That’s what the team at Kimochis set out to do. Creator Nina Rappaport-Rowan, 1st on the right, used her background in animation (she won an Oscar for her animated short film Bunny in 1998) to invent characters that kids can identify with. Each Kimochi has a different personality. Kimochi Cloud can be moody, while Bug is a caterpillar afraid of change. Cat is persuasive and sometimes bossy, and Huggtopus is all smiles. Each character comes with three small feelings pillows and a “How To Feel” guide for parents to share with their kids. Additional sets of feelings pillows are available, each including a make-your-own-feeling pillow, so no emotion is left uncovered. A child can choose a pillow to tuck into a character’s front pouch, and you can spark a conversation that builds understanding and empathy.
It’s play, it’s fun, and it’s a simple way to strengthen bonds and build emotional and social intelligence. We love how Kimochi’s communication expert Ellen Dodge says they’re increasing the “kindness footprint.” You can be mad without being mean; you can talk about feelings and change them into something better. Brilliant. Kimochi’s will probably resonate most with kids age 3-10, but greater empathy is suitable for all ages.