Yesterday was one of those days. Almost everything that could go wrong while flying from one side of the country to the other did. All day I kept thinking about how this was my own real life version of Judith Viorst’s classic Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good ,Very Bad Day. I kept telling myself and my kids each time I called that some days really are just like that and it’s OK to be frustrated, disappointed and mad that I wasn’t home when I said I would be. I was frustrated, disappointed and mad too. I had a post planned for today but I am too exhausted to finish it and all I want to do today is snuggle my kids and wait for the airline to drop off my suitcase that somehow didn’t make it on to my flight with me. Let’s just hope it’s not in Australia.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst was another childhood favorite that I have enjoyed sharing with my own son. This book is beautiful, even though it may take a few reads to soo it’s not a story about a whining little boy so much a lesson that sometimes things do not go our way. Days can suck. It’s just the way it is. As a child I related to Alexander’s feelings of frustration and things being unfair. How often to you hear a child say “No Fair!” probably a lot. This book taps into that feeling, being little is hard but just because you are mad, or your day was bad doesn’t mean you get your way. Great book to talk about anger and frustration with your child, and it’s funny too
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We talk about emotions a lot in our house. When you foster, it kind of comes with the territory and makes things a lot easier to have open communication. So I am always trying to come up with new ways to talk about emotions and feelings with my children. Enter my “emotional snowmen”. They are drama queens (even worse than my 3 year old daughter).
To do this activity all you will need are toothpicks, marshmallows, and food markers. These markers are completely edible and can be found at craft stores. I purchased mine in the cake decorating aisle of Wal-Mart. They were around $5 and we use them on all sorts of stuff. I highly recommend them.
Take two marshmallows and stick them on a toothpick. Be sure to leave enough of the toothpick out to attach another marshmallow.
Have your child draw a snowman face. You can open the dialogue by asking them how their snowman is feeling today. When they tell you, you can ask them to draw a face that shows Mommy how they look when they are _________.
My snowman was feeling silly. We made many different types of faces. We talked about things we do when we are feeling the way each face looked. We also talked about what we can do to help change our moods.
Then we acted out each mood and emotion.
Each child had one snowman body and then different heads to change out.
This is such a great ice breaker for new children or just getting your children to open up to you. Sometimes young children have trouble processing and understanding the emotions they feel. This activity really helps them, plus it is perfect for the colder weather.Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.
I have a slight obsession with dry erase these days. It makes sense though, dry erase projects allow children independence and a less frustrating experience if they are unhappy with what the’ve written or drawn. For our house this is a godsend. My son is a reluctant drawer and writer. He will look at me and say ” I’ll just do abstract!” and part of that is because he is also a perfectionist and it’s frustrating when things aren’t as neat as he wants them to be. The dry erase helps him explore in abstract or not.
- Gather your materials. You will need some orange and green card stock, a hard piece of cardboard or canvas , scissors and some clear contact paper.
- Start by drawing a basic pumpkin shape on your orange paper.
- Cut it and a green stem out and place on your canvas. cardboard.
- Cover with clear contact paper.
- Create! I made the faces to show readers all the possibilities for teaching about emotion with this craft .
- My son just created , ths tricky thing about dry erase is his creations were gone before I could get pictures!
Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming is a wonderful Halloween book for kids who are old enough to feel like Halloween is a spooky night, but still too young for anything graphically frightening. The text is short but rhymes beautifully and grabs your child’s attention almost as effectively as the illustrations do. The story is all about Halloween night and the sights and sounds on one street as the night goes on. Both my kids have been grabbing for this book off our shelf when I ask which book they want to read . If it can be a favorite for an almost 5 year old boy and a 15 month old girl I say it will probably be a hit at your house too.
Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman is a staple in most preschool classrooms. It’s a cute story about a witch who is desperate for pumpkin pie but her giant pumpkin is too big for her to pick up! Luckily she enlists the help of a ghost, vampire, mummy and bat and with a little teamwork they save the night! The rhyming text is almost like a song and kids love it! It’s possibly my son’s favorite Halloween book and I love that it’s the smallest creature who uses it’s brain not brawn to solve the problem.
Patty’s Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat is a great alphabet book and story in one. Readers follow a pumpkin patch from planting the seeds until after Halloween when they gather the seeds for the next planting. I really like how this book combines an alphabet book with both upper and lowercase letters corresponding to some animal or insect in the story . I also like the easy rhythm of the rhyming text and the engaging and detailed illustrations . All in all I think this is a great fall book!
Done baby proofing? Have extra outlet covers ? Turn them into a lesson about emotions with these playdough faces! This activity wasn’t planned at all, I went to the art closet to look for something, saw this unopened box of plug protectors and inspiration struck! We have used Mr.Potato Head pieces for play-dough before but this lets you create your own. It’s a fun way to talk about feelings and conflict in a neutral setting. As you will see further down this activity opened up a few doors of discussion while we played.
- Gather your materials. You will need some flat outlet covers, permanent markers and play-dough. Yes I love the store bought kind.
- Draw eyes on the plug covers with permanent markers. I asked my son to name some emotions and made those. you could also glue on googly eyes.
- Make some fun mouths , can you tell that one is a tongue sticking out? I am no artist!
- Noses – I thought I should tell you what they are just in case you can’t tell .
- Time to play! Oooh wait I should say that I waited a few minutes to make sure the marker was dry.
- He immediately made a grab for the angry eyes .
- When I asked why the guy was angry he said “He’s not angry just serious , he’s a police officer on duty.” I thought that was awesome as some police can look angry but I want my son to always feel like police are not intimidating and this craft let us chat about that and reinforce that police are there to help.
- This is the police man’s wife with a kiss on her cheek . I asked why she has a kiss he told me that husbands kiss their wives when they say thank you for making dinner. I totally wanted to jump in here with a lesson about how at our house that is the case but how cooking isn’t just for wives, but decided the fact that he is at least absorbing that gratitude is shown for every day tasks is good enough for today.
What’s your favorite play dough activity at your house?
Getting kids to talk about feelings is not always easy, one way to do it is to make it into play. These emotion masks can be elaborate with colors or simple and black and white like ours . The goal of this activity isn’t to have award winning art work, instead it’s to play with and open up a dialogue about feelings with your kids. We had a great chat about feeling sad which would have not otherwise come up. Have you blogged bout emotions? Ways to teach about them? If you have one link your post up below!
- Gather your materials. You will need 1/2 a paper plate per mask. We made only 4 emotions because my son at 4 is still pretty basic about how he feels and most emotions get lumped into these 4 : happy, sad, angry and silly. You will also need popsicle sticks ( or tongue depressors), crayons or markers , scissors and tape. I had crayons out expecting my son to want to color them… but alas he went minimalistic with this one.
- Start by cutting the plates in half.
- Write the emotion on the back, if your child is beginning to read have them help you read it, if not make your face look like the emotion and ask your child if they can guess. Talk about each emotion, but don’t lecture.
- I made the noses as per my son’s request and made two emotions.
- He made the other two. Yes that’s a permanent marker, my heart was skipping a beat while he used it.
- Tape the sticks on.
- Play with the emotions. We had fun making our eyes one emotion and our masks another.
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