Theme: Expressing feelings, coping skills, relaxation skills
Recommended Ages: Pre-K through 5th grade, as well as family members who may be older
Goals: Identifying and expressing feelings appropriately
Identifying appropriate ways to cope with feelings
Materials: Monster Stomp Board Game
Description: Monster Stomp is a game that children really enjoy. They get to STOMP monsters and enjoy sensory play with the play-doh while creating monsters for the game, and when putting the stomped monster in jail.
Begin the activity by explaining how the game is played and either make the monsters with the enclosed clay, or display the Monsters you made in advance. Explain that anytime a monster is stomped the participants may choose a feeling. This could be a negative feeling that they have experienced during the previous week (i.e. Monster Mad), a feeling they’d like to have, or a feeling they anticipate having. Participants should then discuss the feeling and identify coping strategies or relaxation techniques they can use to manage the negative feeling, or if they have identified a feeling they’d like to have, something they could do to achieve that feeling. This can be done in individual or family sessions.
Both during and after the game, process the feelings and skills discussed. Monster Stomp is especially useful when teaching children appropriate ways to express anger, identify triggers for anger, and cognitions or thoughts that might contribute to anger. The process of smashing the monster can act as an stimulus for identifying and expressing angry thoughts and the therapist can talk about “taming the angry monster.” Role playing strategies for managing anger (e.g., deep breathing, punching a pillow, talking about it, or an anger dance that includes stomping out all the anger) is also important.