From exploring emotions through games, to practicing empathy, the new “Emotional Wellness Playbook” from The Genius of Play, The Toy Association’s nonprofit initiative dedicated to helping parents raise healthy and happy kids through play, offers a curated collection of play-based activities that teach kids how to express their feelings in healthy ways while having fun.
Developed in partnership with recognized mental health expert, Starr Therapy Founder, and Certified Holistic Health Coach Talia Filippelli, The Genius of Play’s new resource for parents and educators is launching just in time for Mental Health Awareness Month this May, when mental health advocates will be sparking conversations about reducing the stigma around mental health. The digital playbook features 12 play ideas for kids ages 3+ that effectively tackle the five key components of emotional intelligence: emotional self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.
“Research has shown that children with a high emotional intelligence earn better grades, stay in school longer, and make healthier choices overall,” said Anna Yudina, senior director of marketing initiatives at The Toy Association. “Play is one of the best ways to teach kids about just about anything, and boosting their emotional skills are no exception. From promoting relaxation to encouraging positive emotions, we invite families to use this guide to help kids’ little hearts grow bigger and stronger and build the foundation for a healthy adulthood.”
The Genius of Play’s mission is centered on helping families raise healthy and happy kids through play, and teaching kids how to recognize, express, and manage their emotions is a big part of that. This new playbook offers families and educators a tool to help children learn and practice emotional skills in ways that are fun and reduce stress.
The playbook’s simple, yet effective, activities help children develop their emotional skills in a variety of ways. Emoji Bingo offers a twist on a classic game that helps improve emotional self-awareness by teaching kids to label their emotions and, therefore, not become overwhelmed by big feelings when they occur. Calming Bottle is a DIY activity that can help those who struggle with self-regulation. Puppet Play helps kids practice empathy and social skills and Vision Board helps build their motivation and self-confidence.
“Play and toys are some of the most effective tools to help kids develop the emotional intelligence they will need to successfully navigate the world as they grow up,” said Filippelli. “What’s more, play provides positive emotions and relaxation both kids and adults need to promote emotional wellbeing.”
The Genius of Play’s “Emotional Wellness Playbook” is available now online in a digital book format. For more information about The Genius of Play, visit thegeniusofplay.org.