We are a team of emotion researchers and game designers at the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, devoted to using games and play to educate. The endeavor we present here concerns teaching children ages 9-12 about the skills they can use to healthily regulate their emotions. To this aim, we are developing a board game suitable for classroom settings. But we also strive to create a product that children will beg their teachers to take home.


We believe that play is a sacred space that allows us to experiment with ourselves and our social surroundings. Play produces a gamut of emotional experiences, enriching the emotional vocabulary of children. Play is also especially important for children as a place for them to feel in control of their own lives and decisions. To play is to indulge in intrinsic motivation. Taken together, play exposes children to new emotional experiences while granting them a sense of empowerment. It is our hope as designers to harness these emotional and motivational benefits of play to create contexts that maximize children's emotional understanding.

Play has forever been in our nature. In the words of visionary designer Hideo Kojima, Even if the earth were stripped of life and reduced to a barren wasteland, our imagination and desire to create would survive--beyond survival, it would provide hope that flowers may one day bloom again. Through the invention of play, our new evolution awaits.  
Children's Games (1560) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Children's Games by Breugel the Elder (1560) depicting over 200 children playing some 80 games.