I met Wendy a few weeks ago as she was spreading word of her unique product.
As a mum I could see the value of this device in helping children to identify and communicate their feelings.
As a language teacher I can see how the product is useful in talking about feelings, whatever the language.
So over to Wendy to tell her story.
Whilst child minding, I came up with the idea for my mood stars. As a childminder, I had to adhere to The Early Years Foundation Framework. Three of the key areas of learning were,
Personal, Social and Emotional development
Understanding the World.
With this in mind, I came up with the idea for my mood stars.
As I came to create my Mood Stars, I decided to make them from felt with expressions sewn onto them, (Sad, Silly, Surprised, Shy, Cross, Scared, Sleepy and Happy) They covered these areas of learning as well as providing soft, safe and tactile toys for the children to play with.
I found that the Mood Stars helped children recognise their feelings, as well as those of others, by learning the names of the mood / expression on each Mood Star.
As I observed the children playing with the stars, I soon noticed that they began to develop empathy with Sad and Shy Star consoling them in their imaginary play which in turn helped them to come to terms with how they were feeling.
With the help of the Mood Stars, communication with the children became easier. Children were able to relate to the star that expressed the mood that they were in at any particular time. Sleepy Star was often carried to bed at nap time, Sad Star would be cuddled when Mummies and Daddies left for the day and Happy Star was sometimes handed to me just to say “I’m feeling happy!”
The children’s parents would ask me to make sets of My Mood Stars for them to use at home as a useful learning tool, a way of de-stressing night time routines and for behaviour incentives. The unique quality of the Mood Stars was that they could be cuddled and carried around. They were particularly effective for the non-verbal children in the setting. Because of the wider appeal, I set about getting My Mood Stars manufactured.
As I carried out my market research, it became apparent that a board for children to have in their room or play area or for teachers to use in a classroom would be a useful accessory. I wanted to avoid scratchy Hook and Loop type substance on the soft stars I invented a board made from a gentle form of hook and loop material onto which the stars could pop on and off. The sensory experience of this was an added benefit! What also became clear from my market research, from parents of children on the autistic spectrum, was the fact that these children need more help than others recognising facial expressions and facial clues. And that they also found social situations difficult because of this. I got a lot of feed-back from parents of Autistic children, saying that the simplicity of the stars’ facial expressions allow these children simply to focus on the expression on the face of the stars which would help with their social development.
The whole My Mood Stars project has produced a lovely toy, as well as a highly useful learning tool and with no small parts, safe for children of all ages.
Want to know more?
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Visit my website www.mymoodstars.co.uk for a free ‘Games to Play’ download and a video of me talking about My Mood Stars.
We can offer a special discount for Lingotastic readers. Simply visit www.mymoodstars.co.uk to take advantage of our 10% pre order discount from £29.99 to £27.00