How Are You Feeling?
Emotional Intelligence Activities with Smurks
Autism currently affects 1 in 110 kids in the U.S. Although
not every child with autism will exhibit the same behaviors
or face the same challenges, there appears to be some level
of difficulty with understanding and expressing emotions
among all children with the diagnosis. The following
activities are meant to help parents, caregivers, and those
who work closely with children with autism to introduce the
concepts of reading and understanding emotions or to
reinforce skills already learned.
Read My Face
Use this activity to help children identify emotional
expressions. To start, simply make a facial expression. It
can be happy, sad, angry, bored, or whatever you’d like.
Then have the child find a similar Smurks expression and
name it aloud (“curious”, “bored”, “happy”, etc). After a
few rounds, take the activity to the next step and ask the
child to “exaggerate” the emotion by choosing a more
amped-up version of the Smurks expression. Talk about how
this new expression is the same basic emotion, but one that
is felt more strongly. Or try pinching or stretching the
Smurks face, then talk about how that changes the emotion.
This activity will help you keep track of a child’s
emotional ups and downs during the day, so that you might be
able to problem solve any challenging behavior that occurs
on a consistent basis. To do it, tell the child to choose
Smurks expressions that reflect his or her feelings at
certain times during a typical day. For instance, you might
have the child “check-in emotionally” at lunch, after gym
class, on the bus, or at any other time. Later, use the
app’s “history” function to review the Smurks expressions
and the times they were chosen. When are the Smurks
positive? When are they negative? If you see a pattern begin
to emerge, share this information with any caregivers,
teachers, or school aides who work with the child on a
regular basis to see if changes in activities or
environments need to be made.
Say It with Feeling
Use this activity to encourage children to connect feelings
to real-life scenarios. Read one of the following statements
aloud. (Don’t read it with emotion.) Then have the child
find a Smurks expression that matches the implied emotion of
the statement. Challenge the child to repeat the statement
with the appropriate facial expression, tone of voice, and
gestures that convey the appropriate feeling. The child can
use the Smurks expression as a jumping off point, if he or
she needs help. Repeat the game with the rest of the
My dog is lost.
I got a new bike.
I can’t keep my eyes open.
I wonder how tall that man is.
I can’t believe you were late to my party.
Do you need me to help you with something?
I’m so nervous about taking the test.