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SEL Series: SEL Games

Five Awesome Social Emotional Games to Play at Summer Camp

My favorite time of the year is approaching. SUMMER! With kids out of school, I reminisce back to the days when the world became my playground and I could play outside until the streetlights came on. I remember playing kickball or a game of chase, or sitting indoors to avoid the sun while I played checkers or connect four. Which brings me to the topic of this blog post- social emotional games for children. Personally, board games are my favorite because they give kids a chance to practice and improve critical thinking, math, and social skills. Below are a list of SEL board games that that educators can play with children to help them learn about their feelings and emotions.

Here are my top five Social-Emotional games.

Feelings and Faces

Ages 3 and up — Feelings and Faces is a game where children get to examine the idea of “feelings” through various everyday situations. This game aims to encourage emotional development and introduce self-awareness and control while developing social skills through play.


Grab a card, place it in the headband, and then let the fun begin. The object of the game is to ask the other people playing with you yes or no questions to try and figure out “what” you are.  The challenge is to ask questions so that you can get closer to figuring out what is on your card. Hedbanz is fun entertainment to work on perspective taking and communicating.

Apples to Apples Junior

Apples to Apples a fantastic game.  This game focuses on perspective taking.  The winning card will depend on who is judging, so players must alter their thinking depending on who is judging.

Bubble Talk

This game is comparable to Apples to Apples but uses pictures and captions instead.  To begin, everyone will take a turn being the judge. The judge picks the view that they think fits the image best. Thinking about things from the perspective of the judge is critical!


Peace Makers concentrates on helping players develop mindfulness. It’s an excellent game to help kids learn about themselves.  The prompts on the cards can support kids to become aware of what’s going on inside of them and what’s going on around them in the world.  This game is excellent for generating exciting conversations.

Other resources:

  1. The Pathway to Success
  2. Proud to be Primary

Tiana Brown is the Assistant Director of the Norwalk Housing Authority Learning Centers


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