Monday, May 31, 2010


No, I don't mean the high-tech social networking
I mean, literally, books of faces:

******** Do NOT copy these photos of my kids! *********

When I was a guidance counselor and worked
with troubled kids, we sometimes found it difficult to
get them to tell us how they were feeling. The very
little kids were taught to roughly group their feelings
into Glad, Sad, Mad and Bad. The older kids were able
to add more specific emotions to those broad categories.
Sometimes, though, they were experiencing such a mixed
bag of feelings inside that they couldn't even pick one.
And sometimes they didn't even want to talk. So we
employed a variety of tools and methods to help them feel
comfortable and find a way to say what they needed to.

One of my favorite tools was this set of
The Bears Cards -
the full-bodied bears in different postures were easy for
kids to relate to. I really liked that the bears were full-
bodied and not just faces, because a person's body
reveals so much more about how their day/year/life
is going than just what their face does. These cards
were used for opening conversations about feelings
as well as talking about strengths, which was
so helpful in building resilience.

I also made a different kind of cards to use with older kids

based on a (then) very popular collection of these
circular faces that was circulating as a printout.
I don't know where it originated or where to get it now,
unfortunately. They were nowhere as fabulous as the
Bears cards, especially for young children,
because they were only faces.

(Jenna has adopted this set as her own, simply because
she loves anything in a set, and especially
anything in a set that looks like cookies).

But faces are still good, especially if they are the kids'
own faces! So I thought we'd make another version of
those face cards, not so much for psychological purposes,
but more for playing and general parenting.

First we took a series of photos of each of the kids.
We made a list of common feelings/emotional states:

  • happy
  • excited
  • sad
  • sick
  • angry
  • disappointed
  • confused
  • calm
  • tired/sleepy
  • scared

and made prints of them.

Then we took some 4"x6" foam sheets lying around
the house (we found them at the dollar store) and
punched holes at the top. You could use anything -
cardstock, old cereal boxes, whatever. We just had
these lying around the house. We also unearthed
some of my old ring things (what do you call them?).

Then we made a cardboard stand - ours was 4" x 6.5" -
a little longer than the foam sheets so they didn't stick
out at the bottom. The base was 3" deep, with a fold
in the middle. We also punched holes through both sides.

Then we set the kids to work gluing
their photos on the foam sheets.

We added a cover and then assembled the little flip book.

Jenna uses hers as a restaurant menu, so we
order "Disappointed" or "Excited" as if they
were names of dishes. Funny.

Kate likes to look at her own faces and imitate
her own expressions. It is hilarious to watch.

Other things you can do with this basic idea:
  • Faces of family members - like a flippy photo album
  • Photos of the same child at each birthday - like a flippy Baby Book
  • Photos of classmates - like a flippy autograph book
  • Blank paper for artwork - like a mini flipchart easel
  • Social skills training - teach kids to recognize facial cues so they know how to respond appropriately.
  • Mood indicator - set it on your desk at work with the appropriate face/caricature so people know to come say hello or keep away!
  • Menu for kids' lunches - squid pizza, anyone?

Or make it just for no reason other than to collect
funny faces of your kids before they become teenagers.

**** I know I'm nagging, but do NOT use any photos of my kids' faces, even to link!****


  1. You are so inspiring to me as a mom. I am always amazed with the time that you spend with your kids. You also come up with the best ideas!

  2. This is a GREAT idea! I would love to do it with my daughter!

    If I do it, could I post pictures of my daughter's and then link up to your blog?

  3. This is great! I made family members with their names on business sized cards and laminated them. I joined them using a ring. This is especially helpful since the extended family is scattered, to remind my toddler (21 months) of his relatives (and carry with us on plane rides to see those relatives). After a visit from my sister, when he was flipping through the pictures, he was excited to see her there.

  4. The collection of circular faces that circulated as a printout sounds like How Do You Feel Today?.

    We have the newer but similar How Are You Feeling Today? (aka the "mood dude", drawn by cartoonist Jim Borgman) as a magnet set. My 9-year-old daughter has one on her bedroom door and moves the "Today I feel" frame to surround the face that goes with how she's feeling.

  5. This is such a fantastic idea. I remember something similar my brother had to look at when they were treating his nvld. It helped him a lot.

  6. Great project Lier. I will definitely try this. Similar to those face flashcards, there is a game that is very popular here called "feelings bingo". The kids seem to enjoy it.

  7. Great idea! I forwarded this to an email list for parents of children with special needs.

  8. How fun!!! I want to come over and do crafts with you.

  9. I love this! And I'm not on facebook, so that especially cracked me up.
    I'm amazed, sometimes, by all that we do need to teach our children. Clarifying feelings.

  10. Those faces take me back to my days as a therapist - we used that printout to play "feelings bingo" and act out a feelings guessing game. Ah, memories. I'll have to see if I can find a sheet that hasn't been cut out somewhere in my old files!!

  11. I definitely prefer your facebook over the high-tech version...

  12. Wonderful project! I just found your blog because a spanish blog linked to both of us.....i love the patterns, especially those chickens! i have a weekly crafty blog linking party and would love for you to stop by...this week I accidently left it open all week,so you can still sneak in! Hope to see you there.

  13. That is so much fun! And I love the menu idea. I loved playing restaurant when I was little. Thanks so much for the great idea, I'll be linking.

  14. I found:


    Are they like the Bear cards you mentioned?

    Best wishes

  15. I love the face book ideas! My kids would love the idea of taking the fun photos and making a booklet! What a cute idea!

  16. I love the way you love your children. good Mon. it inspires me so much. thanks you

  17. In case you're still looking for those printables, I think I found them here!!!


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