When friendships and feelings are painful – using toys to explore

So who knew! Moshi monsters are a great tool to explore social relationships, friendships and emotions. As I looked through my resource cupboard one day last week to find the right materials for some SLT sessions I came across some Moshi monsters that were destined for the charity shop

To my surprise when I opened up the tub I saw that these little characters are full of emotions and potential back stories. I immediately thought that these could offer great ways to explore complex feelings and social relationships. There are no rights and wrongs of what each character can be and each one of us may be many characters/feelings all at once.

Moshis turn out to be a great way to act out social situations, to explore friendships, to unpack feelings and problem-solve tricky situations. Using toys, or figures, or even a set of glue sticks (!) recently can help kids to get past the word barrier when trying to explain what has happened in tricky social situation and think of ways to problem solve them.

The sheer variety of expressions and characters are helpful to explore the range of feelings we go through, and explore some of the feelings we are camouflaging or masking from others.

Maybe Ms Marshmallow blob looks cheery on the outside to fit in with the others but is really hiding her sadness?

If you look closely at Mr Gold Bar you will see that he wears a smile but that he is covered in little cracks which are tapped into him by the hurts of other people’s rejections.

Or the little Snail who is carrying such a great burden of sadness and isolation.

All common experiences for the young people I support very sadly. And so important for them to be able to share their feelings and experiences. It is so important for us to look beyond the surface and truly listen. It can be lonely feeling like a Moshi that no one understands or even notices. So often our kids look fine at school and seem to be managing but there are far more complex things underneath the surface.

There are many profound conversations and explorations to be had with my Moshi friends.

Which one (s) are you today?

What might this one be thinking?

What happened at break time – can you show me?

What would we say to this little character who is feeling so sad?

Share your moshi stories with me if you have them. Jude

Jude is a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at Grow Communication @growsalt in central scotland.