Learning Outcomes: These dolls are great for labelling and talking about emotions with children. Children learn strategies to deal with emotions and begin to understand empathy, emotional resilience and conflict resolution.
What You Will Need:
- Some old socks
- Some string
- Some scraps of fabric
- Something to stuff the sock with (We used tissue)
- A pen
- Some wool
- A needle and thread (or a safety pin would do)
What to Do:
- Stuff the old sock with tissue or foam. You might like to use words like ‘half full’ and ‘full’ to help develop understanding of early mathematics concepts. When the sock is firm, tie a piece of string around it to make a head. Help your child ties the knot themselves (which is great for developing small finger muscles).
- Ask your child: How will this doll feel today?
Happy? Sad? Angry? Surprised?
What might make her happy? What is something that might happen that made her sad?
- Choose two emotions with your child. Draw one a face with one emotion on one side and a face with a different emotion on the other.
- Fold some wool and cut it carefully.
- Sew or pin the wool on the top of the head.
- Fold some fabric around the sock to make a coat.
- Tie it on with wool.
- Make several dolls all with different emotions. Role play with your children. After the children know which emotions are which, you may choose to roleplay variations of the following social situations:
The doll is worried because it’s her first day of preschool and she doesn’t know who to play with.
Strategies: Teach your child what to do if they feel lonely. Ask them to come up with some ideas. You could go up to someone and ask them ‘Can I play with you?’ ‘You could find something to do by yourself,’ ’You could find the teacher for help.’
A child takes your toy
Strategies: Teach your child some ways to resolve conflict. If someone takes your toy what could you do?
You could say- ‘that was my toy, I had it first.’
You could say- ‘let’s play with it together.’
You could get a teacher to help you.
Playing with dolls and talking about emotions supports children to develop important social-emotional skills. Early childhood is a critical time for developing emotional skills like resilience and confidence. If children develop these skills before the age of six we know it has a lasting impact on their life!