Either look through a large book with lots of large pictures (fairy tales work well) OR flip through magazines and cut out a variety of pictures that show great facial expressions. You can look at a page or hold up some magazine cuttings and ask questions such as “Who looks sad in this picture?” or comment “I think that this boy is happy because he found is hat.” etc.
Feel the Music
Collect on an audio tape, several 30-45 second pieces of various kinds of music. Leave 10-15 seconds of silence between each new music. Use fast beats, then slow melodies. Try to find Asian sounds and/or Latin salsas, etc. Then pop in the tape and dance with the kids. Show them how they can feel the music and dance in many ways. Toddlers love to wave their arms or stomp real hard. They like to sway slowly or just bob their heads. You will love their expressions.This activity helps children explore and voice their feelings and fears in a safe environment. It also introduces the children to improvisation. You need a big piece of paper, about the same size as the children, a chair and a marker pen.
Get the children to sit in a circle. Tell them you are going to draw a little girl/boy ask different children what he/she is wearing, looks like and then give the child a name. Sit the ‘child’ on the chair by rolling the paper backwards. Tell the children that we are going to pretend that this is your child and that they are all your friends. Tell them that he/she will not eat her dinner, ask your ‘friends’ what should do? Ask the drawn child the questions that the children ask and give his/her responses to the children. Hopefully the children will grasp that the child is upset. The children can suggest might be wrong and often inadvertently tell you their what upsets them. The children then suggest what the mother and the child can do to get over the problem. This activity is always a success and the children asked me how my little girl was doing weeks later.
~Emotions File Folder Game~
Draw 10 different faces with emotions…happy, sad, mad, silly, worried (big eyes and a little mouth), scared (huge mouth in a horse shoe shape), loving (kissing face), stressed (big eyes and a wormy line for a mouth), tired (drooping eyelids….open mouth), Surprised (big eyes, big open mouth). Make 2 copies of each face. Cut them out. Take one copy of each face and glue them on the inside of a file folder. Glue an envelope to the back of the folder. Place the matching faces into the envelope. The children then can match the different emotions. Bring this game out during an emotions theme. It is a fun and easy matching game for the children.
I drew some emotion cards. Examples: happy face sad face surprised face mad face
I drew the faces on metal orange juice lids using permanent marker. I will use these as my cards. The drawings are simple circles with simple lines for the mouth etc.
I set out the emotion cards & then ask one child to tell me what emotion card would go with the situation. I read a situation to the child. Here are some situations. You can even ask the children to help with ideas in this area.
Situations: you lost your mittens a goat is eating your shoes you can fly you see a beautiful butterfly you have to do chores before playing with friends you found a bird feather you have a new puppy you fell & skinned your knee you lost your favorite toy you can’t find your shoes a space ship landed in your backyard you are fishing in a stream you are swimming in a pool you can’t find your special ring you dropped your ice cream scoop off your ice cream cone.
This could be made up for actual shelf work. The children can make up situations or you might be able to find pictures in magazines to use as situations cards.