We all could use more empathy!
I really wanted to find a game that could bring this concept to life for children. A game that goes beyond how I am feeling to start practicing noticing how OTHERS are feeling too.
I found this game, Pengaloo, at a local family owned toy store I have come to visit frequently. I drew different feeling faces on the colored eggs and wrote the word “empathy” on the little score boards between the numbers. 🙂
How to play
1) put the eggs in the Penguins and “shuffle” them. Give an equal number of penguins to each player.
2) first player roles the dice (I drew numbers one, two, and three on the dice).
3) first player uses one of his or her penguins to approach that number of another players penguins.
4) other player is allowed to peek under his penguins to remind himself what the feelings are (not allowing the other person to see!)
5) the first player approaches those penguins and begins talking to them her own penguin. As she talks to them, she guesses how they are feeling. For example the other player may make his penguin yell or stomp away (if the hidden feeling is angry).
6) the first player helps the penguin feel better or simply responds appropriately to the feeling (give an angry penguin some space before helping it calm down, comfort a sad penguin, etc.).
7) after the first player guessed the feeling or feelings and helped the penguins based on their feelings, the first player earns those eggs.
Another thing I have used the penguins for is processing events.
“Can you tell me the story of when you found out dad wasn’t coming to visit this weekend?” The child can then decide how she thinks each person was feeling by putting that egg in penguin chosen to represent each person in her story (she was sad, dad was sad he couldn’t get off work, mom was angry, etc). They can even use the penguins to act out the story or “redo” behaviors to process it further and see how their behavior affects others’ feelings.