Even though our “Emotions Matching” is designed like a regular memory game, this game offers many more opportunities to support emotional education and social skills in children. Apart from the traditional matching game, individual cards can be used as an impulse to talk about the different emotions or to use as a brainstorming topic for example. At circle time the bag can be handed from child to child, every child could pick out a card and give an example of when they feel this particular emotion, for example: “Spending some time with my family makes me feel happy.”, “I feel sad when I have an argument with my best friend.” etc. These cards can also be a great help when teaching empathy or simply understanding another person’s viewpoint and attached emotions . You could give a scenario of a situation and ask the children: “How do you think the person feels?” and let the children choose one of the emotions cards. “What could we do differently?” “How could we help?”
The options to use these cards are endless and it is up to you as a parent and/or educator to use them in whatever way you may find them helpful.
Especially young children often need visual support to understand the sometimes abstract instructions for mindfulness exercises. Again, these cards can be used in multiple ways. At circle time one child could pick out a card and all children focus their awareness on the chosen part of their body for a few minutes. Children can use them by themselves in their room and maybe pick out a card in the morning after getting up to ground themselves for a few minutes. The teacher could choose a number of cards and stick them on a magnetic board for a mini body scan, for example shoulder, hands, forehead: “Move your awareness to your shoulders for a minute, can you feel any tension or tingling? If you do you could stretch them out a little. Now let’s move our attention to our hands, are they warm or cold? Wriggle your fingers and shake out your hands. And lastly let’s move up to our forehead. Let’s try and relax any tension that we often hold up here and stay with this soft feeling for a couple of minutes before we get started with our lesson.”
This game is quite self-explanatory. There are two intention cards: “This week I will…”, “Today I will…”, which can be combined with any number of kindness activities. Some families may choose to have the cards decorating their fridge as a reminder of little acts of kindness. In the classroom they can be displayed on a magnetic board and children can take turns each day setting their intention on doing a kind deed. The cards can also be an impulse for conversation: “Did somebody help you in a difficult situation in the past?”, “What do you think could change in the world if everybody decided to be kinder?”, “In which situations is it difficult to be kind?” As mentioned above, feel free to use this game in any way that might make sense to your circumstances.
Our Mindful Moment Cards are exactly what is says on the tin (or the cotton bag ;-)). Each card gives a short impulse or instruction to take some time out, to arrive in the present moment, to do a short mindfulness exercise, to connect with nature, to be kind to yourself and others etc. Sometimes all it takes is a little reminder, an idea, a pause button… These cards are both suitable for children and grown-ups too!
Affirmations are a powerful tool to help children (and adults) develop and support a positive self-image, self-belief and self-confidence. Our belief system about ourselves is created by our environment, our experiences and the people around us. Especially in a time where lots of these often unrealistic and negative influences come from “artificial” sources such as television, the internet, social media or computer games for example, it is more important than ever to take charge of building our own positive belief system by affirming positive words and phrases to ourselves. When practiced regularly and mindfully, affirmations are absorbed in our minds and become an automatic part of our thought patterns. They can help us through challenging situations and support and maintain a positive self-image even in difficult times.
The meditation wheel is a great meditation aid especially for children as it visually guides them through a practice. Children can use it as a visual help to focus their awareness and spend a few minutes grounding themselves in the experience of their senses, their body, mind and their surrounds. Just download the wheel, print it out and for ease of use either stick the components on cardboard or laminate them before joining the three parts with a split pin in the centre.
Hold the wheel in your hands and move the arrow to the pictures of your senses. Start with bringing your awareness to each of them, what can you hear, see, smell, taste or feel on your skin in this very moment and keep moving the arrow along in anticlockwise direction. Now move the arrow to the experience of your body. Is there any tightness, tingling or discomfort, any pleasant sensations? After a few minutes checking in with your body move on to what’s going on in your mind. What thoughts are passing through, are you planning, worrying or thinking about past events? Finally bring your awareness (and the arrow ;-)) to your surroundings, where are you right now? Extend this awareness further from room to building, to outdoors, to the village or town, county, country, continent, planet and become aware of your connection to it all, your place on this earth at this very moment. This is a great practice to incorporate regularly into your daily routine and the more you practice it, the less you rely on the wheel but move naturally through the sequences. It’s also a very flexible practice as it is up to you how long you want to stay which each component.
Disclaimer: Mindful Games were designed to support emotional education and social skills. They are sold with the understanding that the author is not engaged to render any type of psychological or any other kind of professional advice. Parents and educators should use these games at their discretion in a sensitive manner. At no stage should these games be viewed as therapeutic intervention. You should always consult a health professional should you at any stage have any concerns about the mental health and well-being of yourself or your child. The author shall not be liable for any damages, including, but not limited to, special, incidental, consequential or other damages. The purchaser shall be responsible for his/her choices, actions, and results.