Row Row Row Your Boat Emotion Game

row your boat

The Row Row Row Your Boat Emotion Game is a fun way to talk to kids about emotions and what they sound like. It can be a valuable tool in the The Super Simple Feelings Management Technique for See It, Say It and Mimic It. Here’s how it works:

  1. Use a set of emotion cards, an emotion chart or just your own imagination to throw out an emotion to another player.
  2. The player must hum the song Row Row Row your boat sounding like the emotion given.
  3. Laugh and have fun.

It’s that simple! You can use whatever song you want, but we selected Row Row Row Your Boat as a song that virtually everyone knows. A fun game to play if you have a deck of emotion cards (the Hope 4 Hurting Kids Emotion cards are coming soon) would be to have the player select the emotion then have the other plays guess the emotion being hummed. You could also have the player pick the song they will be doing and have other player name both the emotion and the song. Break into teams and see how many each team can get in a given amount of time.

Credit to my 10-year-old Nathan who helped me come up with this game over dinner after soccer practice. Here’s a little video we made demonstrating the game. Please forgive the poor sound quality – it’s the best we could get with a phone and sitting at Arby’s!

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