Recommended age: 6-12
Whether your child has already mastered anger control or has frequent anger outbursts, everyone can benefit from the game.
For: Individuals or groups
Will enhance social and emotional skills:
Self Awareness: Identify own feelings and emotions, Emotional regulation
Social Awareness: Empathy for others,
Relationship Skills: Listening skills
If you are looking for an established game to teach children anger management, I highly recommend Mad Dragon, a card game that works well with individuals or a group of children at home, school or a counseling office. It has proven to be a must-have in my office as it engages most children, is easy to use and effective in teaching anger control.
Mad Dragon follows the same format as Uno, where the objective is to be the first player to discard all the cards in your hand through colors and numbers matching. Since most children have played Uno before, they will simply apply the familiar rules in minutes!
Most children learn at an early age how problematic uncontrollable anger is. But as you already know, talking directly about anger with them is not easy, as they may be avoidant or have difficulty expressing themselves.
Since Mad Dragon blends anger control in a card game, it becomes more appealing for children because they are motivated to play the game. And thus more willing to talk about anger when prompted by the game compared to a "let's have a talk" session.
The dragon character also makes it easier for children to talk about anger. The dragon struggles with anger so it's more relatable and children can talk from the perspective of the dragon instead of their own.
Therefore a question like "what does your body feel when you get angry?" can be asked "what does the dragon's body feel when it gets angry?" children are more likely to answer the second question as they externalize their insight and creativity to it.
What's in the box?
Total of 100 game cards, 6 instruction cards.
All cards are color coded to either: Red, Blue, Green or Gold.
72 are regular cards with a number.
28 cards with special abilities: Draw 2, Skip, Switch and Wild.
Half of all cards have a question or anger management technique in the categories of:
Taming Your Anger, Avoiding Anger, Understanding Anger, and When I Control My Anger.
Teaching anger management
Most of the kids I played Mad Dragon with enjoyed answering the questions as most never had the opportunity to think about these questions or have ever been asked to share their perspective.
Mad Dragon works well in teaching anger management with thoughtful questions and exercises to prompt players to talk about anger. There are opportunities for the players to share from their own insight, with questions like, "How long does it take for you to calm down?" and to share from their own perspective, "Who is the happiest person you know? Do they get angry a lot?"
Of course, the questions can be asked from a third person perspective, from the dragon or someone else. For example, "How long does it take your best friend Emily to calm down?"
I find the Mad Dragon card questions to be creative and direct. Most of the children I played Mad Dragon with enjoyed answering the questions as most never had the opportunity to think about these questions or have ever been asked to share their perspective.
I often find that most children learn anger management skills passively through instructions from adults. And Mad Dragon excels at facilitating children to learn actively by sharing their own experiences, coming up with strategies and discussing it from other perspecti and sometimes all they need is to be heard. And Mad Dragon is a great tool to facilitating this.
4 Social Skills Mad Dragon will enhance
1. Identify own feelings and emotions - Mad Dragon's primary goal of teaching anger management starts with prompting players to identify their own feelings and emotions.
Children won't be able to learn how to manage their anger without first understanding their own experience of it. Therefore, Mad Dragon has a lot of creative questions to encourage players to reflect and process their feelings of irritation, frustration and anger.
2. Improve emotional regulation - Mad Dragon includes practical strategies for players to manage their anger but it takes it further by prompting players to come up with strategies on their own.
So the game will emphasize more on how do you do it? along with this is how you do it. This strategy is often more effective for children to learn as it involves their active input on strategies compared to passively hearing it.
3. Empathy for others - Since Mad Dragon is best played with at least two players, players have a chance to share their own feelings, beliefs and experiences with other each.
This creates a great opportunity for players to relate and understand each other. I highly encourage parents to play together with your kids as they enjoy hearing experiences from adults.
4. Listening skills - The turn taking aspect of Mad Dragon creates a designated space for each player to have a chance to talk and be heard. This encourages players to practice listening to each other.
Mad Dragon can be found on Amazon and Child Therapy Toys.
Play Attune is about providing parents and professionals practical play activities and resources focused on enhancing children's social and emotional wellness. Behind every content we share is the belief that children learn valuable life skills through meaningful relationships and experiences.
Play Attune is created by William, a child and family psychotherapist with extensive experience working with families in various settings. We recently launched in the summer of 2018 and we invite you to join us on learning more and contributing to shape our content!