Grrr!!! Yippee!!! Feeling blue!!! Heebie-jeebies!!! Yuck!!!

What is this all about?! Emotions!!! Yes, this week’s tip is about emotions and we will invite you and your whole family for a cinema session with popcorns included to discover how Disney Pixar’s enchanted the world and may help you to explore emotions, understanding their role in your daily life and learning how to deal with them. And isn’t it a perfect moment to explore this with your loved ones?! No matter your age (although kids under 6 years old will need an adult’s support to take greater advantage of this proposal), come with us to discover this week’s tip!

Disney Pixar’s universe is plenty of magic and enchanted stories that may work as great stimuli to explore emotions, but this time, we will invite you to watch “Inside Out”, an animated film that portrays the story of Riley, an 11-year-old girl who faces some important life changes  – moving to a new city, house and school – that challenges her to deal with her inner emotional world, as would happen with anyone of us.

Throughout the film, we get into Riley’s brain, where we meet her personified emotions – joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust –, as well as the magic room where these emotions live (i.e., the conscious mind) and where all Riley’s daily (re)actions are monitored, through an interactive control panel.

We are also shown that the main events of Riley’s day are kept in spheres (i.e., memories), coloured as the emotion they’ve generated (e.g., if it is a happy memory, it is yellow – the colour of joy). Through this personified and joyful animation, you’ll be able to explore and reflect about how our brain works; how we emotionally deal with the different circumstances of our daily lives; how daily external experiences are internally processed and turned into memories; and furthermore, that all the emotions – even those we can consider less positive – are fundamental for a healthy emotional development.

And you may strengthen this exploration with the activities we will now propose to be carried out after watching the film, that can be adapted to your child’s age (up to 12 years old approximately) and will, with no doubt, make everyone happy at home!

The first activity we suggest is “crafting emotions”. What we propose is you and your children recreate the emotions presented in the film, using toilet rolls or kitchen towel. You may simply draw and paint each emotion according to the film or gather other crafting materials to recreate an upgraded version of the characters. Throughout the activity, it is important to ask your child about the emotion he/she is working on, naming it, remembering the examples that have been shared in the film, and sharing stories about situations that usually make each one of you experience that emotion (e.g., You feel happy when you are playing mimes with him/her).

It will certainly be an engaging opportunity to take each other perspective on how you experience different daily situations, what might eventually enhance the probability of future spontaneous sharing of feelings and emotions.

Our second activity proposal is a “guess the emotion” game, in which kids are challenged to find the emotion related to a clue (e.g., how you feel when you receive a gift; how you feel when you go to the doctor) given by a family member. These clues may be created based on the situations that have been shared in the previous activity, adding any other situations you may find relevant for your child. Kids may use their previously crafted characters to identify the emotion they relate to each situation presented. Encourage them to explain why they are making that connection, remembering we may all experience them in different ways.

The third activity we suggest is “mimic of emotions”that consists of representing different emotions (e.g., joy, sadness, fear, disgust, anger…) using your body movements and facial expressions. The emotions should be written in small folded papers, and then picked by a family member that should mimic the emotion for the others to guess it. Besides being a joyful family moment, where winners for the most smiley or grumpy faces can be chosen, this game will enhance each one’s capacity to read others’ emotional state by identifying signs in their body language.  

And last but not the least, the fourth activity is “home story of emotions”where you may challenge your kids to join you creating and illustrating your own story of emotions, with your customised characters and life examples. Create your story about the different emotions and illustrate it with the materials you prefer. Join draws, photos and other memories… and we guarantee that it will offer memories and emotions that will last for life!

So, let’ s all learn and strengthen ourselves by exploring emotions with our loved ones?!

Thank you to: https://wallpaperaccess.com/inside-out (Header image)

Contribution by:
Ana Mouta, Ana Paulino and Inês Sá Couto  are Pedagogy Specialists at jp.ik.