Play Therapy Game -- The Board Game


(Play Therapy Student for Play Therapy Class)

Play Therapy Game -- The Board Game

Play Therapy Game -- The Board Game

Feeling Bingo is a play therapy game I came up with that I believed would be beneficial to my two sons. My boys are ages 7 and 5, and I have noticed that they have their individual issues with regard to emotions. When stressed out, my eldest son becomes very self-focused and absorbed by his emotions. It is difficult to reason with him at all while he is in this state. In contrast, my younger son, when upset or disappointed, becomes hypersensitive and can cry for days. I wanted to create a game for them that would help them to identify the range of emotions that exist, along with severity.

I made nine facial expressions on each Bingo card, and I had over twenty different expressions that were used for the game overall. I did not want to identify what each expression was by labeling the faces on the cards; instead, I wanted to “draw” the facial expressions as you would numbers for regular Bingo, but I wanted the kids to be able to match the name of the feeling with a facial expression on the card. I thought this would reinforce their learning doubly – rather than learning a supposed manifestation of a feeling, they would have to figure out the expressions themselves and relate it to a feeling word. Some of the words I used include “excited,” surprised,” and “ashamed.”

For the first trial run of Feeling Bingo, my kids were confused as to what some of the feeling words .meant. This was partially my intention, in that I wanted them to learn more words to be able to identify (more precisely) what they were feeling and why. Initially, however, I wondered if it would just be easier to go ahead and label the faces. Then I realized that by not labeling them, I could always create additional feeling words that were simpler or more advanced, yet still use the same Bingo cards.

One unexpected discovery came when my sons kept asking me what certain words meant. When I started to explain what the feeling word was, I realized I could give them a (hypothetical) scenario, tell them the feeling word, and ask them how they would feel (and their faces look) if they went through that situation themselves. This aspect made the experience readily relevant to them, and they became more engaged with figuring out the scenarios AND winning the game. I think Feeling Bingo was fairly successful with my boys; I may get the pieces I made laminated so we can continue to play it in the future.

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