Most of us are all familiar with using emojis when sending messages by text. Its a great idea which I like to adapt when working with children.
In this example above, the tiny emojis are made from felt, with facial features embroidered on them. I also make them with children from polymer clay, using an ice cube tray as a mould.
An important life skill is understanding our emotions and knowing how to manage them appropriately, in a way that is helpful for ourselves and others. Many adults still struggle with this. However, this skill is particularly difficult for young children, as their brains are still developing, making it hard for them to process the likely consequences of their emotion-driven behaviour.
Children may be unable to identify their feelings, and be overwhelmed by their experience, without knowing how to explain what is happening to another person. This is what adults are usually asking for when we say 'use your words' or 'why did you do that?' to a small child. If they don't know the words, its really hard.
Working with emojis, whether by making them out of various art materials, or playing with them using a stuffed animal with a pouch to hold them in, can help children start to identify, understand, and talk about their emotions.
Cat with emoji pocket.
Helping children talk about their emotions can be challenging at first, but it gets easier with practice. I will write more about this in my next blog post. Meanwhile, making emojis can give us some useful tools for starting the conversation.