Selective mutism: Learning about emotions with play dough

images (1)Learning about emotions and being able to identify them as well as talking about them, it is a big part of a Speech and Language Therapist job. Many of my colleagues work with children with Asperger or learning difficulties, focusing the vocabulary learning around EMOTIONS.

As a specialist in SELECTIVE MUTISM I work a lot with Emotions in many different ways.

It’s so important for kids to learn about emotions and how to deal with them. Approaching this topic through play can make kids feel more at ease to share what is on their mind.

Many times if kids feel that you are directing something at them, they can close off. That is definitely not what we want. We want our kids to be able to share how they feel without worrying about our reactions.

We started off by making a set of “emotion” play dough. Using home made play dough and we added in some fun colours and essential oils to represent different emotions.

Blue with Cedarwood Essential Oil= Focus

Purple with Lavender Essential Oil= Calm

Yellow with Lemon Essential Oil= Joy

I then encourage the children to draw faces linked with emotions and under each picture is a label with the emotion in case there is any confusion.

I talked to my daughters about the different emotions that were included. The big kids demonstrated what the emotions would look like in real life for my special needs 4-year-old. She thought that was quite funny.

Then, using the play dough to keep the Emotion Kids upright, they created some pretend play situations based on the emotions that were being shown.

I’ve learned with pretend play kids take control, and they will show me exactly how they are feeling. If they feel stressed, it will show in their play time. If they are very happy, play time will be happy. If they want to conquer the world, that will show too…

The bonus with this play dough set is that the kids will show you how they would react with the specific emotions helping you to see where guidance is needed.

If there are situations that you are aware of that could cause fear, anger, or confusion in a child’s life, you can prompt them through play with the emotions play dough fun set to show them good ways to express those feelings. Let them know that what they are feeling is normal and they have people who want to help them.

Have fun…

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