Is there a list of emotions with an age range that is appropriate to teach kids? I would like to put the list on the fridge so that we (the parents) are reminded to use these words.

  • 1
    What exactly are you trying to achieve?
    – Stephie
    Jan 12, 2015 at 21:36
  • Why do you want to teach emotions? I'd assume most people experience them first hand anyway.
    – Robert
    Jan 12, 2015 at 23:46
  • 6
    @Robert - yes, people experience emotions. But to talk about them (which many, many people do not do except in the most rudimentary manner - e.g. "When you interrupt me, I feel angry/hurt" vs. "When you interrupt me, I feel invalidated." - makes the ability to express them accurately very important. Jan 13, 2015 at 7:46
  • 2
    I don't worrie about them experiencing emotions, I want to make sure they understand what they (and we) are feeling.
    – the_lotus
    Jan 13, 2015 at 13:51

5 Answers 5


In my youth, I was exposed to emotion charts. The earliest this occurred, for me, was 9 years old. However, there are simpler and more age-appropriate charts available for younger children.

The two charts below are the exact same ones I saw countless times when I was younger. In fact, I had a French version of the second one (How are you feeling today?) on a T-shirt because I took French classes in high school.

Other resources exist, such as How to Make and Use a Feelings Chart and Enhancing Emotional Vocabulary in Young Children (PDF). That second link is primarily focused on 3-5 year olds and has a list of over 60 emotions or "feeling words". This suggests that young children are capable of being taught a wide array of emotions, feelings, or moods. However, some of them may be hard to depict using charts.

I would suggest reading the article linked. The article is a "module" from training resources available from The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning. They have many other materials geared for infants to Pre-K toddlers (which is still in the 3-5 age range as above). They have their own feelings charts that usually only include about 10 more basic emotions, but they don't seem to suggest teaching only those emotions.

If these strategies have been found to be effective for such young children, then one could presume that more extensive charts and emotional vocabularies would be suitable for older children.

Feelings Chart

How are you feeling today?

If you search for "How are you feeling today?" on a site like Amazon you can even find pre-made poster charts, such as the laminated kind that have great durability.

  • You gave a few links and things to search for, I like that :)
    – the_lotus
    Jan 13, 2015 at 13:31
  • The link to the PDF on "Enhancing Emotional Vocabulary in Young Children" is stale, can you repost? Jun 15, 2020 at 10:01

The basic structure of SDG*Chart of Emotions has been used in Finland teaching emotions for pupils on the fourth grade aging about 10 years. It is compiled out of 8 emotion scales and has 25 basic emotions.

SDG*Chart of Emotions

The larger chart consists of 121 emotions and could be useful for the parents too. There are also practical emotional expressions below each emotion.


  • This looks complex, but I still love it!
    – Layna
    Dec 7, 2015 at 14:32

I have been using this list of feelings for myself and for kids between 5 and 14. It has the advantage of classifying emotions: the list for kids has 6 categories (the four basic ones from the Transactional Analysis strand of psychology, glad, sad, mad, scared, plus shame and digust) and the one for older children or adults has 10 categories (the previous ones, plus pride, connection, centering, and interest). I like the classification because the child or the adult can identify the general category and then find a more appropriate word with the right nuance or intensity. (For an explanation of the classification, you'll need to sign up to their Emotion course and read lesson 11.)

For younger children, they also have a product called "feeling bodies" with drawings instead of words. (As this is a paid product, I do not include a link.)

Full disclosure: since using the list and other materials, I have become friends with the creator and we are working together on teaching emotions to children.

  • I like the categorization
    – the_lotus
    Jun 16, 2020 at 10:44

I purchased these emotions flashcards on Amazon. It has the emotion with the opposite feeling on the back. These are great to explain emotions as well as the opposite feeling. In the am, I ask my son how is he feeling and we put the card on the fridge so. he sees it as well as talk about the opposite emotion. I think. its helpful to show that there are various moods and emotions that one will go through.


You might watch "Inside Out" with your children. It was developed based on real psychology. The main characters are "Joy", "Fear", "Anger", "Disgust" and "Sadness"; these are little people who live inside the head of Riley, a young girl, and personify her emotions. As she goes through a difficult time in her life we see how her emotions react to events, trying to protect her as best they can.

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