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  • Writer's pictureGHF CAT Team

Petting Zoo Mix Up

Mix up emotions with different animals to think about how to show your feelings. 

What you’ll need: Slips of paper, something to write with, one or two people

What’s it for? 

This activity will help you use your imagination to think about how different emotions look and feel. This will help to understand your own emotional wellbeing and help to communicate your feelings to other people. 

Check In:

Notice how you’re feeling right now. Close your eyes and notice what’s going on inside your mind and body. 

  • How are you feeling?

  • What are you thinking? 

  • How does your body feel? 


  • To start, think about different emotions you can think of, and write them each on a slip of paper. These could be feelings that you have had recently or feelings you have seen shown by other people. (For example, ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘angry’)

  • Next, use the rest of your slips of paper to write down different kinds of animals. When you have finished, fold the papers in half and put them in two different piles. (For example, ‘lion’, ‘hamster’, ‘snake’)

  • Pretend that you have gone to visit a petting zoo, where all the animals are having lots of different emotions. For each animal you meet you will find out how they feel, try acting out what they might look like, and imagine what it would be like to try and pet that animal in the zoo! 

  • For example, you might pick the feeling ‘happy’ and ‘lion’. First, pretend that you are a happy lion! How might you walk around? What would you roar sound like? Then, pretend that as you walk through the zoo you meet a happy lion. How would you feel about reaching out to stroke the lion? Would he be welcoming or scary? Try this for all the animals and feelings on your papers. 

Extra Activity: If you are working with two people, imagine what it would be like to pass one another the smaller animals. Is the excited hamster jumping all over the place? Is the scared snake wrapped around your hand, too nervous to move? Maybe you can guess what one another is trying to act out!

When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions

  • Did you learn anything about yourself during this activity?

  • Which was your favourite animal to act out? 

  • Were any of them difficult? 

  • Which of the animals was the most like you? 

  • Did any of the animals remind you of other people you know? 

  • How would you help the animals feeling difficult emotions? 

  • What do you like to do when you are feeling positive emotions? 


This activity helps you to think about how different emotions look and feel. This can help you develop your communication when you want to share your own feelings, and support you with your emotional wellbeing. 

Take a moment to notice how you are feeling at the end of this activity. Did you discover anything surprising? What can you take away to make you feel better about yourself from this activity?

If you would like to, share something about your experience with this activity with someone you live with! Ask the person who looks after you to send us an email if you have any questions or comments about the activity, or would like to send us any pictures ( Don't forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities!

Created by Heather Dingle © June 2020


Creative Arts Used: Drama

Psychological Areas Explored: Emotional Wellbeing, Communication, Self-Exploration

If you enjoyed this activity, you might also like:

These activities could be done by children of all ages, but some may need the support of their parent or carer to read the instructions or complete the activity safely.

This website was made by CAT Corner to help you explore your feelings through fun creative arts activities. The people using the website and the people responsible for them need to make sure they stay safe (full disclaimer on About page).

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