Big Brother has been recognizing feelings lately. He asks me countless times throughout the day, “Are you happy, Mommy?” Then, he normally follows up with a “Smile!” (he also uses the “smile” tactic when he is in the throes of being disciplined…he’s already a charmer). Likewise, he recognizes when I am upset.
I had actually planned to do this activity with cute little pumpkin faces, but since Big Brother has been having a little bit of trouble in social situations lately–knowing how to treat other children kindly and taking toys away simply because he wants them–I decided to do it with pictures of real children instead. I know all children go through these stages, but it is not behavior that I am not pleased with and the more “coaching” we can do, the better.
I came up with this activity for Big Brother to do so that he will recognize the emotions of children he doesn’t know by observing their faces while also relating to that emotion by recognizing his own feelings in certain situations. I tried to use pictures from the last 6 months, so that he will remember those feelings that he sees in the picture. This activity provided a positive opportunity to talk about what types of things make people happy and sad in a fun, interactive way.
It’s a great activity for all children, but would also be beneficial for children with Autism or Asperger’s, as social situations can often create a lot of stress and anxiety.
Here’s what you’ll need: 8 index cards, 4 pictures of your child with different emotions (we did happy, sad, scared, and surprised/excited), 4 pictures of other children with the same emotions (preferably pictures of people who your child does not know–I simply googled images of happy, sad, scared, and excited children), and contact paper.
|1. Cut out and mount your child’s pictures on individual index cards (our emotions were sad, happy, surprised, and scared).|
|2. Do the same thing with the photographs of other children. I made sure to include pictures of boys and girls.|
|3. First, lay out the pictures of the other children. Explain to your child what feeling each face is showing. Then give your child a picture of himself (one at a time) and have him match his feeling/emotion to the feeling/emotion of the child in the picture. You could also talk about what happened to make him feel the way he is feeling in the pictures (example- the “scared” picture of Big Brother was taken at a butterfly exhibit.|
|4. Next, play “Memory” with the cards. This is a great cognitive exercise because your child isn’t just matching two identical pictures, he is having to recognize the emotion in the faces and match it to the same emotion on the picture of his face.|
And I apologize for the poor picture quality. One VERY sick baby + one active boy + Prince Charming out of town = One VERY tired Momma!