Teaching Emotional Intelligence to Children Part 2: Facing Our Feelings - with crafts!
No, we’re not knitting away our sadness or sculpting our fears - at least not today. We are feeling some more feelings, assisted by one of our favorite craft projects: the emotions face!
LOVE these things! Use them a million ways:
And many more. But before you can use them, we need to make them....
Get Ready to Craft!
If you're making several faces, I say skip the cardboard in favor of cheap paper plates. We love to have the kids each make their own Emotions Face, so our execution doesn’t need to be highly durable so much as highly do-able in repetition.
Ok.... it's also because more pliable materials reduce scissor fatigue - or whatever it’s called when you’ve been cutting out so many things, or cutting such hard-to-cut things, that the shape of the scissor handle becomes permanently imprinted around the base of your thumb….
Instead, I prefer a material that can be bent and cut, and have holes punched in it, with relative ease.
Cardboard does not meet this standard for me, so grab some cheap plain paper plates from your local pizzeria (or order them). Bonus: they are already face shaped, which saves time cutting out a lot of blank face circles!
Our hole punchers can’t reach more than an inch or two beyond the border of the face. So unless you have a very fancy long-necked hole punching device, you’ll need to fold the face in order to punch holes in it to attach the features.
Make A Face!
Paper Plate Edition...
We often skip the tears/cheeks as I feel they can be more hassle than useful (plenty of ways to show sad without actual crying), but some people like them. If you want to use the cheeks/tears, glue them back-to-back. Then thread a needle with thread or skinny yarn through the top of the cheek/tear pair.
Alternative: If you’re willing to eventually lose/squash some of the facial features when they are not attached, to sacrifice a little precision in the manipulating of the features, and to invite Mr Potato Head style feature-swapping, you could ditch all the hole punching and fasteners and just use velcro dots to attach all the features.
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Today we’re feeling our feelings, kiddos! Social-emotional learning (SEL) is one of the most important parts of early childhood education, in the classroom and at home.
It's a Scary World out there...
Hurricanes and earthquakes and destroying countries and terrorism and more hurricanes... Yipes! Today we're offering a few ideas for helping kids handle some of those fears.
Talk of destruction and suffering are all around us, and inescapably all around our children. It's scary! Add to that all the things that might be lurking in the dark or under our beds - any time we cannot see something, or do not understand how it works or why it happens, or find ourselves in a new situation we cannot predict, we may feel fear or anxiety - at any age.
Use Dramatic Play
We like to use dramatic play to help children cope with fears that are unlikely to occur (what if aliens attack?), and talking and games to handle fears that are more in the sphere of possibility (what if a hurricane comes to get us?)
We act out what might happen, with a silly or happy twist.
One of our favorite books to introduce this particular dramatic play activity is Ed Emberly's Go Away Big Green Monster. Monsters aren't so scary when you think of them as a collection of silly pieces instead of one big creature.
We like to have kids draw something they are fearful of, and then we work together as a group to figure out a way we could make that fear feel less scary.
Happy Wednesday! Today is International Positive Thinking Day! So today’s resource focuses on Positive Thinking and the Growth Mindset.
If you’re not yet familiar with the Growth Mindset, it’s a way of thinking - backed up by scientific research - to develop perseverance and resilience in the face of difficulty, and it opens up doors to new successful and quantifiable strategies for teachers and parents, in fact for anyone who is with a child when that child encounters something difficult.
Happy Wednesday again! Caroline here with our go-to books as a basis for lessons full of creative play. Many of these are deservedly well-loved classics. They are my favorites because each one is so rich with possibility, in different ways for different age groups. At this point, I can't pass up an opportunity to explore with these books and I ONLY read them out loud to kids when I know we will have time to create our own imaginary worlds right afterwards 😍
They work well in small settings too, if you’re looking for some fun parent-child or family time activity.
A great book for those very young and/or just beginning to grasp the concept of cooperative intentional dramatic play, use it as a jumping off point for a conversation about pretending, giving each child the opportunity to demonstrate for the class how to pretend that he/she is something else, or inviting the children as a group to pretend they are something - show me how a horse runs! Don’t forget to shake your horse tail!
Welcome to Monkey Business, the Bitty City Blog!
Bitty City Players offers theater and science enrichment through after-school programs, in-school workshops, and events for ages 1-10 in NYC.
Learn more about the organization and our team here.