The Feelings Line

Feeling & Expressing
Feeling & Expressing
Friends & Mentors
Friends & Mentors

Participants will explore a variety of emotions through practice and gain an understanding of the diversity in the way feelings can be presented. The focus is on communicating and identifying emotions, as well as recognizing that everyone experiences the same emotions despite differences in portrayal.


  • Tape or long rope (or other objects to mark large circle on floor)


Set up the activity be explaining to the group that you would like them to join you in the centre of the circle but they can only step inside after they demonstrate an emotion.


  1. Place rope or tape in a large circle across a clean floor, large enough for all participants to stand around it.
  2. Tell all participants each person will cross the line differently than everyone else.
  3. Each person must cross the line showing a different emotion, or exhibit an emotion different than another participant.
  4. Demonstrate by stepping over the line with an example of an emotion and prompt the participants to guess which one it was.
  5. Have all participants exhibit a chosen emotion and have everyone else guess what it was.
  6. After each player has had a turn everyone must then pair up.
  7. Each pair must plan an emotion together different from all other pairs and are only given 30 seconds to prepare. (Each person per pair can display the emotion differently or the same.)


  • After trying with pairs, merge into groups of 4, 8, then 10, etc. until there is only one group that must cross the line together. At that point, it would be up to you to guess their emotion.
  • Try it this way: Begin with the entire group a few steps away from the circle and draw names to decide who displays an emotion. When a participant displays an emotion and the group wrongly guesses, the entire group takes a step back. If the group guesses correctly, they must all take a step forward. Displaying an emotion, regardless of whether the group guess wrongly or correctly, allows the participants to step forward.


  • Some participants may struggle with appropriately displaying emotions. Make sure to reinforce the notion that not everyone shows emotions the same way and that the goal to recognize individual differences.


After ending the activity, reconvene for a brief reflection by posing to them some questions like:

  • Were you worried about running out of feelings to share? If that did happen why?
  • Why do you think not all of us showed our emotions the same way?
  • Which emotions do you think are negative? And which do you think are positive?
  • What ways did you express feelings, what other expressions could have been used?
  • What themes did you see when everyone worked together?
  • What feelings are you more or less comfortable sharing and why?

Submitted by Somerset West Community Health Centre.

Originally sourced from: Cross the Line in Diversity in Action (1998) by Chappelle and Bigman, Journey Toward the Classroom Using the Adventure to Create Community Second Edition by Laurie S. Frank.