Dawn (our fearless and wonderful managing editor) sent me information on a game a couple of months ago. She knew I’d be interested in it because let’s just say this simply: my son is (was?) an emotional mess.
Background of Why
It would have been hard for us to review this a year ago, because he was pre-hospitalization for his breakdown and he was completely shut down from life. He survived near death to receive dialysis, a kidney transplant courtesy of a family friend and skilled doctors and multiple medical interventions to keep him alive. Those events took their toll and we found ourselves with a suicidal 9 year old boy. He couldn’t express what he wanted for dinner, much less an emotion to express his experience other than despair and rage. He’s moved on a bit with medication, therapy and patience and we’re starting to see our son again with clarity.
His sister, who received a kidney transplant just 2 ½ years after her brother’s transplant had her own emotional issues because of the turmoil we lived in for two years as a result of his acute depression. While she is much more expressive about her fears, sadness and her medical experience she had a lot of emotions about his anger towards her, her witnessing his life of sadness in its entirety.
So, like I said, the game sat around. Honestly, I was confused for a bit because while I knew a “feelings game” was coming and the makers were offering it as a giveaway on our site. When I got a package that was from Institute of HearthMath I didn’t connect the two – I was thinking that must have been a math game. A month ago I opened the package and finally figured out that the HeartMath package was actually the “feelings game called Wild Ride to the Heart.
One night when the kids were in bed I open the game and read the directions and it seemed pretty easy. For my daughter, who takes in and puts out things a little slower than her peers, I was extremely happy that it looked easy. It is as easy to navigate on the board as Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. The board and pieces and box it came in are extremely sturdy, which made me happy because it seems like every corner of every box in our game closet is duck taped or not and is split and it annoys me because, well, things like that annoy me.
What the Kids Said
The next day after school and homework I asked if they wanted to play a game about feelings. “Huh? What do you mean…feeelllings?” I said, all the feelings, and look at this; and they were excited. The board is colorful and the faces on it were fun to look at and we laughed a little bit about them. There’s a help card in there so you can match the faces on the board to see what you are supposed to mimmick if you land on it – we all liked looking at that when one of us landed on it.
For the surprise face we landed on we had to select a card and it asked a question about a feelings…(card said) make an emotion face, and answer the question ”When did you feel _____?” That question (which I got a couple of times) garnered a lot of discussion because they kids were the first ones who talked about how I was sad when they got new kidneys and they could have died. My son talked about the doctor he heard say he could die and while this is not a surprise, it was a good experience to discuss it in a relaxed environment. My girl had her own cards she landed on and she talked about her feelings about being sad about something at school.
We smiled a lot, the kids loved spinning the number card spinner and picking the cards and making faces. I was so pleasantly surprised how it got them talking that it’s on our list to play again. The kids knew we were “testing” it for the site and said, “You should tell people it’s fun” and “Yeah, you can tell people I liked it.” I can tell you I wished we would have had this game a few years ago.
The game isn’t for special needs families alone, any family with kids would like playing it and its interactive, so us adults aren’t bored playing it. I totally believe that a 4-year old could play (the age recommendation) and it would make a great gift, too. It’s affordable, at $14.95 from their site. Don’t get confused like me though…it’s not about math!
So, 6 thumbs up here and an enthusiastic positive review. If you’d like a chance to win the game for you or as a gift (holidays are coming!) just leave a comment in the toy group!
P.S. Now is the time to start hanging out at the Toy Talk Group — expect lots of giveaways as we gear up to make your holiday shopping easier!
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