If You’re Happy and You Know It

Child with grandparents

Emotional: To develop self-regulation recognizing different emotions and ways to express them to develop self-esteem and qualities such as caring, empathy, and resiliency.

Age Groups: ,

Overview

This is a music and movement activity that will encourage toddlers to learn the words to express different feelings and emotions using physical actions (i.e. clap, cross arms).

You will need:

  • Words to the song, If You're Happy and You Know It (under Directions)

Directions

  • Familiarize your toddler by first singing the song with no actions. The second time, sing the song and demonstrate each of the actions that represent the different feelings (see below).
    • If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)
      If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)
      If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it
      If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)
      (traditional)
      If you’re angry and you know it cross your arms
      If you’re angry and you know it cross your arms
      If you’re angry and you know it and you really want to show it
      If you’re angry and you know it cross your arms
  • Start with two emotions as toddlers have short attention span.
  • See section Enrich Learning Through the Everyday Moments when your toddler is ready for more emotions.
Accessibility IconThe accessibility icon suggests tips, such as materials or tasks, which will make an activity easier for children with a range of abilities to practice skills that support social, emotional, gross motor, fine motor and intellectual developmental milestones.

Nurture

  • Sing a song about emotions using physical actions.
  • Begin to understand the use of actions to show feelings.
  • Start to see others have feelings as well.

Explore

  • Physical actions to show emotions.
  • Develop understanding towards a method of communicating feelings.
  • Begin to recognize emotions from others.

Enriching Learning Through the Everyday Moments

  • Display pictures (family photos or from storybooks) showing different emotional expressions along with the words that describe those feelings. Your toddler will begin to recognize different feelings and to learn to name them.
  • Feel free to incorporate the emotional expressions into the existing If You’re Happy and You Know It song:
    • If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)
      If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)
      If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it
      If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)
      (traditional)
      If you’re angry and you know it cross your arms
      If you’re angry and you know it cross your arms
      If you’re angry and you know it and you really want to show it
      If you’re angry and you know it cross your arms
  • During everyday moments, use words to describe your toddler’s feelings. This helps to identify their feelings independently, and to recognize other people’s. For example, “Andrew, your arms are crossed and you look sad, what happened?”.

Recommended Reading

  • If You’re Happy and You Know It! by Jane Cabrera and If You’re Happy and You Know It! by Jan Ormerod.