Starting a new school year creates all sorts of big feelings. Some students are excited, others nervous, and some are sad because they’ve never been away from their caregivers. Some might even be angry! Most often, however, students feel the whole range of emotions all mixed together in a short period of time. Having a preschool emotions sensory bin in the classroom is perfect for the beginning of the school year.
While playing at the sensory table, students will have a chance to relax, get to know each other a little better, and talk about their feelings if they want to. It’s a perfect “All About Me” sensory table opportunity!
Check out this Resource from my Shop!
Emotions Preschool Unit$10.00
You will be getting all the good feelings with this Emotions Preschool Unit. Help children learn to identify, recognize, and manage their own feelings. Ten daily lesson plans, printable activities, classroom posters, as well as literacy, math, and fine motor centers are included.
- 10 circle time lessons
- 10 math, literacy, & fine motor centers
- Book Recommendations
Assembling the Emotions Sensory Bin
Putting together an emotions sensory bin is easy! Just gather the supplies and place them in the table. Here’s what you’ll need:
- pom poms – big, economy bulk bags can be found at a craft store, Discount School Supply, online, or at Oriental Trading
- plastic carafes – can be located at Party City and online
- Color Monster labels
- clear contact paper
Pour the pom poms into the sensory bin and use the clear contact paper to adhere the monster labels to the plastic carafes. Create emotion labels, or download, print, and cut out the linked ones in the list above. The students sort the pom poms by color. There are many opportunities for talking at this center. Teachers can lead discussions about the different feelings the monsters are showing. Additionally, opportunities for color sorting practice occur as the pom poms are matched to the containers.
Benefits of a Sensory Table in the Classroom
Classrooms benefit from a center that provides sensory input and calming activities as well as opportunities to explore. A sensory table offers these advantages as well as opportunities for:
- language development
- building nerve connections
- developing motor skills
Read All About It
A great way to introduce the little monster sorting bottles at the emotions sensory bin is to read The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions by Anna Llenas. This insightful book assigns a color to each emotion. Yellow for happiness, red for anger, blue for sadness, and so on. This book also comes in a pop-up version that will surely be a big hit with young readers. Just be sure to keep the tape close by as this book will be well loved!
Expression Through Art
The art center is a favorite of many preschoolers, making it another great space to talk more about emotions. Some children don’t know how to verbalize their feelings yet, so art can be a creative outlet for expression. With an activity like scribble art, students can scribble out their feelings on paper and then apply expression stickers to show what they’re feeling.
Talking about our emotions is not just a beginning-of-the-year activity. Students, like adults, constantly feel a spectrum of emotions throughout their day and school year. Reading about their feelings helps young learners understand their emotions and manage them better. Check out The Ultimate List of Emotion Books for the Preschool Classroom for some great classroom reads to consider throughout the entire school year.
It is also important to remember that children look to their teachers to gauge the emotional setting, so it is vital to remain calm and model gentle, problem-solving behavior. So regardless of the emotional learning opportunities provided in the classroom, remember to “Keep calm, and carry on!”
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