How to Play

The Game of Mixed Emotions is a versatile card game designed to be played many different ways. Each of the 48 cards features one of 24 different emotions, one of 12 characters and an example of when someone might feel that specific emotion. The colors of the cards is based on the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, which divides emotions into four categories:

  • Red Fire: High Energy, uncomfortable emotions like Mad, Scared, Embarrassed, Hungry, Worried and Frustrated
  • Blue Clouds: Low Energy, uncomfortable emotions like Sad, Hurt, Tired, Sick, Shy, and Distracted
  • Green Clovers: Low Energy, comfortable emotions like Calm, Patient, Kind, Safe, Peaceful and Grateful
  • Yellow Suns: High Energy, comfortable emotions like Joy, Happy, Helpful, Excited, Proud and Brave

Each of the 12 characters of Mixed Emotions display all four different different emotional categories, showing kids that it's alright to feel different kinds of emotions and that emotions are only temporary. The characters are easy to relate to and taking part in all kinds of activities.


The game is designed to be played a variety of ways and can be as simple or complex as you and your child want. The purpose of the game is to be a fun way to introduce emotional concepts and vocabulary without sacrificing fun. We recommend four games and two conversation starter exercises right out of the box, but there are many other ways to play, and new games coming from our community of players every day!

The Original (2 or more players)

Similar to Uno, each player is dealt five cards and takes turns trying to match either the color or the character on one of their cards with the character in the discard pile. If they can't match, they draw one card. If they have two of the exact same emotion they can play both and if they have the same emotion as what's in the discard pile, they can play it and a bonus card. Play continues until the winner is out of cards!

I've Got a Feeling (2-4 players)

Similar to Go Fish, each player starts with seven cards and takes turns asking if another player has one of the cards in their own hand. If the other player does, they hand it over to the first player and the pair is placed face up on the table and the player may ask again. If not, it's the next players turn, and play continues until one of the players is out of cards!

Memory Match (1 or more players)

Players try to remember where cards are placed in this challenging memory game. Cards are laid out face down on the table and players take turns flipping over cards to get a match. Player with the most matches wins.


One player draws cards and calls out the emotion and the color for each emotional group. If the player has a match, they place one of their bingo pieces on that square. The first person to get four in a row, either up and down, side to side, or diagonally, is the winner!

Conversation Starters

"When have you felt...?" Use the cards as a way to talk with you child about when they have felt certain types of emotions, using the examples on the card as a starting point.

If a child is struggling to describe how the feel, have them pick a card. Listen to how they feel and validate their emotions. Don't tell them "not to feel sad" but instead ask them why they feel that way, and how they think the character might solve that problem.