Interested in what your daughter thinks about her boyfriend? Wonder how your son feels about his math teacher? What question do you want to ask your children but are not sure about how to go about it?
I love charms andbout two years ago, Josh Freedman and I thought it would be fun to have a bag of them that could be used to discover what family members were thinking? Or perhaps, something the kids could play with at the airport and create stories? So we created the Emoticons – a bag of approximately twenty charms, including such items as:
• Tape measure
• Piano, and many more.
These emoticons are visual metaphors for learning about emotions and they come with a small instruction booklet that suggests a variety of ways that the charms might be used. It includes the following ideas:
• Building a group story using a charm picked by each person as a prompt for each sentence.
• Using the emoticons as a symbol of a gift an individual would like to give. Each person offers an explanation of the symbol and reason for their choice of gift.
• Picking an emoticon and explaining to a child the sound with which the emoticon starts. Ask the child to think of three feelings or actions that start with the same sound – ‘The butterfly is brave.’
Emoticons have generated some very pleasant memories for me.
When the product was first available, I took several home with me to give to my nieces – aged 13, 10, and 8. After a scrumptious Sunday dinner I pulled them out, presented each with a bag, and said, “Give me your opinion, girls!” After a brief instruction period, we were off and running.
First we built a group story. Each person had to draw one charm from the bag and then add a segment to the story incorporating the charm. Previous characters and a continuation of the plot was a necessity. Soon, granny was pulled into the action as well.
Then we had to create an individual story with five charms randomly drawn. Then the challenge was to create a piece of poetry. First, there were some groans – but then delighted laughter as ideas were born. It was such a fun afternoon.
After I had returned to California, I even received a written story from the youngest niece using all twenty charms. It was delightful.
We use these emoticons with families, with individual children, at workshops and meetings. They are universally popular and give rise to tremendous lateral thinking and creative insight.