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ESL Icebreaker Game for Kindergarten: Emoji Feelings

“Emoji Feelings” is a uniquely modern and engaging icebreaker game for ESL (English as a Second Language) kindergarten classrooms. This game utilizes the universal appeal of emojis to help young learners express emotions and feelings in English.

By integrating a familiar element from digital culture into the learning process, “Emoji Feelings” makes language learning relatable and fun for children, helping them connect with and articulate their emotions in a new language.

Emoji Feelings

Kindergarten Icebreaker – Emoji Feelings

We have loads of icebreaker games here on the site for all ages, you can check out the full list for kindergarten on the link directly below but we also have icebreakers for adults, primary and high school here which you can check out as well.

How to Play

  • Game Setup: Prepare a set of emoji flashcards, each depicting a different emotion or feeling.
  • Basic Rules: Children take turns picking an emoji flashcard from a deck. They can either mimic the expression on the card or describe a time when they felt that way using simple English phrases.
  • Game Variations: For more advanced groups, encourage children to form complete sentences or even short stories based on the emoji they pick. This variation enhances narrative skills and deeper language usage.

Educational Benefits

  • Teaches Emotional Vocabulary: An essential aspect of language learning, emotional vocabulary is effectively introduced and practiced through this game.
  • Encourages Expression and Empathy: By identifying and mimicking emotions, children learn to express their feelings and understand the feelings of others.
  • Enhances Speaking and Listening Skills: As children describe their feelings or experiences, they practice speaking in front of a group, while listening to others fosters empathy and understanding.
  • Creates a Supportive Environment: Sharing emotions and experiences in a group setting builds a sense of trust and community in the classroom.

Resources Needed

  • Emoji Flashcards: A set of cards with various emoji expressions representing different feelings and emotions.
  • Space: A comfortable area in the classroom where children can sit in a circle or group to see each other’s expressions and hear their stories.

Playtime Guidelines

  • Duration: Typically, 10-15 minutes works well, allowing enough time for each child to have a turn without losing the group’s attention.
  • Pace: Maintain a gentle pace to give each child time to think and express themselves without feeling rushed.
  • Group Size: Suitable for small to medium-sized groups. In larger classes, consider breaking into smaller groups for a more intimate setting.

Adapting to Different Learning Levels

  • For Beginners: Focus on simple emotion identification and basic expressions like “happy,” “sad,” or “angry.”
  • For More Advanced Learners: Encourage more detailed expressions and the use of complete sentences. Introduce a wider range of emotions and corresponding vocabulary.


“Emoji Feelings” is a highly effective and engaging ESL icebreaker game for kindergarten students. It bridges the gap between digital familiarity and language learning, providing a platform for young learners to explore and express emotions in English.

This game not only aids in language acquisition but also plays a crucial role in the emotional and social development of children, making it a valuable addition to any early language learning curriculum.

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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