Feeling Balloons

In developing social competency skills, Saarni suggests that eight skills are needed – with the first one being aware of one’s own emotional state. In counseling young children, we have found feeling balloons very useful.  We found the 20″ balloons the best to use because the balloon deflates slowly allowing one to reuse it for multiple days in a row.  Typically, we will use the red balloon to depict an angry feeling, a blue balloon to demonstrate a sad feeling and yellow to show a happy feeling.  A counselor can use the balloons as follows:
  1. Have the child pick (out of the three balloons) which one represents how he/she felt for the majority of the week.
  2. Pass the sad balloon around (if parents involved, include them in this activity) and ask the child when he/she feels sad. Repeat this with the glad balloon and the mad balloon.
  3. Describe an event – like dropping your ice cream cone and then ask the child to select the balloon that would represent how he/she would likely feel.

We often reward the child at the end of the session by allowing the child to take home one of the balloons.  We have found this activity a fun, easy way for the child to learn to name, label and express their feelings.

About Tina Donovan

Tina Donovan, M.Ed., PC has dedicated her life both professionally and personally to improving the lives of children. From volunteering as a youth leader to developing a non-profit youth organization, her focus has been on providing opportunities to children enabling them to discover and develop their own unique talents.

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