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5 Fun Ways to Use an Emotions Card Deck with Kids

Updated: Feb 19

Written by Lora Halfhill, Marketing Director + Yoga Teacher

"When we can put a word or label to how we feel, it puts us in charge. It makes pleasant emotions feel more satisfying, and it normalizes scary or unpleasant emotions." ~ Lora Halfhill

In a world that can be scary and overwhelming for kids, it's important to learn how to understand and manage their emotions. This is one of the key skills we can teach to help develop resilience in order to overcome challenges that are sure to come.

In Dr. Liza's 6 Seconds Know. Choose. Give (KCG) emotional intelligence training, she explains that taking a 6-second pause when you are triggered by stress allows you the space to make a conscious decision about what to do or say next.

I have found there is something very powerful about naming my emotions.

After all, if there is a name for the way I'm feeling, that means others have felt that emotion before. Furthermore, it also means that there are strategies that can be employed to deal with a feeling that otherwise might seem overwhelming.

This blog post will delve into the concept of these decks, how to utilize them, and several activities that engage children in emotional well-being.

excerpt from the kids emotions book, Name What I Feel

One powerful tool that has gained popularity in recent years is the use of emotions card decks. These decks are both entertaining and incredibly effective in helping children comprehend and articulate their emotions. 

When we can put a word or label to how we feel, it puts us in charge. It makes pleasant emotions feel more satisfying, and it normalizes scary or unpleasant emotions so that we can move through them with more mindfulness. 


Challenge to Change’s Emotions card deck is a powerful tool for helping children identify and manage their emotions.  By providing a fun and interactive way to learn about emotions, this deck can help children develop emotional intelligence and build strong relationships with others. 

Plus, they're a great way to start conversations about feelings and encourage kids to open up and share their emotions with others.  By using these cards, children learn to recognize different emotions and understand how to manage them in a healthy way.

Challenge to Change Emotions Card Deck

Our Emotions Card Deck was inspired by our Emotions Chart.  At Challenge to Change, we use this emotions chart regularly when working with our young students. It is our practice to have students pick a word to describe how they are feeling at the beginning of a mindfulness lesson, and then to pick a word that describes how they feel after engaging in the lesson. We do this to encourage the development of an emotional vocabulary, and to get young minds in the practice of regularly assessing and describing how they feel.

5 Fun Ways to Use an Emotions Card Deck

The Emotions Card Deck is a versatile tool that can be used in schools, homes, and even in therapeutic settings. It not only helps children recognize and manage their emotions, but also promote physical activity, mindfulness, and creative expression.

1. Emotion of the Day

Choose an "emotion of the day" from the deck and have children share their experiences related to that emotion. Discuss what situations trigger that emotion and brainstorm healthy ways to manage it.

2. Mindful Breathing

Use the deck's mindfulness exercises to teach children the power of mindful breathing. This can be particularly helpful during moments of stress or anxiety.

3. Storytelling

Select a few cards from the deck and ask children to create a short story or skit that incorporates those emotions. This encourages creativity and empathy.

4. Emotion Art

Provide art supplies and have children draw or paint their interpretations of different emotions. This activity allows them to express themselves visually.

5. Emotion Check-In

Start or end each day with an "emotion check-in." Children can choose a card that represents how they feel and share it with the group. This can foster a sense of emotional connection.

Whether you're a parent, teacher, or caregiver, these cards can be an effective way to teach children about emotions and empower them to navigate the complex world of feelings in a healthy and positive way.

Have you used the Emotions Card Deck? Share your experiences! Email them to

Thanks for reading,


P.S. Have you heard about our Online Yoga + Mindfulness Resource Center?

Challenge to Change Yoga and Mindfulness Resource Center

You’ll find access to ALL of our best yoga and mindfulness resources - all in ONE place!

  • Digital versions of Challenge to Challenge's card decks (including the Emotions Deck!)

  • Breathing practice instructional videos and card decks for calming, focus and energy

  • Movement videos and yoga sequences

  • Guided mindfulness audio tracks

  • Mindful games + social-emotional learning worksheet Printables

  • Teacher self-care practices and in-services

It’s the one-stop shop for classrooms, learning communities, daycares and homeschoolers!

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