For this activity, you’ll take turns guessing what emotions your kids are acting out, assisted by unusual props: just the right pair of shoes!
- Prepare ahead of time by making a set of cards that show a different emotion on each card. To quickly find images from the Internet, use the search term “emotion faces for children.” Draw or print the faces and paste them on your notecards.
- Next, invite your children to help you gather as many pairs of footwear as you can find. (If you are doing this activity indoors, screen the pairs of shoes for appropriateness for indoor use as the kids will be putting them on and walking in them.)
- Begin the game by explaining to your children that empathy is thinking about another person and imagining what that person is feeling or thinking. Add that another phrase we often use to mean empathy is “putting ourselves in another person’s shoes.”
- Now give each child one of your emotion cards and invite them to choose a pair of shoes that will help them act out their emotion appropriately. For example, pink flip flops might help them convey “happy,” big black boots might help for “mad,” and high heels for “excited,” running shoes for “energetic,” slippers for “tired” etc.
- Have each child act out their emotion using facial expressions and body language as other members of the group try to guess which emotion is being expressed.
- After each “drama,” take a minute to discuss the emotion. Ask if someone wants to share a time when they felt the same emotion that was just acted out.
- When you’ve worked through all the cards, take another few minutes to talk about how you can come alongside and encourage others who are experiencing “heavy” emotions. Use the discussion questions to guide your conversation.
- In closing, share the phrase, “Jesus in me means I care for you.” Pray and ask Jesus to fill each of your family members with His love so you have lots of love and kindness to share with others.
Questions for discussion
- Other than the footwear, what clues did you look for to help you decide which emotion was being acted out?
- Let’s say you see someone walking along with their shoulders slumped and their head hung low. What do you think they are feeling?
- If you see someone who is acting super sad or down, how can you come alongside them and offer encouragement?
- When you see someone who is wildly excited about something, how can you celebrate their joyful exuberance with them?
Read 1 John 2:5-6.
- How did Jesus live?
- How can we care for others as Jesus did?
Jesus showed by how He lived that He was always looking out for the needs of others. Jesus offers us His Holy Spirit to live in us so that we can live and love like He does.
1 John 2:5-6 “
. . . but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.”
John 17:20-21 “
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”