Monday, June 29, 2015

Feelings on the Playground #InsideOutEmotions

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All opinions are mine alone. #InsideOutEmotions #CollectiveBias
BEWARE of children having too much fun and breaking your curtain rod.

Double Trouble. I can not count how many times I have heard that. Yes, I have twins. Yes they are a handful. Yes they sure do cause trouble - but it is so much more than that. It is double the love, kisses, hugs, tears, fears, celebrations and un-measurable joy. Being a single mom is not something I dreamed about but it all works out in the end.

My boys and I have had our share of struggles over the last five years. There have been plenty of times when sadness, fear, disgust, and anger ruled my days. However, I continually seek JOY. 

Feelings are complex but also so simple.
One of my boys has some sensory issues. They have lessened as he has gotten older. We were lucky to have some help in navigating his needs. Sam gets overwhelmed easily. Large crowds, loud noises, separation, and fear can get the best of him. Speech delays caused him to act out because he could not verbalize his feelings. Biting and hitting were a daily occurrence. Sadly his brother, Jayson, usually got the brunt of his emotions.

I was excited about the new Disney Pixar film because it gives kids a visual to emotions and feelings. 
It allows them to voice SADNESS, DISGUST, JOY, FEAR and ANGER. 

Even as adults we have a hard time expressing our emotions. I still deal with anxiety and I am closer to 40 than I look! Most of us know what these feelings are but we don't always share them with others. There can be a number of reasons why we keep our emotions in check, however; I don't want my boys to hide their feelings from me. 

We were shopping at Walmart last week for some late night snacks. I usually let the boys look at the toy department before we go. (I am still not sure why I torture myself with 29 questions of "Please can we buy it?") When we rounded the corner we found this huge display of Inside Out toys. The boys were so excited. Almost JOYful. Ha Ha see what I did there? At our store, we found them close to the bikes. I decided to splurge and let them buy one of each plush. Thankfully they have different favorites so there wasn't any fighting. That can really make me SAD. They played with their new toys in the car on the way home. They were so cute talking about what made them angry, sad and happy. 

As I listened to them I realized that a puppet show would be a great way for them to open up and talk to me about their feelings. After school got out the boys started a summer camp program. They were in a new place with unfamiliar faces and a new schedule. I had prepped Sam in advance and questioned him each afternoon. I wanted to make sure that he was transitioning without trouble. We were talking about recess and playing on the playground. They mentioned that some of the kids were nice and others were mean. A puppet show seemed like a perfect way for them to act out their feelings. 

It is easy to set up a puppet theatre in your own home. We set ours up in the hallway.  
You only need a few items and you probably have most of them at home. 

 STEP 1:
You can buy a tension rod at Walmart for a couple of bucks. Measure the width of the hallway or doorway to insure a good fit. Hang a curtain from the rod or place a sheet over it. (I took mine out of the living room window.)

We made a sign using crayons and construction paper. Taped it to the top of the curtain. I love their handwriting.

Prepare the kids about the topic. We talked about playing at recess at Summer Camp.

Let the kids play out their feelings, make up a story, sing or act. Trust me they can do this for hours. It is perfect for a rainy day inside or just when you need to escape the heat on a summer day.

 STEP 5:
SNACKS! Make sure to fuel their imagination with Kellogg's Fruit Snacks.

Sit back and watch the show!

I hope I inspired you to talk to your kids about their #InsideOutEmotions and gave you an idea to keep the kids busy this summer.