Emotion Wheel

Can you guess how many emotions a human can experience? 

Around the 4th century B.C., Aristotle’s list of emotions included 14 distinct feelings: fear, confidence, anger, friendship, calm, enmity, shame, shamelessness, pity, kindness, envy, indignation, emulation, and contempt. During the centuries, many writers, poets and philosophers tried to describe the full range and experience of human emotions. By the 20th century, with the advent of psychotherapy, the number had expanded considerably.

Trying to explain one’s emotions is complicated enough for adults but explaining them to a child is a real challenge. Emotions can be difficult to pin down. But what if you could explore them with a simple visual tool, and dig deeper into each emotion?
 Nowadays, the most used tools for describing emotions are emotional wheels. There are many such wheels which have been created by different researchers and scholars. We have chosen one of them. This organises basic feelings and emotional expressions in a pie chart and classifies them into groups. The basic feelings are at the centre of the pie.
This is an opportunity to develop an awareness of different emotions, to expand our vocabulary and to help children feel comfortable talking about their feelings.

What you need

  • A print of the printable below
  • Coloured pencils, markers, oil pastels etc.

What to Print

Click to Print

What to do:

Colouring: Print the wheel and ask your children to colour each emotion or each sector of the pie with a colour they think is appropriate for it. The process of choosing a colour will help your children focus on individual feelings or emotional expressions.
Share: Once the wheel is coloured, it can be fixed on the kitchen or a bedroom wall, and be used as a sort of check in point, for you and your children to talk about how you feel about your day. Share with your children examples of when you felt a particular emotion and ask them to do the same. Ask your children why they thought of that particular colour and, in the light of your conversation with them, if they would change it or keep it as it is.


  • Read carefully each emotion. Start colouring the emotions you know.
  • Think carefully about the most suitable colour. Each emotion can have a different colour, shade or intensity. Or it could simply be the same as another one.

Which colour did you use for "joy"?


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