Kids' Emotions Chart (Free Emotions Chart Printable) (2023)

Need help teaching your children about feelings and emotions? This free kids’ emotions chart printable is a valuable tool.

Not long ago, one of my older children was using a loud voice inside the house. This upset another sibling then started screaming.

A few seconds later, my two-year-old son Patrick started crying, too.

“Scary, scary,” he said.

This is a huge developmental leap for little children. As a parent, you’ve had over 20 years to develop your understanding of emotions.

But it’s brand new information for your child. So when a child can synthesize an experience and label it with emotions, it’s a big deal.

It helps everyone in the family and can be one of the most valuable tools for your child as the navigate life.

So read about using a kids’ emotions chart to help your child develop emotional skills.

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What is a kids’ emotions chart?

A kids’ emotions chart is a simple visual resource that children can use to understand feelings and emotions.

A feelings chart makes feelings and emotions concrete for children. They can learn to name feelings.

After naming feelings on an emotions chart, children will be able to start identifying them in themselves.

What are the basic emotions for children?

When teaching children about emotions, it is easiest to start with the three basic emotions:

  • happy
  • mad
  • sad

Once they recognize those, you can start teaching them more nuanced emotions. These more complex emotions related to one of the three basic emotions.

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What emotions do children display?

Even though your child has a limited vocabulary, they can experience more complex emotions than the basic emotions of happy, mad, and sad.

Small children tend to show you how they feel more than tell you about their emotions.

  • Your child might say they are mad when their friends play together, but they might actually feel jealous.
  • When a child feels sad they didn’t get to go to the park, they are feeling disappointed.
  • Your child could say they are happy, when they are feeling very excited in aniticipation of their birthday.

So once your child has a basic feelings vocabulary, you can help them identify the more specific and nuanced feelings.

As they develop this vocabulary, it will help them understand their complex feelings. Using an emotions chart pdf is a valuable tool for this.

How do you identify emotions for children?

When you identify emotions for children, there are three steps you’ll want to take:

  • Identify emotions in pictures, TV shows, or books.
  • Label emotions when your child experiences the feeling.
  • Notice emotions within other people.

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Identify emotions in pictures, TV shows, or books

As you watch shows with your child, point out the emotions that different characters are experienecing. Similarly, when you read stories at bedtime, name the emotions the characters feel in the books.

Show your child how their faces and bodies display various emotions. You could say, “You see that frown. He feels sad.”

Label emotions when your child experiences the feeling

When you name the emotion your child is experiencing, they will begin to connect the language with the feelings in their body.

Name emotions within other people

The key to your child developing empathy is understanding the emotions of other people. So once your child can understand and name feeling within themselves, start identifying how family members and friends are feeling.

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Free Kids’ Emotions Chart Printable

You can grab a free emotions chart printable in the box below.

This printable chart is a free gift for email subscribers. If you’re already subscribed, you won’t be subscribed twice!

After you enter your name and email, it will be straight to your email inbox. You’ll also sign up for my weekly newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time but I bet you’ll want to stick around for tips on teaching children at home and sales on printables.

How do you use kids’ emotions chart?

There are several strategies for using this free kids’ emotions chart:

  • display it
  • refer to the chart often
  • be proactive
  • use it as a coloring sheet
  • play a guessing game

Display it

Put the free emotions chart printable somewhere prominent in your home. You could put it by your dining table so you can talk about emotions at mealtimes. Or put it in your child’s bedroom to discuss feelings at bedtime.

Refer to the chart often

The magic of kids’ emotions chart only happens when you refer to it often. Your child needs a lot of exposure and direct teaching to make abstract concepts concrete.

Be proactive

Along these same lines, don’t just use the chart when your child is upset. That isn’t the best time to increase your child’s understanding and vocabulary. Make sure you’re working on emotions when they are calm, too.

Use it as a coloring sheet

If your child loves coloring, you can use the black and white emotions printable as a coloring sheet. Drink your morning coffee and casually talk about the emotions as your liltte one colors away.

Play a guessing game

You can use the chart to play a guessing game with your child. It could sound like this:

  • Adult: I’m thinking about how I’d feel if I didn’t understand what to do.
  • Child: Sad?
  • Adult: Sort of. Can you find another picture that looks a little sad?
  • Child: Confused?
  • Adult: That’s right. The emotion we feel when we don’t understand well is confused.

Teaching your child to express their feelings

While using an emotions chart will help your child understand emotions, you can help them expiress their emotions, too.

First, teach your child to name feelings. But how you teach them is going to depend on your child’s age.

But you always start but helping your child identify their emotion first. For a young child, this means you’ll label feelings and emotions for your child.

For older children, you can ask them to name their feelings and have a conversation about it.

It takes time to develop a deep understand fo emotions and feelings so be persistent in your discussion of emotions.

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Emotions Chart for Toddlers

This printable is such a simple emotions chart, it is appropriate for toddlers. You use the black and white emotions chart pdf as a coloring sheet.

You can practice visual discrimination with your toddler with this chart. This means your child sees subtle differences.

Just print two copies of the color version. Leave one as a game board, and cut apart the one pieces. Give your child them one at a time to match. Use this opportunity to develop vocabulary and point out the features of the faces.

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Emotions Printables and Worksheets

Looking for more kids’ emotions printables? These emotions worksheets and printables are just what you need!

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Social-Emotional Learning at Home

Emotional regulation is the foundation for social learning. This printable pack has everything you need for helping your child develop emotional regulation skills.

Prior to making strong friendships, a child needs to identify their own feelings, manage those emotions, and demonstrate empathy for other people’s emotions.

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Breathing Task Cards

Teach your child how to take deep breaths with these structured breathing tasks. You know the power of taking deep breaths but you can make it more tangible for young children. Your child simply follows the prompts and moves one velcro card for each breath.

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Recapping Kids’ Emotions Chart

Here’s what you need to know about kids’ emotion charts:

  • Kids’ emotions charts are visual displays of a variety of feelings and emotions child experience.
  • It makes feelings and emotions more concrete for children.
  • It is a tool to teach name feelings more easily.
  • Kids’ emotions chart need to be use proactively and displayed prominently to be effective.
  • Start with introducing basic emotions of happy, sad, and happy.
  • Children experience more nuanced emotions like worried, annoyed, and frustrated so you can include that vocabulary with time.
  • Learning emotions and how to regulate is a long-term process.


Emotions are a critical part of the human experience and teaching your child to understand and manage their feelings is so important.

Grab the free kids’ emotions chart to begin learning about emotions today.

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Last Updated: 13/08/2023

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