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This Is When My Heart Feels…

By: Becky Will

Do you know what I love the most as an educator and mom?

A good book & art activity pairing!

In My Heart by Jo Witek has been a staple in my classroom and in my home for years. My son struggled for a long time with identifying his emotions (let’s be fair, it’s still a work in progress!) and I also had kindergarteners and first graders in my class who had the same struggles. I searched high and low for a good social-emotional book. I came upon this lovely book in a local bookstore.

Why do I love it? That’s a loaded question. This book does a great job linking emotions to colors & descriptive words. I feel like it not only does a good job identifying common emotions (happy, sad, mad, etc), but the bodily sensations that you feel ( feeling hot, feeling lazy, feeling delicate, feeling heavy). The vocabulary is rich and the words are fluid, flowing easily for the reader.

Not only that, but the colorful illustrations by Christine Roussey are adorable & simple. Did I mention there is a giant cut out heart that shrinks on every page as you go through? I just LOVE that touch.

In February, I’m over the Massachusetts snow, so we take down our paper snowflakes at my home and in my classroom and we make way for hearts! My son is 7 and we’ve done this activity every year since he was in preschool. He’s old enough now to manage the painting, drawing and cutting on his own. This year, he experimented with crayons and salt with the watercolor paints, which is a fun extension if you have an older kiddo.

Alternatively, I have a 1 year old too. She wanted to participate too, so I taped the paper to her high chair table and she used dot markers and a small amount of water color paints. After it dried, I cut out a heart shape. If you have a toddler/preschooler, you can have them practice drawing the hearts, or cutting out the heart shapes you have drawn. Both are valuable skills to learn and practice!

After the hearts are all dried and cut out, we put them on our windows and doors to add a little pop of color!

Looking for more great social-emotional or Valentine’s day activities for your kiddo? Check in with your local Teaching Tote specialist over at and see what totes they have that fit your family's interests!


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