Sugar Aunts: Identifying and Expressing Emotions - Learning through play

Identifying and Expressing Emotions - Learning through play

Young children often have difficulty expressing their emotions.  Recently my 18 month old son has reverted to hitting, screaming, and throwing things.  I was trying to think of a way to help him learn how to express himself in a calmer more acceptable manner.  With all the fall inspired posts lately, I got to thinking about decorating a pumpkin...
I cut out a pumpkin shape out of some orange poster board I had laying around the house.  I painted the stem green and gave it a few lines.  I colored some of the paper black into different shapes and put a little donut of tape on the back to make them stick.  

Identifying and Expressing Emotions Through Play

My 4 year old helped cut out the shapes of the eyes, nose, and mouths. We talked about the shapes and what those mouths looked like. We talked about positive and not so positive ways to express our feelings. "When I get sad, it is not OK to hit".  At this age it is important for her to be able to express her feelings with words and associate them with how her actions make others feel.  Learning about feelings helps with her social emotional development.

"This one has a mustache!"

"This guy is sad because his sister took away his toy."

We also had fun lining up the shapes. We had a row of triangles, circles, and ovals.

For little guy we placed the pumpkin on the refrigerator with a magnet and tape on the back of the shapes.  He had a blast making the pumpkin fall down...over...and over...and over again!

I would help him put a different shape mouth on the pumpkin and mimic the face. He thought I was pretty silly, but I think he started catching on :)

Surprised face!

This also helps with learning spatial relations and where a nose, mouth, and eyes belong on a face.  He was trying to put the mouth where the nose goes...he will learn eventually!

We all know that babies and toddlers have feeling just as we as adults do, they just need a little help trying to figure out what they are feeling!  Hopefully this will help my little guy learn to deal with his frustrations a little better...I will keep you posted!

Now off to our next adventure...



  1. I might do this with my 17 month old to help teach him where the body parts are. If you ask him where his eyes, nose, or mouth is, he just points to his cheek lol!

  2. That is exactly what my little guy does! He thinks everything is a nose:)

  3. Thanks, this is going to be great for our mommy preschool!


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