Sometimes children can find it difficult to put what they are feeling into words. Mark making can provide a safe way for children to express their emotions.

With this Play Invitation children can, in a fun and practical way, reflect on their feelings – creating associations, representations, and attribution of meaning, and building on their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and identity.

What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation

  • Children have been intensely living and expressing different emotions;
  • Children are excited about building narratives and explanations about daily happenings and interactions;
  • Children have been exploring the significance of colors and how they relate to them personally.

Materials Needed

  • Crayons in a variety of colors
  • Construction paper or large bulletin board paper

Setting up This Play Invitation

  1. Lay the paper on the floor and tape it to the floor.
  2. Add the crayons divided by color.

How to Create the Drawings

  1. Invite children to identify emotions and assign a color to them.

What color makes you happy?
What colors feel like sadness?
What colors feel like excitement?

2. Choose one emotion at a time, and invite children to draw with the corresponding color. This drawing, with both its colors and line movements, can represent the way emotions are felt.

How to Nurture the Natural Unfolding of the Child’s Identity During This Play Invitation

  • Children have the right to hold their personal concept of color. Each child will have a unique and personal relationship with color and with their feelings. It’s important that the educator doesn’t force any ideas like, “red is the color of anger.” For a child, red may be the color of happiness. Let children lead the way.
  • Honor children’s personal expression of feelings through marks. Every exploration is a valid exploration.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • LANGUAGE: Use language to engage in conversation with their peers.
  • PHYSICAL: Develop fine motor skills.
  • SOCIAL: Develop listening skills, respect for others, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and identity.
  • ART: Explore colors to express emotions.


Invite children to create a drawing about what they experienced the day before and how they felt about it.

Book Recommendation

Purchase book here.

A board book that explores the colors of our emotions.

Purchase book here.

Happiness, sadness, bravery, anger, shyness… our hearts can feel so many feelings!

Purchase book here.

This book addresses the major emotions and has a color scribble to represent each.