Emotional Snowmen – Exploring Feelings with Kids

by Kim

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.

 

Marshmallow Shamrock Craft

easy st. patrick's day crafts Are you sick of these marshmallow crafts? I hope not because  I love them! The novelty of using marshmallows as a craft material can intrigue even the least interested little crafter. We did this last week when we had an unexpected but very fun playdate .  It was fun to see how exciting the marshmallows were for my son’s friend who’d never made crafts with them before. It’s a fun way of adding some counting and fine motor skills into a simple St.Patrick’s Day craft.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper ( my fave are brown grocery bags), some multi-colored mini marshmallows, a marker, green crayons or markers, scissors and white glue.
  2. Start by cutting open your bag and drawing a shamrock.
  3. Color it. We used all different shades of green because I have been teaching my son about how a color can have many shades and doesn’t always look exactly the same. Also it’s pretty.
  4. The boys had a race to see who could color the fastest – they both won, my table did not.
  5. Add the glue along the outline.
  6. Add the marshmallows.
  7. How we avoid too many marshmallows going into little mouths is to give numbers they have to reach and count on the shamrock before they can eat one.
  8. Let dry.
  9. Cut around the shamrock.

Marshmallow Snowflakes

It seems like it’s snowing almost everywhere lately. I love doing activities that use what’s going on around us to keep things interesting and fresh!  This snowflake craft is simple enough for preschoolers to do with a little direction , and don’t forget you can add in lessons about counting and estimation too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of construction paper, white glue, mini marshmallows, and glitter.
  2. Start by designing your snowflake. You can just use the glue or draw it with a pencil first.  I did this one to show my son how to draw with glue.
  3. I encouraged my son to do this himself by reminding him that all snowflakes are unique.
  4. Add the marshmallows! I get asked all the time how do you avoid him eating them all? My main strategy is that I let him eat a few but only after he adds them on. I tell him to count to 14, then eat one, then add on another 20 and eat one etc.. interestingly enough this time he didn’t eat a single one, but he still counted.
  5. Add glue for glitter
  6. Add the glitter. I LOVE these little glitter tubes. They only hold a small amount of glitter so the mess is minimized. I wouldn’t use them with toddlers/ kids who still put things in their mouths though, the tops pop off and could be a hazard. 
  7. Let dry. His is proudly on display in our front hall.

Books

Holly’s Red Boots by Francesca Chessa was a delight to read. Holly wants to go outside in the snow but can’t find her boots and we follow along as she looks for them.It’s a cute story and the pictures are scrumptious. My son loved that the dinosaur was wearing her boots and wanted to read that page over and over. I also loved that when she does go outside her mom has her baby sibling in a baby carrier. Fun book!

Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay is my kind of book. If I were to quote all my favorite bits of this book I would write out most of it. I just love the writing, it’s simple but doesn’t talk down to the reader. The characters are sweet but not saccharine and I love how inquisitive Sam is . Stella is a know it all but not bratty about it at all! Sam has never seen snow before and Stella tells him all about it as they explore the first snow fall of the year.

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester is such a cute and funny story, your kids will love it! Tacky is an odd bird but when hunters come to get some pretty penguins is funny odd ways of doing things turn off the hunters and saves Tacky and his perfectly not odd companions. This is a sweet look at being different and being happy as pie about being different.  My son loves this book and will often point out that Tacky is proud to sing just the way he wants. I love that it can preach to kids without preaching at all.

Marshmallow Ghost

I love the simplicity of this Halloween Craft.  Many parents comment that they could never do a craft with treats without their child loosing focus and eating up the whole bowl. I have done many of these kids activities over the years with my son and other children and never had that problem. The tick is that you have to allow some to be eaten but make deals. With my son he had to put 10, then 15, then 20 marshmallows on the ghost before he was allowed to eat just one single marshmallow. When the ghost was completed he had another. 4 in total, not bad. If you simply can not use treats try cotton balls or packing peanuts instead. Another bonus is that your child is using fine motor skills the whole time, something essential to literacy!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some glue, mini marshmallows, and black construction paper.
  2. Start by making an outline of a ghost in glue on your paper. I tried, no begged my son to do this step but he didn’t want to. He wants things to be perfect and well – we are working on doing things himself and not needing things to be so particular. I’ll keep you posted!
  3. Next start adding the mini marshmallows. I love the system we use with a treat after counting, because he loves to count and has fun doing it. Even if you are using a non edible item give your child numbers to use as mini goals when adding on items like this. You can even make predictions about how many it will take to complete the ghost.
  4. Add glue for the eyes.  I was pleased when he wanted to do this, and even more so when he added 3 eyes !
  5. Add the marshmallows , three if you want!
  6. Let dry. The marshmallows will dry but not mold.

Halloween Books

The Perfectly Horrible Halloween by Nancy Poydar is a book I think most adults can relate to and kids should read and learn from. In the book a little boy is excited about the costume contest in class, he is sure he will win, but there is one problem, he forgot his costume on the bus! I like how resourceful he is making a new costume with what he has and how the author realistically captures both the excitement  of the day and horror when he realizes he forgot the costume on the bus. I know I forgot my bad, my lunch and a laundry list of other things on the bus when I was a kid and this book launched my son and I into a talk about loosing things and coping. Another good book from an author I have recently discovered and am greatly enjoying.

10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman is one of my favorite Halloween books and has been read many many time already this month . The premise is simple, a group of trick or treaters are pegged off one by one as they are scared by some Halloween creature.  Readers count down from 10 – 0 and  enjoy the bright detailed illustrations as they do. I particularly like the cute costumes and the final page which has another countdown with candy – always fun to count candy right?

Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson is a sweet and really well done book. The story follows a little mouse who is easily afraid of the many things on Halloween night , but one by one discovers that things like falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns and trick or treaters aren’t so scary after all. I love the repetition in this book and the illustrations by Bucket Erdogan epitomize the fall spookiness that Halloween nights are filled with. Thumbs up from my son and I .