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Counseling Games for Coping Skills

Updated: Jul 18, 2023


a list of affordable games to help children with coping skills

During the first phase of counseling, I always try to focus on helping children develop coping mechanisms. This provides them with tools they can immediately use to feel better when triggered. I also like that it is non-invasive and allows time to develop rapport and build trust before getting into deeper issues. It is also necessary for kids to have coping mechanisms in place to be able to handle the hard work of healing.


There are many types of coping skills and ways to teach and implement the skills. This list provides inexpensive games to help build your toolbox to better meet the needs of children. I love the variety of ways the skills are introduced, and each creator has their own concepts and ideas to broaden the scope of the work.


By WholeHearted School Counseling

even superheroes have bad days counseling game

This is a game show-style game that is created to use with the book by Shelly Becker. I love how it normalizes that everyone has bad days and everyone has to learn how to cope with difficulties. The game that follows the story drives home the concepts and personalizes the experience for kids. Want more superhero ideas? Check out this post.



By Counselor Keri

coping skills go fish game $1

This game may be the best bargain on the world wide web. At a whopping $1 you can have a game that pays amazing dividends. Kids LOVE this game. It is a simple Go Fish game, but it has cute graphics, highlights a good variety of skills, and is simply fun. Kids have to pay attention to what is happening to get matches. They also have to deal with disappointment when they miss an opportunity. I typically spend time after the game by spreading out the cards and having kids pick out which skills would be the most helpful to them. I will also offer different scenarios and see which skill they think would help the most in each situation. You can also use the cards to play the memory game.


Coping Skills Toolbox CBT counseling game

Coping Skills Toolbox is a cognitive behavioral therapy game to help children recognize self-talk, use thought-stopping and replacement skills, and to recognize body cues to calm down when needed. It is versatile and can be used with a wide range of ages and presenting problems. This is available as a hard copy, a PDF download, and for telehealth. You can also learn more about making coping skill toolboxes to help children here.

 
Counseling games you can play for free


 

By Carol Miller

coping skills uno card game

This is a UNO-style game to help children identify coping skills. Cards will also present scenarios that kids can consider appropriate responses for. This helps kids better prepare for situations and create a mental plan for how to respond.


By Mental Fills


taking space self control counseling game

This game has a LOT of information and resources in it. There are printouts of possible triggers, body signs, coping skills, and forms to create coping plans to send home with the kids. The game focuses on getting away from a trigger long enough to calm down, then returning to the situation to resolve it. It encourages kids to have a code word to tell family members that they need some space to cope. It’s a cute theme and helpful concepts. I have used this one for years.


By Counselor Keri

coping skills bingo counseling game

Kids love bingo. This is a great game to use in groups or classroom settings. Bingo is always exciting and engaging. This game will also prepare the group of kids for disappointment if they lose a round. They can just choose a skill from their board. It could be fun to use skittles, M&Ms, or some sort of snack as markers.



soothe your soul cognitive behavioral therapy game

Soothe Your Soul is another cognitive-behavioral counseling game. It helps kids learn how to calm down through visualization, thought stopping, and replacement techniques, and by using calming activities to manage symptoms. The spa theme itself is soothing and comforting. This one is also available for telehealth.


By WholeHearted School Counseling

coping skills gameshow in person and online counseling game

This is an interactive game show-style game to allow children to identify skills. I like how it uses multiple ways to help kids process the information through answering questions, role play, drawing, and giving empathetic responses. This one can be played online, allowing it to be used for telehealth sessions.



By Counselor Keri


problem solving counseling game

This is a “punny” little game that uses a play on words to help kids problem solve, think positively about situations, and cope with difficult situations. It is created to take up little space and to be filed away when not in use. Simple, cute, and accessible. This game gets an A in my book.




medieval minds fight flight or freeze therapy game

Medieval Minds is a counseling game that helps kids identify how the fight, flight, or freeze response impacts their bodies. They will grow in body awareness, learn how to turn off the response, identify triggers, and make a plan for how to cope when triggered. It is an engaging game that addresses anxiety and anger from several different perspectives and incorporates cognitive-behavioral interventions.


Conclusion

Your toolboxes will now be bulging full of coping mechanisms to help little ones. There are many resources out there to help build skills. You may also want to check out my blog posts about building coping skill toolboxes. It can be helpful to make flashcards for kids to take home once their preferred skills are identified.



Be sure to check out the other posts in this series:

 

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