The ‘Fishy Feely’ Game

photo (5)The goal of this game is emotion education and validation of emotions. It is a great game to play to introduce feeling faces and feeling words to young children. 

Setting up the game:

1. Make or cut out various fish out of paper.

2. On the back side of each fish draw or glue on different feeling faces (with the words included). I usually just print them from online.

3. Then attach a paperclip to each fish.

4. To make the fishing pole you will need a stick, some string and a magnet. Fasten the magnet to the end of the string on the fishing pole.

To Play:

1. Take turns using the fishing pole to “catch” fish.

2. Ask child to Identify the feeling face/word. Have them make their own face to match the feeling. Then you can ask them , “what makes you feel [insert feeling here]”.

3. When adults take turns and play the game, they can model for the child, “Kids feel [sad] when [ they get bullied at school]” and make sure to use an example that the child will understand and maybe relate to.

This is a great activity to start off with in a family therapy session. Parents seem to understand this activity well and can help model for children the importance of talking about emotions. If it is hard for a child to think of a reason they may feel a certain way, make sure to reflect with empathy how difficult this activity can be sometimes. Remember that not all emotions feel ‘safe’ to share with others.


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