Feelings mandala 


This is a simple intervention to explore emotions with children. 

1. Simply print off a variety of mandalas and allow the child to choose one to color.
2. Ask the child to list the feelings they typical have below or above the mandala and draw a small circle next to each feeling.
3. Have the child pick a color for each feeling and fill in the circles with the colors to use a guide to remember which colors belong to which feelings.
4. Invite the child to color the mandala with the feelings color to show how often they have the feelings. For example, “Now you can start coloring. “If there is a feeling you have a lot of in your life, color more of the picture with that color. If there is a feeling you don’t notice having very much, only color a little of the picture with that color.”

You’ll be amazed the things you will learn about the child as they start to color! This can be very helpful to start conversations like, “I notice you only have a little bit of green in your picture and that is your happy color. What can we do to get more happy in your life?” Or “I notice there is a lot of red in your picture and that is your angry color. Thank you for being so honest with your feelings in this activity! I wonder what are some of the things that cause that much anger in your life… What do you think?”
For older kids and teens, print more complicated mandalas and allow it to take more than one meeting to complete if needed. If using colored pencils, older children and teens can even rate intensity of feelings by how light or dark the color is, if they choose to assign meaning to the colors in this way.
These are great for comparing over periods of time as well!

Happy coloring! 


  1. Not so sure that there is really an “evaluation” of intensity or amount of emotions here [a 30 year art therapist veteran is speaking here!]. But with some different drawing materials that provide a better media experience and more brilliant colors, I think the experience might be more in line with what you are looking for– at any rate, you are providing some self-regulation via coloring which is generally helpful in establishing relationship, safety and language stimulation.

    • Thank you for your input! I think “explore” not evaluate would have been a better term for me to use for this intervention. It has been very helpful so far in exploring children’s feelings as they talk about which feelings colors they chose to include most of in their mandala.

  2. As Thomas Merton said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves all at the same time.” Kristina thank you for sharing this wonderful exercise for children to become more self-aware while getting lost in the creative process.

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