Using Feelings Glasses to Teach Kids About Emotions

Feelings Glasses

Feelings Glasses is a great game to use to teach a group of kids, teens or adults what it looks like when we express emotions. In fact. one of the keys to teaching kids about emotions is helping them to recognize how those emotions make them look and act. Like any good “role playing” exercises, Feelings Glasses mixes exaggeration and fun with learning. Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy a few pairs of different colored glasses. I got mine at a party store around Halloween for a couple of dollars each, but I’ve also seen them at various dollar stores and Hobby Lobby in a variety of colors. I purchased six different colors (orange, blue, green, red, yellow and purple). You can definitely get by with fewer pairs, but if you want to do the exercise with more kids or multiple groups, it’s nice to have more choices.
  2. Select kids to come up on put on each pair of glasses. You may want to participate as well to “keep things moving along.”
  3. Explain to the kids that each pair of glasses represents a different emotion (start with basic emotions, but feel free to mix it up as the kids get older and as they learn more emotions). Sticking with the theme of the movie Inside Out, lets make
    • Blue represent sadness.
    • Yellow equals joy.
    • Red for anger.
    • Green can be disgust.
    • Purple equates to fear.
    • We’ll leave orange out for purposes of this example, but you could keep it for yourself and let it represent sarcasm (which is not an emotion but can be helpful for keeping the exercise moving). Other ideas include, “Orange has to copy whatever emotion the last person who spoke had.” or “Orange is not allowed to speak but has to physically express the emotions of the person who is speaking.” Use your imagination!
  4. Explain the rules of the game

    • You will give the kids a scenario.
    • They have to act out the scenario.
    • They can only express things using the emotion represented by their glasses.
  5. Lay out a scenario for the kids. Try to be specific enough to get the ball rolling but not so detailed that you stifle creativity.
  6. After the exercise is over, talk about each emotion and what the kids noticed.

Alternate Ways to Play

Some kids have trouble improvising a scene. You may need to help them along. Alternatively, you can propose an individual situation (rather than something to the group), and each person has to react to that prompt using their emotions. Play with the idea and figure out what works best with your group.

Feelings Glasses are a great way for a group of kids to have fun together and learn at the same time!

This idea was adapted from a game originally found on ElementarySchoolCounseling.org. Their version, which is geared specifically at school teachers, is great too if you want to give it a try.

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 started I Am A Child of Divorce to help kids who are dealing with the disruption of their parents' relationship. You can reach Wayne at wayne@hope4hurtingkids.com.