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That's How I Feel

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Tool helps kids express feelings but might be too nuanced.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn to identify their emotions when using That's How I Feel. By correlating their feelings to the pictures shown as well as the green, yellow, and red categories of feelings, kids can grow in self-awareness and develop the concept that different feelings belong to different groups and that there are ranges of emotional states. That's How I Feel can be a useful tool for kids to express their emotions, but it's limited by the somewhat confusing illustrations.

Ease of play

Very easy to use. Simply glide your finger horizontally across the top green row for positive emotion options, or the middle yellow row for somewhat ambivalent or negative emotions, or the bottom row for negative emotions. The drawings also include a written emotion word. Listen to the voice recording provide expression of that visual depiction of the emotion to make sure it matches.

Violence & scariness
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Sexy stuff
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that That's How I Feel provides non-verbal kids or kids who have trouble expressing their feelings with a way to do so using "smarty symbols" -- simple picture drawings that depict different emotional states. The emotions are organized into three categories and color-coded green (positive), yellow (ambivalent or negative), and red (more powerfully negative). Kids tap on a picture that describes how they're feeling and a narrator makes a related statement ("I feel better"). Some of the emotional sentiments may be too complex or nuanced for younger kids to understand.

Parents say

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What's it about?

Kids simply swipe a finger horizontally across the top green row to browse positive emotion options, the middle yellow row for somewhat ambivalent or negative emotions, or the bottom row for negative emotions. They tap on the picture that indicates the feeling they're looking to express. The drawings also include a written emotion word. Once tapped, a voice recording provides the verbal expression of the emotion.

Is it any good?


The simple picture drawings in That's How I Feel are sometimes very clear and other times a bit too complex or nuanced for many young kids to understand. For example, the drawing for the emotion "ashamed" shows a stick figure scratching his head with a circle containing the words "work" and "money" next to him. The one for "depressed" displays a boy with two broken hearts to his sides and tears on his face. In some instances such as these, parents may need to help kids identify which drawing correlates to how they're feeling by explaining the drawings or giving them more options. The three main categories will likely be fairly easy for kids to understand, which can help them narrow their choices. And the app's simple design makes it easy to navigate and use.

Families can talk about...

  • If your kids are having trouble matching a feeling with an image and cannot read the word associated with each image, read it for them.

  • Talk about the differences between the green, yellow, and red feelings groups.

App details

Skills:Emotional Development: identifying emotions, labeling feelings, self-awareness
Communication: conveying messages effectively
Tech Skills: using and applying technology
Release date:June 23, 2011
Size:2.90 MB
Publisher:Smarty Ears
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.0 or later

This review of That's How I Feel was written by

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Kid, 10 years old March 15, 2013


Super Good App
What other families should know
Great role models