Fostering Emotional Competencies with Games in Classrooms

Project Lead Category Project status
Adam Lobel Gaming Completed

This project strives to create a suite of analog games to be implemented in classrooms. The goal of these games is to improve children's emotional competencies in three domains which past research highlights as being crucial for healthy development: emotion vocabulary, cognitive reappraisal skills, and children's theory of emotion.

Project team


We are a team of emotion researchers and game designers devoted to using games and play to educate. The endeavor we present here concerns teaching children ages 8-11 about the skills they can use to healthily regulate their emotions. To this aim, we are developing a suite of board games suitable for classroom settings. But we also strive to create a product that children will beg their teachers to take home.


We believe that play is a sacred space that allows us to experiment with ourselves and our social surroundings. Play produces a gamut of emotional experiences, enriching the emotional vocabulary of children. Play is also especially important for children as a place for them to feel in control of their own lives and decisions. To play is to indulge in intrinsic motivation. Taken together, play exposes children to new emotional experiences while granting them a sense of empowerment. It is our hope as designers to harness these emotional and motivational benefits of play to create contexts that maximize children's emotional understanding.

Play has forever been in our nature. In the words of visionary designer Hideo Kojima, Even if the earth were stripped of life and reduced to a barren wasteland, our imagination and desire to create would survive--beyond survival, it would provide hope that flowers may one day bloom again. Through the invention of play, our new evolution awaits. 


  • The Benefits of Playing Video Games

    Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). American Psychologist, 69, 66-78.

    Author: Isabela Granic

    Upload date: 01-17-2014

Project team

Adam Lobel title=
Adam Lobel

User Research Analyst at Ubisoft Montréal. My favorite games tell emotionally rich stories and challenge me to think differently


User Research Analyst


E-mail Adam

Andrea Samson title=
Andrea Samson


Senior Researcher - Swiss Center for Affective Sciences


E-mail Andrea

David Sander title=
David Sander


Director of the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences


E-mail David

Owen Harris title=
Owen Harris


Game Designer, Teacher & Human


E-mail Owen

Jeremy Falger title=
Jeremy Falger


Game Designer


E-mail Jeremy

Isabela Granic title=
Isabela Granic
Director of GEMH Lab

Professor and Chair of the Developmental Psychopathology department in the Behavioural Science Institute; writer; voracious podcast consumer; mother of two upstanding little gamers


Professor at McMaster's University & Co-founder of PlayNice Interactive


E-mail Isabela