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A room full of angry or sad youth has never been so much fun! Pass The Emotion is a quick to pull off game that will have your youth laughing at each other’s expressions, and maybe learning a thing or two about one another. Pass The Emotion is a great game for conversation about feelings and emotional responses too, so it could easily be adapted as an ice breaker or woven into a lesson on those topics.

Number of Participants – 5 Minimum – No Maximum

Equipment Needed – None

Can Be Modified For Social Distancing

Pass The Emotion Group Instructions (Read Aloud)

We’re going to play a game called “Pass The Emotion.” This is a simple game, but will give everyone a chance to compare their reactions to various emotions. First, we’re all going to gather in a circle. The game begins when I call out an emotion, such as “happy,” “sad,” “angry,” or “suprised.” Each round starts with one player (choose how you wish to start the game) makes a facial expression and shows that emotion. Then, the player to their left has the chance to make the same emotion as we pass the emotion around the circle. After everyone has had a chance, I’ll call out another emotion. (Note: See “Reaction To News” modification below for more detailed ways to play this game.)

Detailed Instructions

  1. Gather everyone in a circle.
  2. Pick a player to begin gameplay at random, or by whatever method you choose.
  3. For each round, the leader calls out an emotion that can be shown with a facial expression, such as “happy,” “sad,” “angry,” or “surprised.
  4. Gameplay begins when the the leader calls out an emotion and the first player responds with their facial expression exhibiting that emotion.
  5. After making the expression, the player to the left then has a turn to make the same emotion. 
  6. The round continues until everyone has had a chance to share their expression.
  7. Game play continues as long as desired or you run out of emotions.
  8. A fun modification can also be made where players show their reaction to news through facial expression (See Below)

Game Modification

Reaction To News

After a few warm-up rounds with simple emotions, you can change the game up by asking players to make facial expressions in response to learning something. For example, players can be asked to show their expression and reaction upon “Being given a million dollars,” “Finding out a tornado is headed your way,” or “Meeting your favorite celebrity.” 

You can also give the players an opportunity to come up with ideas for expressions!

Pass The Emotion Game Instructions  | Youth Group Games | Games For Youth | No Prep Games