Identifying and Expressing Emotions – Learning through play

Young children often have difficulty expressing their emotions.  Recently my 18 month old son has reverted to hitting, screaming, and throwing things.  I was trying to think of a way to help him learn how to express himself in a calmer more acceptable manner.  With all the fall inspired posts lately, I got to thinking about decorating a pumpkin…

I cut out a pumpkin shape out of some orange poster board I had laying around the house.  I painted the stem green and gave it a few lines.  I colored some of the paper black into different shapes and put a little donut of tape on the back to make them stick.  

Identifying and Expressing Emotions Through Play

My 4 year old helped cut out the shapes of the eyes, nose, and mouths. We talked about the shapes and what those mouths looked like. We talked about positive and not so positive ways to express our feelings. “When I get sad, it is not OK to hit”.  At this age it is important for her to be able to express her feelings with words and associate them with how her actions make others feel.  Learning about feelings helps with her social emotional development.


“This one has a mustache!”

“This guy is sad because his sister took away his toy.”

We also had fun lining up the shapes. We had a row of triangles, circles, and ovals.

For little guy we placed the pumpkin on the refrigerator with a magnet and tape on the back of the shapes.  He had a blast making the pumpkin fall down…over…and over…and over again!
I would help him put a different shape mouth on the pumpkin and mimic the face. He thought I was pretty silly, but I think he started catching on 🙂

Surprised face!
This also helps with learning spatial relations and where a nose, mouth, and eyes belong on a face.  He was trying to put the mouth where the nose goes…he will learn eventually!

We all know that babies and toddlers have feeling just as we as adults do, they just need a little help trying to figure out what they are feeling!  Hopefully this will help my little guy learn to deal with his frustrations a little better…I will keep you posted!
Now off to our next adventure…
~Leanne

Buffalo Chicken Dip & Barbecue Chicken Dip Cups

These apps are SO good and SO easy!
This is a basic recipe split into two bowls with only one different ingredient added to make an entirely different and delicious appetizer.  So easy!  

I don’t usually measure when making buffalo chicken dip, but I know lots of people like to see the measurements of ingredients when they cook, so I did my best to get the amounts in here for ya. 
Start like you are making your typical buffalo chicken dip…1/2 cup of ranch, 1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese, 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 2 chicken breasts shredded.  (you could use canned chicken if you want to go reeeeally simple, but I had some frozen shredded chicken breasts in the freezer, so it was pretty quick to just thaw…and much better than canned, in my opinion).
I added one small diced green pepper to this.
At this point, split the mixture into two bowls.  In one bowl, add 1/2 cup of hot sauce.  In the other bowl, add 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce.
How easy is that!!??

Mix your two bowls well and let them sit for a little bit while you do this next part.  It lets all of the flavors get acquainted 🙂

This next part is so easy and your guests will think you’re all fancy.  Really, who doesn’t love an appetizer in a pretty little cup??
You can find the potsticker wrappers in the frozen section of the grocery store.  BTW, the recipe on the back of the potsticker package is GOOOOD! Try it. You will love it.

You have to let the wrappers sit out for a bit so you can easily separate them.

Place into a mini muffin tin. No need to bake them first.  Baking them with the filling in them makes for a soft bottom and crunchy tops.  Perfect combo!

Fill half of the cups with the buffalo mixture and half with the barbecue mixture.  Bake at 350 for 10 min.  Check on them…You want the edges to be crispy brown and the filling to be bubbly.  You can make these ahead of time and re-heat on a cookie sheet.  They are just as awesome the next day.  I know this for a fact 😉

Enjoy!
~Colleen

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