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flickr / Toca Boca

7 Games To Increase Your Kid’s Emotional Intelligence & Get Them To Understand Feelings

flickr / Toca Boca
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Kids are thoughtful, caring creatures. Or, at least they will be. In the beginning, they’re confused little things who have a hard time understanding concepts like sharing, compassion … or facial expression

Basically, toddlers and preschoolers are little emotional tuning forks that need to be calibrated. You’re already teaching them the ins and outs of understanding, but a little reinforcement won’t hurt. Here are 7 games for your kids to play that are a) fun and b) get in touch with their emotions — because it’s tough to navigate this thing called life.

Sharing With Duckie Deck

As the name explicitly suggests, it’s an app that teaches your kid to share. With a duck. There are 6 available games that boost their memory, matching, and hand-eye coordination. They can dole out digital watermelon wedges and apple slices to their animal buddies, but you need to be the one to remind them they “don’t make friends with salad.”
$3 (iOS)
Ages: 3+

Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings

Their favorite cat in a sweater lets your kid explore emotions like fear, frustration, and disappointment  — mostly when you take the phone from their hands. Games like “The Drawing Easel,” where they can create pictures that represent their feelings, the “Feelings Photo Booth,” where they can identify DT friends like Katerina frowning (or O the Owl making his “O” face) and snap a photo of themselves expressing the emotion … no duck faces allowed.
$3 (iOS)(Android)
Ages: 3+

Toca Pet Doctor

It’s like an app version of Operation, except instead of an anatomically incorrect guy whose funny bone is acting up, there are animals your kid can patch up. Toca Pet asks them to bandage pets and show a little bedside manner, all in service of showing them about how others feel. And, if your kid stop swinging the cat by its tail — bonus!
$2 (iOS)(Android)
Ages: 2 – 6

Avokiddo Emotions

Play dress up with a variety of wonderfully animated characters with different personalities: from giggling giraffe to a shy sheep. There are more than 100 outfits and props to choose from (disco sheep, anyone?), each one coaxing a different response. It also lets kids practice important skills like facial and body language recognition. Soon they’ll know when it is (and isn’t) wig time.
$3 (iOS)(Android)
Ages: 4+

Touch + Learn Emotions

Consider this one an intro to emoting. The premise is simple: 4 images of real people appear on screen, and your kid gets directions like “point at the happy teenager,” or something more realistic. Then they tap the image of that person for a correct match. The name of the game here is emotional intuition.
$2 (iOS)
Ages: 3 – 5


Digital Problem Solver — it’s like a GPS, but for emotions. This database is a bunch of tricks for kids to relate to emotions and gives them coping strategies to handle them. Characters represent 8 different feelings. When a kid pulls up a particular feeling, the app provides them a solution for dealing with it, like taking a deep breath, thought exercises, or writing Facebook comments on an unrelated news post.
Ages: 6+


This award-winning interactive game is more than just farm animals dancing, wagging their tails, and wearing sunglasses. It also tasks kids with picking the critter performing the activity. The ID process slyly teaches your toddler about both animals and emotions by asking them to name the “thoughtful cow” or “pensive dog.” Actually, that last one may be a yoga move you just invented.
Free (iOS)
Ages 3+

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