Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

The Numbers Magician: Teaching Children Math Skills, Part 1

This is a re-post of my article from Parent-Edge Magazine: Sep 28, 2015

Math is one subject we cannot distance ourselves from – whether we make a career out of it or not, Math is an essential part of life. Math is more than just mastery over basic number functions. It is not all about + – x and divide. It is about understanding how numbers ‘fit’ into our day to day lives and the environment around us.

Does an early schooler notice car number plates and their function? Does she recognise the changes that an added family member brings into the home? Does she notice the change in weight before and after eating? Or how one apple relates to a bean, or a pencil in terms of volume and weight? I wasn’t fortunate enough to get that understanding of math until the time I learnt a new approach to Math.

This article is inspired by the teaching at my daughter’s school – Great Hearts Archway. I thank them for introducing these concepts to me. They follow Singapore Math as their module for teaching Mathematics.

In Singapore math, they focus on laying a strong foundation of Math concepts. The chart you see below is called a ‘Ten’s Frame’. In a Ten’s frame, there are 2 rows of 5 blocks and rows are filled with varying number of black dots. One block has one big black dot. Children are taught to understand how many dots are there without counting on their fingers.

E.g. in Fig. 1 kids are taught to see that all 5 blocks on top are filled; which makes 5 + one block at the bottom which makes 1. Hence, 6 blocks out of 10 are filled and 4 are empty. They are also taught to approach this problem in multiple ways. One could see it as 6 filled out of ten or 4 less than 10 or as times 5, where each row is seen as a multiple of 5.

Figure 1

In Fig. 2, there are 3 dots filled out of 5 at the top. Remember that always, the blocks on the top are filled FIRST before filling blocks in the bottom. However, kids are challenged to think in different ways to fill 3 in blocks of ten. So the teacher will typically discuss how the same 3 dots could be placed in any of 10 blocks below.

Figure 2

In Figure 3, one is filled and 9 are empty.

Figure 3

In Fig. 4, I have shown a 20s frame. After the ten’s frame concepts are founded, one can move on to the 20s frame. I have noticed how quickly kids are able to pick this concept. I observed 4 kids and it took them less than 5 secs to say 16! They did not have to wait to count on their fingers. Here they are quick to see 5 + 5 + 5 + 1

Fig. 4


The Ten’s Frame War game is a game my daughter’s teacher plays in school. It is an excellent way to repeat and integrate that concept while also challenging them to be quick to evaluate without counting on one’s fingers.

Split kids in pairs. Make an equal number of ten’s frame cards and give each child a pile. Have them open the top card and call out their number quickly without counting. The one who has the bigger number gets both the cards. You can decide who wins – the one with the most or the one with the least number of cards.


For pre-schoolers, there is a different way to introduce this math concept.

Make cardboard or hard paper squares approximately palm sized, each with different number of dots, beginning from 1 to 50. Start out with holding card dots of 1 to 10 in your hand in front of your child at his or her eye level. Face the child and show him one card at a time, quickly moving on to the next one. With each dot, say the number aloud.

E.g. – This dot below is number 1. Hence, just say ‘1’ while showing it and so on.

Fig 5

After 15 days of repetition, increase the number from 10 to 15 or up to 20 based on the child’s attention. Repeating this activity with infants starting 4 months, can strengthen math concepts early and set the stage for greater math understanding.

Remember that for children of any age, do not do math and reading activities when they are tired, hungry, sleepy or frustrated. It beats the purpose and is energy wasted because the brain is too busy to fix on something else and cannot attend to the learning.

Another way to teach Math is through ‘Hands-On Learning’.  When teaching 2 + 2, have concrete objects to show them. 2 spoons + 2 spoons makes a lot more sense to any brain than just the numbers 2 + 2.

You can further have 4 toys on one part of the sofa or on a chair on inside a hoola hoop. Then show the kid what it looks like when 1 is removed and then another 1. Then put the 2 removed toys on another part of the sofa, chair or into another hoola hoop. Now the child knows concretely what 4 looks like and how it can be divided into 2 groups of 2.

cups 1 group

cups 2 groups

You can also teach measuring skills from 2 years onwards. One can use one’s palm stretch from the thumb to the pinky finger to measure a table or a pencil. One can use a pencil to measure the length of the scale, the hand, the chair. Then one can weigh objects on both palms or on a weighing scale. How many erasers does it take to measure up to an apple? Do all apples measure the same? And so on. Measuring tapes and scales for real measuring are fun too. Kids love it! Measure their dresses, their favorite toys and even measure them while standing, sitting or sleeping.


We shall continue our math concepts in the following month’s article…

Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

The Numbers Magician Part 2: Teaching Children Maths Skills through Board Games

This is a re-post of Oct 28-2015 article from ParentEdge magazine.


The Numbers Magician: Teaching Children Maths Skills through Board Games, Part 2

Last month we learnt about introducing ‘Singapore Math’ and ‘Hands-on Math’ concepts to toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners (Age 2 to 6 primarily).

Today we shall explore some excellent board games for ages 3/4 to 8 years that teach kids geometry and algebra while also being fun. The games and books I mention here are just a few examples to explore from an array of options available in the market today. My daughter has played all these games, and hence I can assure you of their usefulness from my own experience.

GAME: 123’s

Age 3+

Game 1

If your child has a good understanding of numbers from a young age, you can introduce this fun card-game. Kids are required to match the numbered card with the equivalent picture card. Numbers go up to 15. You can also play ‘memory’ or ‘treasure hunt’ with these cards. Better still, carry them in your purse while travelling long or short distances and play even while you are waiting for traffic to clear!

GAME: Ludo

Age: 4+


Ludo is a traditional and popular game. Kids learn to roll and read the dice, and count the number of spaces to play and move. They learn to follow a certain direction for their player to move forward. Directions like these help us understand the physical world of math around us.

GAME: Crystal Climbers

Age: 3+

Game 3

This is a wonderful geometrical game. There are different shaped crystals made from plastic. Kids much match pieces to each other to make numerous designs or objects. This game improves gross motor movements and eye-brain co-ordination as well. You can teach children, in a hands-on way, about 3-dimensional shapes like cube and 2-dimensional shapes like circle and triangle.

Crystal climbers

GAME: Cash Register

Age: 3+

cash register

The Cash Register is an addictive toy for many kids. They fancy being able to scan items and collect money especially if they repeatedly ‘witness’ their parents paying the cashier at different shops. Younger kids may tear the paper notes or swallow coins. You can laminate paper notes and keep the coins away until age 5.

The register can be used to ‘simulate’ a shopping experience. Let your children set up a soft-toy shop and you can go buy something from there. Allow them to do a simple transaction. Teach them to scan, open and close the cash box. As they grow older, you can teach them about currency and do several types of money transactions which involve addition, subtraction, etc.

(E.g.I have Rs. 20, if I have to pay you Rs. 10, how much will you return?)

The same currency can be used to make rows of ascending and descending notes. You can also make this experience more real by having your child pay real money at the billing center and also shop something for themselves and pay from their piggy bank or pocket money.

GAME: The Mighty Mind

Age: 4/5+ 

The Mighty Mind gives excellent exposure to geometrical thinking. There are different shapes that are used to make simp

Mighty Mindle to complex designs. Beginning cards show kids which pieces they will need to use to make a shape. As you can see in the circle shape in the image, the card shows two red semi-circle pieces to be used. The cards are numbered and increasing numbers depict higher level of difficulty in making shapes. The same shapes are also available in magnetic form with a magnetic board and kids can use the shapes freely as well, to make any pattern they wish.

GAME: Dominoes

Age: 5+ 

DominosDominos and The Mexican Train are great ‘algebra’ games. The coins represent numbers by the number of dots on them. Players must match same number dots together to form connected series. You can also challenge kids to quickly state the number of dots on each peg. Or ask them to match the number on a dice.

Domonies 2

GAME: monopoly

Age: 5+ 

From 5 years onwards, kids can start playing Junior or Regular Monopoly based on their abilities. Monopoly has a ‘real’ time smonopolyense to how transactions occur in the world. This helps kids get a great understanding on the use of money and numbers in the real world. You need not stick to the rules of the games or the length of the game. The purpose is to expose them to number understanding.

Lastly, I would like to share with you this wonderful book which teaches kids to count by 2s, 5s, and 10s in a simple, easy and fun way. There many sites, books and resources which we can use to teach math concepts to our kids.


I hope you received some fun math ideas for your kids today.

Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

Children and Nature

This is a Re-post of my article from ParentEdge magazine

Note that this article has been edited.

Teaching your children about the natural world

animalsWe introduce our kids to some common animals at a very young age. Which child will not know Cat, Dog, Monkey, Lion and birds like Crow, Pigeon, or Parrots? However, our children are not exposed to a wider range of the natural living world. How many children know Seagull, Vulture, Yak, Mongoose, Hyrax, or Wildebeest at an age of 3, 4, or even 9?

The activities I list below will open up a new world to your children and increase their knowledge of the animal kingdom. You can add other learning to these with Phonics and Alphabets as well.

Age: 6+

These activities are designed for any child who can independently cut, glue, converse, and has a basic understanding of the living world around us. Alternatively, parents can conduct this activity for their toddlers or preschoolers.

You need:

  1. A large flat surface to work on: like the table or the floor.
  2. Print outs of several insects – uncut sheet: check image below for some of the insect names.
  3. Print outs of several animals – each animal cut into a square card. Make sure you have a variety of animal types like ones that live in the cold, in tropical or warm areas, mammals, non-mammals, etc. You may choose to keep the sheet uncut if you wish for the kids to do it.
  4. A pair of scissors per child.
  5. Glue stick per child.
  6. Markers and crayons for decoration.


  1. Introduce children to all the insects you have on the sheet/s. You may share some fun facts about each insect at this point.
  2. Inform the kids that they are going to make an insect garden of their own, the way they like it. Show them an example from the image below and mention that different children make it in different ways and they are all ‘okay’. There is no one way to make it.
  3. Have children cut out all the insects. If you notice in the picture, I did not have insects printed in an aligned manner. This means it wasn’t as simple as cutting them into squares. Children had to work hard to cut around rounded areas without cutting into the next image. This helps increase attention, motor movements, eye-brain-hand co-ordination, and overall practice!

Allow them to stick their insects on a blank, white page to create their unique ‘Insect Farm’ or ‘Insect Garden’. They may use markers and colors to decorate the space and even draw.

insect farm5. Bring to their attention that they may categorize the insects as per their wish. In the image above, my daughter (age 5) categorized them as the ones she Loves and ones she Doesn’t Love. Some other kids categorized them by ones that can fly and ones that crawl OR they may not categorize them at all

6. They may create and share a story out of their garden if they wish to.


animal categories

  1. Have the animal and bird play cards either cut out beforehand or have the kids do it.
  2. DO NOT go over each animal or bird. We are going to leave it for the kids to discover that on their own.
  3. Challenge the kids to be able to separate the birds and animals in two sections in the shortest time possible. You may time the kids if you wish.


birdsGo over the answers and see who did it right. Note that some of them could be a challenge. g. Bats are animals that can fly (mammals) and ostriches are birds even though they cannot fly

5. You may now play other games using the same cards and may even make groups to challenge the kids. Eg.You can see in my animal section, I have categorized animals that live in the cold, ones that are found in the African Safaris, and the rest kept separate.

Make up your own games with these cards. Below are some examples I have stated.

  1. Phonics: Kids must pick out all the cards that belong to the alphabet sound you make.
    g. if you say the sound ‘Au’, they must pull out Ostrich and Ox. Focus on the sound here, not the alphabet.
  2. Alphabet: Kids must categorize all animals and birds mixed together as per their starting or ending letters.
    E.g. Seagull, Seal go in one section.
  3. Letters: Kids must arrange cards as per the letters you mention.
    E.g. if you say all the cards that have an ‘H’ in them go in the same category. So Ostrich, Cheetah, Hummingbird go in one section.
  4. Patterns: Kids must arrange all cards in altering patterns like one animal, one bird. You may time them for the same.
  5. Quiz: Take up to 6 cards at a time to help kids memorize names with 3-4 repetitions and then quiz them. Doing all the cards at once may be too overwhelming.
  6. G.K.: Share more information about each animal / bird.
    E.g. The reason why bats are not birds and ostriches are not animals. How different animals adapt to their environment; offspring names, and so on.

Parents, share your responses on these activities. Do you find this activity easy, fun, and educational? How soon are you committed to perform this activity with your kid/s? Did your kid/s enjoy these? What are your questions and queries? Do write back.

Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

Fun with Phonics: Teach Phonics in a Fun Way (Re-post from ParentEdge)

This is a RE-POST of my article from The Indian Magazine: ParentEdge:


Ideal Age: 3.5 years – 6.5 years

It is fascinating to see our children grow through their different phases and one such thrilling phase is when they begin to put words together into sentences. Next, they begin picking up sounds of letters to make more sense out of them.

In simple words, learning Phonics is about learning the sounds of each letter so that they can be put together to make a word. This means that instead of rote learning CAT with the letter C, A, T, the child would learn to ‘develop’ the word CAT by saying the sound of each letter as in C-A-T. Today we will learn simple exercises to boost your child’s phonic awareness in powerful ways.

I want you all to know that the activities I list here are the activities I do with my daughter sincerely and many of the activities in my articles are MY OWN ORIGINAL ACTIVITIES which came about with the need for ‘creative play’ with my daughter to teach her more by spending less!

Magnetic lettersACTIVITY ONE: The first step is to get your child interested in the alphabet per se. We need a magnetic surface and magnetic letters. Place toy letters on the fridge top or a magnetic surface to attract your child’s attention. Playing A-B-C nursery rhymes and showing them letters in their environment makes them more aware that letters give meaning to our world. When we are waiting for our train ride, or parking at the airport, my daughter and I have fun playing I Spy and spotting letters.

ACTIVITY TWO: We need lots of blank white paper, a dark color marker, and some cello tape. We are going to write names of simple objects around the home and then stick the paper on that object. E.g. Write DOOR in big bold letters and tape the paper on any door. Same with Fridge, Wall, Chair, Table, and so on; this helps your child associate words and letters to objects in their environment and learn spellings at a later stage.

spelling objectsspelling objects 2

ACTIVITY THREE: We need some wooden plain blocks, (preferably rectangular) and a marker. Along with your child, write the name of each of your family members on a block. Encourage your child to place that name block on the dining table assigning each family member a place to sit. This way the child learns to spell names and gets more involved in mealtime preparation.

Another alternative: take more blocks and write one letter on one block to spell out names of all family members. This is an advanced version in name spelling and can create a lot of fun for your child especially if s/he likes challenges.

Below you can see I have used the same block to write both words on opposite sides. This way my daughter learns the spelling of and associates both the words. Similarly, you can take 3 cubes and write M on one, O on the other and M on the 3rd one to help them spell it out literally by themselves.

spelling block

spelling block 2

ACTIVITY FOUR: This is my daughter’s favorite activity. We began it when she was 4.5 years and now 7 months later she enjoys it just as much.

We need – pencil, paper, eraser, you and your child in a place comfortable enough to write.

Pre-requisite: Child must know sounds of each or at least some letters and must know how to write them.

Aim: To help your child spell a word, write it, and then draw a picture of it.

How to: You will begin by thinking of a word, let’s say STAR. You will now tell your child that you are going to spell out the word for him / her by saying the sounds of each letter in your word. Begin with ‘S’ (just make the sound of S, don’t say S). Your child has to guess which letter it is and write that letter on the paper. Next letter is ‘T’ (Just the Tah sound) and so the child guesses and writes T. In this way, you finish S-T-A-R and then allow your child to guess what the word if. If s/he cannot get the word, you say it for them by putting the sounds together like ‘St’ ‘ar’  = Star. Now s/he must draw a star in any way s/he can.

Remember, it is ok if the word letters and pictures are not aligned or in order. The presentation is not important here, the learning is!

Below is my daughter’s paper at age 4.7 years. She spelled and guessed all of the words below and drew pictures. Mostly we do this when I am cooking in the kitchen, she sits nearby, and we enjoy the game together. spell testMy other articles from ParentEdge magazine:

Related articles


Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

Fun and Educational Games for Kids

This is re-post, it is my article from Parent-Edge Magazine:

Feb 28, 2015 Activity-Led Learning,

Last week I came across a post on Facebook that reminded me of a game my dad used to play with us. Dad has always been great with kids. He attracts kids the way magnets attract paper clips. Besides fun, play, and stories, he was great with constructive activities to sharpen our I.Q. I will give dad a lot of credit in helping me be a Parent Educator today.

Hence, I dedicate today’s article to all the activities that dad played with us.

 Ideal for ages: 6 – 10years

All the activities require:

  1. Either more than two children or an Adult and a Child
  2. Pen and paper per person

Winner: For every game, the winner is the person or group with most correct answers or points.


 Aim: To get as many words as possible per row.

How to play: Each player draws a table on their paper as shown.

The 1st player begins reciting letters A to Z silently in his head. The 2nd player shouts ‘stop’ anytime. At this moment, the first player must mention which letter was playing in his head at this time.

Let’s say that alphabet was ‘G’

Now, each player must write G in the letter column and then write one word in each column. One name beginning with G, one animal, one place and one thing with G.

The game stops whenever players decide to stop or when they complete all the letters.

Alternatively, players may simply go alphabet wise from A to Z on paper and time themselves or they may pick up letter cards from a face down pile to avoid any cheating.

Scoring: 10 points per correct answer. 5 points if another player has the same response as you.


How to play: An adult assigns all kids one long word. They all get the same long word written on top of their paper.

Word vocabulary

E.g. – ‘Elephant’ or ‘Superabundant’ or ‘Idiosyncratic’

Aim: From this big word, make as many small words as possible in three mintues. All words must be more than 3 letters and they must have a meaning. Older kids may generate 4-letter words and more.

 Activity 3: WORD RACE

Again, this has to do with picking a letter of the alphabet. Then within a minute, players must note down as many common nouns as possible. No proper nouns, verbs, or names allowed here.

Word race


This game is more fun when played in a large group, but it is possible to play it with 2 players also.

How to play: The adult or an opposite team member gives the player a word secretly in the ear. The player must enact that word only with actions. He must not speak anything, not even a sound.

If there are only 2 players, the other play must guess the word and gets a point on guessing the exact word within the time limit. If there are 2 groups, the enacting player’s team must guess the word to win a point.


 One player picks a chit of words or gets a word from an adult. This player cannot announce the word. Let us say the word is ‘Water’.

He must now speak out related words that will help the other player guess the word WATER. He cannot say the word Water in any language but he can use other related words to indicate water. He must speak only single words, not sentences.

E.g. – : here he may say – blue, swim, sky, etc.

Points are given to correct guesses within the time limit. Pre-decide the time limit, like 3 minutes or 5 minutes, depending on age and difficulty.



 We can create many variations for word quizzes.

E.g. – An adult writes a list of words for all players. Players must then write as many synonyms or antonyms of those words as possible, within a time limit.

Similarly, we can do a rhyming list challenge with younger players.
Word play variations

Make your own variations. These activities are great fun at sleepovers and casual parties.

Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

Holiday Art – A magic art for kids from Scrap!

This article has been written by me and re-posted with permission from Parentedge:

Christmas or any another festival, we humans pretty much imitate the busy activity of a beehive during festive seasons. However, before the crowd attacks the shopping centers, newspapers speak out the Christmas Cheer loud and clear as a flurry of toys, lights, and gifts decorate flyers and pamphlets. Since I like to use everything to its best capacity, I could not think of throwing away the big heap of paper that came through my mail. And this is how a new art project was born.

Activity: A Simple Art Project, 45-60mins

Age group: 4- 6 years with parental help; 6 – 10 years independently

What you need

  1. A large piece of cardboard or plain white paper
  2. Markers
  3. Glue sticks or glue
  4. Newspapers / flyers with any images related to Christmas or toys
  5. Scissors
  6. Trash can
  7. Curious kids

Learning Focus

Creativity, imagination, organization skills, fine motor skills, competitiveness, spatial reasoning, decision making.

The Plot

You can chose either ‘The Christmas Theme’ or ‘The Toy Theme’ or mix the two!

It is best to have two kids do this activity side by side to add a competitive spirit. Kids will have 60mins to complete the project. Their aim will be to create for themselves, a special room on the canvas or paper you provide. They will do this by choosing, cutting, and pasting the pictures from their own pile of newspapers. They could use markers to decorate their room and create any theme. It doesn’t matter if the snaps overlap, as long as each one is seen clearly and a minimum of 20 pictures have been used. They should use their imaginations to generate this special room as if it was real, a part of their real home. In fact, you can title your kids ‘Interior Designers’ for this fun project.

How to

Collect all the newspapers and sit down in an area with enough room to spread the papers. Before you call the kids, filter the papers by yourself. Make sure there are 15 – 30 pages of newspapers  / flyers that have photographs related to Christmas or toys. For example, a page showing decorative lights, a Christmas tree or an ornament, is worth saving. One that has a few toy cars, kids playing in a dollhouse or pretending to be supermen are excellent too.

Creating art projects from old newspapers

If you are calling on friends or siblings for a project competition, make two different piles, relevant to each one’s age. I had a 9-year young with my 4-year young, which means the older one got a lot more newspapers to work with simply because she would be faster and more independent. I wanted to keep the curiosity as well the challenge alive for each one.

Once you have the newspapers sorted, spread out a large cloth / sheet / plastic to work on the floor. On that spread out the large white paper or cardboard and all other necessities in equal quantity for each child. Then, call the kids.

The rules

It is time to announce the rules. Let each child know that the competition is only in two aspects – to use everything that is given and to complete the project on time. Make it clear that there is no competing for better or worse. You won’t be judging the final project and putting a label of good or bad; rather you will see how well they use the resources given to them within the set time limit. Assure them that you are around for any back up or support. The ultimate aim is to LEARN & HAVE FUN. Read ‘The Plot’ section above to announce the rules.

Christmas Art from old newspapers

Art projects from scrap paper

Art for young children from scrap paper

Recycled art projects from old newspapers

Art projects for kids

This picture above was created by Kapila Khare, 9 years young. She made the toy room of her dreams!

Now that you know this activity has so much to teach your child (check above in the section titled ‘Learning Focus’), you can use this project with different things.

Here are a few ideas

  1. Save boxes of cereal, cookies, croutons, ready-to-eat packs, lentils, etc. Cut out food pictures from there and challenge kids to make a food chart. Use the classification of healthy vs. unhealthy or fats/ proteins/ carbs. Activate your creativity, parents!Example
  2. Save pictures of produces (fruits and vegetables) from several articles. They could make charts to classify fruits and veggies or ones they like vs. don’t like or even organize by the color or texture.
  3. Use your vacation photographs, vehicles, environment, or pictures of different roles that people play in the community.

All you need is a pile of newspapers and a watchful eye!

Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

Six Easy Activities for an Emotionally Robust Kid!

This is my first article for Parent-Edge Magazine, India. It am reposting it with permission from them:                             


This blog post has been contributed by our new Parent Blogger Rima Desai. Rima has a Masters Degree in Psychology from Mumbai University. She wrote numerous articles for Parents, Women and creating Self-Awareness in a leading newspaper in Tanzania when she lived there. Her work includes writing for in-flight magazines and editing internationally published books. Rima is a certified Childcare Professional and Life-Coach in USA. She has extensive experience in training teachers, students and holding camps for children (3-9 years). 


Activities to Develop Your Child’s Emotional I.Q. from an early age

There is a lot of talk that goes on about parenting and emotions. The importance of developing an emotionally robust child cannot be undermined. Your child may grow up to be a doctor, engineer, or a computer programmer, but that is not enough to safeguard her personal life, and the ability to communicate and express herself. This skill of free emotional expression is needed at every step of relationships, career, and for high self-worth. Now, you have an opportunity to be their emotion coach!

Run your eyes over these activities that will help you enhance your child’s EQ. These activities would work well for children between the ages of 3-8, depending on their emotional maturity.

Quick challenge: In two minutes pen down as many emotions (just one word each) as you can. Note that some emotion clusters like joy, happy and glad are the same type of emotion.

How many emotions did you spurt out easily? Not many of us are generous with our emotional vocabulary because we haven’t been taught to recognize, discover, and word our emotions. In reality, we experience more than 50+ emotions and often several of them in the same day. Here is a short list:

Happy / glad / joyful / blissful / ecstatic Sad / sorrowful / unhappy / depressed
Proud Ashamed / embarrassed
Successful Failure
Satisfied / content Dissatisfied
Secure Insecure
Patient Impatient
Proud Disappointed
Curious / Interested Bored / disinterested
Thrilled / excited / enthusiastic lonely
Loved Unloved
Accepted Rejected / dejected
Included / belong Left-out / excluded

Very often, we are stuck in the confined loop of ‘happy-sad’ words when using our emotional vocabulary and this directly influences our children because they learn no better. Let us learn to label more emotions that are relevant to the situation.

Activity 1

Ask your child to state all the emotions they know of. If they find it hard to begin, make a happy face and ask them to complete the statement: I feel ­­­­­­­­______

Do the same with a scared, angry and an excited face. This way you can get them started on your little emotion project.

Activity 2

communicating emotionally

Sit facing your child so that both of you are looking at each other from an arm’s distance. You will show an emotion on your face when you say these words:

“I see a mirror and what do I see? I see a ____ face looking at me.” Repeat this exercise with 3-4 simple emotions that your child can recognize.

Now ask your child to pick 3-4 of her favorite emotions and do the above activity with you. In the next round pick a few new emotions and do your best in making that face. Use disappointment, tired, sleepy, bored, lonely, etc.

Activity 3

Remove their soft toys and place them in a row. Any pictures that depict a living being will also work.Using toys to teach children emotions

Pick one object after another and tell your child one simple statement about something that happened in this beings’ life today. Then, your child has to recognize the emotion felt by this being.

E.g., today the shark swam from sunrise to sunset and now she cannot swim anymore. What is she feeling right now?

If your child does not label the emotion, give her two or three choices.

E.g., is the shark feeling lonely, happy, or tired right now?

Cover different emotions with each new object. Some statement options:

  1. Today baby elephant got a new ball toy to play with. How does he feel? (happy or excited)
  2. Sheep woke up at 6am early in the morning and she played all day. Now the sun is setting and she is beginning to yawn, how is she feeling right now? (sleepy or tired)
  3. Bumblebee’s dad promised to bring him a new school bag but then dad forgot. How does the bee feel? (Here you do not want your child to label only sad. You want her to be more specific. The answer is ‘disappointed’).

Activity 4

This activity will give your entire family an outlet to express emotions through a rhyme along with actions. Here the child learns how each emotion ‘looks’ and ‘feels’.

When we feel happy, we make our happy bunny ears (V with fingers on the head). When we feel sad, our ears fall down (upside down V with fingers on the side of the head). When we feel angry, we roar like lions (or stomp our feet) and let it out. When we feel scared, we make a fist and take it close to our chest. When we feel embarrassed, we bend our head low and hide our eyes. When we feel proud, we lift our head high up above our neck. When we feel confused, we tap a finger on our head and when we feel loved, we cross our arms to give a hug. (Alternative way: use the rhyme: ‘if you are happy and you know it’. In each round, introduce a new emotion and the corresponding action).

Also Read: Helping Children Manage their Emotions

Activity 5

Have each family member explore and reserve one spot in the home that is their ‘quiet spot’, where they can go to when they are angry or sad. Have them recognize their ‘favorite’ and ‘happy’ spot in the home too.


Activity 6

Expressing emotions through artPrint out or draw faces showing different emotions and stick them in direct vision. Each one of you can point to the emotion you are feeling when you sleep or wake up, after school, and before / after meals.

Magazines, ads, and public places are also a great resource for a quick fun time ‘recognize their emotions’ game.

Remember, if your child is aware, alert and accepting of how she feels, she has the most precious gift – to skim through every situation thick or thin

Rima Desai

Ignatius Fernandez November 28, 2014 at 9:14 am Reply

Rima, well-done! The post is not only informative, but creatively expressed. Scope for your background in psychology. Parents are likely to take your plan seriously and act on it. God bless. Ignatius.