Developing emotional intelligence through play

July 14, 2018

In our global and fast-changing world, one of the critical factors of success is the emotional intelligence (EQ). It can be referred to as a capability to recognize your own emotions and emotions of others and being able to act accordingly. People with high EQ can name and manage their feelings, and they can recognize and influence the feelings of people around them.

When speaking and learning about emotions, Lego® Minifigures come in very handy. Since they come with a lot of different faces and facial expressions, we can use them to create a safe environment in which children will learn to identify emotions and will practice the non-destructive ways of dealing with them. They will also broaden their vocabulary, which in turn will help in expressing their feelings in the future.

learning about emotions with lego

What will we need? Several Minifigures with different facial expression.

I made basic ones because I wanted the child to concentrate only on the facial expression, not the general look of a figure. As each Minifigure usually comes with a pre-built personality, I wanted to remove this factor. This way the child had to think about each situation and not recreate a scene from a Lego® catalog.

We started with the six basic emotions – happiness, fear, anger, disgust, sadness, and surprise. Although to my surprise, not all of the feelings are represented equally among our collection. Still, I was able to prepare representations for each of the six emotions.

lego minifigures emotions
lego minifigures emotions

We began with recognition and vocabulary. A child’s task was to observe each expression, name the emotion behind and think of different situations that could have caused this particular emotion. In the second version of the game, I described a case, and the child had to choose a Minifigure with an appropriate facial expression and tell me why she has selected it.

lego minifigures emotions
lego minifigures emotions

In both versions, we talked about situations in which my children felt these exact emotions, about how they reacted and how they could act in the future.

Then we went back to play with Minifigures. We created scenes in which the figures were expressing their feelings. This personification is the essential part of the activity. It gives the child the opportunity to practice the vocal expression she will need in real life.

lego minifigures emotions
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