Making simple games for social emotional learning

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!

Candy Land

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.  😉

Happy Saturday!

 

9 comments

  1. Excellent post! I love these ideas, especially the kindness mirror. I often use Jenga. It’s very engaging and can promote team building depending on how you use it. I’m considering adding thought-provoking questions on the blocks similar to your idea of Anger Management Don’t Break the Ice. Thanks again for such a creative post.

  2. These are such unique and creative ideas! I love how you were able to take something as simple as a board game and turn it into a therapeutic experience. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  3. These are great ideas. I did also have a Jenga game that our Mobile Therapist used. He wrote different questions on each piece, and after you pull a piece out, you had to answer the questions. ….. My one son smetimes didn’t want to play, so he’d knock the whole game over. Lol.

    • That’s great to use Jenga like that too! Funny about your son! I usually have to offer incentives for the questions to increase engagement. Like taking an extra turn (if helpful in the game), which I guess wouldn’t be so helpful in Jenga! 😉

  4. […] 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 Read the Rest of this Article on Kristina Sargent’s Blog! […]

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