Lately I saw, in a shop, a toddler card game that helps with adult-child communication about emotions. I liked the idea of creating a dialogue with my daughters through a game, however, I did not want to start a conversation that was forced by the pre-made cards, because it would limit them. The theme of the first game was “What is your biggest fear”.
So I proposed my children to play one of their well-known board games (a simple game where the number on the dice indicates how to advance on the track) with the following variation: instead of using the game’s tokens, I asked them to construct new pieces by drawing them on a piece of cardboard and held them upright in a base of modelling clay. Each player made two different pieces: one depicting themselves, and one depicting their biggest fear. Now the interesting part was to search, name, compare, ask opinions and detail these fears together, and finding a way to draw them. And then we started the game, throwing the dice twice: once for themselves and once for the fear of the other player. It sure added some thrill to the game. And if sometimes losing was sad, we just did a rematch!
Besides stimulating the communication about their fears, I also liked the experience because it was a new and simple way to show the kids that you can change the rules of board games or create them yourself, which I think can trigger their creativity and ability to cope with boredom (on the other hand, now I must find out how to explain the youngest that new rules should be fixed before the beginning and not invented when you need to change the outcome of the game!)
This time we played about fears, but it could also be about something else. A favourite hero could trigger a conversation about the skills they have or would like to have, the most hated/loved vegetable could be a starter for a conversation about food.
Any ideas on what else you could make the game about?