Identifying feelings

Year level: Pre-primary


Students explore and appreciate how people can have different feelings and responses to different situations and that there are strategies we can use to regulate our emotions.

Learning focus

Identifying feelings and strategies to cope with different emotions.

Key understandings

  • Emotions are signals from our body that tell us how we (and others) are feeling.
  • These signals can be felt inside our bodies and be shown and felt on the outside of our bodies.
  • Everyone feels angry/sad/lonely/etc sometimes but these feelings usually go away.
  • All feelings are useful, they tell us what is happening with our body and what we need to do.

  • There are things we can do if we are feeling angry/sad/lonely/etc to help us feel better. 


  • Book: Any Winnie the Pooh story by A. A. Milne or Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Teaching Resource: Feelings to play with [one per group]
  • Small plain box [one per group]

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

Health and physical education(P)

Personal, social and community health

This strand will develop students' knowledge, understanding and skills to support a positive sense of self, to effectively respond to life events and transitions and to engage in their learning. Effective communication, decision-making and goal-setting skills are integral to this strand as they help to establish and maintain relationships in family, school, peer group and community settings, support healthy and safer behaviours, and enable advocacy. Students will source and examine a range of health information, products, services and policies, and evaluate their impact on individual and community health and safety.

Mental health and wellbeing

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Related items

Teaching resource (download) Guides

Before you get started

  • Teachers should know and understand the protective interrupting technique, and what, why, when and how it is needed and used, before facilitating this activity.

Learning activities

Feelings book

Whole Class

A storybook is utilised to identify the feelings of characters in the story.

  1. Read a Winnie the Pooh story book or another similar story such as: Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to the class and ask:

    • What feelings did (insert character name) have in the story? (e.g. Tigger– excitement, Pooh – kindness, Piglet – worry, Eeyore – gloom)

    Then explore each feeling:

    • What do you think was happening inside their bodies when they had this feeling? (e.g squirmy tummy, thumping heart)

    • What can we see is happening on the outside of their body that shows us what they are feeling?  (e.g. eyes narrow, fists, downturned mouth).

    • Did the character do anything because of this feeling?

    • When might someone have this feeling?

    Also ask:

    • Why do we have feelings? (They are clever signals that help us understand what is happening to us and what we need to do)

    • How does feeling happy help us understand about what is happening to us? (That everything is okay and we are enjoying ourselves)

    • How does feeling angry help us understand about what is happening to us? (Anger is telling us to look for another emotion. Someone who is angry might be feeling excluded, unfairly treated, hurt, sad, tired, etc. Anger tells us we need to take actions like moving away and having some space or talking to someone about a problem).

    • When might someone feel angry? What other emotion is making that person feel angry? (e.g  Sam is angry that his friends won't let him play their game. Sam is feeling left out, sad and lonely). 

    • How does feeling scared help us understand about what is happening to us? (That we might be in danger and need to be careful or get away; that we may need to talk to someone about how we feel)

    • Do these angry/sad feelings usually go away? (Everyone feels angry/sad/scared sometimes. Usually these feelings don't last too long. There are things we can do to help us feel less angry/sad/scared. Trusted adults can always help us if we feel angry/sad/scared.)

  2. Students show how someone might feel in each of the situations below. Draw attention to different body signals. Draw attention to differences in how people react to each situation.

    • opening birthday presents

    • receiving a merit certificate or award

    • being sick with a cold

    • being teased or not allowed to play in a game

    • being ignored by a best friend

    • someone getting a toy that you really wanted

    • getting lost in a shopping centre

    • dropping an ice cream on the ground

    • riding a roller coaster

    • floating in the deep end of a pool

    • winning a prize for your drawing

    • hearing thunder when in bed.

  3. Discuss some of the different reactions. (E.g Jo was excited when she heard thunder. She loves storms. Tai was very scared, he hates loud noises.)

Optional: Feelings cube

Independent or Small Group

Students express feelings and emotions to certain situations and identify strategies to cope with their feelings.

  1. Give each group the Teaching Resource: Feelings to play with and ask students to cut out and glue the feelings on each side of a cube to make a Feelings Cube.

    • Each student takes a turn to roll the cube.

    • Once rolled, the group may suggest different situations when people may have experienced this feeling.

    • Remind students to use the phrase 'someone might feel...' rather than 'I feel...' to avoid potential disclosures and triggers of trauma.

  2. Students discuss, decide and mime some examples of how people can express each feeling differently, e.g. when angry – some people may become very quiet or yell loudly. Ask:
    • What are some ways someone might show these emotions? (cry, yell and shout, scrunched face, etc)
    • What might this emotion be telling the person that they need to do? (Count to 10, breathing techniques, move away, talk to someone they trust about how they feel, keep busy, think of something that makes them feel happy, play with someone else)

  1. For each of the following situations, students decide and demonstrate what could be done to help someone who is feeling this way. This can be done as a group activity.

(a) Your friend's cat, that they loved very much, recently died. They are feeling very sad.

(b) One of your parents has just broken an expensive glass. He/she is very angry at him/herself.

(c) A large dog frightened one of your friends when they was walking to school. They are feeling very scared to walk home again.

  1. Ask students to write or draw about what they have discovered in relation to actions they can take that will help them, and others, with different emotions. e.g. take a deep breath, count to 5 slowly, think happy thoughts, talk to an adult about how you feel.


On one side of a piece of paper, draw a picture of someone feeling lonely/sad/angry/etc. Encourge students to draw as many body signals as they can (both inside and outside of the body). Draw what is making them feel this way. 

On the other side of the paper, draw something that would help this person.