Teaching children how to be more empathetic, express their emotions, deal with anger, and socialize with others is not always an easy task. Many times, children will tune you out if you try and explain why these things are important. However, if you can broach these topics in more indirect, fun, and engaging ways, you’ll have a much better chance of helping them grow in these areas. Here are 10 games that can help you do just that.
1. Chill Chat Challenge
Source: Chill Chat Challenge/amazon.com
This game is for adults, and teens, and can be used by therapists. It initiates challenging, casual, and honest conversations to build trust and understanding without judgment. It’s based on a CBT therapeutic approach and is both fun and useful. Chill Chat Challenge costs $24.50.
One Amazon reviewer says, “The product itself is very good quality. The box and cards are sturdy and feel like they will last a long time. The questions were good, though you may want to go through them before playing with your child. There was a question or two that was a little mature for my 12-year-old but would have been a great question for a 15-year-old. So there is still some parental guidance needed. After my son went to bed, my husband wanted to keep playing for a few more questions, so it turned out great for the whole family!”
2. Stomp It Out
Source: Stomp It Out/amazon.com
This is a movement-based game designed by an educational psychologist. It allows players to express themselves and solve problems in a less vulnerable way by moving to different mats which line up with their responses. It’s also the most expensive game on the list. Stomp It Out costs $59.99.
Nicole Ghadoushi says, “I’m a school psychologist and love this game. I think every school psychologist and counselor should have one. The kids love learning about the characters and hearing about the different scenarios. It’s so easy to customize, helps build many skill sets at once, and the kids love it. Definitely recommend this game!”
3. Sneaky Cards Play It Forward
This is a unique game that requires participants to interact with the public. Each card gives players a mission to connect, surprise, grow, care, engage, and create with unsuspecting people. Once a mission is completed, players then “pay it forward” by giving their card to the person they interacted with. It is also the cheapest game on the list. Sneaky Cards Play It Forward costs $9.99.
One Amazon reviewer says, “Our whole family loves this! We ended up buying a set for each member of the family, so we could all have fun competing to see who gets rid of theirs the fastest. Totally fun concept and unique game! Highly recommend!”
4. My Feelings
Source: My Feelings/amazon.com
This game helps children identify, talk about, and cope with emotions healthily. It also has “silly time!” cards which create a structured space for children to act silly! It’s endorsed by Temple Grandin and several well-known clinicians and authors. My Feelings costs $29.95.
One Amazon reviewer says, “My child loves playing this game and ended up telling me little things that were happening while she was at school. Stories about how she was disappointed when she didn’t get to play with a certain friend etc. She even told me times when I felt certain feelings that I may have totally forgot! It’s a great game to play to get a conversation going.”
5. Friends and Neighbors
Source: Friends and Neighbors/amazon.com
This is a cooperative game that fosters compassion and empathy in children. It teaches them to recognize the needs and emotions of others, the reason people feel the way they do, and then gives children options for what they can do to help. Friends and Neighbors costs $18.01.
One Amazon reviewer says, “As a Speech-Language Pathologist working in the public schools, I am always on the lookout for a new game. This is another excellent creation from Peaceable Kingdom that can be used to target problem-solving, social communication, turn-taking, and associations. Great find!”
6. 52 Essential Conversations
This game is for adults and children. It’s portable and helps develop social and emotional intelligence by prompting important conversations. It’s designed by a Harvard neuroscientist and recommended by many teachers. 52 Essential Conversations costs $24.99.
One Amazon reviewer says, “These cards are great conversation starters. I use them at dinner time and bedtime with my daughter and we gave a great time connecting.”
7. Social Skills Group Activities
This box comes with six different board games. They encourage cooperation and help build empathy and various social skills. The games are ideal for younger children in small groups. Social Skills Group Activities costs $37.49.
Diana Caldas says, “Great product! I’ve been using this for all the different mental health jobs I’ve had in the past 5 years. Perfect for ages 5-12. They sell a smaller version of this, and that one is worth getting! Easy storage.”
8. The Mindfulness Game
Source: The Mindfulness Game/amazon.com
Adults and children can play this game. It comes with large and durable cards which give participants mindful activities to participate in. It can be used in a therapy setting or for family game night. The Mindfulness Games costs $19.94.
One Amazon reviewer says, “Exactly what me and my husband have been looking for. Being a 2nd-grade teacher it was hard for me to find a quality game. The questions are fantastic and the quality is unmatched! I have bought several others & I can say with confidence this is the game I will be using for our son and recommending to our student’s parents!”
9. Emotional Roller Coaster
This game helps children learn how to process their anger healthily. It integrates mindfulness activities and helps participants understand what makes them angry, how to express that anger, and gives them coping strategies to deal with the anger. Emotional Roller Coaster costs $33.95.
Tia B. says, “This game is awesome. I purchased it for my six-year-old son to assist him with some recent life changes that have taken place. This game is great for social-emotional learning. Even as an adult, I enjoy it as well. It gives me great perspective. I highly recommend this product. Don’t hesitate!”
10. Don’t Go Bananas
Source: Don’t Go Bananas/amazon.com
This is another game that teaches children how to control their emotions. It analyzes the triggers and thoughts which lead to strong emotions, and challenges kids to look at the situation in a different way. It also includes positive affirmations. Don’t Go Bananas costs $15.99.
Haley says, “I played this game with a resistant client and found that it facilitated a meaningful therapy session. I think the questions the cards asks is good for getting a starting point to open up the client in further sessions.”
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