Free printable: emotional intelligence 101

Emotion Meter Mockup

The School of Life, a new obsession of mine, is devoted to “developing emotional intelligence with the help of culture.”

They’ve published a number of philosophical articles, books, and videos on emotional intelligence and relationships. One of my favorite videos explains why we should be skeptical of our emotions and how they influence our perception of reality. [Note: their videos are made for an adult audience; watch with your kids at your discretion.]

Emotional Intelligence is our ability to identify and respond to our own emotions, and those experienced by others. It helps us to be aware of our feelings, harness them in our best interest (e.g. apply our anger at the gym rather than at that important meeting) and manage them in ourselves, and others. People with high levels emotional intelligence tend to be successful in reaching their goals, building relationships with others, and empathizing with others.

More than ever, it’s crucial that we teach kids about emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence may be one of the key factors for kids’ success, both in their personal lives and at school. Building emotional intelligence can contribute to kids’ development of self-awareness, healthy coping mechanisms, compassion, and empathy for others.

One goal of our app, Me is to create a safe space for kids to explore their emotions. To further assist your child in identifying and exploring their emotions and the emotions of others, we created this printable activity

Free Download
How do you feel today?

You will need:

  • How do you feel today? activity sheet — download and print it
  • Writing or drawing utensils
  • Scissors
  • Stapler or tape
  • Mirror (optional)

Help your child create an emotion meter:

  1. Brainstorm a list of emotions that you have felt at different times (e.g. angry, scared, disgusted, sad, happy, excited). Choose 6-12 of these and write them on the lines below each face shape.
  2. For each emotion, draw the face that you make when you experience that emotion. If it helps, look into a mirror, act out the emotion, then draw what you see.
  3. Cut out the ‘I’m feeling’ frame and the strips of faces along the solid lines.  Then cut out a ‘window’ in the middle of the frame.
  4. Assemble the frame by folding the paper along the dotted line, and placing a staple or tape on the bottom edge (beneath the words 'I’m feeling'). This should leave two openings on the left and right edges of the frame.
  5. If you drew more than 6 emotions, place the two strips side by side, and attach them together with a staple of tape to create a long strip.  Slide the strip of paper containing your emotion sketches through the opening on the left edge of your frame, and out the opening on the right.
  6. Center the frame around the emotion you’re feeling at this moment!

Encourage your child keep track of their emotions by prompting them to look at their emotion meter throughout the day to figure out how they feel, and think about why they’re feeling that way.

Looking for more activities that help kids develop emotional intelligence? Ask your child to tell their emotion story! Have them pick an emotion on their meter, and think about a situation where they experienced that emotion. Ask them to tell their story in writing or aloud. For even more emotional intelligence inspiration, check out the Emotion Map activity from Teaching Tolerance.

This activity was inspired by ‘How Are You Feeling Today?’ by artist Jim Borgman.