Activities & Games

Emotional Charades
3rd-5th Grade

Allotted Time

15-20 minutes

Target Behavior

Describe how they are feeling

Words to Live By

I love and accept who I am on the inside and know my emotions are nothing to hide.
Love and accept who you are

Children who share their emotions can:

IDENTIFY a range of emotions

DESCRIBE emotions associated with personal experiences

SHARE feelings in a range of contexts (speaking, writing, drawing)

USE “I-statements” to express various emotions


Students practice their emotional vocabulary and their acting skills.


  • Alphabet letters written on individual slips of paper
  • Bowl or paper bag

How to Play

  1. Prep work: Write or print out the alphabet (leaving out K, X, and Q), cut the letters out individually, and put them in a bowl or brown paper bag.
  2. Explain that they are going to be acting out different emotions and that letters from the alphabet are inside the bag/bowl.
  3. Call students one at a time to reach in and pull out a letter. Once they pull out a letter they must think of an emotion that starts with that letter. They whisper it into the leader’s ear and then begin acting out that emotion.
  4. After 10-30 seconds of acting, any student in the group who thinks they know the emotion word can raise their hand, wait to be called on, and then share their guess.
  5. Explain that whichever student guesses what emotion was being acted out will be the next actor/actress.
  6. Remind the students when acting they can not say the emotion word they are acting, but instead should think of a situation where they might experience that emotion and act it out or describe what might happen to their body when they experience that emotion.
  7. This continues until all students have gone or time is up.

Activity Prompts for Reflection

  • What letters were the hardest to find emotion words for?
  • Who can name a unique emotion they felt during this activity and describe what it felt like?
  • Raise your hand, if you felt victorious or proud at any point during this activity.  What do you typically do when you feel this way?

Other Ways to Play

  • Instead of having the alphabet cut out, have emotion words they can act out. The WINGS Emotional Alphabet can help you brainstorm emotion words to write down on slips.
  • Challenge students by partnering them and having them act out a scene together that portrays the emotion word they are acting out.
  • If students are having a hard time guessing, you can offer them multiple-choice options to pick from as their guess.

Additional Notes

  • Use the SEL Activity Prompts to tie other SEL competencies to this activity.
  • Model how to act it out in the first round to help students better understand what you expect of them during the game.


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