Okay so this is a lot easier to make than it looks… I promise.
1) find an old, unloved stuffed animal, preferably one with a flat face (works better for sticking the feeling mouths on). The one I used was previously a stuffed animal of a video game character and was on its way to Goodwill when I came up with the idea, and decided to keep it. I liked it because it had the perfect flat face/mouth area and room for eyebrows too.
2) buy three sheets of felt at your local craft store (one the color of your stuffed animal- in my case light pink, one red, one black, and one blue). Should cost a dollar or less for all of them.
3) hot glue the felt piece that is the same color as your stuffed animal to the mouth area and cut and hot glue two smaller sections of this same color above the eyes so the eyebrows will stick.
4) cut out different mouths (using red felt), eyebrows (using black), and tears with the blue felt. Get creative. Kids love the variety to create different feelings. Try for some angry zig zaggy eyebrows, silly mouths with tongues sticking out, etc.
5) for extra detail, use acrylic paints or fabric paints to make some teeth, lip lines, and white highlights on the tears.
See… No sewing involved!
HOW TO USE:
My feelings monster gets LOTS of love with my work as an Early Childhood Therapist. I use this for children to learn about feelings (play games where I ask child to create a feeling on its face and I guess which feeling it is then switch roles).
I use the monster to assist in acting out social skills and learning new coping skills too. “Let’s make the monster look mad because his sister took his toy. Okay now have him practice taking three deep breaths and walking away. Wow! I see taking feel breaths worked for him because you are changing his feeling to the happy and calm face!” Parents and people who work with children alike can find endless possibilities with this.
Another great way to use it is reading a book to a child (preferably a book where the character’s feeling changes throughout the story) and have the child “be in charge” of the feelings animal- changing the feeling based on the feeling of the character in the story. This is great for children who otherwise have difficulty focusing on a story and will suddenly have no problem paying attention. 🙂
Also, children who have difficulty verbally identifying or sharing their feelings, often will show how they are feeling (or how they felt about some past event) using the feelings animal since it does not require speech and is often less threatening than verbalizing a feeling.
Groups of children also find the puppet very entertaining when teaching skills and talking about feelings. Have fun creating and promoting emotional literacy everyone!!