Today I’m uploading a variation on the game of checkers. This version of the game features a board with a number of different feeling faces (like those found on a standard feelings chart) on the playing squares: happy, sad, angry, afraid, disgusted, surprised, loved, confused and joyful. Simply print off the gameboard, grab some movers, and get started.Set the game up as you normally would for checkers, with 12 checkers per player. The child starts. Whenever a player lands on a square with a feeling face, that player must tell of a time when she felt that particular emotion. If she cannot think of a specific instance, she can tell a story about a time when she saw someone else express that emotion (e.g., Mom was afraid when she couldn’t find me at the store). The same rules apply for the therapist, so you may want to be prepared with some brief stories that would be appropriate to share with the client.
To play, you will need the gameboard, which I am providing, 24 checkers pieces, and 2 players. If you do not have a checkers set with pieces already, you can use square pieces of lego just as easily.
If you need instructions for how to play checkers, you can find them here.
One note regarding the gameboard: I have built the board to 12×12″, meaning each square will be 1.5 inches. To print the gameboard will require two legal size (8.5×14″) pages. You will have to attach them together. If you use this type of activity with many different clients, you may want to laminate the pieces and/or attach the game to cardboard to make it more sturdy. Here is a PDF copy of the board.
This resource is useful in the early stages of counselling for building rapport and assessing a child’s emotional awareness, or later in the counselling process if you are specifically working on emotional awareness and expression. You can combine this resource with “I feel” statements to encourage a client’s ability to verbalize her emotions, or send it home to encourage communication within a family. I hope you this activity useful.