Teaching Social and Emotional Learning Through Games: Spotlight and Giveaway with Game On Family

It’s important to educate children about social and emotional skills at a young age. It can provide a foundation for understanding self-regulation, empathy for others, and how to express feelings in a healthy way. As children grow to become teenagers and young adults, they have to continue to strengthen these skills.

As a child life specialist supporting children and teens coping with life’s challenges, I utilize play, art, games, and books to strengthen coping skills. I have been using Game On Family’s resources and love them.

Game On Family creates family-friendly, educational games and books that support mental health & connection. They believe that learning happens best through play. They thrive on producing fun products that aid parents, teachers, and mental health professionals. Together you can build our kids’ social-emotional learning (SEL) and improve life outcomes through play! Find their products at Amazon.com/GameOnFamily

Click here to get a 20% discount on your purchase until 10/7/21


We will be giving away a SEL bundle of Game On Family products to 2 winners.

It will include:

  • 1 Feelings and Dealings game
  • 1 Shined Mind game
  • 1 Feelings and Dealings Coloring Book
  • 1 Feelings and Dealings Storybook.
Click here to enter the GIVEAWAY

For an additional entry choose below:

  1. Sign up for email notifications at ChildLifeMommy.com and leave a comment below.
  2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy and tag two friends.
  3. Facebook: Follow Game On Family and leave a comment.
  4. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy and @GameOnFamilyCom tag two friends in the post.

Good luck, the winner will be chosen by 10/3/21. Open to U.S. residents.

The Puzzler

Puzzler 2

Guest Post from Emily Mullen, CCLS 

After breakfast on a rainy Sunday morning, I opened up a new toddler puzzle leftover from Christmas. My 2 ½ year old son was thrilled to see this new play item before him. He already understood the link-pieces-together concept of puzzles from watching me in the past and immediately zoned in with intent. His toddler instinct to imitate was in full force. With a smile on his face he used phrases like “oh this one goes here” and “oh maybe not” and “there it goes!” He picked up piece after piece linking them together, rotating them and moving them to new spots.

As I sat with him, in awe of his focus and determination, I decided to put “teaching” aside for the moment to let him work. I resisted the urge to reach for puzzle pieces, but gladly accepted those that he handed to me. I kept myself from offering suggestions or redirecting his behavior while he played. Instead, I described my observations of his play (“You found a spot for the frog piece!”) and made statements that reflected the content of his own comments (“You’re looking for a new spot for that one.”)

We soon found ourselves deep in the midst of a child-directed play session. He had the steering wheel, and I was enjoying the ride. After a short while he had his own finished product. With a smile from ear to ear he exclaimed, “Mom look! There’s there puzzle!”

A quick glance at the photograph below is enough to see that the arrangement of puzzle pieces did not match the product’s intended image. Yet my son applauded his efforts and walked away with an obvious sense of accomplishment. In this morning’s moments of toddler play, he decided the goal was simply giving each puzzle piece a home. (As he had previously observed the purpose of a puzzle to be!) He chose his goal, and directed his behavior accordingly. As a result, he left the play experience with increased confidence to face a challenge and practice in problem solving (for example, rotate a puzzle piece until it fit).

We will find many moments for “adult directed” learning experiences; my son has plenty of opportunity to follow instructions from me all day. On this Sunday morning, though, he learned important skills to apply to any future challenge – adult or child driven. So we ended our puzzle play and celebrated his way because as my son proclaimed, “ There’s the puzzle!”

Engaging in child-directed playtime can have great benefits for children’s development. As children grow they follow constant instructions from adults to guide their learning of basic skills (how to brush teeth, how to wash hands), basic knowledge (counting, colors, shapes) and basic cultural behavior (saying please and thank you, using indoor voices). Providing children with safe opportunities to be in control of play allows them time to think about how the world works, explore their own ideas, and experience self-discovery.

More About the Author:

Emily is a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) and full-time mom to a wonderful 2 ½ year old boy. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Psychology from Stonehill College in Easton, MA and an M.S. in Therapeutic Recreation with a Child Life concentration from Springfield College in Springfield, MA . She worked full-time teaching Therapeutic Recreation and Child Life courses at Springfield College through the summer of 2012 when her son was born. She has recently returned to Springfield College as adjunct faculty. She additionally worked in the field as a CCLS at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, CT for 4 years.

Candy Land’s Rules Don’t Apply to Some Kids

Has this happened to you?

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Besides being silly, wanna know why he did this?
He is still in the developmental stage of following games with rules. He has just turned 6 and only beginning to follow some of the rules to his liking. As kids gets older they prefer to stick by the rules.

So don’t get upset if your little one gives you all the colors and they stick to the “candy cards”. There is a developmental reason why they keep winning.