Having meaningful conversations with your kids about difficult topics, such as friendships and fears, is not always fun. But game night usually is fun.
A new game invented by a Petaluma therapist aims to use game night to get parents and kids talking. Marcus Moore, director of Petaluma Family Therapy, is developing “SPARK: Questions for Kids,” a game designed for kids between the ages of 6 and 12 to talk about relationships, feelings and challenges.
“Sometimes kids are not into having a serious conversation,” said Moore, who has practiced in Petaluma for 12 years. “A game is a lot more comfortable for kids. They step into that play space.”
After evaluating other games with similar concepts, Moore determined that they were either too complex or too simple. His game includes a spinner and three stacks of question cards of varying difficulty. Kids earn “gems” for answering questions.
The easy topics include questions about kids’ dream jobs or their least favorite food. Harder questions include “Describe a time when someone stood up for you,” and “Which movie character best describes you?” The difficult questions ask kids about their fears and about the last time they got angry.
Moore, who has been developing the game for the past two years, said he had help writing the questions from teachers and social workers. Other therapists have provided feedback. So far, reaction from kids has been positive, he said.
“Kids are jumping up and down when they are playing it,” said Moore, 38. “It’s definitely really fun.”
Moore, who lives with his wife and two kids in west Petaluma, hopes to mass produce the game and market it to niche toy stores and sell it online. He has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $12,000 to fund the first batch of 2,000 games, which he hopes to have produced by June.
In the future, Moore said the game could be adapted for teenagers. Local elementary school teachers are excited to use the game in their classrooms, he said. The game is not just for families who have a hard time communicating. Even cohesive families can use the questions to take their conversations further, he said.
“It’s good for any range of families that want to work on communication or improve their conversations,” he said.
(Contact Matt Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.)