Developed at the Research Centre for Experiential Education(Leuven University) under supervision of renowned international early childhood expert, Prof. Dr. F. Laevers, A box full of feelings is designed specifically to support the social-emotional development of children aged two to seven. The set is built around four basic feelings: happiness, fear, anger and sadness.
The box contains several basic materials to get children involved in more than 20 different activities, all year round. With a great variety of activities to choose from, they can be offered in a flexible way: as guided group activities, as optional activities, as part of a separate area for social-emotional development or occasionally as a response to certain events.
A box full of feelings helps children remain or get in touch with their inner world of feelings, recognise emotions in themselves, accept them, name them and have a more differentiated awareness of them. The impact of using the box is significant: practitioners report how children are more alert to utterances of feelings, how they use a more differentiated vocabulary concerning emotions, how their intuitions become more refined and how their capacity to cope with painful experiences strengthens, with inner calm and serenity as a result. This effect is even shown to be reflected at the group level.
- The box
The colourful box is light and provided with a handle, so that young children can easily manipulate and move it as a case. The box and all the items are made from polypropylene, a safe and very durable synthetic material. All the material is in full-colour print.
- Four houses of emotions
The Box full of feelings contains four ‘houses of emotions’. In every house ‘lives’ a specific emotion. Thanks to the handle, the children can easily carry the houses around, for instance when a certain emotion appeals to them. The exterior of each house shows the name of the respective emotion (‘happy’, ‘afraid’, ‘angry’ or ‘sad’) together with the picture of the corresponding emotion figure.
- Forty-eight situational pictures (4.4’x4.4’)
For each basic feeling there are twelve pictures. They represent a situation in which a child or adult is feeling happy, frightened, angry or sad. In a number of pictures more than one person is part of the situation.
On the back of each picture, there’s a short story and a few questions that can help guide the discussion about the picture. The situational pictures can be ‘posted’ in one of the four ‘houses of emotions’.
- Sixteen pictures of the emotion figures (4.4’x4.4’)
Sixteen pictures of the four emotion figures are added to the set for the very young children for whom the situational pictures might be too difficult at first.
- Four posters with the emotion figures (16’x12’)
Each poster depicts one emotion figure, i.e. a child who is happy, frightened, angry and sad. The child can be seen as either a boy or a girl. Each figure also has a ‘white’ and a ‘coloured’ version.
- Seventeen finger dolls
A fifth box contains a set of seventeen dolls and figures: the four emotion figures; eight adults: a happy, frightened, sad and angry man and ditto women; a dog with sharp teeth; a ghost; a bunny; a baby; a present. The finger dolls can also be used as ‘Chinese’ dolls by attaching a small wooden stick (circa 10’) on one side of the figure with adhesive tape.
- A wheel (8’x8’)
The ‘wheel of emotions’ depicting the four emotion figures, can be used in various games focusing on emotions.
The manual also contains 23 copying sheets, which have two purposes. They can be used in a number of drawing, colouring, cutting and gluing activities and they can be used as a tool for kinetic games and round games.
he box contains a CD with original compositi-ons. Five musical instruments – a guitar, a piano, a trumpet, an accordion and a recorder –play each four compositions expressing the four basic emotions. Stef Minnebo composed this music especially for the Box full of feelings.
“We’ve used the Box for seven weeks and already we’ve seen a big significant difference. It’s certain, we can sense a general feeling of protectiveness, awareness, friendship and empathy which wasn’t there before.” (Dr. Nanette Smith from the Worcester University College in the BBC series ‘Teaching today’)