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Emotions are tough. Seriously, they can be really hard to navigate, especially when you’re young and don’t always have the words to share how you’re feeling. But then, Inside Out showed up and gave kids examples of what those emotion words felt like. Plus, it was a super adorable movie– cute enough that we decided to see it like 4 times in theatres! So as soon as I found out it was available at Walmart, we ran to the store right away to pick up our copy.
At Walmart, you may find the Inside Out movie in the electronics section with other new releases, or you might find it on a pallet. We decided to grab a combo pack, because we love the ability to watch in bed on Blu Ray, in the family room on DVD, or on all of our favorite devices like the Kindle when we’re out and about.
You can also pick up a great selection of TOMY toys from the movie Inside Out in your local Walmart, or have them shipped Site-to-Store. They have all of your favorite characters– Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, Disgust, the console, and of course, Bing Bong!
I love using these toys to share emotions and really take time to talk to each other about what we’re feeling. When Zach is having a rough time, I’ll ask him “Are you feeling a little bit like sadness right now?” And if he answers that he is, then I’ll ask why he feels that way. Sometimes, he’ll come to me and share which emotion he is relating to with me so we can talk, and many times, we’ll act out what he’s feeling with our Inside Out toys. Sometimes, he will use them to speak for him instead of sharing those tough emotions straight from his own mouth.
Because of these discussions, one day while we were watching the movie together, I wondered what his own memory spheres would contain, and which colors his core memories might be. And then I realized, hey! We could make our own.
All you need is clear Christmas ornaments (I picked some that had a similar luster to the memory spheres in the movie, that shimmery look, but you can use plain clear ones, also).
You’ll also want colored paper, to help give the idea of each emotion’s color… Painting the outside or inside of the clear sphere will make it harder to see what’s inside, so using colored paper helps give the idea of the emotion, without obscuring your view too much. Paint can help, also, for the top of the ornament, and then you’ll want fillers– I chose glitter (just to add some shimmer, because what DIY project doesn’t need a little bit of glitter?) and paper with quotes from my son, but you can use photographs (to make it more like the movie), memorabilia (maybe a napkin from that awful pizza place you went to that only served broccoli pizza?), drawings, or other things that help recall specific memories.
In our memory spheres, we used written memories that my son had shared for each emotion– like that time when he felt anger because I took him to a different restaurant than he wanted to go to, or when he felt joy because he got to spend time with his Gram.
Start your project by painting the top of each ornament. Do this part first, because you may need two coats of paint, and you’ll want to give it time to dry in between.
Next, you’ll want to create or gather your memorabilia. For us, that meant writing down things that made Zach feel fear, anger, joy, and sadness (we skipped disgust because we only had a 4-pack of Christmas ornaments, and it seemed he felt disgust less than the other 4 emotions).
This gave us a really good chance to talk and really discuss feelings. Zach told me that sometimes he worries I won’t show up to pick him up from school, saying another student told him “I bet your mommy won’t come get you.” Even though I’ve been there for pick up every day, that statement really got into his mind and has made him feel fear. This allowed us to really talk about the root of that fear, and gave me a chance to re-assure him that I’ll be there to pick him up, and that sometimes the other students don’t know what’s right.
Take your open ornament, and have your child help layer in colored paper, your memories, glitter, and anything else you’re including. You can buy store-bought crinkled paper in various colors in the gift wrap section, but for Fear, I just curled construction paper by wrapping strips tightly around a pen.
You can make your memory sphere represent just one specific memory in time, like in the movie– perhaps a vacation where you felt a lot of joy, or an award-winning sports moment– or you can do what we did and fill each emotion with several moments. Since we were using really large ornaments, we decided to put a lot of fears in our fear memory sphere, for example, but if we had used tiny clear ornaments, we probably would have focused on just one memory per sphere. If you do choose to add multiple memories in your memory sphere, you might want to leave some room at the top to add more memories; we left our joy sphere almost empty (without any paper) so we could continue adding our most joyful memories.
While we used shreds and curls of paper in a lot of our jars, we felt anger would be an appropriate one to crumple bits of paper for. It’s a really great stress-relief technique, and I actually know a psychologist who would recommend this to a lot of her patients– to get construction paper and crumple it to create art from. However, you can do whatever you’d like to fill up those jars.
When you’re done, you can do whatever you’d like with them… with the holidays upon us, you could string them and put them on a Christmas tree (in fact, you could even add some strings to your Inside Out Tomy Toys and add them to the tree as well, if you’d like), or you could display them somewhere year-round and add to them. We’ve even discussed buying tiny ornaments to make a memory tree every time we have something we want to add!
In the meantime, we’ve been using the toys to act out scenes where Zach can share the emotions he’s feeling– we pretend the characters are the emotions in his head and talk through stressful moments, and try to get the perspective of different emotions to see why he might be feeling a certain way. Sometimes, it takes Joy’s positive attitude to turn a situation around and make it feel a little better. Just like in the movie where we realized some of Riley’s happiest moments started because she had been sad right before those happy times, it becomes clear that emotions can tie into each other and lead into really great moments.
How would you use Inside Out items to open dialogue with your kids about emotions? Let me know about how you discuss those complicated emotions with your kids in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out Walmart’s entire lineup of Inside Out products!
Also, don’t forget to check out these Bing Bong inspired mocktails, and come back Friday for Inside Out Emotions Cupcakes!