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Children learn through play. As an occupational therapist who works with children and youth, I use games and toys almost every day to help develop important cognitive, visual perceptual, motor, sensory, social, play and leisure skills. While many different types of activities can be used in therapy, this blog focuses on off-the-shelf games and toys that are accessible to most. Whether you are a therapist, parent, teacher, or a game lover like me, I hope you discover something useful while you are here. Learn a different way to play a game you already own or discover a new game for your next family game night. Either way, just go play. It's good for you!

The OT Magazine named The Playful Otter one of the Top 5 Pediatric OT Blogs.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mad Dragon Anger Control Card Game


Work on controlling anger in the moment, anger management techniques, understanding what anger looks and feels like, expressing and understanding feelings, decision-making skills, identifying anger cues

In the box: 100 playing cards (24 red Training Your Anger, 24 blue Avoiding Anger, 24 green Understanding Anger, 24 yellow When I Control My Anger), 6 instruction cards
Ages 6-12, 2+ players

Mad Dragon is an anger control card game. The box recommends this game for ages 6-12, possibly because of the dragon motif, because the principles are pretty basic, or because it plays like the kid's game UNO. But I feel this game could be used with most any aged person who wants to learn about basic anger control. Similar to UNO, Mad Dragon includes Draw 2, Skip, and Wild cards. The object of the game, also like UNO, is to be the first to get rid of your cards. Unlike UNO, you will be identifying your anger cues, learning anger management techniques and expressing feelings as you play.

To set up the game, deal 7 cards to each player. Put the remaining cards in a pile, face-down, in the middle of the players and turn one card face-up to start a discard pile. In turn, each player will play one card on top of the discard pile that matches that card in either number or color. If the player does not have a matching card in his hand, he draws until he picks one and plays it. If the player plays a card with a dragon on it, he reads the card and follows the directions. Even though the game lists 24 of each color card (see above), not all of these cards have instructions on them. For instance, of the blue cards, 12 did not have any specific instructions.

The instructions state that this is to make the game go quicker, and it does make it seem more like a game. It may also make the game less intimidating if you did not have to share something personal each and every turn.

Here are card examples from each category:
  • Training Your Anger
    • Take a time out - Step away from an angry situation until you calm down. Then return to talk about your feelings. How long does it take for you to calm down?
    • Name 2 things it's not OK for you to do when you're angry. 
  • Avoiding Anger
    • Compromise - Sometimes when two people each give a little bit, they can avoid an angry situation. Describe a time when you compromised to avoid an argument.
    • Turn off violent TV and video games - Do you think watching violent and angry behavior on TV can make you feel angry yourself? Why?
  • Understanding Anger
    • What do your friends do when you are feeling angry?
    • Who made you angry this week?
  • When I Control My Anger
    • ...I feel confident that I can solve problems. What would you tell a friend who was having trouble controlling her anger?
    • ...I don't hurt people or things. Suppose you got angry and were mean to a friend. How can you make him feel better? 
The instruction cards include object of the game and set-up, rules, how the dragon cards work, tips and tricks for two games, and a card with 10-12 tips for each of the four sections. These tips are the same tips that are on the playing cards.

Try this:
  • Pull out all the action (sharing) cards and use them to teach without playing a game.
  • Discuss the tips instruction card for one section and then just incorporate that color of card into a game with all number cards. Teach one section at a time. Then mix all the cards together for a game.
  • Write your own tips on the cards that only have numbers on them. Cards are laminated, so not sure what type of pen would work with that. Maybe permanent marker?
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the link below.

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