Anger is a topic I´ve touched upon in several of my posts. I´ve shared with you a comprehensive review of the best tips for anger management with kids, a selection of anger management activities, and printables to help recognize the signs of anger. But, is there a better way to build coping skills and emotional self-regulation than through play? Anger games are a great way to turn a really serious topic into an enjoyable activity.
In this post we´ll read:
- Why play is important when learning a new skill
- Anger Games: 11 super fun ways to learn anger management skills
- My 4 “Top Picks”
- Other anger games for you to consider
- Books about Anger Games
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Why is play important when learning a new skill?
There is a substantial body of research that argues for the importance of play in human development, supporting its role in children’s physical, cognitive, emotional and social learning:
- physical play provides children with the health benefits of exercise, cognitive self-regulation or social competence – this would include activities like:
- activity play (jumping, climbing)
- fine-motor practice( coloring, manipulating construction toys)
- ‘rough-and-tumble’ (play-fighting)
- playing with objects allow kids to explore the world, develop fine motor skills, representational abilities, reasoning, and problem-solving strategies.
- symbolic play (the ability of children to use objects, actions or ideas to represent other objects, actions, or ideas as play) prepares them for social activities and helps them make sense of the world surrounding them.
- games with rules (starting around the age of 6 or 7) are very important for their social development as they require: cooperation, following rules, competing, thinking about the other’s point of view and anticipating other people´s actions.
So, if kids learn through play, why not resort to this learning method in order to ensure their best engagement when we are teaching them anger management skills?
Anger Games: A Super Fun Way to Learn Anger Management Skills
Today, I´m presenting you with a selection of really great anger management games. Anger games can work really great when practicing/learning coping skills at home, at school or in the counseling environment. They are a great way to gain engagement even from kids who would otherwise have been reluctant to work on their anger issues.
Super Fun Anger Management Games. My 4 “Top Picks”:
1. Mad Dragon (ages 6-12)
Mad Dragon plays like the popular game UNO. Players race to get rid of their cards while learning anger control skills. This therapeutic card game helps kids:
- Control their anger in the moment;
- Practice 12 anger management techniques
- Understand what anger feels and looks like;
- Avoid anger-provoking situations;
- Express and understand their feelings;
- Identify anger cues;
- Learn that they have choices about how to express anger.
Why I like it:
- It is great for all kids. Therapists use them also with kids with autism, learning disabilities and emotional problems.
- It covers a wide range of activities: understanding triggers, expressing feelings or practicing anger management exercises
- it builds on a tried and tested game (UNO)
- if you are playing with kids with learning disabilities you will need to read the cards for them. You may also need to rephrase a sentence, sometimes, to make it easier to understand.
2. Temper Tamers in a Jar (ages 8-11)
Temper Tamers in a Jar is a great way to engage children in a discussion about anger and help them adopt new ways to deal with their angry thoughts and feelings. There are four different type of cards: Share (the child shares a real-life experience), Act (the child can role play a positive way to manage a situation ), Tips, and Do (what would the child do in a specific scenario).
Why I like it:
- It gets kids to talk about their own experiences and to think about what should be done in a specific situation
- I really like the role-playing part. I feel kids learn a lot when they role-play situations.
- you can use them with kids of different ages, but some people find it useful to make a selection to fit the age group they want to work with.
- you may be a bit disappointed when you see the cards. They are thin cards / pieces of paper. (they still do the job, though)
3. Thoughts and Feelings
Thoughts and Feelings 2: is a therapeutic tool designed to help parents, teachers, and mental health professionals engage children of all ages. The deck contains 35 cards especially effective in helping children identify, process, and work through a variety of issues including changes within the family, trauma, grief, anger, depression, anxiety and fears.
Why I like it:
- they are a great tool to get kids to open up and express their feelings.
- I really love the illustrations
- they are great conversation starters, but sometimes younger kids may get a bit confused when the picture does not relate to the sentence. They still work wonders, though.
4. Anger Management Thumball
Anger Management Thumball is a soft stuffed ball to throw, roll, or pass in a circle or randomly. When you get the ball you have to look under your thumb and respond to a prompt. It encourages the use of interpersonal skills including taking turns, eye contact, listening, responding and respecting individual differences.
Why I like it:
- I just love this anger game concept. It is so fun to throw a ball around and take advantage of that enjoyable situation to start a conversation about anger
- Don´t expect a big ball
Other Anger Management Games
5. The Talking, Feeling, & Doing Anger Card Game (ages 6-12)
The Talking, Feeling, & Doing Anger Card Game is a game intended to help children explore their feelings and develop new ways to think about themselves and their problems.
6. The Royal Rage (age 8-12)
The Royal Rage represents different faces of anger (raging mad, angry attitudes, coping with other people’s anger). It provides a good opportunity to talk and think about anger so that kids can develop coping skills and learn healthy responses to anger.
It is not for the very young ones, though, as they need to have good reading skills.
7. The Anger Solution Card Game (ages 7-12)
The Anger Solution Card Game teaches children constructive and effective ways to resolve their anger. The cards allow them the opportunity to choose alternatives that can turn anger-inciting situations into more positive encounters.
The Anger Defuser helps better understand about anger and how destructive it can be through conversation and play.
9. Stop, Relax & Think (age 6-12)
Stop, Relax & Think: is a game to help impulsive children think before they act by learning motor control, relaxation skills, how to express their feelings, and how to problem-solve. This one is designed for counselors, social workers and therapists.
10. Anger Management Party Game (teenagers)
Anger Management Party Game is a fun family game. You start off at “Mildly Irritated” and if you’re the first player to get “Absolutely Steamed” you win the game. As any anger game is a good tool to facilitate discussion about anger triggers and coping skills.
11. Anger Bingo for Teens (ages 12-18)
Anger Bingo for Teens addresses five anger management areas: triggers, symptoms, causes, control, and prevention. Includes laminated cards, chips, calling cards, reproducible handouts, and instructions.
Books About Anger Games
There are also some really good books that can guide you on how to use games to help kids or teens manage their anger issues.
12. Anger Management Games for Children
Anger Management Games for Children can be a good tool for parents and teachers. It includes introductory material (“Theoretical and practical background”) with very useful information about:
- the effects of anger
- anger triggers
- biological effects of anger in the brain
- how anger manifests itself in children
- anger management techniques
The second part contains a collection of social interaction games and memory games.
13. Therapy Games: Creative Ways to Turn Popular Games Into Activities That Build Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication Skills, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, and Coping Skills
Therapy Games shows 102 ways to turn ordinary games (like Taboo, Monopoly or Scrabble) into Therapy Games. Each game discussed in the book comes with five or more ways to make simple changes that create therapeutic experiences.
14. 104 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, Coping Skills
Alanna Jones (author of Therapy Games) has also produced another great book: “104 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, Coping Skills“. The topic is broader than just anger management, but I think is a really good book worth mentioning if you are seeking to develop coping skills. It is a good book for teachers, therapist or counselors.
Are you ready to start playing an anger game?
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