Want a new spin on the classic game of “Candyland?” Especially during these times of staying in due to the pandemic, parents/caregivers need fresh, new ideas to keep children occupied. Playing “Feelings Candyland” can add an extra layer by addressing children’s mental health while having fun! Depending on where children are at developmentally, it is common that they may struggle with expressing their feelings.

Due to all the recent changes and added stress of the pandemic, this game can help your children express themselves and provide a picture of areas they may be struggling in. When trying to discuss feelings, it is common that parents/caregivers tend to ask “leading questions” to children which may skew their responses. This is a typical unintentional way that parents/caregivers may negatively affect mental health discussions with their children. For example, if you ask your child “Who was mean to you today?” this question may lead the child into reporting something that is fabricated due to the fact that this idea of “someone being mean to them” is in their head. Also, they may inadvertently feel that by answering this question and reporting something negative- they will gain attention from the parent/caregiver. By playing a game like, “Feelings Candyland” – it provides a broad topic and gives the child freedom to express the feeling represented on the card in a way that is true to them.

Another positive aspect to playing this game with your child is by participating yourself as the parent/caregiver. Modeling appropriate feelings expression is a great way to teach this skill to your children. This shows the child that whatever they may be feeling is valid, and there are ways to express each feeling. Playing a game while also talking about feelings can make the child feel more comfortable in opening up, and they can associate talking about their mental health with a positive activity which can help them continue to learn to express themselves in appropriate ways throughout their lives.

Click here to download the full instructions for Feelings Candyland!