Moffle Hand Puppets

We have Moffled some hand puppets! We’ve labelled some emotions, given them colours & expressions & described a body sensation for each one.

Puppets can be great to use for exploring thoughts & feelings & creating stories together.  Making your own puppets means you can really personalise them –choose your own colours & shapes for emotions & write on them as many sensations or feelings as you like!

There’s a natural playfulness to picking up a puppet & using your hand & voice to magically bring it to life. Children often enjoy using puppets to talk about things, as they can help to externalise situations & create a safe distance between the child & any problem. The little characters can take ownership of the conversation & be used for playing out different scenarios & practising new behaviours or ways of being.  A lovely way to encourage problem solving & empathy, & an opportunity to create new meanings & understanding together.

What do Moffles Need?

Here’s a colourful Moffle version of a visual I use in conversations with children about what they might need to help them to grow up healthy & happy.

In therapy, many children have told me that they were ‘not looked after properly’ by their birth parents. Often, they have heard this phrase but struggle to understand what it really means, especially if they have few conscious memories of their past. Or if they have experienced a lot of neglect & a chaotic home environment, they may have very little idea of the ‘good enough’ care that they need & deserve.  I’ve found that creating pictures together of what all children need, can make it easier to begin to explore what they may have missed out on early in life.

Sometimes, cutting out images from magazines & making collages, drawing, or building scenes in a sand tray are helpful. For some children who struggle to initiate or come up with ideas, or are very worried about getting things wrong, a pre-prepared visual like this one can help warm the context. Talking about potentially tricky things from a once removed position, in this case through the Moffle characters, can help to make it feel less challenging for them.

Another use is with children who are mistrustful & struggling to see that they are cared for now – to focus attention & as a prompt for highlighting signs of safety & nurture in their current homes. Parents or cares can share specific stories of having met their child’s needs in the different areas identified, or the child can be invited to come up with some of their own, if they are able. 

Moffle Sandtray

We’ve made a Tippy Moffle’s Mirror sandtray! Can you spot the different characters & scenes that we’ve created from the story?

For children who find it difficult to talk about their thoughts & feelings, or are unwilling to do so, making use of a sandtray can feel like a safer & easier way to communicate. Play is the child’s natural medium of communication & there is no need to verbalise – the little sandtray miniatures become their words.

Just as reading picture books together can create a level of distance from difficult subjects, that make it easier for the child to think about them, so the symbolic nature of the sand & objects can provide a gentle route into exploring experiences that might otherwise feel overwhelming. Here, using Moffles instead of human figures can add to that sense of distance & safety.

Moffle Story Mountain

Here is a Moffle Story Mountain to inspire you to create some stories together!

Start at the beginning – who is your main character & where are they?

Then comes the build-up – what is happening & why? What does the main character want? What are the problems or obstacles in the way?

Followed by the climax – what happens to make things get worse? How can your character be strong and steady like a mountain? How do they feel?

Then the resolution – What choices does your character make? How do they overcome the problem they faced?

Lastly, the ending – how does it end? What does your character learn?

You can add to the fun & creativity using story spoons. The Moffle story spoons are the characters from Tippy Moffle’s Mirror, but you can create any characters you want to. The only limits are you & your child’s imagination & concentration span. You can improvise & role play – ask questions about what the characters might be feeling or thinking & create dialogues between them.

We all have a story to tell & as Phillip Pullman says, ‘After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world’.

Mosaic Moffles

We found some patterned discs that we think are beautiful for creating mosaic Moffles & exploring emotions or feelings together. Here’s a Moffle stencil – if you don’t have mosaic tiles, fill it with anything shiny & bright – buttons, flowers, stones – or use colouring pens or paint. The invitation is to choose a colour for each emotion & think about where the Moffle might feel it in its body.

Children who have lived with neglect & trauma in their early lives have often missed out on good enough support to make sense of their thoughts & feelings. To learn the words for how they are feeling & to have the opportunity to talk about them. Emotional articulacy is not innate, it is a skill that needs to be practiced, within caring relationships.

Moffle Sun Catchers

We love the spring sunshine & the lighter days so much, we decided to celebrate & make some colourful Moffle Sun Catchers! 

You can draw your own Moffle template for your suncatcher, or copy the ones shown here.

We printed the template onto black card & then cut round the Moffle with scissors. Then we cut out & stuck different pieces of coloured acetate to the back of our Moffle with craft glue. If you don’t have acetate, coloured tissue paper works just as well. When the glue is dry, you can make a small hole in the top of your sun catcher, to thread with string.  Hang your lovely Moffle in your favourite window spot to brighten your day!

Send us some pictures – we would love to see your beautiful Moffles.

Moffles Noughts and Crosses

Why not play Moffle’s emotions noughts & crosses?

You can find a range of Moffle emotions & feelings cards to use on the website, free to download, or get the pens out & create some Moffles of your own!

  1. Markers: Use the traditional O’s & X’s, or any other small markers of your choice (for example, Lego bricks, coloured paper counters, shells or pebbles)
  2. Each time you have a go & place your marker on a square, choose to talk about the feeling in the square; name a time you had that feeling, or act it out.
  3. You can add your own rules to make the game feel as safe & comfortable as your child needs.

For example, you might make some ‘pass’ cards, & let your child know that if they just want to place their marker & not explore the feeling, that’s fine. Or if they want to see or hear you talk about it first, that’s fine too. Your child might need lots of pass cards to start with & then see if they need less over time, or on different days.

Choose different feelings cards for different rounds – if there are feelings you know your child really finds difficult, you might want to limit those or not use them early on in the game.Remember the most important part of the game is for your child to experience enjoying playing it with you. Only keep it up as long as your child is engaged in it with you & having fun. For some little ones who struggle with feelings, this might not be for very long! Let them know that this is ok & you can play again if they want to another time. Your relationship & connection with them is always more important than the game.

Moffle Glitter Jars

Glitter jars (or bottles) are easy to make & can be a cute, visual aid to help children practice calming their minds & their bodies. They also can be a useful aid for taking ‘brain breaks’ for children that have trouble concentrating for long period of time & need short, frequent rests.

The idea is that they can shake the jar up & watch the glitter whirl around. Shaking the jar can provide a nice, physical release for any jumbly feelings or frustration. Then they can put the jar down & watch the glitter slowly settle to the bottom. As they watch the glitter sink, they can be encouraged to see how many deep breaths they can take before the contents of the jar become still again.

You can invite them to notice whether they feel any different after the glitter has settled & compare the glitter to swirling thoughts & feelings. Encourage them to notice whether their own thoughts & feelings are clearer once they have watched the glitter jar quietly, as they breathe. Let them know that all their thoughts & feelings are ok & we aren’t trying to get rid of them, just to notice them & manage them more easily. 

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Moffle Story Spoons

We’ve made some story spoons that can be used with Tippy Moffle’s Mirror!

Children gain so much of their vocabulary & deepen their imagination & thinking through stories. Using story spoons together can be a fun, shared activity. They can be an engaging way to help involve your child in story reading & story telling. If you want to get creative & messy, you might even feel brave enough to involve your child in making the spoons!

Story spoons can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make them, depending on the time & materials you have available. A pack of plain wooden spoons is the basic starting point. We’ve used some paint, glue, coloured felt, ribbon & pens to create our Moffles.

Once you have your Moffle spoon characters, you can use them in all sorts of ways. The only limits are you & your child’s imagination & concentration span. You may want to model playing with the spoons for your child, so that they get some ideas for how to use them.

You can hold the spoons & act out Tippy Moffle’s story as you read together. Try using different voices for the different characters! Ask questions about what the characters might be feeling or thinking.

Or you can improvise & role play – ask questions & create dialogues between the characters. Remember it’s ok for the story to go in any direction your child wants to take it – just make things up & go with the flow! As long as your child is enjoying the activity & is engaged in the process with you, it’s all good. & you can keep your story spoons in a jar close to your books, to use any time.