As a parent of an autistic child—and a parent of neurotypical children—all of whom need to learn about feelings, emotions, and positive ways to live, I was intrigued by Emotes.
Emotes are "cyber-beings with human-like emotions who live inside the internet in the land of Emotia. Each one posesses a unique power that corresponds with their distinctive personality." The company has online comics and videos that feature the Emotes, but they also have toys and books that are sold at Amazon.
When I first opened my package of Emotes, my reaction was similar to that of Jenny, the Bloggess. My kids were also initially a little wary of them.
We got Ick, who is disgusted most of the time. He grunts and frowns with disgust when he is not happy. His super power is "Cloud Forming Powers."
The stuffed toy was cool, but I took a quick, perverse liking to the little plastic figurines. Alex and I spent a few days hiding them in fun spots, like on top of the TV, and on picture frames. They entertained us a whole lot.
We have Bubba, who is happy; Boom, who is angry; and Jumpi who is scared of lots of things. My kids each adopted one as their own.
The thing I like about these are that they are a little bit more sophisticated that your typical emotion-teaching tools. They have that Pokemon-y thing that makes them a little cooler to the older set.
Sam, for instance, really enjoyed the books we got from the people at Emotes. Written by marriage and family therapist Matt Casper and Ted Dorsey, each book centers on one of the Emotes to explore the emotion inherent in its personality.
For example, Drain is tired all the time. So he needs to learn to stop drinking caffeine and get more rest. Jumpi is scared of things, but he goes to camp and overcomes some of his fears. At the end of each book are a couple of pages of tips for kids.
Again, these books were cool for the older set because they have a fun comic book vibe. They also don't underestimate the intelligence of the reader. They acknowledge that feelings are complicated, but still break them down into easy to understand stories.
So, yeah, they're a little weird and kinda silly. But they're also an interesting alternative to teaching kids about emotions and how to deal with them.
Want an Emote of your own? I'm giving away the plush Ick doll to one lucky commenter. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below by Saturday, November 29. If you want to help a sister out, leave in your comment a note about how you taught your kids about emotions. Only those in the continental U.S. are eligible to win.
Honesty Clause: Emotes sent me a pack of toys and books, including a plush Ick, three figurines, and three books. The plush toys retail for $19.99, the figurines for $4.99, and the books for $9.99.