Image by: James Emery

Paper Mask

Age Range
3-7 yrs
Setup Time
2 minutes!
Setup Location

Freud regarded play as the means by which the child accomplishes his first great cultural and psychological achievements; through play he expresses himself. This is true even for an infant whose play consists of nothing more than smiling at his mother, as she smiles at him. Freud also noted how much and how well children express their thoughts and feelings through play. These are sometimes feelings that the child himself would remain ignorant of, or overwhelmed by, if he did not deal with them by acting them out in play fantasy.

Child psychoanalysts have enlarged on Freud's insights, which recognized the manifold problems and emotions children express through play; they also have shown how children use play to work through and master quite complex psychological difficulties of the past and present.

This activity helps children learn about emotions and feelings in a fun and engaging way!


  1.  Cut paper plates into half (one half paper plate will be needed for each emotion)

  2. Write the emotion on the back of the plate

  3. Draw the corresponding emotion (a nose and the lips conveying the emotion) on the front of the plate

  4. Tape a stick on to the back of the plate to hold the emotion mask

  5. Encourage children to make their eyes one emotion and the mask another!

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.