Facial Feature Story Stones are a great way to teach toddlers about different emotions and to develop emotional intelligence! They are also a wonderful tool for teaching about the similarities and differences between their own faces and those of others.
As toddlers become more self-aware, they begin to notice their own facial features and those of others. One of the first things they notice is eye color. My daughter O is 26 months old. She has known that her eyes are brown for a while now, but only recently discovered that mommy’s eyes are green. She frequently tells me, “Mommy’s eye is green with a little black.” We recently read a book called “My Nose, Your Nose” by Melanie Walsh, which discusses the many diverse facial features of different children. O loved this book! I realized that she was very interested in similarities and differences, so I created this Facial Feature Story Stone activity!
These Facial Feature Story Stones are also great for teaching little ones about emotional intelligence. At two years old, Miss O is starting to become more aware of the emotions of others as well as her own. She is particularly affected by seeing people or characters become sad. If a character is sad on television, her eyes fill with tears and she will say “He’s happy?” Cue the waterworks! My husband and I talk to her about different emotions and explain to her that everyone feels sad sometimes, but then they feel happy again later. I want to help her to become more comfortable with her own emotions and those of other people and characters. These story stones have worked great for helping us discuss different emotions and how they can change. Right now Mr. Face is smiling, but something might happen to make him sad. Some of the stones have tears to symbolize crying and a sad, down-turned mouth. We switch out the stones to reflect the emotion of feeling sad, and talk about things that we can do to feel happy again. Then we switch the stones again to reflect happy feelings.
What is emotional intelligence and why is it important? Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is a person’s ability identify, understand, and express their emotions. The earlier we teach children about their emotions, the more successful they will be in their relationships and ability to express themselves to others. People with strong emotional intelligence are better able to communicate, negotiate conflict, and successfully express themselves. As parents and teachers, we can help our children develop their emotional intelligence by helping them to acknowledge and label their feelings. For example, when a child gets upset after another child knocks over a block structure you can say, “You are feeling mad that your blocks got knocked over.” If a child is crying after saying goodbye to a parent you can say, “You are sad because mommy is leaving.” Helping children to label their emotions helps to build emotional intelligence because you are helping them to understand and express their own feelings. Facial Feature Story Stones can be used in a variety of settings, even when a child is upset. Keep them near and easily accessible to help a child build a face to express how they are feeling.
Tips & Tricks:
These are so easy and fun to make! Chalk markers easily paint on rocks and result in vivid colors. Draw a variety of designs to reflect your child’s facial features and those of others. Be creative! They don’t have to be super realistic, I made one character have purple eyes! Make sure to include a variety of emotions as well: happy, sad, mad, surprised, etc.
Areas of Development:
- Emotional– children are learning about their own emotions and those of others. This activity provides a lot of opportunity for discssion between the caregiver and child.
- Self-awareness– children will become more aware of their own facial features and those of others.
- Social– learning about emotional intelligence will help children interact socially with other people.
- Language– new vocabulary will be acquired and used as children discuss different features (eyes, nose, mouth, etc.) and emotions (happy, sad, mad, excited, etc.)
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