Eating Emotions: cupcake counseling activities

I absolutely love sweets!  I had been working non-stop all day and decided to take a break.  During this break I came to the conclusion that a sweet treat would motivate me to continue my work.  What is more motivating than cupcakes?!   I couldn’t ignore the adrenaline- pumping tick of the timer as I stared at the oven window waiting anxiously for my cupcakes to finish baking.  With each tick, I found myself feeling more and more like a child waiting for a reward.  I found what made me tick.  The key to creating engaging activities for children is being able to tap into what makes them tick.   What child doesn’t love cupcakes?!

Nibble through the Middle: hidden feelings

I stumbled upon this cool Betty Crocker cupcake mix, Fun da-middle.  As you know, I love using color to represent feelings. White icing is provided in the mix, but I needed some color. I decided to use a Cake Mate icing kit which includes the following colors:  blue, green, red, and yellow.  I filled the cupcake pan halfway with batter then squeezed the white icing on top of the bottom layer of batter.  I then added a different color of icing to each blob of white icing.  Be careful not to let any of the icing touch the sides.  I left a few of the cupcakes with just plain white icing. You could also mix a few of the colors (red with green or red with yellow).  Then use the remaining batter to completely cover the colored icing.

It is a good idea to ice the top of your cupcakes once they are finished baking.  As you can see from the photo, some of the interior icing is visible.  You do not want your students to be able to see what is inside of the cupcakes.

Take a bite out of your cupcake to find out the feeling.  Do not show or tell anyone what color you have inside of your cupcake.  Demonstrate to the kids how this will look and work using your own cupcake.



Cupcake Charades

Now let the fun begin!  Each child will select a cupcake at random.  However, if you would like to work on certain feelings with a particular child then assign their cupcake.

These cupcakes aren’t ordinary cupcakes.  They have something hidden inside.  What do you think is inside your cupcake?  What is inside of you?  We all have feelings inside.  Sometimes our feelings are hidden like the feeling inside of your cupcake.  Your cupcake will either have red, blue, yellow, green, or white inside.  If your cupcake is red then it is feeling angry.  If your cupcake is blue then it is feeling sad.  If your cupcake is yellow then it is feeling happy.  If your cupcake is green then it is feeling calm, cool, and relaxed.  If your cupcake is white then you select your own feeling word.  Try to think of something other than mad, happy, sad, or calm.  Suggestions: bored, embarrassed, excited, silly, etc.

Option 1:  Each student will act out their cupcake feeling.  Do not say the word or color while acting out the feeling.  Once the feeling is guessed correctly then the student will tell about a time they felt this emotion or what it feels like to experience this emotion.

Option 2:  Eat like your feeling word.  Example:  If your cupcake is red then eat like you’re mad (chomp really hard, eat aggressively, huff and puff as you’re eating)

Cupcake Chat

Each student will share an example of their feeling word without saying the actual word.  The other kids in the group will guess the feeling.

Confused Cupcake

If you decide to mix the colors then I suggest using two contrasting emotions.  I like to use red and green.  I challenge the child to act out both mad and calm at the same time.  It is impossible because these are two conflicting emotions.  This is why we teach relaxation strategies to angry children.  When we are relaxed and calm we do not show anger.

Mismatched Mood

You can also cover the cupcakes with different colored icing.  If you have a cupcake with a blue icing interior then ice the top with red.  This is a great visual to explain how sometimes we show anger on the outside when we are feeling other emotions on the inside.  If someone looks like they are mad (hitting others, screaming, yelling, etc.) they might actually be feeling sad.  Maybe their dog died and it hurts too much to feel the sad emotion.  It is much easier to feel angry and show anger.

Color Your Own Cupcake

Color the cupcake using colors that match your mood.

Just for fun

The following is a cupcake website where children can play a cupcake game.  Once the game is complete they are given a cupcake recipe.

Cupcake Fun Facts

Most people think the term “cupcake” comes from idea that a cupcake looks like a cake cooked in a cup. However, the truth is that cupcakes are so named because this was a snack that could be stored inside a protective athletic cup during baseball games

The first cupcakes did not have frosting as we know it, but instead were gilded with lard as a kind of cake-moistening gravy. Winston Churchill was the first person to suggest a kind of sweet frosting on the top of the cakes.

One cupcake is consumed for every adult in the US every day.

The number of cupcakes eaten in 2009 has more mass than the entire Earth!

David Wahl May 7, 2010