Playing Games with Emotions Can be Beneficial

Have you ever heard that playing games with emotions can actually be a good thing? For instance, playing games with emotions like anger can help children better manage it. Anger is an emotion we all feel, but controlling anger in the moment is a life skill everyone can use. This fun card game helps kids understand what anger feels and looks like, as well as ways to express their feelings without losing control. The Mad Dragon Anger Control Card Game is great for kids ages 6-12. While playing the game, (which is a lot like Uno), players learn how to identify different anger cues and are given chances to practice 12 different anger management skills.

As a mental health therapist based at an elementary school in Sarasota Fla., this game is a favorite in my classroom. Each card has different question/activity which makes children reflect upon a time they got upset, and what they would have done differently, and allows them to practice therapeutic strategies to help calm themselves.

The game teaches kids they have choices when it comes to how they express anger and appropriate ways to display anger.

Ashley Lanhardt, RMHCI, School-Based Therapist at Toledo Blade Elementary School

The first time I learned about the game was in a session with a client. He asked if I had the game and when he learned I did not he told me how fun it was and all the skills he learned from it. I was intrigued by his enthusiasm for the game so I ordered it immediately after the session. I soon made it a staple that I use with most of my clients, even those not displaying out-of-control anger. It has been a favorite of many of the kids I work with.

After a few rounds, I let the kids reflect upon a time when they felt that they allowed their anger to get out of control. Afterward, I have them tell me 3 ways they can calm themselves down the next time they start to get angry. Parents also like this game. When they see their child becoming upset they can remind the child about the game and ask them to remember what they learned playing the game to help themselves calm down. I recommend adding it to your game night collection!

About the author: Ashley Lanhardt is a school-based mental health therapist at Toledo Blade Elementary.