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Why My Mood Stars?
I started making My Mood Stars whilst child minding.
The Early Years Foundation Framework had just come into force and one of the areas of learning was Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
My Mood Stars, made of felt with expressions sewn onto them, covered this area 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 of each Mood Star.
This was done by using the Mood Stars as props in story sacks to identify emotions, explain emotions, express emotions, talk about feelings and point out when others are showing an emotion.
My Mood Stars helped children to develop empathy
Many of the children would simply play with the Mood Stars and I noticed that they would begin to empathise with Shy and Sad Star consoling them in their imaginary play which, in turn, helped them make sense how they were feeling.
With the help of the Mood Stars, communication became easier. Children were able to relate to the Mood 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!”
Being bright yellow the Mood Stars were hard to lose! This meant that when we used the Stars out in the garden to play “Find the Mood Stars” is wasn’t too difficult for the younger children.
Once a child had found a Mood Star, the child had to stay in that “mood” until the next Star was found. This was great fun with children running around the garden being angry, silly, happy, surprised, sleepy, scared, shy and sad!
Parents Asked for My Mood Stars.
The children’s parents could see the positive effect that My Mood Stars were having on their children, they 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.
One unique attribute 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.
Making the next step
It was my Ofsted Inspector who gave me the idea of marketing the Mood Stars. I took his advice and set about getting My Mood Stars manufactured.
Market research informed me that a board for the Mood Stars to stick on would be an added benefit. And so the My Mood Stars Board was developed.
The board is made from a wooden frame with Velcro receptive material stuck onto the back of it.
The Mood Stars are also made from Velcro – and that’s how they stick.
Helping children with autism
Parents of children on the autism spectrum were delighted with My Mood Stars as 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 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 My Mood Stars book
I wanted to write a book about different emotions and used the Mood Stars.
The book has a Mood Stars on each page and a space for writing notes or doing drawings underneath – great for non-verbal children and a great ‘cuddle up with a grown up’ book
My aim is to make education enjoyable and I hope that these toys will help develop a positive attitude toward learning for all children.
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