I am so excited that the latest stuffed animal toy is Play Therapy friendly! It's called a Kimochi and they actually come in different animal types: an Octopus, ladybug, cat or the one pictured below, The Cloud.
When my daughter opened her's on Christmas day, most of my family laughed and wondered what in the world I had purchased for my child. So I explained the benefits of it and that I was so excited to have my little girl learn feelings with this new toy. Basically they come in 4 different stuffed animal styles and they have a pocket in front to store the feelings. The Cloud head also moves, so one side is happy and when you twist it, the other side is sad:
The pocket in front is where your animal stores its feelings. Ingenious! Mine came with 3 different little feelings: Sad, Happy and Mad:
The feelings also have different faces on the other side of them:
The toy company also offers several other different feelings such as frustrated, cranky, brave, silly, left out and curious. And the different animals can signify things as well as: the Octopus is overbearing, the Cat is bossy, the bug is fearful (anxious), and the Cloud is moody. That way, you can purchase an animal that fits more with what behaviors your child displays.
So, you are probably wondering "what the heck do I do with this toy?" Well, it is one super easy, fun and cute way for children to start learning their feelings. This toy could be started with a 6 month old and older and can really help the non-verbal child. Just like you can teach your baby sign language, you can ask them what they are feeling and they can quickly show you the appropriate little feeling figure. And it also teaches older children basic feelings with the matching faces.
One of the main goals of play therapy is expression of feelings- it is as important as learning your 1, 2, 3's and A, B C's. Happy, mad, and sad are the basic feelings that all children need to learn to identify. Just by telling their mom, dad or other caregiver that they 'feel sad', is an excellent way to start teaching Communication! And we all know how important communication is, especially in a family and a marriage :)
The cloud that we purchased has a pouch where it stores the feelings inside of him, much like a lot of children do, and you can tell your child to release the feeling and not keep it stuffed inside of their tummies. And since it also changes faces, it is considered a good way to show how moods can easily change and how to control them.
So next time you see your child looking sad, mad, etc you can say, "Sally, you look really sad right now." That way they start recognizing their feelings with words and facial expressions.
In teaching your child appropriate expression of feelings, for instance, you can start praising your child for expressing positive and negative feelings. You can encourage your child by saying, "Sam, it was sure helpful when you told me you were mad by using your words and face instead of hitting your brother, you must be very proud of yourself!"
I can't wait to start using this! If you are interested in purchasing, I just happened to see them on Amazon.com, at HEB Central Market, and even the exclusive Barney's New York or you can go to the company website directly: http://www.kimochis.com/
Have any of you purchased this toy and had any experiences with your children? Would love to hear how you've used it with your little ones!