It has been over 8 months since Inside Out, the hit movie from Pixar, was released, and this weekend we’ll find out if it wins an Oscar. In the 8 months since the release Inside Out it has been an educational and therapeutic bonanza for parents, teachers, counselors, and therapists. For both adults and children the movie candidly explores the many sides of mental health. Most of us are familiar with the story. Riley, an 11 year old girl from Minnesota has her life up-ended when her father takes a job in San Francisco. The transition isn’t easy for Riley and we are introduced to:
We learn that all of these emotions are adaptive, helpful, and have an important role to play in Riley’s and her parent’s lives. The figurines from the movie have proven to be a great tool for both play therapy and sand tray therapy. The plush figures have also proven to be a great addition to many therapist’s play rooms. They have also been used in some innovative ways. For example, Mary, a kindergarten teacher, uses the stuffed figures to talk about emotions and teach feeling words to her class. In another blog, a foster mother talks about how the plush figures can be used like puppets to talk about emotions, a natural activity for many child therapists.
Counselors, therapists and teachers have incorporated the Inside Out characters and movie themes into a wide range of activities. For example, The Helpful Counselor (she really is quite helpful, check out her blog) identified and posted 20 clips from the movie that can be used to explore feelings, identify coping strategies, develop empathy, and learn how memories impact our understanding of the world around us. Linda Esposito, writing on the Psychology Today blog, talks about how Inside Out promotes emotional intelligence, while Mary Ryerse, writing on the Gottman Blog identifies 12 ways the movie can be used to promote emotional intelligence. Nickki Schwartz found 50 ways Inside Out can be used in counseling. Carolyn Mehlomakula has put together a really fun collection of creative activities using themes and characters from the movie.
Of course, there are many ways to promote emotional intelligence, improve a child’s feeling vocabulary, and facilitate the identification and expression of feelings. ChildTherapyToys.com is constantly searching for the latest and best books, games, and toys that can be used in child and play therapy. Of course we have our favorites, but so do our clients. Our most popular plush toys in the past year have been Meebie, Emotiplush, and the WorryWoos. Just click on the links to find out more about them. One of the biggest hits at the Association for Play Therapy Conference in October was out Worry Eaters. Our most popular books have included The Dealing With Feelings series, Our Emotions and Behavior Series, and The Way I Feel. Games related to feelings that have hit the best seller list in the past year have included: The Stop, Relax, and Think Board Game, The Feelings Playing Cards, Emotional Bingo for Children, and Angry Animals.
Our fellow therapists are our best resource. Let us know how you’re using your favorite play therapy toys, games, and books.