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Emotions and talking about them has been huge in our family. I worked with children way before I had my own kiddos and realized that a lot of them had a hard time with expressing and/or understanding others’ emotions. So with my own kiddos we practice our emotions via play, song, books, acting and more.
So, I was super excited when we saw the previews for the new Disney Inside Out movie and I learned it was all about emotions. It has led to some fun conversations, a new toy bag/bed storage bag and some new games we were able to play with the Inside Out plush characters we picked up at Walmart.
Here are 4 of our favorite games we have been playing lately and a tutorial for a reversible end of bed toy bag I created for my youngest to store her plush toys since she has insisted on sleeping with all of them since we got them (Sadness is her favorite!)….
4 Games To Play to Practice Emotions
Emotional Dodge Ball
Like basic dodgeball but instead if you get hit, you have to act out the emotion of the character you were hit with until you are hit again. We use our new Inside Out stuffed toys, but you can also use ball pit balls or any other soft balls in multiple colors. Just make sure to assign an emotion to each color (i.e. blue= Sadness, yellow= Joy, purple = Fear, green = Disgust, Red = Anger)
There are two different ways to play this…for younger aged kiddos, have them step into the hall and point to the stuffed toy of the emotion they will need to act out (or tell them). Then they will go in front of the group and act it out. This is especially fun for my 2 year old because even though this is easy for her older siblings, she has a blast trying to guess what emotion she is acting out.
For older kiddos, you will need 2 bowls. 1 bowl will have slips of paper for each emotion (so 5 if you are using the fear, sadness, disgust, joy, anger) and in the other bowl have slips of paper with what they will act out. For example, my son picked anger and a dragon. So he had to get us to guess a dragon while being angry. So much fun! You can also let them pick on their own what to act out, but the 2nd bowl is nice for those who have a hard time coming up with something.
Act It Out
This is soooo much fun and after a little bit my youngest was repeating all of us. Pick your favorite short play or scene (i.e.3 Little Bears, 3 Little Pigs, etc.). Then act out the play in each emotion. For example, we would do the 3 Little Bears Joyfully and then the 2nd time do it fearful, etc. It is fun to see what everyone comes up with.
Another variation, is to give each child an Inside Out toy and act out that character doing the play…So my son had Joy, my daughter Disgust and I had Fear while we did the last scene of where the Bears come home in the 3 Little Bears. This was such a great way for them to practice their emotions!
What Is That?
This game is more for my 2 year old, but she loves bringing her older siblings into it. She is still trying to understand each emotion and so what we do is hand her an emotion and then ask her to show us their face (i.e Sadness = sad face, etc.). She loves to be the one to hand her siblings the toy and ask them to show her and she will copy them.
Reversible End of Bed Toy Bag
And since my kiddos have been taking these toys everywhere with them, including bedtime, I decided to make a quick reversible toy storage bag for the end of my youngest’s bed to help give them more of a home. This helps us find them when we need them too. This bag ended up being super simple to make and the older 2 kiddos are already asking for one, too!
Step 1: Gather desired fabric, pins, ribbon and any sewing accessories you need.
Step 2: Measure the fabric and cut it out. Our bag was 14×26 but if I had to do it again, I would make the depth 12 or 13 inches long instead. So, we had two 14×26 pink rectangles (A) and two 14×16 polka dot panels (B). We also decided to round our corners.
Step 4: Turn fabric B inside out so that the side you want visible is now on the outside. Then put it inside fabric A (which still has it’s outside color inside), pair them up so outsides are now facing each other. (see pic in step 5)
Step 5: Pin the top of the two fabrics together and leave two 2-3 inch gaps about 1/2 inch from the edge on the backside for the ribbon that will tie onto the bed. This will also help you with the next step. Then sew. Don’t forget to skip the ribbon gaps.
Step 6: Pull the fabric inside out through one of the holes you left on the top and flatten/make your bag shape.
Step 7: Cut your ribbon lengths long enough to tie around the bed frame, fold in half. Then tuck the fold of each ribbon into the gaps you left on the the top of the bag. Pin in place and then pin the rest of the top, so you can sew the two sides together flat. (you can also iron instead of pinning all the way around, but I prefer pinning).
Step 9: Tie on the bed and stuff with your kiddos favorite toys of the day!
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