This is a repost of a review that I did back in July. However, after hearing about this series of giveaways, the Institute of HeartMath has graciously offered to send a copy of this board game to one lucky reader! Keep reading for review and entry instructions!
Some time ago, I was contacted by the Institute of HeartMath to review a new board game they had developed called Wild Ride to the Heart. Since Chip and I have both always loved board games, we try to use them as family time to get away from the TV and hopefully instill the same love of board games into our children (well, at least Patrick for now--Abigail will have to wait!).
We received a copy of the game to check out for ourselves.
The first time through the game was one evening while Chip was away at his managerial training for Waffle House and was out of town for a week. The weeknights were rainy, so it seriously cut out pool time. I needed entertainment for the kids and was trying not to go the easy route and use the TV as a babysitter.
So as soon as Abigail went to bed, Patrick and I pulled it out, talked through the instructions together and off we went. We enjoyed it, but I couldn't get pictures because it was just the two of us playing.
The second attempt was this week. Chip, Patrick and I all played together and spent a little over 45 minutes playing 2 rounds of the game. We enjoyed the time together as a family. And honestly...since I still needed to write this review and wanted to include some pictures, this was the perfect opportunity to catch some father/son time on film.
So, what is this game all about?
The Institute of HeartMath has spent a lot of time researching the emotional health of children. It seems there are many children who have trouble expressing themselves or truly understanding their emotions. This can causes various behavioral issues both at home and in school (or elsewhere) as well as stunted growth as relating to new social experiences. This organization is working on helping children understand how to deal with their feelings and therefore how to better handle the reality of life as they know it.
This board game was created to hopefully help in this effort.
A basic roll-the-die or spin-the-arrow game of moving around a game board is sprinkled with various emotion face spaces and surprise card spaces that require action from the player. The player is encouraged, when landing on an emotion face, to either make a face expressing that emotion, describe a time when they experienced that emotion, or "go to the heart" with that emotion. The surprise face cards sometimes require actions (like doing a silly dance) or describe a situation where a reward (moving forward spaces) or a consequence (moving backwards spaces) were experienced in relation to a space--for example, you threw a tantrum when you didn't get the snack you wanted, move backwards 4 spaces.
There are also shortcuts (similar to a Chutes & Ladders style shortcut, for reference) that help players along their journey. The first player to the middle wins.
- Bright colorful board
- Great emotions definitions card that explains each emotion so that even our 4-year old could understand.
- Encourages counting
- Encourages the aspect of winning/losing that a board game can teach
- Encourages open communication among players
- Helps children understand different emotions and relate to them by personal experiences
- Encourages family time
- Really the only "con" I found to this game was the "go to the heart" aspect. It felt a bit like encouraged meditation. Not like, "relax and think things through" meditation, but like a new-age type meditation. Maybe that was just our take on it, but Chip and I had the same reaction to it. Honestly, it didn't settle well with us, since we have a pretty strong Christian worldview, so we left this out. When we reached emotion spaces, we did either the faces or talked about an experience with that emotion. It was more comfortable for us.
As I stated above, I really only disliked the "Go to the Heart" part of the game. But since we left it out, the game made for an enjoyable experience.
It is a simple game that probably would not hold an older child's attention too long, but was awesome for our 4-year old and would probably work well up to 8 to 10 years old, depending on the maturity and emotional health of the child. We were blessed with an intelligent child who can freely express himself quite clearly and understand what is going on around him and within himself. Since not all children have this ability, I can see where this game could certainly open up doors of communication between children and parents or teachers, counselors, or psychologists.
This is not one I would necessarily recommend to all families for the sake of being a "fun" game, but I can definitely see the value in working with a troubled child or one who has difficultly expressing him/herself. I can also see this being a good tool for use in schools and other facilities.
And we'll be playing it again as a family because like I said...we like board games.
*Yes, our son is wearing a ninja costume. That's totally normal for him.
Visit the Institute of HeartMath store for this and other great products!
One lucky reader is going to win a copy of this game for use at home, at school, or as a gift! How can you win?
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Giveaway will run until August 21st at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be chosen by Random.org. US only. Commenter must either leave email address with each comment or make sure email address is attached to your profile. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to return contact before another winner is chosen.
In compliance with disclosure requirements, I was sent a copy of this game for our family to try out for free. No further compensation was received. My opinions are based solely on my family's experience with this game and no affected in any way by the Institute of HeartMath.
This post is part of my Back to School BLOWOUT! Click for more details!