Monday, August 23, 2010

Wild Ride to the Heart Game Helps Kids Deal With Emotions

A new board game called Wild Ride to the Heart is a fun, engaging way to teach young children how to deal with often difficult emotions.  This would be a great resources for parents, teachers, counselors, after school programs, social workers, and anyone else who works with kids.

Players move around the board towards the heart, thinking and talking about different emotions along the way.  Generally speaking, dealing with emotions positively moves you forward while losing control sends you backwards.  That message is important for young children by itself, and it's fundamental to winning the game.

Before and during the game, players are encouraged to talk about emotions with their own stories and experiences.  This ensures that you're reinforcing the lessons and offering plenty of opportunities for teachers and parents to dive deeper into often difficult emotions that will undoubtedly surface.

What makes the game most valuable for parents and teachers are the Tools of the Game, a procedure that kids follow when they land on one of the faces on the board.  They can either show a matching face, tell a story about a time they experience that emotion, or "Go to the Heart".  That last one means they perform a sort of calming exercise while focusing on their heart.  It's very simple and I think would be very fun for young children up to 3rd grade.

I think some people might assume that you would only play this with children who were having a lot of trouble controlling their emotions.  The game clearly provides a safe environment for kids to talk about emotions, and should be very helpful with kids already having problems.  Yet I would urge parents and teachers to play this will all students, even those who appear emotionally healthy, as serious emotional issues can show up or develop later.  By giving kids a good foundation, you're setting them on a path to deal with whatever comes their way.

GIVEAWAY ALERT! I'm giving away the copy of the game I received from the Institute of HeartMath, which includes the complete game as well as background information on the Institute.  For a chance to win, contact me via Twitter or Facebook only and tell me who you would play this game with and why before Friday 8/27.  I'll pick one winner randomly.

The game is actually very inexpensive ($14.95 before shipping) and worth your money.  Order it direct from the Institute here.