Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If You're Happy (Emotions Version)

I was first introduced to this idea several months ago by our Parents as Teachers home educator. I wanted to make our own version and couldn't remember the details so I did an online search for "if you're happy emotions" and found two helpful resources. This page shows the basic lyrics and some visual cue "faces" you can make. Another page gave me the brilliant idea to simplify the lyrics to make them more accessible to children with speech delays. Here's the project.

If You're Happy Song - Emotions Version with Visual Cue Cards

Making the Cue Cards

Group Planning

I sat down with the kids and drew a happy face. I asked them how the person felt and they responded "happy." I asked them "How else can people feel?" They responded "sad" and I asked how the face would be different if the person were sad. They told me a frown (and demonstrated for me). I made a sad face with a frown. We then worked together to discuss, demonstrate, and draw the other four emotions (sleepy, surprised, scared, and mad). We also chose the color for each emotion. I let the kids choose and so our colors are a bit unorthodox.

Make and assemble fronts and backs of Cue Cards

I then drew the faces on the circles and wrote the matching emotion and action on the back as a cue for myself when I was holding them up for the kids.

Identify Emotions / Sing the Song

There are a wide variety of activities to do with these cue cards.
  1. Adult hold up the cards and leads the song.
  2. Distribute the cards to the everyone (we had two each) and take turns holding one up and letting the person holding the card be the leader.
  3. Use the cards to help the children learn to identify emotions (without singing) in flash card mode.
  4. Have the children mimic the facial expression of the card you hold up.
  5. Let the children make an expression and you try to guess which one they're making by holding up the matching card. They get to tell you if you're right or wrong. Get it wrong on purpose sometimes so they can enjoy telling you no.

Song Lyrics

You sing the song to the tune of If You're Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands. If you are a teacher, parent, or early childhood educator who has no need to simplify the lyrics, just use the original wording. I'll give the simplified version in a bit.

Here are the originals:
  1. If you're happy and you know it clap your hands...
  2. If you're sad and you know it say "boo hoo"...
  3. If you're mad and you know it stomp your feet...
  4. If you're scared and you know it say "oh no"...
  5. If you're sleepy and you know it take a nap (or close your eyes, or make a yawn)...
  6. If you're surprised and you know it say "oh my"...

Here is how to simplify the lyrics:
If you are doing this activity with children who have speech delays, slow it way down and encourage them to sing along. (Or at least repeat "boo hoo," "oh my", and "oh no" when cued.) Once they have learned the song encourage singing by doing the activity where they get to hold the cue cards and lead the singing in turn.

If you're happy, happy, happy clap your hands.
If you're happy, happy, happy clap your hands.
If you're happy, happy, happy clap your hands, clap your hands.
If you're happy, happy, happy clap your hands.

If you're sad, sad, sad say "boo hoo".
If you're sad, sad, sad say "boo hoo".
If you're sad, sad, sad say "boo hoo", say "boo hoo".
If you're sad, sad, sad say "boo hoo".

And so on...

SLP Notes: This activity is great. You hit speech, language, vocabulary, and pragmatics all at once and can emphasize whichever is most important for your goals with a particular child. It can be adapted high (original version, fast pace, child led). It can also be adapted at a mid-level (modified version, medium pace, cued verbal participation). It can be adapted very low as well with modified version, slow pace, and only gestural participation or cued vocalizations (yawn, crying, snoring, exclamations of fear or surprise) to work on turn taking. Even using the activity to draw the child's attention to your facial expressions could help you work on eye contact if your goals are at that level. For vocabulary you get the emotions themselves, but also the parts of the face including eyebrows and terms like smile and frown.


  1. I followed your link to Super Simple Learning and loved their site. Good for all kinds of speech and language impaired kids.

  2. Thanks for mentioning that. I actually didn't take the time to explore the rest of their site. I'll have to go back and check out more of their content.

  3. GROWING SOUND creates award winning songs based on the latest research in social-emotional learning and development. Learn about our music and mission at www.growing-sound.com

  4. How beautiful this is!! Being happy won't cost anything but a kind, gentle heart only! Spread love and smiles!
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