The philosophy behind Kimochis is that the toys act as a third party through which children can explore and build understanding of common emotions experienced by them and by those around them.
'Kimochi' is the Japanese word for feeling and each toy, or what is called a 'Kimochi character' comes with three small pillows with a feeling written on one side and a face depicting that emotion on the other. The Kimochi characters have been crafted to represent common personality traits that children might exhibit or see in one another, and come with their own backstories that flesh out who they are and why they behave in particular ways. For example Bug, a caterpillar is described as 'thoughtful ... and extremely cautious. He is really smart, a skilled conversationalist and is known to talk himself and others out of any given situation, because he likes to examine all sides' (kimochis.com.au, 2013). The three Kimochis or feelings that Bug comes with are Happy, Brave and Left Out.
Here at Parkmore Primary School, our students use the Kimochi characters to explore their own feelings and consider those of others in a non-threatening way. 'By reflecting feelings, Kimochis enable children to identify their own feelings, and acquire the Kimochis core skills for interaction and connection. At the same time they also build an appropriate 'feelings vocabulary', one feeling at a time, in a fun tactile interactive way' (LuluCo International, 2014).