Worry Eater Wanda

Promoted Skills

Product Description

The Worry Eaters are soft, plush toys with zipper mouths designed to devour a child’s worries that the child has written down and / or illustrated on a sheet of paper and inserted into the toy. The Worry Eater is intended to serve as conversation starter in order to process the “worry” with a parent, facilitator, or members of a play / therapy group. The Worry Eaters are available in 18 varieties, varying in physical appearance characteristics and sizes, bound to appeal to a diverse set of tastes.

Communicative 5

Skills

  • The Worry Eater fosters child’s comfort and familiarity with finding, labeling and assigning vocabulary to emotions which are inserted into the Worry Eater zippered mouth.
  • The Worry Eater encourages a child to develop self-expression skills through committing feelings to paper.
  • The Worry Eater encourages a child to share feelings with a recipient, rather than keeping them to self.
  • The Worry Eater develops and expands social emotional vocabulary, typically with the assistance of a facilitator or family member who suggests words to match a child’s description of a emotion or situation.
  • The Worry Eater fosters conversation between child and facilitator or other playmates by initially guiding emotional-related content to the Worry Eater.

Play Ideas

  • To encourage receptive language skill development, use Worry Eater as a companion activity while reading a book that focuses on anxiety or worry. As the facilitator reads to the child, the child will place a pre-designated object in the Worry Eater mouth to indicate that he / she recognizes the story character’s worry.
  • To encourage social-emotional vocabulary development, pair Worry Eaters with other plush toys to create a puppet show of situations that may cause or have caused stress or worry.
  • To encourage expressive language skills, instruct child to keep a Worry Eater journal to write down and track the experiences of sharing feelings with the Worry Eater.

Adaptation Ideas

  • If child is unable to grip a writing utensil to write or draw, assist child in finding images on the internet, computer program, magazines or books to cut out, copy or print and place in the Worry Eater mouth.
  • For children with complex communication issues, utilize a visual schedule to discuss the sequential process needed to use the Worry Eaters.
  • For children who are nonverbal, use YouTube videos, books/stories, etc. as a reference as a way to “discuss” various worries and stress.
  • To facilitate conversation with the Worry Eater, facilitator will prompt child with questions. What is Wanda’s favorite food to eat? What does Wanda like to do in her free time? Does Wanda have any siblings?

Social/Emotional 4

Skills

  • The Worry Eater assists child in growing comfortable with sharing feelings in a safe manner through written messages or drawings that are inserted into Wanda’s zipper mouth.
  • The Worry Eater assists in the development of coping skills in a safe and appropriate manner in which to express and process feelings.
  • The Worry Eater promotes emotional regulation skill development by providing a constructive method to vent frustrations, anger, or other feelings which might otherwise provoke a reflexive or impulsive reaction with unintended consequences.

Play Ideas

  • To encourage the development of creativity and camaraderie, instruct play group to develop their own Worry Eater characters who will work together as superheroes to help kids everywhere combat their worries.
  • To develop emotional regulation skills, before engaging in board or group play with peers, provide player with a Worry Eater and plastic tokens or coins that represent commonly experienced negatively feelings during play. Instruct player to “feed” Worry Eater a token or coin rather than acting out towards another player(s) each time he / she feels upset at the player(s).
  • To encourage the development of creativity and camaraderie, instruct play group to develop their own Worry Eater characters who will work together as superheroes to help kids everywhere combat their worries.
  • To develop conflict resolution skills, use in a group setting. Participants may each share an issue they may be dealing with, use Wanda as a way to collect other group member’s suggestions on resolutions.

Adaptation Ideas

  • To build confidence in interacting with the Worry Eater, facilitator will model how to use it before child attempts to do so.
  • Create a designated spot for Wanda in the house, whenever the child may feel overwhelmed or worried. They may use this safe space to write down emotions they may be feeling or just hold Wanda for comfort.

Cognitive 5

Skills

  • The Worry Eater develops the concept of a trusted friend or confidant via the child sharing feelings with the toy who symbolically “eats” the written or illustrated emotions thereby not being able to share them with anyone else.
  • The Worry Eater promotes open-ended play and creativity; children can use the Worry Eater as a plush toy or create their own games with it.
  • The Worry Eater develops comprehension of representative relationships by the plush toy serving as the “trash bin or “safe” for child’s private thoughts and feelings, which ultimately can be shared with a facilitator / parent/ friend - the real-life Worry Eater.

Play Ideas

  • To work on following directions and positional words, facilitator will ask the child to place Wanda in, under, on top of the brown chair or place Wanda under the kitchen table.
  • To develop sense of touch and memory, facilitator will place small items into Wanda, like magnetic letters or small toys and have the child attempt to identify them by touch.
  • To develop basic addition and subtraction skills, facilitator will write out numbers 1-10 on separate pieces of paper and place them into Wanda. Child will then pull out two numbers at random and decide whether they will add or subtract them.  They may also write down the equations to make it easier to visualize and complete task.

Adaptation Ideas

To facilitate children’s attention to complex cognitive tasks typically associated with activities such as homework, use the Worry Eater as a comforting companion to help ease anxieties.

Developmental Processes Promoted

Additional Details

Approximate Price:
$15-25
Age Range:
5+

AblePlay Rating

Worry Eater Wanda

Developmental Skill Rating (1-5)
Physical 4
Sensory 3
Communicative 5
Cognitive 5
Social/Emotional 4

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