Updated: Jan 23
Feelings cards help kids and adults with identifying and coping with emotions.
What face do you make when you’re happy? What about sad or angry? Basic feelings are fairly easy to recognize, but others can be trickier – are you truly mad or actually jealous? Is your friend sad or did you accidentally hurt their feelings?
Emotions can be confusing at any age – for kids, teens, and adults alike. Here are some ways that feeling cards may help, along with flashcard options and related resources for each age group.
1. Familiarize feelings words
We all need language to communicate our feelings. Feelings flashcards are a good way to start. You might begin by just reading through cards, to start with familiarity.
For younger kids, build up to defining the emotions. For older kids and teens, discuss what might make someone feel each emotion.
2. Practice emotion recognition
Are you a teacher or school counselor who works with social-emotional skills? Feelings flashcards are a fun and less threatening way to open up the talk about feelings. Use feelings card decks to play games, such as matching feelings or Go-Fish. Students can even draw or collage their own cards.
3. Support neurodivergent clients
If you work with neurodivergent clients, you know it helps to get creative. Each child or adult may learn differently, so flashcards can be a way to explore learning styles. With printable card versions, you can even create decks for each client, or spread out the feelings between students to study or discuss.
4. Offer tools for emotional expression
Do clients who visit your office have trouble identifying feelings? Even looking through a long feelings list can be a bit intimidating. Instead, keep a feelings deck in the room for your clients to shuffle through to find their emotion. I’ve found this tool to be helpful even if we’re not discussing feelings. Just having the cards around can prompt a related discussion.
5. Identify helpful coping skills
Identifying feelings is a start. The next step is figuring out what to do with them. Do you ride them out, distract yourself, or use a coping skill? There are appropriate times for all three. You can use emotions card games or flashcards as a way to discuss coping strategies.
Shop Feelings Decks
Not sure what deck or decks to use? Here’s a list of decks that are downloadable, as well as pre-printed options. The best deck will depend on your goals and age group(s). Take a look below!
Magical Emotion Cards
The Magical Emotions Cards downloadable set is great for kids and kids-at-heart. It includes two decks, one with a dragon theme and the other with unicorns. The decks can be combined or used separately.
Together the magical deck include 52 feelings words, along with synonyms for each. There are two versions of the basic decks - one with feelings words on the front with the emotional faces, and one with words on the back, so you can use them more like traditional flashcards.
There are also other variations for popular kid’s games, which I’ll outline below. Here are some example emotion words included in the deck:
The Go Feel! version of the deck is modeled after Go-Fish. You can print two or more copies of the feeling cards, and players can play just like the original game.
If you like, you can add a discussion portion, where players discuss the feeling or answer a prompt each time they make a match. Further instructions are included. Get Go Feel! here as part of the larger deck set.
The emotions match card version is based on the Match Game, where kids turn over cards and try to remember the matching set.
However, instead of matching the exact images, you match the feeling word with the feeling image.
This deck is unicorn and dragon-themed, and a variation of the overall card deck. It’s a fun and easy way to work with feeling identification and empathy. Download it here.
Happy Dragon is modeled after Old Maid, however players aim to keep the Happy Dragon card in their hand by the end of the game.