3 Summer Games to Boost Emotional Intelligence

A little girl plays make believe with her dad and teddy bear

Summertime is finally here! For many of us, this means more chances to enjoy the sunshine, travel to fun places or have picnics with family and friends. 

This also means school is out for your little ones, and they *hopefully* get more playtime. đź™‚

But just because school is out, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to learn and grow!  

The summer offers plenty of chances to practice becoming the best version of ourselves, all while helping kids do the same. 

So today, I want to share something that lays a strong foundation for lifelong success and happiness that you can practice during the summer.  

Emotional intelligence!

So what is it? 

Emotional intelligence allows you to recognize, understand, and manage your emotions while being able to meet the emotions of others compassionately.

Cultivating this skill can help you and your little one:

  • Have healthy and meaningful relationships
  • Express feelings and needs in a healthy way
  • Appreciate the emotions and perspectives of others
  • Find creative solutions and make wiser decisions
  • Maintain focus and motivation for better academic success

 This is such an important topic that many schools even integrate social-emotional learning and mindfulness activities into the classroom to enhance emotional intelligence! (Does your school offer this? If not, let me know; I’d love to help!)  

A group of kids

So how can your little one cultivate emotional intelligence when playing at the park this summer?

Imagine, for example, you and your child are in the park and see a little girl sitting alone on a bench. She looks sad and hesitant to join in the games.

Here are three steps and fun summer games to handle these situations while growing emotionally:

  1. Recognize body language and facial expressions

If your little one can recognize the emotions of others, it helps them imagine how it might feel to be in another’s position. 

To practice recognizing and expressing emotions, try playing a game of Emotion Charades! 

Write down different emotions on slips of paper and have children take turns acting out the emotions without using any words.

The rest of the group gets to guess the emotion being portrayed. 

2. Practice empathy and offer support

Taking a proactive approach, your little one can now decide if they want to help the little girl feel better. This can be as simple as extending a smile, asking her name, or extending an invitation to play a game. 

To foster empathy and help children understand different perspectives, try a game of Empathy Role-Playing! 

This game is best played with pairs of children. You assign each team a scenario that involves a challenging situation. 

For example, one child can pretend to be upset about losing a toy while the other practices empathy and offers support.

Afterward, have the pairs switch roles. This game fosters empathy and helps children understand different perspectives.

3. Get creative with collaboration

By thinking of games involving teamwork to get the little girl involved, your little one creates a sense of belonging and shared experience. 

To practice creative and emotionally intelligent ways of resolving conflict, use Collaborative Storytelling.

Have a few kids sit in a circle and start a story by sharing a few sentences.

As each child contributes to the story, help them find the conflict to be resolved by pointing out the difficult emotions the characters might be going through.

Then encourage them to solve the situation together and to tell the rest of the story in a way that incorporates the emotions that each character might be feeling. 

A group of kids shares styorytime with an adult.

Remember that having fun and sharing joy is also essential to emotional and mental wellness!

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