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E is for Emo Dough

Emo-Dough is something I created to help children cope with overwhelming emotions such as anger, sadness, fear and excitement. I’ve found that Emo-Dough has many benefits that include simply the act of identifying emotions and having alternatives to hitting, yelling, or even obsessive thinking. Keeping their hands busy can help children process challenging situations and difficult emotions. I’ve found that Emo-Dough has been a great visual and hands on technique for dealing with hard to see and understand abstract emotions, especially when you don’t have the words to articulate everything that’s going on inside.

Materials Needed:
3-4 containers of Play-Doh in assorted colors
8x2 inch strips of paper
crayons or markers
tape or glue

Designate an emotion for each color of Play-Doh. We chose yellow for glad (or excited), red for mad, blue for sad and white for scared. Create a new label for each can, decorating a strip of paper using words or pictures to convey the chosen emotion. Wrap the label around the can and secure it with tape or glue. You can easily do this with homemade play dough by decorating its container or plastic bag.
Let your child know that when they’re really angry and want to hit or hurt, you can pull out the Mad Emo-Dough and let him or her pound on it. If she’s sad or sulky, here comes the Sad Emo-Dough. If he’s really excited about something coming up and having a hard time dealing with the anticipation, you can have him make shapes with the Glad Emo-Dough. If your child is experiencing mixed emotions, let them mix up the Emo-Dough.



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