No, I don't mean the high-tech social networking
thing. 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:
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!****