Here’s another fun intervention idea from reader Jessalyn Pedone that utilizes bubbles and balloons to encourage the expression of negative feelings. Ms. Pedone earned a gift certificate to childtherapytoys.com for her submission. Learn how you can do the same!
Theme: Expressing feeling, feeling identification and exploration, and body cues
Recommended Ages: Pre-K through 3rd grade
Goals: Client will be able to identify triggers for various feelings as well as practice deep breathing techniques
Materials: Bubbles, balloons, paper plates or construction paper
First I have the child think of as many feelings as they can. I then ask to them write the words and/or draw the faces associated with the feelings, depending on their age. Next, I tape the words or drawings to the wall or table and we briefly talk about how we express the feelings with our faces and bodies. At times I will implement some mirroring activity so they can see what face they are making for the feeling. I then have clients try to hit the words, drawings, or mirrored reflections with their choice of balloon or bubbles. When the balloon or bubbles hit the faces or words I have them say “I feel _____ when _____.” After the activity we talk about ways to calm down when we are having negative feelings. We then do deep breathing techniques using bubbles or balloons or both, and talk about how doing this when we are experiencing negative emotions can help us!
Many of the children I work with have trouble understanding feelings and how these feelings affect our overall mood and behavior. These children also struggle with identifying triggers for these emotions. Some children I work with have also learned that it is not acceptable to discuss feelings and that positive feelings are the only acceptable feelings to have. This activity facilitates an easy transition to discussing ways to cope with these feelings including deep breathing techniques. This activity is a fun way for kids to discuss various feelings, visualize what body and facial cues are present when these feelings are present, and to learn that they can talk about various positive and negative feelings in a safe and comfortable environment.