Make Moody Puppets
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This activity is appropriate for kids ages 3 to 5. If you don't have or would prefer not to use crafts sticks as handles for your puppets, you can tape or glue a plate face to the side of a lunch-sized paper bag. Then your child can put his hand inside the bag to play with the puppet. Older children might enjoy making more elaborate puppets by gluing or taping yarn or curled ribbon to the plates for hair and pieces of cut fabric or felt for bows and ties.
Your child will learn more from this activity if you play with her. Moody puppets can help you teach your child to identify and talk about her feelings. Using moody puppets in a puppet show can also help her gain confidence about how to express feelings and respond to them in appropriate, healthy ways.
When your child is drawing his puppet faces, help him connect the emotion with physical sensations. When he is upset, for example, his face is probably flushed and warm, his muscles are tense, and he is breathing fast. These body cues can help him recognize the feeling called "mad" or "angry." Identifying is the first step to managing emotions.
Then, have your child pick a puppet and ask him questions to start a story. Once the story is started, your child's imagination is likely to take over. Ask questions such as:
- What happened? Why do you feel _____ (the mood of the puppet he has picked)?
- What did you do? Did that make you feel better?
- How do you think that made someone else feel?
- What else could you do? How would that make you feel?
Help him see that his emotions affect what he does. Also help him realize that he has choices about how to respond to what he is feeling. Explain that if he doesn't like what he is feeling, he can do something -- like talking to someone about how he feels -- to help change his "bad mood" and feel better.
What to Teach Your Child: Choosing What to Do About Feelings
One goal of this activity is to teach your child that there are many feelings, and it's OK for her to feel them all. Feelings may be comfortable or uncomfortable, but feeling emotions -- whatever they are -- isn't bad.