Help Kids Through Their Emotions with a DIY Feelings Shelf

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #InsideOutEmotions #CollectiveBias


This little boy of mine, he will be 3 next week.  He is the smartest, funniest, most entertaining boy I could ever ask for.  He is also the most challenging.  He is full of emotion and runs at 100% all day long.  He is one of the few people I know who actually get hangry!  At least I can see that coming and it is easy to fix.  The rest of his emotions, however, are a bit tougher to help him work through them.  He will start hitting, biting, screaming, you name it and it seemingly happens out of the blue.


Every night at bedtime, I sit by his bed and instead of telling him to go to sleep or quit talking, we include talking as part of our bedtime routine.  We play a game that we call happy – sad – mad.  I ask each of the kids if there was anything that happened to make them happy today.  Then I give them the chance to answer and expand and sometimes, we talk about what made them happy.  Then I ask if anything happened to make them sad.  Then mad.  A very brilliant lady taught me this game many years ago because she had these conversations with her kids.  I love that it gives the kids a name for their feelings and emotions as well as an outlet to talk about them.  Not only that, but I think it is a great way to relive parts of the day and catch glimpses into what they remember from the days.  I love when they ask me the questions too.

Every night I ask, “Did anything happen today to make you happy?”

My favorite part though, is some nights, Charlie will be sitting there and ask me, “Mom – you know what made me happy, sad, mad?  Do you want to talk about that?”  While I have loved making this a part of our bedtime routine, I wanted something else to help him express how he is feeling through the day.  The new Disney Inside Out movie game me a perfect platform to help him {and Maggie}.  Since the kids love stuffed toys, I headed out to Walmart to pick up all of the character plush toys from Inside Out – anger, disgust, fear, sadness, and joy.  You guys, these things are SO STINKING ADORABLE!!!

Inside Out In Store Photo

Who are the characters in Inside out?I love hearing them talk with the toys, each other, and even their friends about how something made them feel.  Being able to express that helps them to have more fun with their friends and it boosts their self esteem because they are able to problem solve when those emotions come on strong.  Since the Inside Out plush toys have become such a big part of their days, I wanted to make them a special place to store them {you know, for those rare occasions they aren’t dragging them around with them}.  Below you will find instructions on how to do that.  But – do you know what else we found?  Inside Out fruit snacks!!!  If you can’t tell, I am excited.  I love love love fruit snacks and the kids think it is awesome because they wanted the Inside Out ones and I said YES!

How to store stuffed animals

Gather your materials.Inside Out MaterialsInside Out Materials 2

~Wooden board for top of hanging shelf.

~Wooden piece for bottom of shelf.

~Ribbon to hang it

~Wooden Letters


~Hot glue gun, wood glue, whichever you prefer

~Stapler or screw gun


~Fabric {optional}


To start with, we painted the letters and clothespin.Inside Out Letters


Glue them onto the larger board.


Then, we attached the thinner piece of ribbon to the wider piece.  I used two sided tape, but you could use clear glue, hot glue, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Ribbons taped


Next, we used the screw gun to attach the ribbon to the front of the board.  We rolled the end of the ribbons 2 times, then screwed under the top so the screw isn’t visible because the ribbon covers it.  Inside Out screwsInside Out Screw Done


This next step was the trickiest part for me.  I didn’t have anything glued in place yet, because I still needed to attach the ribbon to the back of the wood panel.  I laid out the board with the ribbon attached to the front.  Laid the fabric down where I wanted it, had John helping me so I could  hold the shelf in place at the bottom and he could pull the fabric down and around to secure it at the back.  This step works best if you have an extra set of hands to hold it in place, otherwise, you could get it uneven.  We used clamps to hold it in place.Inside Out MeasuringThen, he screwed the ribbon in place on the back.  The next step is easiest when you hang it up first.  I used double sided tape at first, but then redid it with hot glue.  Whatever you choose, you want to attach the fabric to the back piece of ribbon to form a sort of backing for the shelf.  We also hot glued the wood to the ribbon and attached some of the extra fabric at the bottom to the underside of the shelf.  Inside Out Sides


After that, you are ready to hang it wherever you choose and put those adorable plush toys on.  We use the clothespin to hang whichever character represents how we are feeling.  Some of them hang easier than others.  Anger and fear are the easiest.  With Disgust and Sadness, we are able to clothespin their head, but with Joy, we usually clothespin her arm.

Talking to kids about feelings

The kids love this. We hung it up in our living room in a quiet corner.  It gets changed quite a few times a day even though they drag the toys around with them wherever we go.  The kids are super excited to go see the movie on Monday.


How to you handle those big big feelings that little kids {and adults} have?  Would a feelings board help your little ones deal with their feelings?


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