Friday, September 28, 2012

The Language of Moods: Mood Balls

Moods are a language in and of themselves, and children are very much in touch with how their moods color their world.   As some of the boys have been making their various "mood balls," they’ve also been playing with them, trying on voices and thinking of stories they’d like to tell with them.  What is particularly telling about the children’s work in creating the balls is not only the moods that they assigned them, but also their thoughts on the materials they used to represent them.  An initial request for pom poms later morphed into thoughts about other materials – as they themselves stated, “not all moods are fuzzy.”  The sad balls are made of wood.

Picture of the Mood Balls Play Date: "They all join their power together"
N:  “[Sad] is a hard and serious feeling.”
L:  “My sad ball spins and it’s made of wood.” 

Wire balls have bouncy feelings, so this group decided to make some moods out of wire. 

N:  “Sometimes these balls are confused or happy.” 
L:  “Angry is a bouncy feeling.  Angry always bounces back to you.”

L:  “My happy ball is made of wire, because happy is always bouncy.  Every day is good for him.”
R:  “I’m making a Stay at Home ball out of pipe cleaners.  This ball is really creative at home.”  

After making a Stay at Home ball, R. decided to make a Flattened Ball out of several bottle caps.
R:  “It’s a flattened mood.  It feels flattened.”
L:  “Like it’s sad.”
N:  “Like it’s miserable.”
R: “Sometimes flat ball is just bored.”
This got N. thinking about his Bored Ball – which turned out to be a one-eyed pom pom ball (“It’s just looking around, being bored, with only one eye.”)

The introduction of plasticene modeling clay produced yet other balls and other moods.

L:  “My Hungry Ball is red because he’s super hungry.”
N:  “I’m making Isolated Ball.  He’s made of pom poms but he has wire antennae.” (L. then takes a cue from N. and decides to make his own Isolated Ball out of green wire – “he doesn’t like to go with the group.”
L:  “I made an Eye Ball (a red clay ball covered with eyes).  He can see everything.”
L:  “My blue clay ball is Slow Ball.  He’s blue because he always loses the race.” 

Baby King Ball
R. was very interested in making his Baby King ball out of white clay and feathers.  He then turned his attention into making a home for all the balls – he adapted a golden clam shell box and gave it “eyes” using black tape.  This is where the balls live.  They also found an unusual candlestick holder in the garden (or at least, that's what we're assuming it is), which they then called the "volcano," another place the mood balls like to hang out.  The children delighted in using the balls to “act out little plays” and giving all the balls “play dates together.”


  1. Since I missed the 1st grade part of Back-to-School night, I'm very glad to see this post! It helps to make the stories about "Angry Ball Jr." make much more sense.

    Mood balls are a great idea. We may just have to borrow it for our home studio.

  2. I love seeing the kids' thoughts about each feeling.