Gather the kids into your group area and form a circle so that they can see each others faces. Explain that you’re going to read off a pretend list of events, and that you want them to imagine that this was happening to them. As you do so, ask them to show you how they might react using exaggerated facial expressions. You can also allow them to talk about how they’d feel after each one if you’d like, though this will slow things down a bit.
Here is a sample story you can go by, but feel free to create your own:
- Your mom wakes you up, but you’re tired and don’t want to get up yet.
- You get to eat your favorite cereal for breakfast.
- You can’t find your homework and have to rush around for 15 minutes before you finally locate it. The lost time means you have to rush out the door without saying your proper goodbyes, and even then you almost miss your bus.
- At school, someone tells you that Mike said he isn’t your friend anymore.
- A little while later, you see Mike and find out that he never said any such thing. He’s still your friend – whoever said that just made the whole thing up.
- On your way home from school, you trip and fall in the mud.
- When you get home, your mom helps you change clothes.
- Then your dad tells you: “We’re going to go out to eat tonight at your favorite restaurant.”
At the end, stop and ask kids how they feel. The point of this exercise is to illustrate that emotions don’t last. This means that even if you’re feeling pretty low and crummy one minute, something else will eventually come along that will completely change your mood again. Then have a talk about how they can use this knowledge in everyday life.
After conducting this activity once or twice, you might invite the kids up to tell their own imaginary timeline of events while the rest of the class expresses their emotions. It will usually lead to lots of giggles, and provides many opportunities for you to talk about other concepts related to emotional intelligence.