Thursday, June 27, 2013

facial features + discussing emotions with toddlers.

emery has always loved pointing out and naming facial features when snuggling up with people. she likes to count people's eyes, nose, ears, chin, mouth, and eyebrows. just in the last few months though, she's been loving imitating emotions and facial expressions. 

i wanted to help her explore emotions more, so i dug up some fun things i pinned on my toddler and preK boards awhile back. i printed off the goods and got them laminated for 25 cents/foot at mardel! she's LoViNg it!

playdough faces:

Planet of the Apels has printable pages for playdough books! most of them are above emery's level right now, so i just printed off the 2 blank face pages. emery is definitely not to the stage of rolling a "snake" and bending it into a smile, or rolling up balls for eyes, but she pinched off chunks and put them in each spot, telling me which feature they were. she gave the girl a bunch of tiny balls for teeth instead of lips :-)

to discuss emotions, i plan to create the faces for her and chat with her from the dialog described below.

paper faces:

i found the idea at The Iowa Farmer's Wife and tweaked it a little bit to fit our needs. 

  • she found her features in magazines - i couldn't, for the life of me, find enough that were big enough and the same general size, so i gave up and got them off the internet. i didn't want to use the same features from the same people, so i copied each picture into paint, cropped off a different feature, pasted it into word, resized it to fit my preference. it took awhile and sure did pull up some gross faces. if anyone is interested in the word document i created, let me know and i'll email it to you!
  • all of her mouths were smiles - because i wanted to specifically talk with emery about emotions, i chose puckered lips, a tongue sticking out, a baby crying, and a smile. she loves imitating each one! (i also chose a nose with a nose ring because she loves touching mine and ears with earrings.)
  • she attached hers to a cookie sheet - i love this idea for things like the car, but for some reason i'm addicted to sticking things on our fridge! {see here and here} i love that the activity stays off my floor!
  • i taped heads onto the fridge for her to use as a guide on where to put the features. i found them here!

am i the only one with a toddler that likes
to dress herself like a goober? i sent her upstairs
 to get panties on and she came downstairs with an
extra headband on her head and
a head band around her waist like a belt!
discussing emotions with toddlers:
right now we're at a very basic level of talking about emotions. emery doesn't usually dialog about theoretical stuff, she mostly just answers black and white questions. here are some examples of how we chat:

with the sad face:

  • Is the boy crying? can you frown too? what do you think made him sad - do you think he got hurt? could it also make him sad if a friend took his toy? could he be sad if his mommy said "no more TV today"?

then we dialog about biblical responses:

  • if he got hurt, how can you make him feel better? if you hurt him, what should you say?
  • if you took his toy, should you give it back? should you say sorry? is it ok to take people's toys? no, it's not because God tells us to think of others as more important than our selves. You're thinking of your self as more important when you take a toy from someone. God wants us to love our friends and we can do that by sharing!
  • if his mommy said "no more TV," is it ok to throw a fit? no, he needs to respect his mommy! if his mommy says something, he needs to obey and say "yes, mommy!" God teaches us in the bible that we're supposed to be joyful in all things and to have self-control. Self-control is choosing not to throw a fit even if you're sad and joy is being happy even if you don't get what you want. i bet his mommy can help him find something else fun to do when he gets control, and stops crying!

with the happy face:

  • is the girl happy? can you smile like she is? what makes emery happy? are you happy when you ride your bike? are you happy when daddy tickles you? are you happy when you're holding cooper?

dialog with a biblical tie-in:

  • do you know what makes mommy and daddy happy? we're happy when we snuggle emery and cooper! we're happy when people come over to our house! we're happy when we're cooking with you in the kitchen! but what makes us happy more than anything is knowing that when we disobey God and ask him to forgive us, He does. that makes mommy and daddy so happy - we're so thankful God loves us!

with the kiss face:

  • what's he doing with his lips? can you make a kissing face? who can emery give kisses to?

with the silly face:
  • what's she doing with her tongue? can you stick your tongue out? what's another silly face you can make?
  • emery's not to the point of knowing that sticking your tongue out can be an attitude issue, but once she gets there i'll definitely address it! it would probably sound super similar to the chat above about a good response when mommy says no more tv :-)

she's mastering the silly faces with daddy!
i love when emery plays with this while i'm making dinner and being able to talk with her while i cook. she has fun mixing and matching all the features to create new "people!"

what are some ways you teach your toddler emotions??

love and silliness,


  1. Would you send me the word file please -

  2. I would love a copy of the word file for these faces! Thanks!

  3. I love this idea! I'd love the word file.