Family Games that Teach Feelings

Simple, social-emotional games to play with the all ages!

In this time of uncertainty and social distancing, I wanted to throw out some fun and simple games for parents to play with their children to support exploring some of the BIG feelings that they may be experiencing right now.

1. Catch-A-Feeling : Write different feelings on a balloon with a permanent marker and throw it around, whatever feeling your hand/thumb lands on, share something about that feeling (how your body feels, a time you experienced that, what your face looks like..). You can also write down some silly questions to write on the balloon (or add numbers to the balloon and when the the finger lands on a number, have it correlate–that will increase engagement for a longer period of time.

2. Balloon Bop-It: Grab a whole bunch of balloons and write 1 feeling on each balloon– as a family, try to keep them up in the air. If one drops, everyone goes around and shares a time they experienced that feeling.

3. Super Stories: Print off an outline of a person or animal. Spend time creating a character–use stickers, markers, glue, etc.. Together, create a story about that character, I usually start off with once upon a time.. then LET YOUR CHILD LEAD and create a story together (you’re pretty much there to make the sentences make sense–Use, “I wonder what the zebra’s family is like, What does the zebra like to do for fun, Tell me about your zebra’s friends” to help develop the character. This can be a great way to support your child with problem solving and sometimes they will give you a tiny bit of what is going on with them through the story. Plus, they LOVE when you write down everything they say and read it back to them. Make it a team effort, and let siblings create the story together if that fits better for your family!

4. Mindfulness Moments: I’m pretty anti-screen time, BUT there are some useful videos to focus on deep breathing (belly breathing, dragon breathing, balloon breathing) and ways to move your body (yoga, exercise). Go Noodle Mindfulness as some fun relaxation techniques as well.

5. Feelings Uno or Candyland–or really any game with colors. Assign a feeling, silly question, or would-you-rather to a color card. Take turns playing the game and each time a color card is drawn, you talk about that certain feeling, silly question, or would- you-rather. For example, when playing Uno, write down RED=mad, Draw 2= silly question, GREEN= happy and begin playing the game. Each time one of those cards is showing, that person shares (or asks) something related to the topic (When I’m mad, my muscles get tight… I was really happy going on vacation last summer or when the sun is shining… If you could live in a house shaped like anything, what would you live in?). You can assign something every color, but I’ve found that takes WAY longer to complete and it tends to lose the excitement when the colors are drawn.

The ways to adapt these games are endless! Drop a comment and let me know what creative twists have worked for your family!

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