emotions in motion

Reach Out & Read Illinois and the Chicago Public Library have always worked closely together. During the pandemic, they met frequently to understand how best to support young children and families as they experienced lockdowns, closings of schools and public spaces, and endured mass amounts of stress and trauma.

The Chicago Public Library leaders and Reach Out & Read Illinois pediatricians brainstormed possible ways to help families talk with their pediatrician and each other about what they were going through. Through these conversations, we developed “Emotions in Motion” cards to help children play, talk, and learn about their feelings. This is a fun card game that pediatricians can use in well-child visits in addition to the Reach Out & Read program to help families name and talk about emotions their children are facing.

examples of ways to use these cards

Put cards face down in a pile. Choose a card, make the face on the card, and see if the other player can guess your card.

Spread out all the cards face down and turn over two cards at a time. When you find a match, keep that pair of cards.

Choose a simple song, such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and sing it with different emotions.

Choose a card and describe a time you felt that emotion.

As you play with toys or read books, talk about what the characters are doing and how they feel. Make drawings using different colors for different emotions.

Use the cards to help answer questions, such as: How do you feel when someone takes your toy? Talk about what you can do with those feelings.

books that explore emotions

“This past year, we have seen an overwhelming rise in children with mental health concerns. Even our youngest patients are having difficulties. The Reach Out and Read books have been a great way to give parents positive activities to do with their children and promote the importance of relational health. Now I have another tool! I am excited to share the Emotion in Motion cards with the families in my clinic. Sometimes just giving names to feelings can be very powerful in helping children cope with strong emotions. I love that we are doing this as a game! Parents don’t need to be told more things that they “should” do. They need information and resources on things they CAN do. And when we do this in a joyful way, with a book or with a game, everyone wins!”
Mariana Glusman, MD
ROR-IL Medical Director