Stacy Shares: Going Through the {E}motions

Valerie is a Melissa & Doug Blog AmbassadorThis activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Stacy Teet.

Talking about and dealing with emotions can be a tricky subject, but it doesn’t have to be. The Create-A-Face drawing pad really helped my daughter open up.  -Stacy  

My daughter recently started kindergarten. She is a lover of animals, babies, infants, toddlers, teenagers and adults, but when it comes to children her own age, she is struggling to connect.

She’s an independent free spirit: artistic, sensitive and with a heart of gold — still, sometimes she lacks self-confidence and has trouble expressing herself.  I’m working with her teachers and doing what I can to make the classroom a more comfortable environment for her, but I wanted to do something at home too.

We’ve been practicing role playing and have been having regular mother-daughter chats, so when I saw the Create-a-Face drawing pads on the Melissa & Doug site, I just knew they could help.

Art is her favorite pastime, so broaching tough subjects like feelings and making friends in a setting where she is comfortable really works for us. It could work for you too! We started drawing clowns and pirates and such, but quickly moved on to more meaningful work.

I started her off with an easy one. What does happy look like?

She began by recalling stories I have told her about my time in Africa, mostly because she loves to hear me tell her how I found out I was pregnant with her while on one of my trips, but also (and this is the important part) because she remembers me telling her about the intense joy and overwhelming emotions  I felt while I was there — a life lesson: true happiness is contagious. I was amazed how she could turn my memories into a vision all her own. She put such care in to how she made her, was thoughtful in how she described her and had such a genuine smile on her face while she drew her.

✓ – She has happiness down.

Next, we moved on to sadness. Her expression changed, her eyes grew wide and she started to frown. “When you are sad“, she said, “you don’t want to go anywhere or see anyone . . . you might cry. When your feelings are hurt, it hurts you on the inside too.

Saddness – yep, she knows what that feels like. Luckily, she also knew the remedy: hugs, kisses and happy thoughts — unless you are her little brother, in that case you don’t really like hugs or kisses. (I told her to give them to him anyway!)

We also spoke of anger and how doing bad things and saying bad things can really hurt people and make them … sad. <- I liked that she could equate how someone’s emotions could effect someone else’s. The key to dealing with anger she told me, “was saying your sorry” … “then doing nice things and stopping all the mad stuff“. She confided in me that she didn’t really like doing bad things or being around people who did them.

She does like surprises though (bottom right), she thinks those are pretty much the coolest thing in the world.

I loved getting to know her this way, we talked in a way typical day-to-day interaction doesn’t really allow us to. I saw her from a whole new perspective and I loved it. She did too, she told me just before bed what a nice surprise our art project was today!

That’s code for spending time with mom + doing art projects + having you really listen to me = the coolest thing in the world. <see definition of surprised above>

Stacy Teet of KidsStuffWorld.comStacy Teet is the military mom–turned-supermom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler.  Check out her website,, or follow her on PinterestTwitter or the KSW Facebook page.


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  1. Stacy, what a great idea for encouraging kids to understand their emotions. Kindergarten has been a little bit of an adjustment for us too – one of my girls sounds very similar to your daughter. And actually, I felt the same way in school too – kids of my own age always seemed so hard to relate to. Thank you for showing such a kind and gentle way to help.

  2. rrecooper says:

    Lovely post Stacy. 🙂

  3. Great posting! My oldest is just about to turn three and just starting to get a grasp on happy and sad. I think these look like great tools to work with kids 🙂 Emotions can be such a tricky thing to both teach and discover!

  4. What a beautiful way to connect with your beautiful daughter!


  1. […] I love about this project is that it introduces kids to the concept of art as a powerful way to express emotions. Simply asking, “What color was your day?” can open up a great discussion between you […]

  2. […] I love about this project is that it introduces kids to the concept of art as a powerful way to express emotions. Simply asking, “What color was your day?” can open up a great discussion between you […]