Here are a couple simple and easy to make therapeutic board games. These are also games you can find at your local second hand toy shop. 🙂
Don’t Break the Ice- anger management style
Simply write some prompts using permanent marker on about 1/3 of the ice cubes. I wrote things like, “practice taking three breaths,” “talk about a time you calmed down safely,” “name something that helps you feel safe,” “talk about what makes you angry,” etc. Also, a way to engage children and build rapport is to ask them to help you add a question to the game! It can be written in permanent marker if relevant to use again with other children or you can use dry erase markers to make the questions unique and relevant to the individual child. When an ice block with a question or prompt is knocked out and answered, that person can choose to go again or make the other person go instead. This gives some extra incentive to choose the prompt blocks and answer them. 🙂 For those of you unfamiliar with the actual game, the point is to take turns hammering out blocks while trying to not make the polar bear fall. I have found this game helpful for children 4-12, but I’m sure it can be used with even more ages!
I don’t have a photo for this one but basically just use the colors to correspond with different feelings and practice sharing times the feelings have been experienced. This is great to use with families! Also a great game for all ages.
Candy Land Train game- of kindness!
Use a permanent marker to write prompts on each of the stations. I wrote, “act out a way to show kindness to someone younger than you,” “act out a way to show kindness to someone older than you,” and “act out a way to show kindness to someone your age.” This can also be acted out with puppets and I personally keep some small finger puppets in the game box for this reason. I also added a mirror to the center of the game board and have a prompt to “say something kind to yourself in your reflection.” If the child is uncomfortable with this, he or she can write or draw something kind on his or her reflection with a dry erase marker. I use this as a talking point about how you have to be kind to yourself in order to be kind to others and how we are worthy of receiving kindness from ourselves. 🙂
Feel free to share your own ideas about making games for social and emotional learning! I have some more games that I hope to post soon, when I remember to take some photos. 😉