprised, confused, proud, nervous, or excited. Then they can move to the next pair of sunglasses on the game board.

A summer themed emotions game card that says

At the end of their turn, children should place the card in the “Discard” pile.

The first player to make it to the end of the game board wins!

Adapt the Summer Sun Emotions Game for Children

Depending on the size of your class, or who you are working with, you may need to adapt the game. Early years emotions and feelings games and activities can easily be tweaked to meet the needs of you and your students.

Overhead view of a child moving a token on the sun emotions board game.

Small Groups and Partners

If you have a large class, you may want to sit with small groups to teach and play the game several times. When children are comfortable with the game, you might let them play independently with partners.

Circle Time

You could introduce and play as a whole group during circle time every day to get children familiar with the game. Take turns calling a child up front to pick a card and move one marker on a posted game board.

Compare and Contrast

Take time to describe the emotions as necessary. Relate the excited face to a happy face, or compare and contrast emotions by asking questions like, “Did you feel happy when you were proud of yourself for….?”

Omit the “Tell about a time when…” and use only the sunshine emotion cards to play a classic matching game. Make sure each card has one match, place them in a grid, and take turns flipping over emotion cards to find a match.

*You may need to use scrapbook paper to print so students cannot see through the cards.

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