The Pout-Pout Fish: Helping Emotional Children with Big Feelings

by Meghan

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While Big M may look just like me, emotionally we are night and day.  Though she is little, not unlike other kids her age, she can be very emotional, highly sensitive, and it sometimes takes very little to set off big feelings. We recently discovered the book, The Pout-Pout Fish, which is now a full series of books.  It provides a humorous, but resourceful reference for helping toddler and preschool-aged emotional children with big feelings.

Emotional Children Big Feelings with the Pout Pout Fish

Helping Emotional Children with Big Feelings

The Pout-Pout Fish tells the story of a fish who thinks he has to be grumpy because his mouth turns down in a pout.  It has everything that makes for a great children’s picture book: repetition, rhyme, and humor.

My girls crack up every time we read it.  And while it is funny, it also opens the door to talk about feelings and emotions on a level young, emotional children can understand. We talked about what a sad face looks like, and things we can do to cheer up when we are sad.

Make Your Own Pout Pout Fish

To further our discussion of feelings, the girls and I decided to make our own Pout-Pout Fish, with varying mouth shapes, representing the different feelings he goes through in the story.  It only requires a few basic supplies.


Paper plates
Cupcake wrappers (optional)
Blue and purple tempera paint
Foam paint brush

Brad fasteners
Large, googly eyes
Crayola Oil Pastels

Cost: Less than $5
Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes
Clean-up Time: Less than 5 minutes

For each Pout-Pout Fish, you will need two paper plates, two googly eyes and one brad fastener.  I also use paper plates as paint palettes, separating paint with cupcake wrappers for easy clean-up.  The girls each painted their two plates, glued eyes on one, and we left them to dry overnight.

Handling Emotional Children with the Pout Pout Fish

Pout Pout Fish Plates

Once the plates are dry, attach the two plates together with a brad fastener.  Cut out a triangular section, roughly 1/3 of the plate, from the bottom of the front plate.  Then, using Crayola Oil Pastels, draw a pouting mouth, smiling mouth, and kissing mouth on the bottom plate, such that one mouth appears at a time as you spin the front plate.

Emotional Children with Big Feelings - Pout-Pout Fish

Do you have emotional children or a toddler or preschooler who struggles with big feelings?  This is a great book and activity to help talk through feelings and ways to handle them going forward. For more tips to calming your kids big emotions, check out this simple trick to tame tantrums from my friend Rachael at Wunder-Mom.

If you enjoyed this post, you can find all our Book-Related Activities here, as well as on our Read! Read! Read! board on Pinterest.

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