Feelings Ball Toss / Emotions Sorting

Feelings Ball Toss

Feelings Ball Toss is a fun activity to play with kids to help them understand different emotions. The great part about the game is that it can be played a number of different ways.

Here’s How To Set It Up

  • Get a series of bowls or tubs. We used the different colored bowls shown about that we got at Dollar Tree for a buck a piece.
  • Label each bowl with a different emotions. You can write the emotion or draw a picture using marker, but we opted to print various emojis and tape them inside the bowls.
  • Get some sort of soft ball or object that can be tossed into the bowls. We bought a set of 12 puffer balls on amazon that we use for the game. In addition to not bouncing and rolling as much as regular balls, they’re also a nice stress reliever for the kids.
  • Set the bowls on one side of the room (up against a wall works well as a makeshift backboard).
  • Have the kids stand at the other side of the room with a ball.

Here’s How to Play

  • Use the Hope 4 Hurting Kids “I Feel…” Scenario Cards. Have the child select an “I feel” card and read it out loud.
  • Have the child try to throw the ball into the bucket that corresponds to the emotion they would feel in the given scenario.
  • Have the child explain why they would feel that way. Keep mind that there are no wrong answers, and if the child comes up with a wild explanation of why a certain situation would make them feel sad or afraid or whatever bucket they land in, that’s ok. The point is to get them thinking about the emotions and what causes them.

Alternate Ways to Play

  • With a group of children, read a Scenario Card and have them agree on what the emotion should be. Then go through the line until the first person lands in that bucket. That child gets a point and you move on to the next card. For some of the cards the kids will debate what the appropriate emotion is, and you may need to step in a mediate.
  • Have the child act out the emotion and the situation if they land in the right bucket.

Emotions Sorting

  • One alternative option for younger kids is simply read the Scenario Card to them and have them put the card in the bucket that matches the card rather than try to throw the balls.
  • This activity is also a way for older kids to get through more of the Scenario Cards than the ball throwing version described above.
For more awesome resources for learning about and dealing with emotions, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Emotions Help Center.
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Written by Wayne Stocks

Wayne is the founder and executive director of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. He is a happily married father of four kids with a passion for helping young people who are going through rough times. In addition to Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne previously started I Am A Child of Divorce and Divorce Ministry 4 Kids to help kids who are dealing with the disruption of their parents’ relationship. These are now part of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Wayne speaks frequently at conferences and churches on issues related to helping kids learn to deal with difficult emotions and life in modern families.

Wayne lives with his wife, three youngest kids, three dogs and an insane collection of his kids’ other pets outside of Columbus, Ohio. In addition to his work with Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne is a partner in a local consulting firm, an avid reader, coaches his son’s soccer team and is a proud supporter of Leicester City Football Club (and yes, for those in know, his affinity for the club does predate the 2016 championship).

You can reach Wayne at wayne@hope4hurtingkids.com.