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Helping Children Manage Emotions Through Educational Toys

Miniland Educational: Playing today, for tomorrow

By Miniland

July 17, 2018

8 Minute read

Temperament is adaptable: learning to self-regulate inherited tendencies is a part of the natural process of developing Emotional Intelligence (EQ). A child with a well-developed EQ is able to identify their changing emotional landscape as a natural part of their experience, without losing their sense of identity.

While a lot of this self-regulatory behavior is linked to the natural processes of brain development, as a teacher you play a significant role in helping your children learn skillful means to manage emotions.

One of your main assets is a core collection of well-chosen learning aids. If you’re teaching on a budget, you’ll be pleased to know that Miniland toys are specially designed for the multiplay experience — catering to a wide range of developmental abilities and unlocking multiple forms of play and learning through one learning aid.

BBQ Emotions! is one toy that makes it easy to host a range of classroom activities specifically developing EQ. Even if you’re new to teaching, with it in your magical bag of tricks, you’ll be able to comfortably host safe spaces that grow each aspect of integrated EQ. These skills include the ability to:

  • Recognise and name feelings in self and others
  • Appropriately express and regulate these feelings
  • Use them to guide thoughts and behavior toward a desired goal

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These are complex skills, and it can seem daunting to play such an important part in shaping them in children. But learning aids are there to help you. Here are some ways educational toys and learning aids like BBQ Emotions! can make helping children identify and express their feelings in healthy ways, a natural part of the learning day:

Create opportunities to name feelings

Children experience feelings just as adults do. The difference is that they’re still learning how to work with them and what to call them. That’s where you come in! Circle time in the ECD classroom is a great way to open up reflective conversations that allow your class to find the names for how they feel in non-threatening ways. For example, BBQ Emotions! is a game that invites children to build a giant kebab made up of visual representations of emotions that act as ingredients. As you build the kebab together, you can ask each child to pick the ingredient block that best represents how they feel, and work the names for the emotions they represent into the action of building the kebab.

Teach them to seek support from people they can trust

With BBQ Emotions! you can easily facilitate activities that demonstrate healthy ways for your class to give and receive support from each other. In this way, you normalize empathy in the face of something everyone recognizes as a sometimes isolating experience. Building the kebab together requires each child to practice naming their feelings. Asking them to share the context of their experience — how they feel and why — and then providing plenty of supportive feedback and discussing ways to manage the unpleasant ones, means that they learn reaching out can lead to feeling better. 

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Teach them about cause and effect

Another life lesson learned through BBQ Emotions! is the concept of cause and effect. By facilitating the discussions around the building of each kebab, children begin to see patterns: that certain actions lead to certain types of feeling. This also means that negative feelings can, for instance, be remedied by doing certain things (like reaching out). In this way, your class systematically build their ability to self-reflect and manage their responses to how they feel — a mark of highly developed EQ. Don’t worry, each of the Miniland educational toys comes with a handy didactic guide to make expert facilitation possible for even the most inexperienced teachers!  

Practice mindfulness (and pair learning aids for best results)

Teaching your children to accept their feelings without judging them, even when inconvenient, will help them grow in empathy and give them the ability to maintain mental breathing room even if they’re feeling under pressure. The Miniland Mindful Kids program is a companion learning aid to BBQ Emotions!. Through its 36 activities, your students develop auxiliary skills that help with managing emotions, such as active listening — using Mindful Kids daily helps prepare your ECD class to engage with the challenge of reflecting on their emotional experiences. This supports your teaching work across the curriculum, as a mindful kid is one that’s emotionally intelligent and best prepared to learn!

Dive into Miniland’s collection and begin making full use of our extensive experience as specialty toymakers to make education fun!

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