I love sharing feelings with my children and hopefully one day, they will be open to share their feelings with me. It’s not about trying to get affections from them, rather, for them to verbally express how they feel, being able to attune to people around them and picking up non verbal behaviors. This is one skill that is a life skill and hopefully starting young with them would give them a good head start in their interpersonal skills with others as they go to school and their future years.
There are probably a dozen or more children’s books that covers feelings and these are some of my favorite ones.
This book is my absolute favorite because it’s very simple and easy to follow. Each page talks about an emotion with a facial expression of the gorilla. Even children as young as 18 months would enjoy seeing the pictures because the book is quite a large book yet light, so little ones can hold and explore the pictures.
This book covers feelings such as Happy, Sad, Curious, Lonely, Confident, Surprised, Guilty, etc.
Kissing Hand is an award winning book. It is a charming book about a raccoon starting school and has separation anxiety. This book is suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. I used this story with my 2 kids before they started school and practiced the kissing hand so that they would feel comforted and once in a while, we still do the kissing hand and they love it.
Fragility is the name of this hippo and she is a tough hippo on the outside but really soft on the inside. This book is quite hilarious and I think it’s suitable for children ages 4 and above because it is more wordy and the context is a little more complex than the other 2 books. The story covers insecurity, bullying and using words to comfort. This is one of our favorite bed time stories.
Playdough faces. I love using playdough with young kids because it’s sensory and tactile and little ones as young as 8 months can work on them (adults supervision please). Here we have a simple template that you could print from the internet. I did a search “faces template”. To make it reusable, how about laminating the printout so that it could be used on several occasions? I think it would make a fun party for preschoolers to work on using playdough to express various emotions and take pictures of it and make it into a collage.
Paper dolls are crafts that are fun and easy to make. Although parents would need to do a little more preparation work like cutting up the doll template. Otherwise, the activity is very engaging and allows the child to express their feelings and creativity. I got the template doing a google search “paper doll template”. You’ll need glue, paper fasteners if you want to make each doll connect to one another and could move and also various materials such as markers, yarn, various types of papers and fabric scraps. The materials are easily available from home and it could take at most 30 minutes to print (preferably on heavy weight paper), cut out and set the materials to invite the child to create. Although we have done this with toddlers and their parents as a collaborative work, this could also be suitable children ages 4 and above.
This is one of my favourite craft activity with my children. We take pictures of how we feel (exaggerated emotions), cut out the faces and make them into puppets. Using these puppets, we make up stories as if the puppets were characters that were not them. Sometimes I use these puppets to role play a particular scenario that I’d like the kids to learn. For example, stories like talking to bullying, or throwing tantrums. I think having a puppet allows the child to look at it as a separate entity and they don’t take it personal when the stories are told. These puppets can be kept inside box and whenever the kids are bored, they can also take them out and make up stories. We made these puppets recently at one of our workshops to create a family of puppets and the toddlers adored the activity because we would take their photos during the workshop, print them out onsite and they could see it become a physical picture instead of the usual digital photos. Then creating the puppets with those faces really brought smiles to their faces as they could recreate their family members as puppets.
I hope you enjoyed this post and feel free to share books about emotions or crafts that can be used to talk about emotions with young kids.
Have a great day ahead!