Learning About Feelings: An Easy to Create Learning Center for Kids

Here’s a simple center you can set up at home or in the classroom to help children explore emotions and learn about feelings!

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 Great way for kids to explore their emotions and feelings! (Feelings Center for the Home or Classroom~ BuggyandBuddy.com) 

The Importance of Exploring Feelings

One of the most important things I try to teach my children is to understand and name their feelings. It’s an important lesson for children to realize that different emotions are okay and to recognize those feelings in themselves and eventually in others. It’s especially important for kids to know they don’t always have to feel happy. That it’s normal to feel sad, shy or even jealous. Once children learn to understand how they are feeling, they can eventually better display empathy towards others and use those skills to develop healthy relationships with their peers. 

 Feelings Center for the Home or Classroom~ BuggyandBuddy.com 

Setting Up a Feelings Center

One way to help children begin exploring feelings and initiating conversations about them is to set up a feelings center in your classroom or home. Children can explore feelings through books, drawing, practicing facial expressions in a mirror and interacting with stuffed animals or dolls.

For our feelings center at home, I placed a mirror on the ground at the kids’ level. I also added a set of children’s books related to feelings. On a nearby shelf I put some colored pencils, a journal and, Lucy’s poetry journal. You could also add some stuffed animals or dolls to the center. Children love imaginary play with stuffed animals, and by providing some little friends nearby, kids can interact and discuss their feelings with them.

Kimochi Doll in Feelings Center  

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Lucy actually has a stuffed doll called a Kimochi. Have you heard of these? Basically, they are emotion dolls that come with little stuffed Kimochi emotion pillows. The dolls have a pocket where you can store the little stuffed feeling pillows. Such a cute idea! We placed her Kimochi doll in the feeling center too.

 Playing with Kimochi Doll 

My goal with our feelings center was to just have a simple place that allowed Lucy to explore feelings in any way she wanted. She wasn’t required to do anything. I set the center up one day while she was resting in her room. When she was done resting, I introduced it to her. We went through all the materials together. First, she chose a few books for me to read to her, and then she spent a lot of time exploring the center on her own. 

 Children's Books about Feelings 

I think one of her favorite things to do was make different faces in the mirror! She loved trying to copy the ones she saw in the books.

 exploring feelings with a mirror 

She also came up with a poem she wanted me to write for her in her poetry journal. 

using a journal to learn about feelings

 feelings journal 

The Benefits in Everyday Life

I love how her exploration of feelings has carried over into things we do everyday. I often hear her talking to her dolls about feelings in her play. When we read bedtime stories she’ll bring up how the characters are feeling and why she thinks they are feeling a certain way. It’s also helped by increasing her vocabulary and understanding of feelings. Now when she encounters a situation with her peers, she can talk to me about it easily, and it’s also helped her to try to understand her peer’s actions in certain situations.

I’ve shared some of the books we added to our children’s book set about feelings below. I’d love to hear any others you’ve read!


Children’s Books Having to do with Feelings

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain


 Feelings to Share from A to Z by Todd Snow


 Lots of Feelings by Shelley Rotner


 The Feelings Book by Todd Parr


 Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis


 Hurty Feelings by Helen Lester


 Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberley


 My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss


Have you done anything similar in your home or classroom to help children understand feelings and emotions? 

Be sure not to miss these other creative play ideas for kids on Buggy and Buddy:


  1. Great center. This would be wonderful for our son too. I think I will include it when I do an all about me theme soon.

  2. This is such an awesome idea! Love!

  3. Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea. I think this would be wonderful as a space for my boys. My parents have gifted the “Way I Feel” series to my older son (who is now 3.8). They are a great series that talk about different emotions/feelings and how to handle them. http://www.amazon.com/When-Feel-Angry-The-Books/dp/0807588970
    I will be pinning this! Thanks again.

  4. Debbie @ http://kidsbibledebjackson.blogspot.com/ says:

    This looks fun! Pinned it! Thanks for sharing at Family Fun Friday!

  5. JustCorey says:

    I am in the process of creating a feelings photo book for my sons right now. I was planning on allowing them to use the photo book, and some other books with a mirror to practice emotions. we have a couple of the books you mentioned and also Dolly Parton’s “I Am a Rainbow” The stuffed animals idea I had not thought of. Thank you for this, it is a very timely post 🙂

  6. Here are additional books:
    When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
    When I Feel Jealous
    When I Feel Angry
    When I Feel Sad
    When I FeelScared
    When I Care About Others
    All by Cornelia Maude Spelman
    A great site for Social Emotional Learning is CASEL.org

  7. Thank you so much for sharing! I think this is an excellent idea for the home, and I will use it in my Kindergarten classroom. Thank you for the book suggestions as well!


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