Teaching Toddlers Emotions

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Paper plate emotion masks

I have always been one of those people that wears their emotions right on their face. When I am having a bad day, everybody knows it. I have an expressive face. I can’t help it. It is like my heart plays puppeteer to my face & I have no control over it.

I suppose I am like my toddler in this aspect, but unlike her mother, she is only 22 months old & doesn’t understand the concept of suppressing her emotions yet. She may wear these emotions all over their face, but it is not always easy trying to figure out just exactly what they mean. I can’t imagine how it must feel for a toddler when they are upset ,scared or just plain frustrated, but cannot explain what it is that they need or how they are feeling.

Mai is starting to be able to communicate with me some feelings and emotions. When we are doing something she enjoys, she will laugh & say “Fun, Fun, Happy”, but ย then the other day, I told her that mommy was sad. She laughed at me & then jumped on my head. I don’t think she understood what I was saying, but her reaction sure did help cheer me up.

I have been trying to show her through facial expressions what certain emotions look like, but even with my animated & goofy expressions, she was not that impressed. Luckily, I came across some easy & fun ideas for teaching my munchkin about emotions. My favorite learning tool was the emotion mask. I thought that this was a wonderful idea. It was a simple project & I had all the supplies handy. Mai as always wanted to help…


All you need is…

Paper plates

Markers or crayons


Popsicle sticks


Draw the faces on the front of the paper plates


Glue a popsicle stick to the back of the plate & clamp


And there you have a quick , easy & fun way to teach your toddler about emotions


Mai loved these. She kept asking for them. “Face, face!!”

I asked her to show mommy her happy face…


Baby girl, I think you are holding it the wrong way. She did grab the right one though. There were two happy faces on the other side of that plate & that makes mommy happy too.

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    1. No problem, my daughter did great with these. She was very animated with her facial expressions when she would tell me which mask she had. It was too cute.

  1. Nice drawing (especially the scared and angry faces). ๐Ÿ™‚ I made these for my son a while back too. We use them when we sing “if you’re happy and you know it โ€ฆ”. I added an “excited” face to sort of balance out the “positive” and “negative” emotions and always end on it so we don’t dwell on the negative emotions.

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