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I Feel Many Different Ways—Why?

Research notes that effective communication of feelings by children has a positive impact on their relationships with their family, other adults, and their peers.  Consequently, teachers can play an important role by, first, helping children understand that it’s okay to feel different ways and, second, teaching them how to communicate their feelings—whether they’re feeling happy, angry, silly, tired or simply sad.

The purpose of this activity is to help your students express their feelings and emotions and understand that their feelings and emotions may change frequently.


  • Six paper plates to be used as demonstration plates, and enough for each child to have at least two plates each
  • Popsicle sticks, enough for each “feeling” plate made
  • Crayons or markers
  • Glue and scissors
  • Other art materials, such as yarn, cotton balls, colored paper, string, buttons, pipe cleaners, or construction paper
  • I Feel Many Different Ways” song from Building Blocks
    Note: This song can be downloaded onto a CD or played from your computer.


Use the paper plates and craft materials to make four “feelings” plate designs:  happy, sad, silly, and mad.  These will be your “demonstration” plates.  Also, set aside two more plates for additional emotions that the children may suggest.


Begin by playing “I Feel Many Different Ways” from either your computer or a CD player.  Mee Possum introduces the song by saying: “Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m silly, and sometimes I’m mad.”  As you sing along with the music, have your students act out and make faces to express the changing feelings the song suggests.  Also, help them recognize the most important message of the song: “Every feeling is okay.”

  1. Gather the students together, and, using the “happy” plate, ask volunteers to tell the class what makes them happy.  How does “happy” make them feel?  Encourage them to show how they feel through facial expressions and body movement.
  2. Then, using the other plates, have new volunteers answer the same questions and make facial expressions and body movements for the following emotions: sad, mad, and silly.
  3. Ask:  What other emotions do you feel?  (Possible responses:  strong, funny, etc.)  For each suggestion, do a quick drawing on a plate, and have volunteers answer the same questions as above and make the appropriate face with body language.
  4. Let the children make facial expressions in a mirror.  Then distribute the art supplies, and ask each child to choose an expression for his or her own face-plate.
  5. When the decorations are complete, help the children glue a Popsicle stick to the back of the plate.
  6. Throughout the day and over the next few days, ask volunteers to hold their plate up to their face and “tell a story” behind their facial expression.  Ask volunteers to talk about what actions or events might change the look on their face-plate.  For example, what might make them change from sad to happy, from mad to strong?  What could they do to make a change from feeling not-so-good to feeling great?  Have the children create other plates to suggest changing emotions.

For additional activities for expressing feelings, go to the Building Blocks Activity Book and use the activities called “I Feel Many Different Ways,” on pages 5 and/or 17.

Going Further:

Expressing emotions and feeling confident and good about oneself are important for every child, but it is especially important for children in new family situations, such as those in foster care or recently adopted.  Use “Power Positive,” on pages 4 and/or 16, to help children who feel powerless in many situations feel more confident in themselves.

Play “Power Positive” from either your computer or a CD player, and encourage the children to dance and act out some of the lyrics, particularly the chorus:

Power is thinking on your feet
Power is knowing what to eat
Power is knowing who you are
Power is working yourself hard

Power—in my heart
Power—in my mind
Power—in my arms
Power—all the time

Lead a class discussion on self-confidence and have children talk about the many things that make them feel good about themselves.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Ad ministration for Children and Families
Parenting Your Adopted Preschooler” is designed to help parents understand their preschool children’s developmental needs.  It provides practical strategies to promote a warm and loving relationship with your child based on honesty and trust.

Helping Your Foster Child Transition to Your Adopted Child summarizes how foster/adoptive parents can help their child make the emotional adjustment to being an adopted child.  This factsheet provides specific steps parents can take to help children understand their emotional changes, along with helpful resources.

Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being:  A Network for Action 2012 Resource Guide provides resources to assist service providers in their work with parents, caregivers, and children to prevent child abuse and neglect and promote child and family well-being.

Pediatrics, Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Developmental Issues for Young Children in Foster Care” provides information on the developmental issues for young children in foster care in terms of implications and consequences of abuse, neglect, and placement in foster care on early brain development.

Families and Adoption:  The Pediatrician’s Role in Supporting Communication” provides tips for adoptive families in the various challenges they may face with regard to adoption.

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Updated on 7/30/2012