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I recently discovered these Better Builder Emotion Figures from Guidecraft, and I immediately started thinking about ways they can be used to teach children about emotions.
Using the figures, children can learn to identify 6 basic emotions - happy, sad, angry, surprised, scared and confused. Sometimes children need help to identify what another person is feeling. A good place to start is to look at someone’s eyes and face.
Prompts to Use:
Look at the figures eyes. How do you know what feeling the figure is feeling? What makes the eyes sad? or angry?
Now let’s look at the mouth. How do you know what the figure is feeling by the shape of their mouth?
Some are easy - smile = happy, eyebrows angled in toward nose = angry. But some are a little tougher. Talk through it with your child, and see what they notice and understand.
Understanding their own feelings
Using a very simple question prompt could lead to some interesting discussions. Here’s an example of one easy prompt you can use:
That figure looks sad. Have you ever had a time when you’ve felt sad? Can you tell me more about it?
Understanding another person’s feelings
Talking directly about themselves can feel overwhelming for some children. In that case, ask them to talk about someone else. It can be easier to discuss feelings when it’s not personal.
Here’s an example of that type of prompt:
That figure looks surprised. Have you ever seen someone surprised? Can you tell me more about it?
Using the figures in play
Set out the figures along with other play materials you have on hand. Some suggestions are a dollhouse, blocks, or cardboard and markers. See what happens. The children may act out a scene or create a scenario where they can use the figures and show what’s going on in a story including talking about the feelings of the figures.
Feelings and Colors
The different emotions figures come in three main colors:
Talk with children about their thoughts on whether the color is a good representation of the feeling. A child may say blue makes a lot of sense with sad. They may also say blue represents scared for them. Have a child change the bodies around to reflect their thoughts on which color represents which feeling. Since they are magnetized, it’s super easy to do.
How would you use the emotions figures with children?