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Counseling Games You Can Play for FREE!

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

a list of counseling games you can play for free

Play therapy can be fun, engaging, and effective, but it can also be expensive! The art supplies, crafts, toys, and games add up. It is always a relief to find free resources or ways to repurpose materials you may have on hand. To help reduce the financial load, I wanted to offer some free interventions you can use with your kiddos. As a bonus, many of these are available to use via telehealth.

a free inside out "train of thought" game, great for cbt

from Mrs. Kathy King

Inside Out has so many metaphors and information in the movie that can be used in counseling. You can talk about the emotions themselves, the purpose behind the emotions, how life changes can impact emotions, and the islands of personality provided a powerful metaphor. CBT can be introduced by explaining self-talk as the characters in Riley's mind. So. Much. Material.

So I found this game by Mrs. Kathy King and immediately loved it. It is a creative design, incorporates the islands of personality, and has all of the beloved characters. I printed it out and then colored the white spaces to match the colors of the islands of personality. As they landed on the different colors, I would ask a question regarding that island. For instance, if they landed on "Family" I would ask something like, "Tell a happy memory with your family."

4 colors is a free online version of UNO

Four Colors – An Online Game Similar to UNO

Four Colors is an online game that plays like UNO. There are many ways to play UNO in therapy, such as Feelings UNO, play it with additional prompts, or you can play it normally and use it to help with regulation, communication, and assessment.

Getting to know you Free uno companion card game

Let’s Build Language on Teachers Pay Teachers has a Getting to Know you UNO Game Companion free download. It offers conversation starters for the different cards that can be played during the game.

You could create your own prompts and have them in a bowl or printed out to read as you play. There is really no limit to what you can do with UNO.

Feelings Candy World is a free online version of Candy Land

from Pathways to Peace

Feelings Candy World is a Google Slides telehealth game that plays like Candyland. Each color on the game board will have a prompt to tell about a time you experienced a specified feeling. This will allow children to grow in their emotional vocabulary, learn to communicate with I statements, and will help them to verbalize the things that have been weighing on them.

This can be used for any presenting problem, as it covers a wide range of issues and

teaches foundational skills for emotional regulation and communication. It can be used in individual, group, or family sessions.

free kindness bingo game

from Counselor Kari on Teachers Pay Teachers

Who doesn’t love bingo?? I love the appearance of this game, the simplicity, and that it helps develop positive social skills, and the game gives helpful ideas for how to show kindness to others. We definitely need more kindness in our culture and it is becoming more unusual for people to show kindness to others. Kids will often report it feels uncomfortable or foreign to them to do these simple acts. Hopefully, we can normalize kindness once again and make the world a warmer place.

highs and lows is a free matching game to help children identify and communicate emotions.

from Pathways to Peace Counseling

This simple matching game can be played as a memory game or as Go Fish. There are 2 cards with each emotion in the game, a total of 24 cards. It is a versatile game, as you can ask about a time the client felt the emotion, focus on empathy by asking what would happen to cause someone to feel that way, or address triggers.

free social emotional learning digital spinner

from WholeHearted School Counseling on Teachers Pay Teachers

This is a fun resource to use to build rapport with new kiddos. Use it to break the ice, open up conversations, and help group members get to know one another. I love that it comes with a digital spinner that can be used online or in a classroom setting or you can print off the dice and roll them for in-person sessions. They are attractive with bright colors and art.

Angry Bird Truth Bomb is a CBT free card game

by Pathways to Peace

Angry Birds lends itself nicely to counselors. The movies were super cute and I was rather fond of Matilda, the therapist. We learn through the movie that there was purpose behind the anger and that the angry birds had reason to attack the pigs. Helping children recognize the purpose behind anger can help them better understand it and cope with it.

Angry Birds Truth Bomb is a card game that helps kids find ways to "blow up" negative self-talk statements with "truth bombs." The pigs represent the negative self-talk and the angry birds are the truth bombs. Kids will get to build towers, play pigs on opponents' towers, and then blow up the pigs with positive self-talk statements. This is a free PDF download.

Free would you rather digital spinner

from WholeHearted School Counseling on Teachers Pay Teachers

This is another activity that can be used online or in person. These would you rather questions can help open up dialogue and can help get to know kiddos on a deeper level. It comes with 30 brightly colored questions. The download comes with a PDF with instructions as well as a PowerPoint file. The PowerPoint contains questions, but the PDF has the link to the spinner.

There are many, many more out there, but these might be new to you. What is your favorite game to play? What therapeutic styles do you incorporate while playing? Which games do you find to be the most effective with your kids? I'd love to hear your ideas. Enjoy!

Want more games? Check out my list of games to play in therapy, sorted by presenting problem. All of the games are $20 or less and there are several more free resources included.

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