Two siblings try out a card game and learning tool developed by a 16-year-old that facilitates conversations around kids identifying, coping with and expressing emotions
It’s easy to brand a tantrum-throwing child as misbehaved. But all it could be is miscommunication. What else can children do without the tools to understand, and vocabulary to express emotions? Recognising this gap, 16-year-old entrepreneur and founder of Day One Learning Solutions Avantika Kampani aims to equip minds as young as five and above with a card game called Check In to help identify, express and deal with various emotions, one conversation at a time.
The cards were delivered for a test drive to Chembur residents, Jaden Dsouza, 10, and Zack Dsouza, 9. Before the game could begin, the cards were curiously scanned through until one that piqued interest was discovered. It was one-of-eight-character cards with each embodying an emotion and colour. If one sibling wasn’t following suit, he was playfully chased by the other brandishing the ‘Frustrated Freddy’ card.
The pack includes a three-category approach of ‘What Makes Me’ cards that explore the expression of emotional triggers, ‘When I Can Do’ cards that explore strategies to cope with feelings, and ‘Silly Time’ cards with humorous activities. The game’s brilliance lies in its simplicity — a straightforward method to tackle emotions.
This is a point-system game where answering the first two sets of cards gives you five points, and silly cards score 10 points. The first to reach 100 wins the game, and after unravelling conversations and navigating feelings; no player walks away empty-handed. Their mum, Karen Dsouza, a voiceover artiste, shares, “In the 40-minute-playtime, it didn’t feel competitive after a point. It was one insightful conversation after another and gave us a platform to discuss and express our thoughts. We even ventured into chatting about adults crying.”
To this, Zack added, “I realised that adults also experience difficult emotions. They don’t always have all the answers. It’s best to talk through to figure out how to deal with our emotions.” Noticing how the boys loved the Silly Time cards, Karen adds that they did a good job of punctuating serious conversations with silly turns, “These cards also help loosen the body. Growing up, it is natural to feel that being silly is not cool; so, it was nice to encourage this experience.”
Another plus was the answer options given with each card, to guide players in approaching different emotions. Jaden shares, “The ‘What I Can Do When Frustrated’ card made me realise that I could try these options to express my feelings. Sometimes, it’s hard to tackle a thought. It was nice to have options to refer to for your answer. It was also great to see them open up to different ideas to express an emotion.”
She sums up the experience, “It takes time to reach the point limit of 100 when you’re diving into conversations. I suggest setting a score goal according to your child’s mental bandwidth. They can also see cues or notes for parents who are moderating the conversation. These are sensitive topics that require a responsible, non-judgmental adult who doesn’t contest a child’s response.”
Kampani believes that all learning starts from day one, and that learning healthy coping mechanism, communication tools and strategies to cope with emotions early on will help you tackle these topics as an adult or teen. She notes, "I want to tell kids my age and younger that it's important to express yourself and not feel ashamed about what you're feeling. And also that, in terms of entrepreneurship, if you have an idea, it's always the right thing to share it with the world and express your ideas in tangible ways. You will find support for it along the way."
AGE GROUP: 5 and above
TYPE: Card game
PRICE: Rs 499
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