Veronika and I played two different games today to learn facial features and emotions. The activities were both so hands on, and she loved them equally!
For the first version, I set out blank paper plates and used cut pieces of felt to create features. I simplified the prep work by using felt pieces from a set with pre-cut squares, rectangles, squiggles and more. You could just as easily do this activity with lots of shapes cut from construction paper.
I showed her how to arrange the pieces to quickly transform plates into faces. “What’s he feeling?” I asked her for each expression. “He’s happy!” she piped up, or, “He’s sad!”.
We could manipulate the shapes to make all kinds of variations, including surprised, silly, sleepy, angry, and more. In addition to the expressions, it was also a great chance to name individual features. “Her mouth is a circle,” I pointed out, or, “Here are her ears.”
Pretty soon she was busy designing “faces” of her own.
The second game was similar, except this time the sensory experience was squishy playdough instead of fuzzy felt.
I drew two faces on plain white paper and inserted each piece into a large zip-top bag.
Now use playdough and squish against the bag to follow along on the facial features!
Veronika got the hang of it quite quickly.
Again, there was lots to talk about, including eyebrows, noses, ears, and mouths.
But because this time she had to manipulate the playdough, it was great for thinking about how we shape our mouths into a frown or smile.
I loved watching her move the frown from the sad face over to our happy face, and stretch it out first into a line.
I helped her arc it upwards into a smile. She looked so pleased.
The added bonus is that when you’re done with the games, your toddler will have lots of playdough and felt (or construction paper) pieces to play with solo for a while.