11 Emotional Support Toys to Help Your Child Express Their Feelings

By Published On: November 3rd, 2023

These toys can help your child learn about feelings while supporting their emotional development.

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According to the CDC, approximately 5.8 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 were diagnosed with anxiety between 2016 and 2019. Although they may be too young to comprehend what’s happening around them entirely—violence, war, and global disease, to name a few—children know when something is upsetting, especially if they’re attended to and absorb the anxiety of the grown-ups around them. As adults, we know how difficult it can be to express our feelings. It can be much more tiring for a kid who may not even have the vocabulary or awareness to understand the emotions welling up inside. 

Many toy manufacturers have embraced this sensitive subject and created playthings to help kiddos bring those feelings to the forefront. With emotional support toys, children will learn how to match the emotion with its name and understand how beneficial the freedom of expression can be. With your support, your kids can blossom into courageous little half-pints who’ll know how to speak out and ask for emotional support when needed–a skill that can support them into and through adulthood. 

Worry Stones

Worry Stone Pals from hand2mind provides many opportunities to improve your child’s social-emotional growth. Each wristband has four removable worry stones that show a cute little character focused on a positive learning skill. The accompanying Character Cards give details that can help children understand the emotion. Using this toy will teach your child how to express their traits and engage in meaningful conversations about their feelings. Available in four languages (English, Spanish, French, and German). Ages 3+

Science Robot

This STEM toy will help kids understand the connection between their bodies and emotions by building electric circuits with play dough. Once it’s built, the MEandMINE Aha! Emotion Science Robot will come to life with LED lights and buzzers showing kids how their brain processes emotions. This award-winning toy aids your child in developing excellent social-emotional skills. Ages 5+

Nesting Fruit

Kids can explore their “big feelings” with the Big Feelings Nesting Fruit Friends from Learning Resources. The set includes five double-sided fruit faces (pineapple, pear, lemon, strawberry, and grapes) showing ten emotions. An activity guide is included with this toy to help kids learn and understand what emotion each face is exhibiting. The toy is made for little hands to grasp easily and can also improve fine motor skills. Ages 18 months +

Weighted Plush Buddy

The friendly Bumpas Weighted Plush buddies are weighted plushies that are the perfect size for giving realistic hugs to your child. They weigh about three pounds, mimicking the deep pressure stimulation of being held, and your kid can easily tote it around wherever they go. They have faces on each side, one with eyes open and the other with eyes closed with a comforting smile. As an adorable bonus, the plushie’s hands form a heart when they come together. Available in four fun characters, these cuddly creatures are sure to help your child feel secure while reducing stress and anxiety. Ages 3+

Activity Toolbox

Best You Toolbox by MindWare includes empowering tools and activities that allow your child to tap into their creativity and bolster their confidence. The complete toolkit includes an activity book, markers, worry notes, vinyl stickers, a positivity puzzle, a feelings wheel, yoga cards, calming sensory tools, and more to encourage your child to develop positivity, mindfulness, self-expression, self-awareness, and problem-solving skills. Ages 6+

Hand Puppets

The vibrantly-colored hand2mind Feelings Family Hand Puppets with facial expressions (happy, angry, surprised, sad, and scared) encourage your tot to talk about their emotions in a fun yet meaningful way. Parents can help demonstrate the emotions, using silly voices to act out expressive skits in harmony with the particular expression. Children can do the same, drawing on their creativity while being able to identify, manage, and connect to their feelings. Each puppet also makes crinkle sounds for sensory play. Ages 18 months +

Dough Mats

With the Feelings & Emotions Dough Mats by Lakeshore, your kid can create various facial expressions with dough on one of 24 reusable mats. The scenes on each mat will dictate how a child might feel in that situation, offering some real-world experiences that your little one can easily match with an emotion. Each mat measures 8 inches by 10 inches, comes in four different skin tones, and encourages social-emotional understanding and fine motor skill development. Dough is sold separately. Ages 24 months + 

Wooden Shape Clock

Teach your child to dial into their feelings by pointing to each emotion on this Li’l Baby Sprouts Shapes of Emotions wooden “clock.” Each wooden block has two sides–one with a face and the other with the written corresponding feeling (happy, embarrassed, mad, frustrated, sad, tired, excited, scared, shy, or surprised). Ages 12 months + 

Activity Set

The All About Me Feelings Activity Set from Learning Resources helps strengthen social-emotional learning skills through fun, hands-on play. This game comes with an activity guide to teach your kids how to recognize different feelings. As they develop their understanding of emotions, children will also improve their communication skills and build confidence through expression. Six fun faces and six unique shapes are included. Ages 3+

Feelings Mirror

Children learn to recognize and identify their emotions and understand feelings by imitation. The See My Feelings Mirror by Kaplan is an easy-grip, durable, shatterproof mirror containing six images of emotions. Kids can flip the photos up from within the mirror, identify the feeling, and imitate what they see in their reflection. Ages 3+

Picture Book

In When Things Aren’t Right, Go Left, by New York Times Best Selling author Marc Colagiovanni focuses on the relationship between children and emotions. In a superbly age-appropriate way, we follow a little boy as he suffers from different emotional battles, learns to conquer them, and elevates to higher levels of confidence. This book will not only help your kids understand how to navigate troublesome times, but it is also a great reminder for adults! Ages 4 to 10 years