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Building Resilience: Teaching Children to Communicate Their Emotional Experience Without Words

Miniland Educational: Playing today, for tomorrow

By Miniland

June 26, 2018

8 Minute read

As a teacher, you’re responsible for more than just inspiring a love of learning within a group of children. Sometimes the most important work of any teacher is pastoral care, especially when in charge of the very young.

Holding a safe space in your classroom for them to learn how to socialize must often take precedence before subject content can be successfully tackled. Luckily, there are ways of enabling both kinds of learning at the same time.  

Some educational toys for children, like Miniland’s BBQ Emotions!, provide a framework around which you can plan lessons that reliably grow multiple intelligences without your necessarily having to be expert at all of them.

Let’s take a closer look at how this particular game helps your children develop resilience alongside other key skills such as visual and language literacy.  

Why is it important?

No one enjoys life’s stresses, yet it’s impossible to shield ourselves and our children from all negative experiences. But proactively developing the ability to survive and work through these knocks with resilience mean that they won’t have a debilitating effect on us, and makes us stronger and able to turn traumas into teachings.

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What is resilience?

Resilience is a form of emotional intelligence that means we’re able to move through challenging experiences in constructive ways. A resilient person:

  • feels confident in their ability to handle situations effectively
  • trusts themselves (and their ability to know when to ask for help)
  • derives support from a sense of community, through a network of interdependent social relationships
  • has a well-developed ethics and moral compass and the character to stand for what they believe in
  • is prepared to deal with stress through a variety of constructive coping strategies
  • understands the interrelated nature of freedom and responsibility, and exhibits self-discipline and diligence as a result.

Your children rely on you to help them develop this highly skilled form of emotional intelligence. However, we all know that sometimes being an adult can seem like one endless game of Fake it ‘Til You Make It! It’s good to know you’re not expected to do it all alone, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed with just taking care of your own emotional well-being, or unsure of how to create an environment that develops these soft-skills in your class (without sacrificing your curriculum). Specialty toy-makers like Miniland, for instance, have your back.

How do particular types of games build resilience in children 3-6 years old?

Visual representations and roleplay frameworks can help young children express complex concepts, like emotions, in words. This helps them work with them constructively and gives them the ability to access the wisdom of the group because they can communicate how they feel.   

Games such as Miniland’s BBQ Emotions! can help you hold the types of lessons that grow your class’ emotional, visual, social and linguistic ability in this way — while also providing plenty of guides and material that ensures you take on the project with confidence and enjoyment!

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This game is an example of a multi-purpose learning aid suitable for individual, or group activity — which also means it’s perfect if you’re on a budget. BBQ Emotions!:

  • Brings roleplay into your classroom

This activity lets children treat emotions as if they were cooking ingredients. Through a guided exercise, your class learns to recognize and interpret up to 10 different emotions, building “kebabs” along the way. These compositions can be inspired by a story and a character’s emotions or by their sharing an experience. What is made can then be resequenced as beads representing negative emotions are substituted for more positive ones. For example, an anger bead can be replaced by a bead representing calm that plans a new way the same kind of scenario will be handled. In this way, the roleplaying atmosphere allows safe spaces to experiment with different possible outcomes.

  • Normalises social support

Save the cheerleader, save the world,” was a tagline guiding a group of ordinary people to avoid global catastrophe in an old series called “Heroes”. While a vintage sci-fi may not be everybody’s cup of tea, the phrase helps remind you to connect your children to the people who care about them. The constructive feedback and support that these “cheerleaders” provide network them into a community and remind them there are a safe group of people they can reach out to. With BBQ Emotions!, they’ll also realize that you and their classmates are a part of this web. 

  • Develops literacy

By inviting description of each face, you can help a child develop their ability to put their feelings into words. The game also allows for additional literacy-building activities like collaborative storytelling. Build each “ingredient” into characters, which you can then bring in to later language lessons. Basing these characters on existing fables, folklore and mythic characters may also be a quick and easy way to open your classroom to the magic of imaginative play.

Draw inspiration from specialty toymakers who strive to make your journey as a teacher, effortless and rewarding. Visit the Miniland blog and catalog today.

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