Ideas for Using Inside Out to Discuss Emotions with Kids | Still Playing School

Ideas for Using Inside Out to Discuss Emotions with Kids

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: , , , ,
This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. As always, all opinions and enthusiasm are 100% ours! #PlayNGrow #CollectiveBias

Have you seen the movie Inside Out yet? We did and loved it! We used the characters and themes to discuss an important early childhood (and lifelong) concept with our kids. Here are our ideas for how to use this popular movie to talk about emotions with your children.

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We went to see Inside Out the weekend it was released. We went to a showing at a local small and privately owned theater since it doesn't get quite as dark. Movies in regular theaters scare our preschooler E who has some sensory issues. This all tied in perfectly to begin a conversation with her about the Emotions who are characters in the movie: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear.

I love how Inside Out poses this Emotions as their own identities inside of all of us. When we say, "I'm angry," or "You're sad," instead of "I'm FEELING angry," or "You LOOK sad," our statements can take on an unintended permanence to our children. Some kids are left feeling overwhelmed by emotions that they think will control them forever. We always try to remember to say statements like, "I'm feeling angry right now but that won't last forever." We talked about how E let Fear control her the last time she went to the movies (and walked out halfway through the previews) but this time she was going to keep herself in charge of him!

I'm happy to report that E overcame Fear for the entire movie! Joy was definitely in control as she ate popcorn in the theater. We went to Toys "R" Us to check out the Inside Out toys! We found them right in the front of the store with other seasonal items because they are brand new and popular. We also used our Rewards“R”Us Card because it's easy and fast to accumulate points between Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us purchased to earn rewards! 

Once we got home the kids didn't want to wait to get the Emotions figures out of the packages! Immediately they were identifying the characters and acting out Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. Doesn't our toddler D make the perfect stand in for Anger with his fiery red hair?

The figures come with color coded memory spheres. In Inside Out when Riley has a memory it is categorized under the Emotion associated with it (and his or her color). Above the kids were matching Fear to a scary memory sphere!

You can also place the memory sphere in the The Console which is excellent fine motor work! The Emtions figures glow when you place them near The Console at Headquarters just like in the movie Inside Out

Since our preschooler is an avid writer, I made her a sheet where she could record her own memories in colored memory spheres! She drew swimming lessons for Joy, losing her tablet for Sadness, broccoli pizza for Disgust (This is just like in the movie Inside Out and thankfully not an insult about what I'm cooking for dinner tonight!), a bear for Fear, and her brother knocking down her block tower for Anger.

I've made this Inside Out memory sphere writing printable available for our email subscribers as a freebie! All you need to do is subscribe to our weekly emails where we will share our best ideas to keep your kids playfully learning and you will receive the link to this sheet and all of our other free printables! 

The movie Inside Out and the toys available at Toys "R" Us have been an incredibly motivating inspiration to discuss emotions with our kids. They are working on social skills, language, self expression, and their confidence as we play, too! 

Have you seen Inside Out yet? How have the movies and toys sparked conversations about emotions in your home or classroom?

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  1. OH that printable is such a good idea for little ones to draw their emotions out! My youngest would love that the most. He's an enormous arteest. We absolutely loved the movie when we saw it on opening day! #client

  2. Hi! I tried to get the Inside out inspired writing sheet but I cannot find it anywhere. I did subscribe to your blogs to get emails too! Thank you!

    1. Hi Dana, Can you email me at stillplayingschool at We'll figure this out! Thanks!