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Communicating with Emojis

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Use paper plates to make emojis as a counseling intervention to develop emotional vocabulary and communication of feelings.

Everyone loves emojis, especially kids. Last week we whipped out our art supplies and creativity to make emoji faces on paper plates. I printed off an emoji feelings chart to give them something to look at, but encouraged creativity and expression of what they are currently feeling. I had each kid show from the feelings chart their current emotion but allowed them to draw anything they desired.

I was pleased with the variety of faces that they chose. It was also interesting to see the new ideas they came up with. One drew a T-Rex, we have an alien, demon, and plenty of emoji poop. LOL.

Emojis are a popular way for children to communicate emotions.  Increase verbal communication by building on this interest.

Why do we draw emojis? I aim to build an emotional vocabulary with kids. If they do not know the words, they cannot successfully communicate their emotions to others. Even though they may just draw one, they are also looking at the chart and the other emojis on the wall, which opens the discussion about many emotions. As they ask about the different emojis, they learn the words.

A second reason I use art projects is that when the hands are busy and they are being creative, their defenses are down. I am able to discuss highs and lows for the week and they will often open up more than if they were sitting and looking at my face.

A third reason I enjoy doing projects like this is we are working on something in a cooperative way. Kids will watch what I am doing and I can also follow their lead to allow them to communicate how to make a certain emoji. Some kids love choosing the emoji I make, selecting colors, expressions, etc. I get to enter their world and give them a sense of control.

Kids can discuss times they felt various feelings by using emojis.

I was excited to see the non-emoji characters show up as well. When kids see the alien or dinosaur, they ask why it is there. I ask them what they think the creature is thinking, feeling, or what life is like for them. It is a great opportunity to teach empathy. I also had kids presume why the various emojis were created. Some were able to identify the anger expressed in some, fear in others. Each seemed to have a story behind it.

*Disclaimer: The photos shown are emojis I created.

silly emoji face

commun icating emotions through art

art therapy

angry emoji

scared emoji

scared emoji

emoji with glasses


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