Help children learn about emotions and track their moods with this free printable mood & emotion wheel!
I distinctly remember studying trigonometric functions at school – knowledge that I acquired through hours of repetitive exercises and never once used in my adult life. But there was never any learning about emotions – yet, it is something I have to deal with every day. Not only my own emotions, but the emotions of my not-quite-out-of-terrible-twos daughter and my nobody-can-tell-me-what-to-do six-year-old son. I really wish I had learned more about that!
Fortunately, the trend seems to be changing now. The importance of learning about emotional intelligence is widely recognized. I think it is great! Maybe, in a few decades, school would be all about social skills and being accepting of each other? I’d support that.
For now, I’ve noticed that learning about emotions is a part of my son’s grade one curriculum, and it starts with giving those emotions names. But it isn’t as easy as pointing at a toddler’s nose and saying, “It’s a nose.” For instance, if a child is acting out in public, we can guess that he or she is overwrought with emotions, but what are they? Is it excitement, anxiety or, possibly, embarrassment? I used to act out quite a bit when I was a kid because I felt shy, so it was either acting boisterous or hiding in the closet.
So what is the solution?
I think the solution is to simply talk about emotions, as much as possible, and this mood and emotion wheel is one prompt to such conversations.
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How to Use the Mood & Emotion Wheel
You know how weather wheels is a part of a daily routine for some families and schools? Well, the emotion wheel can be like that as well. Ask a child to pick how he or she feels today. If you have several children, at home or in class, you can make personalized wheel for each of them. It’s pretty easy to make, so they can mostly do the work themselves as well.
Maybe, once asked to pick the mood on the wheel, your child will choose happy, and it’s great. But on some days, you will find out that he or she is worried over something and needs your affirmation. Then, on other days, he or she may feel angry at something, and then you can discuss how to deal with it. If your child cannot put a name to how they feel, or has a limited vocabulary with which to express the complexities of emotion, then the wheel can help with that, too.
While playing with this mood and emotion wheel, you can talk about the variety of emotions we experience. You can also talk about how there are no bad or good emotions, and it is okay to feel angry or sad at times.
It can be a one-time conversation, but it would be best to use the mood & emotion wheel over the course of a few days to try to capture different moods to discuss.
Play a Game with the Mood & Emotion Wheel
You can also play a simple game with the mood & emotion wheel. Loosen up the brad that attaches the arrow to the wheel, so that it would spin freely. What emotion did it land at? Encourage your child to tell about the time he or she felt this emotion.
The spinner landed on “surprised”? Ask your child to tell about one time he or she felt surprised. My son’s first reaction was that he was never ever surprised by anything, but after a while, he remember how he got some pleasant gift surprises in the past.
Make a Personalized Mood & Emotion Wheel
The wheel comes in two versions. There is a full-colour version, and there is a black-and-white version that children can colour it any way they want. Maybe they can make the boy and girl on the wheel look like themselves? Or give them some unusual coloration – purple or green is my son’s usual choice!
How to Make the Mood & Emotion Wheel
1 — Print the template below.
2 — Cut the wheel and the arrow out.
3 — With the very tip of the scissors, punch a little hole in the centre of the wheel and another one on the arrow, as marked. Put the brad through the holes and secure it at the back.
Thank you for reading!