Free Printable Emotions Flashcards For Kids With Game Ideas

Feelings are a really complex thing, and if your children are anything like mine, kids often feel things really strongly. When they are happy they are super happy and when they are upset the whole house knows. As a developmental pediatric nurse I love equipping parents with tools to help them work with their kids on coping skills. These free printable emotions flashcards are a great tool to introduce your kids to understanding the emotions that they have as well as the emotions of others. I have also included activity and game ideas below to help you use these with your kids.

complete set of 12 emotion flash cards and 4 blank face flashcards sitting on a table

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Before we dive into ways to use these cards I wanted to be sure to note that there are no “good” or “bad” emotions. It is okay to sometimes feel angry just as much as it is to feel happy. These are normal emotions to feel and it is important for kids to be able to label and verbalize how they are feeling.

About The Free Printable Emotions Flashcards

These free printables are for personal use as well as classroom use, the pdf file link is below. The printable includes cards for 12 different emotions as well as 4 flashcards that have blank faces.

I recommend printing these out and laminating them to protect them from the little hands that will be playing with them. Once laminated you can create your own emotions to display on the blank faces with a dry erase marker and wipe off to use over and over again! This is my favorite laminator and I used these laminating sheets for this project.

laminator on counter laminating blank face flash cards

The 12 emotion cards all depict different facial expressions that match with an emotion. The different feelings on these cards include:

  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Worried
  • Tired
  • Bored
  • Excited 
  • Silly
  • Confused
  • Surprised
  • Proud
  • Nervous

There are also 4 cards (2 boys and 2 girls) that have a blank face. I love these cards because they allow for some open ended teaching opportunities. You could allow the child to draw how they are feeling at that moment. Or you could use them in one of the activities listed below.

Set of 4 blank face emotion flash cards

Why Is Teaching Emotions Important?

As a developmental pediatric nurse I would be remiss to leave out this section in this post because I love talking about the importance of development of social emotional skills in kids. So often we assume kids should innately know how to deal with their emotions, but this is just not true. It is our job to teach kids appropriate ways to respond to emotions, and the first step in this is to help them identify and label emotions in themselves and others. 

Emotional awareness is an essential developmental milestone and it is our job to work with kids on developing that emotional intelligence. Kids often have big feelings and it is important for us to teach them appropriate ways to cope or respond to those emotions. 

Developing positive social skills during early years of development will help your child create and maintain positive friendships and navigate more difficult social situations as they get older.

set of 4 emotion flashcards including surprised, proud, angry and nervous

How to Use

There are a lot of different ways to use these flashcards, they can be used with young children but also with older kids.

The emotion flashcards can be a useful tool to help provide kids an emotional vocabulary to use to help label their feelings.

It is a wonderful tool to use to open up doors for conversation, you may find that kids start to realize that others may have similar emotions to them. This leads to growth in empathy and compassion.

Games and Activities with Emotions Flashcards

Guess The Emotion

During this activity lay out the emotion flashcards and create a fun short story. During the story you can create scenarios that may happen in your home or classroom and then pause and ask the child to guess how the character is feeling and point to the picture that matches that feeling.

(For example: Susie was playing with her blocks and created a really tall tower, but then her little brother came and knocked it over. How do you think Susie was feeling? (frustrated flashcard) Her brother then apologized and helped Susie rebuild a bigger tower. How do you think she feels now? (child points to the happy face card) 

Finish The Sentence

Flip the set of cards face down and take turns picking up a card. Offer a starter sentence for your child to complete based off of the emotion words on their card they drew.

Starter sentences could include:  

“I feel excited when…”

“When I feel silly I …”,

“Something that makes me nervous is when…”.

These simple sentences can be really powerful, I highly recommend you participate in this activity as well and share your own feelings with your child.

Emotion Charades

Give each child a card to look at, don’t have them show anyone else the card. Go around the circle and let each child act out the emotion they have on their card without using words and let the other kids guess what they are feeling. This is a great way to work on reading body language and non-verbal gestures!

Emotions Memory Game

You can print off 2 sets of these cards and flip them over and play memory with them. This is a great game for younger children and starts to introduce various emotions to them in a fun playful way.

TV Crossover

This is a great game to play with older students, but you can adapt it to younger children as well. Find short TV clips or a show to watch with your child. Lay out the cards to refer to and play the show. At certain points in the show pause it and ask what emotions they have seen to this point. For older kids you can go deeper and ask why the characters were feeling that way. This is a great way to practice perspective taking and reading others emotions. 

emotion flashcards that are laminated and sitting on table

Free Printable Emotions Flashcards PDF

Fill out the form below to receive your printable emotions flashcards for you to use at home or in your classroom. They are for your personal use only and we hope you enjoy them!!

Other Resources For Your Child

​Here are some other posts you may find helpful when you are thinking of ways to help your child build social skills and emotional awareness. 

Emotion flashcards sitting on table and laminated

If you find that your child seems to struggle with understanding emotions or regulating their emotions even after you have tried to work with them I highly recommend looking into Zones of Regulation or another program designed to help teach children emotional regulation skills. Their classroom teacher may be a great person to reach out to as well to discuss next steps to help your child in this area. 

I really hope these flashcards spark meaningful conversations with your child & become a great addition to your home or classroom.

pinterest pin for emotions flashcards with games for kids

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