Bloomsbury Early Years

Activity Type:

Role Play


3-5 years

Characteristics of Effective Learning:

Playing and exploring (engagement)



Type of Content:


Related Activities

My feeling faces

Emotional literacy through digital photography

by Pamela Algie


This activity encourages children to develop understanding of how we show our emotions on our faces. It also allows for discussion about how we can be thoughtful of how other people feel.

What you need

  • Devices with a camera and the app PicKids installed (available on the App store, Google Play, Amazon Apps and for Windows 10)

What you do

  1. Sing “If you’re happy and you know it” with the children.

  2. Talk about what people look like when they are happy. Ask children to see their happy face, children should look at each other's faces.

  3. Use devices on “selfie” mode as a mirror and ask children to take a photo of their happy face.

  4. Talk about what a sad face might look like, children show sad faces and take a photo of those.

  5. Repeat with other emotions and put together in a collage showing their different feeling faces. Add suitable emojiis as pictoral labels.

What you say

  • How does your face look? How do you know that you are happy?

  • How do you think your friend is feeling in this photo?

  • What would be a good way to help a friend who feels like this?

Helpful hints

  • Regularly teach or model of vocabulary relating to common emotions, e.g. happy, sad, frightened, excited.

Ready for more?

  • Use the children's collages to talk more about what would make them feel happy or sad, developing understanding that there is a reason for their feelings. Talk about how other people show us their feelings on their faces. If we look at people's faces we can guess how they are feeling, then we can think about helping them.

Look, listen and note

  • Self-confidence and self-awareness (ELG06) Confidently try new activities Choose the resources they need Say when they do or don't need help

  • Talk about feelings and behaviour

  • Sensitivity to others' needs

  • Technology (ELG15)

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