Have you ever been in the middle of reprimanding or disciplining your toddler only to get laughed at by him/her? What’s that all about? Well, of course there is the possibility that your toddler is being mischievous but it is also important to note that often our toddlers are not able to interpret our facial expressions; this is a skill learned over time. There is research to suggest that children who have difficulty identifying emotion in faces are more likely to have peer problems and children who have better face-reading skills may be more popular among peers, raising their self-esteem. While I don’t think we need to worry about popularity contests for our children, it seems that helping our toddlers and children identify facial expressions can only benefit them.
Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)
This week’s Theme: Vegetables
Activity Description: Veggie Faces: Use cut up veggies to create different faces that show different emotions (use a round plate as the head). After you’ve made your creation, name the emotion, make the expression on your own face, see if your baby will mimic and repeat with a different face.
This Activity’s Main Area of Development: Emotional
Specific Skill: Identifying facial expressions
O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 20 months + 2 weeks
1. To warm up, we reviewed and described the primary vocabulary for this week (peas, carrot, corn, potato). I showed them their toy version matched up with a real version and let them explore the differences.
2. Next we did some facial expressions with our own faces. I would make a face and ask them what it is. They say “happy” for a smiling face, “No” for an angry face, “Cry” for a sad face, and they don’t know scared/surprised…it just makes them laugh. Because they are on the right track with “No” and “Cry”, I would say something like, “Yes, you’re right. A person who is crying is sad. It’s a sad face.” This is obviously a very simplified explanation – there are many reasons why somebody might cry, but for our purposes this explanation of “cry” will suffice. I also asked them to try to make the faces…they can do it sort of and we always end up giggling.
3. Next, I showed them a platter of vegetables and a plate and I explained that I was going to make a face with the vegetables. I verbally described what I was doing. For example, “I am going to use these two carrot circles for eyes and these green peas to make a smile”, etc. I would ask them to identify the completed face and then they could eat some!
4. Lastly, I gave them each a plate and the platter of veggies and told them to make a face of their own. This was too abstract a concept for them so I verbally told them to find two things to make eyes and put it on their plate, find something for a nose….etc. This worked much better.
5. Another great aspect of this activity is that they ended up eating a tonne of raw vegetables for their snack (without any prodding or coaxing)!
Interested in other food related activities? Click here!