Skip to Content

Inside Out Emotions Game + Free Printables

This Inside Out emotions game is a fun way to get kids to learn about and get comfortable with a whole range of emotions. This was originally a sponsored post.

I joke sometimes that I had kids just so I could keep playing with toys and enjoying animated movies without feeling guilty. I’m doing it for my kids is always a great excuse for anything, right?

I’ve used a version of this Inside Out emotions game to keep the wee ones occupied and entertained for years.

Loving our new Inside Out Movie

Whenever we travel and have to wait in lines (picture customs – whether I’m the mean mom or not, no electronics or phones are allowed until after you’ve cleared customs and that can be a long wait), I love playing the Inside Out emotions game with them.

When we’re out and about, I don’t need any materials, and it keeps us all giggling so that we don’t notice our line hasn’t moved at all and all the other lines have been speeding along.

All I do is call out an emotion and the wee ones have to show me what it looks like. When they were younger, I kept the Inside Out emotions game fairly simple. Joy, Anger, Fear, Surprise, and the like.

Those were all emotions they knew, and we had fun showing what the emotions were and how to express them (long before Mister Man was ever diagnosed with autism). Mister Man was our resident expert on fear.

Fear from August 2008

While Little Miss was the queen of surprise.

Surprise in February 2009

As they got older, the Inside Out emotions game (not that I had a name for it back then, of course) changed a little bit. I used it not just as a way to keep them occupied so they wouldn’t complain of being bored or get restless in a small space but also as a way to use their vocabulary.

That’s how we went from joy…

Show me Joy

and sadness…

Show me sadness

to confusion…

Show me confusion

and awestruck…

Show me awestruck

and all sorts of other words that they may not run into every day at school.

They understand the idea behind disillusioned. And supercilious. And menacing. Plus mortified. There are so many more fun words that are even more fun to act out.

If they don’t know a word I throw out, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s simply a teaching moment where they can tell me what they think it might mean and I can share how close they got and ensure they understand the correct meaning before they act it out for me.

To make it more easily accessible, I formalized our Inside Out emotions game a little more. That’s where this free printable came in. I created a game you can print out on cardstock and use in two fun and creative ways to experience Inside Out (and all its emotions) at home as well as on the road.

Inside Out Emotions game printable

Because kids have all different areas of knowledge, I created the Inside Out emotions game cards to have different levels of vocabulary to describe the emotions.

Each card has ten emotions listed on it. The “easy” green emotions have one card while the more advanced yellow and more challenging red emotions have three cards each for a total of 70 emotions to use when playing.

The backer card can be reprinted as many time as you need to create the other side for your emotions cards, and they line up perfectly for once you cut them out.

Inside Out Bubbling Emotions card game

Because the wee ones are using all the words in the Inside Out emotions game, I chose to print my cards all in black and white, but if you’re just learning words or moving to more challenging words, you can print them in color to help delineate which words are at which level, especially if you’re playing the games with children of different ages.

This way, everyone has something they can enjoy.

Playing Inside Out Emotions Game – Free Play

We came up with two fun ways to play the Inside Out emotions game. Actually, I came up with one, and after we’d played it with the cards a few times, Little Miss suggested the other game which has become a new favorite in our house.

Read This Next:  Thank You Gift Tags FREE Printable

Once you’ve printed your cards and cut them up, place them in a pile in a common area.

The game can be played on teams or each person for himself, depending on what works best in your house. When I play with them, I am the master judge, but this is also something kids can easily play on their own while you’re making dinner.

Or pop the cards in your purse with a rubber band wrapped around them for on the go fun and inspiration while you’re waiting in the carpool line, at a sporting event, or in a restaurant for the food that takes longer the hungrier everyone is.

One person selects a card and reads the emotion aloud. The rest of the players – or designated person from each team if playing on teams – then has to act out that emotion.

The judge determines who came closest to rendering the emotion, and you can choose whatever criteria you want to use, as this is all in good fun.

Choose an emotion bubble card

Whichever person or team the judge selects then gets to keep that Inside Out emotions game card, and play continues with the next person and card until they’re all used. Whichever person or team has the most cards at the end wins.

Playing Inside Out Emotions Game – Memory Match

Little Miss came up with this genius idea for a second game using the same Inside Out emotions game cards. You will need to print a second set so that each emotion has two corresponding cards.

As with any memory game, you can set it up with as many or as few matches as you see fit. We found that 20 cards of 10 emotions worked best for us and our space, but we did do a monster 60 card version with the 30 red emotion cards just for fun.

Like a certain board game the wee ones know and love, that took forever to finish!

Inside Out Bubbling Emotions Memory Game setup

Just like the traditional memory match games, the goal is to find the matching emotions. Despondent and Indifferent in the example above are obviously not corresponding emotions, so the player turns the cards over and the next person takes a turn trying to find a match in the rows.

The twist to the Inside Out emotions game memory match is that once you create a match, you have to show that emotion before you can keep the cards. If you aren’t able to show your indifference, you have to turn the cards back over and the other player has a chance to steal the emotion in the next turn!

Playing Inside Out Memory Emotion Match

The winning player is the one with the most matches at the end of the game. And the fun is that it can be played as a solitaire game, which Little Miss did before school this morning just because it’s fun or with two or more players.

Because there are so many card options you can create – anywhere from just printing out two sheets of one Inside Out emotions game card to printing all seven sets of cards and having a massive 140 card memory match – this can work with three, four, or more players taking turns.

What is the benefit of this emotions game?

Best of all? The kids don’t realize that they’re learning.

It’s more than just the vocabulary. They’re learning how to recognize the emotions on others’ faces and how to express it themselves.

I tell the wee ones all the time that it’s fine to feel a certain way, that it’s how you express the emotion that matters. When Mister Man gets frustrated and throws a book (yes, that happened last night, why?), the throwing the book isn’t ok but it’s fine to be frustrated and express it in another way.

Would you play the Inside Out emotions game with your family?

How do you learn to express your emotions?

Inside Out Bubbling Emotions Printable and Games

Enjoy this article? Please share it and save it for later!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Summer Davis

Tuesday 17th of November 2015

How fun! I love that you created something that can be played multiple different ways at various different levels - great job! #client

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.