Have you seen these guys? They’re called Kimochis. I bought two of them on a whim a few weeks ago, and my kids have found them quite enjoyable.
We have Cloudy and Kitty, and they are “toys with feelings inside.” I bought them because of my work in parent education…because I spend so much of my day thinking about feelings, helping others find their feelings, teaching my kids about feelings, teaching others how to help their kids find their feelings…Successful relationships are built on an understanding of feelings.
So when I saw these guys in the store and saw the variety of feelings they come with, I was immediately interested. I had never seen a toy like this before–one that was created solely for the purpose of helping kids identify their feelings to communicate effectively. And they’re cute!
It sounds strange, but I had no idea how to introduce this toy to my kids…Do I just hand them over and say, “Here, these will help you learn about feelings?” Do I need to come up with some creative way to use them? What I supposed to tell them to do with these guys and their feelings?
Fortunately, I didn’t need to be worried, because my kids LOVED the animals and seemed to know right what to do. They have come up with lots of ways to use both the animals and their feelings. Sometimes the Kimochis play together just as any stuffed animals would play together at our house, other times they sit alone on a chair until a child is ready to come “express herself.” Sometimes the kids play with just the feelings. Once, I found a feeling left on my pillow for me to discover when I went to bed so I would know that someone was feeling sorry.
Each animal comes with a book that includes ideas for how to use them anyway. These are just a few included:
- Put all the feelings in a basket on your kitchen table to invite spontaneous play and mealtime conversation
- Surprise family members by hiding feelings in silly places or tucking kind feelings into the Kimochi’s pouch as a way to send a thoughtful message.
- When your child acts out, remember that all behavior (even the unpleasant kind) is communication. Use the Kimochis to help your child identify and express what’s really going on.
Once in a while, I’ll find a kid just walking around the house with a Kimochi tucked under the arm. If there is a feeling inside his belly, I’ll ask about it. “Ohhh, is cloudy feeling sad?”
“Yes, Cloudy is sad because he can’t watch my video game because you won’t let me play!” –or–
“No, he’s feeling hurt because he fell off my bed.”
So the feelings seem to communicate both what the child is feeling as well as what the toy himself is feeling. Either way, These Kimochis have been a great facilitator in empathy education!
(Oh, and FYI, no one asked me to write this post about Kimochis, nor did I receive any compensation for it. We just genuinely like them around here!)