Teaching Kids Using Emotions Jenga

Emotions JengaEmotions Jenga is a fun game you can play with kids to teach them about emotions. When children have a better emotional vocabulary, they are better equipped to deal with difficult emotions when life throws things at them.

Here’s how Emotions Jenga works:

  • Find a colored Jenga game. We found this one from Lewo on Amazon. If you can’t find a colored version, or just want to use the traditional version, you can use colored dots or write the names of the emotions directly on the blocks.
  • For each color make a stack of notes cards with a variety of emotion names on them. You can see the ones we used below. We found colored note cards at Hobby Lobby (on sale), but you could use white cards and just mark a color on them.
  • The child can pick any block to remove from the Jenga game. They then pick a card from the pile associated with that color. For whatever emotion they get, have them do one of the following. You can choose one activity, let the kids pick which one they one to do, or even use a die to determine which activity the child has to do:
    • Act out the emotion on the card.
    • Show what their face looks like when they feel that emotion.
    • Share a time they felt that emotion
    • Share a coping technique/something they like to do when they feel that emotion.
    • Show what the emotion looks like in clay.
    • Describe what their body feels like when they feel the emotion.

For our game, we used the following emotions by color (light blue is a wild card block, and the kids are free to choose from any stack).

Red (Emotions Related to Anger)
  • Aggravated
  • Angry
  • Annoyed
  • Enraged
  • Fed Up
  • Frustrated
  • Furious
  • Irate
  • Livid
  • Mad
Orange (Emotions related to Confusion and Stress)
  • Baffled
  • Busy
  • Conflicted
  • Confused
  • Dazed
  • Discouraged
  • Dismayed
  • Hurried
  • Perplexed
  • Pressured
  • Rushed
  • Stressed
  • Uncertain
  • Unsure
Dark Blue (Emotions related to Sadness)
  • Awful
  • Bummed
  • Despair
  • Devastated
  • Distraught
  • Gloomy
  • Grief
  • Heartbroken
  • Hurt
  • Joyless
  • Lonely
  • Miserable
  • Sad
  • Upset
Green (Emotions related to Fear and Anxiety)
  • Afraid
  • Alarmed
  • Anxious
  • Apprehensive
  • Ashamed
  • Awkward
  • Concerned
  • Desperate
  • Doubt
  • Embarrassed
  • Frightened
  • Guilty
  • Hysterical
  • Nervous
  • Reluctant
  • Shy
  • Sorry
  • Suspicious
  • Threatened
  • Worried
Yellow (Emotions related to Joy)
  • Amused
  • Caring
  • Cheerful
  • Comfortable
  • Content
  • Delighted
  • Enthusiastic
  • Excited
  • Festive
  • Friendly
  • Glad
  • Jolly
  • Joyful
  • Happy
  • Love
  • Peaceful
  • Pleasant
  • Positive
  • Relieved
  • Satisfied

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.