by: Katie Dillon
My daughter who just turned three has strong verbal skills, but she’s still three. It would be nice if she could tell me how she’s feeling in lieu of crying in frustration. Kimochis ($25) are a new plush toy that has helped my daughter not only learn about her emotions, but also makes traveling more fun.
First, Kimochi (pronounced KEY-MO-CHEE) means “feeling” in Japanese. Each Kimochi plush doll comes with a pocket where kids can tuck one of 3 small pillows that have a feeling printed on one side and a corresponding facial expression printed on the other side.
I like that the Kimochi characters come with their own personalities and stories. My daughter received a Kimochi Bug and promptly named it “Butterfly”. Kimochi Bug is afraid of change and comes with 3 pillows for when she feels Happy, Brave and Left Out. Kimochi Bug has a secret dream of flying which you can creatively expand on if you’re about to take a plane trip with your child.
When Butterfly arrived, we had several sit down tutorials together. I explained how to use the toy and what each Kimochi meant. At first, she didn’t seem to get it and only wanted to cuddle with Butterfly. He went everywhere with us along with the Kimochis, but she didn’t seem to understand the connection. After about a week, I noticed her making faces in her mirrored closet doors. Then all of a sudden she started putting the faces she was making together with words like “this is my happy face” or “this is my boo boo (hurt) face” and more. Unprompted, she likes to lay out the emotion pillows on her floor, have me remind her who is feeling what, and I make up scenarios explaining when she might feel this way. I thought all of this was enough to give Kimochis a thumbs-up.
Then our Aruba family vacation arrived. From our house in La Jolla, California, getting to Aruba involves three airplanes and two lengthy layovers. When she asked to take Butterfly carry on, my husband and I had mixed feelings about it. Butterfly is about 14 inches long by 9 inches wide (aka BIG) and our daughter is only 3 (aka she’s not old enough for us to trust her to carry it herself the entire time). I’m very grateful we allowed it for reasons that were not clear to me at the time.
Because of her attachment to Butterfly, she actually slept multiple times on our journey. We are a family of former expatriates and fly more times in a year than we can count. My daughter is an excellent traveler, but rarely sleeps on airplanes. Because of the Kimochi Bug’s size and shape, she was able to use it as a pillow, which was perfect since airplane pillows are hard to come by these days. She stored not only the Happy Kimochi in its pocket, but her little headphones and other small travel items she wanted for the plane. It was the cutest and most practical darn thing ever. Kimochis are well made and easy to clean so you don’t have to worry about them getting knocked around on the road.
We were on vacation with another family that also has a 3-year old daughter. I caught my daughter asking her, “Are you happy?” and other questions about how this little girl was feeling. I was totally blown away. The Happy Kimochi was in the pocket during our entire trip. I can also see how the Kimochis can help a child that is uncomfortable with travel or a child going through an emotionally difficult time.
As you can tell, I’m very pleased with the Kimochis. My daughter is definitely more in tune with her feelings and I can only attribute this change to the Kimochis. Tip: Take the time to explain to your child how to use the toy, but don’t over educate especially if you have a 3-year old like me. Let your child develop its own interactions with the Kimochis.
We also received a Mixed Feelings 2-pack, which are additional kimochis you can add to the three Kimochis your character already comes with. A blank Kimochi with washable pen is also included, which we labeled “Crazy.” My daughter recently noticed that “Crazy” is lovingly missing in action somewhere in our house, so the hunt is on.
I plan to purchase more Mixed Feelings packs after she’s mastered the Kimochis we have. Kimochis have been given high regards in “Parenting” and even “In Touch” magazine, while also receiving the Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence, Dr. Toy Award Winner Best Vacation Product and many other well-deserved accolades.
To buy a Kimochis on Amazon.
- - - - - - - -
Katie Dillon (aka lajollamom) is a 2010 Superoo and the blogger extraordinaire behind www.lajollamom.com. Both the Kimochi Bug and Mixed Feelings Pouch were complimentary. No other compensation was given and no particular point of view was required.
in this story: