Anissa Howard Counseling & Psychotherapy Services

Play Therapy Life Hacks 0001: Emotion Boards


Ages: Pre-K thru 3rd grade  (May also be appropriate for individuals who suffer from intellectual disability and/or social skill deficits)

The purpose of this activity is to help clients associate emotions with colors and to help clients identify emotions as they are depicted in nonverbal expressions.


  • Velcro strips or Glue Dots
  • 4 sheets of colored construction paper or card stock (* I used yellow, black, red, and blue to symbolize colors of emotions),
  • Pictures of faces or groups of people showing various emotions (4-6 pics for each emotion).


  1. Label each of the 4 sheets of paper with an emotion. (I chose the 4 basic emotions of happy, sad, angry, and scared). It may be a good idea to laminate your 4 pages so that they are more durable.
  2.  Place glue dots or Velcro strips on the back of each picture and on the emotion board of choice. I chose to use Velcro strips because this allows the therapist to remove the pictures once the activity is completed. 
  3. Instruct client to match pictures with the emotion. 

Possible Processing Questions:

  1. Why do you think this person or those people are happy, angry, scared, or sad?
  2. How do you show others that you are happy, angry, scared, or sad?
  3. How do you know when people at school are happy, angry, scared, or sad?
  4. How does Mom and Dad (or any guardian of significance) show that they are happy, angry, scared, or sad?


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