Published On: Sat, Oct 18th, 2014

The Kimochis Experience

Cute? Sure. Cuthe kimochis experienceddly? Absolutely. But for those of you who don’t know Kimochis, they are soft toys designed to help kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder learn how to express their feelings and manage them in a positive way. This is achieved not only by the toy itself, but by being accompanied by a multitude of what I describe as little bean bag characters.These characters each have a different facial expression on one side, and on the other the name of the feeling they are portraying. While these toys were developed with ASD kids in mind, I found them to be a fantastic resource with all of my Preschool class, recently introducing Cloud, (the blue character you see below) to them. Cloud came with three different bean bag characters/feelings. The children enjoyed placing these into Cloud’s tummy and stating how he was feeling.  When questioned, the children would make up why Cloud was feeling that way. It was interesting to hear them expressing what their ideas were on what makes others happy, sad or mad.

At group time we played a game with Cloud. Together we made up a story about a journey he went on. As it progressed many different things happened to Cloud on the way. As they did, the children brainstormed on ways that he could deal with the tricky situation and how he could feel better. One example is where one of the children when contributing their part of the story, said that Cloud fell into the river and got all wet. Some children felt this would make him feel mad, while some suggested it would make him feel silly. This led us into a discussion on how people can experience different feelings from the same experience. To be able to get preschoolers to see and understand that other’s may have a different point of view to themselves… is truly powerful stuff.

I believe we have just begun to discover the many ways in which the Kimochis experience can enhance the learning in our classroom. While I have only used Cloud, the teaching experience I had with him was so well received by the children in my class, that I am keen to introduce the six other characters in the Kimochis family soon.If you would like to find out more about Kimochis toys go to www.kimochis.com.au

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright 2014
www.mummyweekly.com.au


Danielle Photo 2014Described by many as one of the most dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry, Danielle Mantakoul has now educated thousands of parents on a wide range of topics surrounding early childhood. Mum of three in 17 months including twins and a special needs child, Danielle is well aware of the battles that families face today with young children.For the last 12 years Danielle has attended Early Childhood environments all over Sydney educating parents and early childhood staff. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Goodstart, Only About Children, Qantas, The Australian Financial Review, Child Protection Australia and hundreds of council and private centres.

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