Emotions Playdough Mats (Free Printable)

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By In The Playroom

Playdough Mats are a fun way for kids to work with play dough at home or in the classroom, and bring in themes to their playdough exploration.

Our set of free printable emotions play dough mats includes 10 different play dough mats to use and re-use.

You can download them all in a free PDF file at the end of this blog post.

Play dough Mats can be used for learning, creative play, and even as a tool for writing. This set will help your kiddos get comfortable with understanding and naming their different feelings.

emotions play dough mat, make a happy face from play dough

Helping Children Understand Emotions

The first step to being able to handle our own emotions, is to understand what it is we are feeling.

Giving kids the vocabulary to name their own emotions is really helpful, and this hands on activity opens up the topic in such a simple and easy way.

List of Emotions and Feelings for Kids

Here’s a list of 22 emotions and feelings that you can talk about with kids.

The first 8 are included in this printable play dough mat set, but you can expand the activity and use the blank faces to explore other emotions and talk about what kind of situations can make us feel these emotions.

  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Shocked
  • Laughing
  • Scared
  • Worried
  • Silly
  • Sleepy
  • Proud
  • Ashamed
  • Disappointed
  • Overwhelmed
  • Bored
  • Grumpy
  • Disgusted
  • Amazed
  • Brave
  • Energetic
  • Hopeful
  • Awe
  • Love
  • Hate

Brainstorm with the kids – are there any others to add to their list?

list of feelings and emotions for kids scared worries silly sleepy proud ashamed disappointed overwhelmed and more

We can talk about “I feel…. when…..”

“If …. happened, how would you feel?” and bring up all kinds of examples. Wait and see what examples the children suggest too, even younger children can have all kinds of insightful experiences to share about their emotions!

There is so much benefit in children being able to identify and name their feelings, so that they can understand their own emotions in different circumstances. This skill will be vital all the way through their lives, as they grow.

This emotions play dough activity for kids teaches them about emotions and offers an easy way to explore of all these conversations about feelings, even with the youngest toddlers.

You can also provide a book or some flashcards with different facial expressions to look at together and discuss. It is best if these can be with real photographs, rather than cartoon pictures.

real photos pictures of emotions and feelings facial expressions for kids

Benefits of Using Playdough

Using play dough is a great fine motor work out for toddlers, preschoolers and young school aged kids, as any teacher will tell you.

Squeezing and squishing the play dough is an easy way to strengthen their little hand muscles all while having fun.

It also gives kids a chance to be creative, and make something with their hands, as well as being a great sensory experience. Choose your favorite color and roll and squish the dough to make all kinds of shapes.

Rather than taking about emotions in an abstract way only, let them get involved with their hands and make something that they can see and touch.

This tactile hands on learning is often a lot more effective than teaching with a standard worksheet with young children, and a whole lot of fun!

play dough for fine motor skills

Learning About Emotions Playdough Mats

Print out the PDF file at the bottom of this blog post, and you will have all 8 pages, each in A4 size.

To use as a play dough mat, you should laminate the pages or place them inside (affiliate links) re-useable plastic pockets like these.

I recommend the learning resources brand which you can buy from Amazon, but any wipe clean wallets or dry erase pockets will do the job. These are so convenient because you can use them with all kinds of printables, and switch them up so easily.

dry wipe plastic pockets for printable play dough mats

Self laminating pouches are also great, and we have used these a few times. If you find that the play dough mats are being used over and over, and become one of your child’s favorite then I would recommend going with the self lamination pouches.

Use the 8 different emotion pages as a starting point, and then you can use them as a template to add your own feelings and emotions from the list above, if your child is interest to explore further.

Happy Face Playdough Mat

Can you make a happy face with play dough? Talk about what makes you feel happy?

As toddlers get older they can start to understand that what makes them happy and what makes other people happy are not always the same thing.

This understanding of individual likes and dislikes is a key moment, and allows children to understand things from someone else’s perspective.

Sad Face Playdough Mat

Talking about the negative emotions is just as important as talking about the positive ones.

Learning to accept them and get comfortable with them is not always easy – but let’s talk about it!

Angry Face Playdough Mat

Anger is another important negative emotion to talk about. We don’t have to repress our anger, let’s talk about healthy ways to release it and open up about the things that make us feel angry.

Shocked Face Playdough Mat

The shocked face is always one of my little daughter’s favorites!

Shocked can be a very funny facial expression and this one is a lot of fun to explore. Think up different scenarios where someone could feel shocked, and talk about the differences between feeling shocked and feeling surprised.

emotions shocked face play dough mat free printable

Funny Face Playdough Mat

When we are laughing, how do we feel? Talk about the things that make us laugh, and explore different ways of making a laughing face out of play dough, or making some silly funny faces.

Scared Face Playdough Mat

What makes you feel scared, and what do you do when you feel scared? What helps you feel better again?

These are a few topics to explore while making some scared faces together with your playdough.

emotions scared face play dough mat free printable

Worried Face Playdough Mat

What does a worried face look like, and how do you create that shape from play dough? What kind of things make you feel worried?

Silly Face Playdough Mat

Making silly faces is a lot of fun, and you can get really creative with this one.

Proud Face Playdough Mat

Talking about the positive emotions is just as important. What makes you feel proud, and how does that look?

Sleepy Face Playdough Mat

Make your tired little play dough person go to sleep, with this sleepy or tired face play dough mat.

Confused Face Playdough Mat

The world can be a confusing place, let’s talk about the things that make us feel confused.

If your child is interested, you can also make the letters of the alphabet to spell out the names of each feeling written at the top of each playdoh mat.

More Playdough Activities

Make a fresh batch of home made play dough or stock up on playdoh supplies at Amazon to prepare for all of your play dough activities.

Right now my daughter is loving these glitter play dough colors and of course you want to have some play dough tools like cutters and rollers.

glitter play dough
play dough tools set

More Fun Hands On Printables for Preschoolers

Download PDF

Click below for your free instant digital download of the PDF file with all 8 emotions play dough mats included

Terms of use: free for personal use and free for classroom use


If you enjoyed these free printable feelings play doh mats for kids, please go ahead and share with friends or on social media , so other parents and educators can benefit from our free resources.

Thanks so much! Why not pin on Pinterest?

free printable emotions play dough mats set to explore feelings, great for preschoolers and toddlers. Learn about happy, sad, shocked, scared and more

Happy playing!

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Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.

7 thoughts on “Emotions Playdough Mats (Free Printable)”

  1. This is a wonderfully valuable activity for young ones, not only for emotional awareness, but also for fine motor dexterity! I tend to like modeling clay because it does not harden and is reusable.

  2. These are great! I love the idea of using playdough while having these conversations with the kids. I know that when kids are doing something with their hands it makes it easier to talk about difficult subjects. <3
    Thank you for the free resources!


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