Hoyle card games have been around for a long time. Hoyle was founded in 1927 and named for Edmond Hoyle, something of a legend in the playing card world. With nearly 100 years of experience and a namesake that demands excellence, we assume they’re at the top of their game. Lately, however, Hoyle’s mission has been to make card games for kids and families that “kids and adults love to play while learning lessons and making memories together.” Making memories with our families through enriching activities is right up Dadventures’ alley. But we also wanted an expert to weigh in. That’s why we enlisted the help of child therapist, Dr. Brent Crandal, to help us understand how a few of Hoyle’s bestsellers go beyond family-fun and actually benefit children’s development. Check out his assessments below.
First off, Monkey May I is fun and so simple for kids to pick up on their first try. But Monkey May I also provides children the opportunity to practice their decision-making and judgment skills. Decision-making and judgment are one of the primary aspects of executive functioning. Executive functioning occurs in the prefrontal cortex, which serves as the “air traffic control center” of the brain. As experiences are happening, children use their executive functioning skills to make decisions, to regulate their impulses, and determine how they will interact in their environment.
In Monkey May I children can see cards with monkeys making decisions and solving problems, allowing kids to take the role of teacher. Through doing this, they can imagine how they would want to act, and describe why they think the monkey should make what they perceive to be the best choice. This type of decision-making practice is hard to find. Most of the decisions children make happen in-the-moment and there often isn’t time for children to pause and consider the options. The more children are able to take a moment to foresee choice and consequence, the better they get at self-management. Opportunities for kids to practice and develop judgment skills in an engaging environment, and with parent involvement, don’t always come naturally, luckily Monkey May I does just that.
Since we played this the first time, my daughter has asked to play it nearly every day. As a parent, this makes me giddy because the game is actually teaching her how to be a superhero to others in her community. She sees it as only a game, but playing is the work of childhood. Super Me helps children use play to develop mastery, plan for the future, and retry past challenges that were difficult the first time.
What do you do when someone drops their juice? What about when someone is sitting alone at lunch? Or can’t find their parents? These are the types of scenarios the game helps children feel prepared to handle. Parents want their children to develop positive values and character, but we don’t always know how to engrain them into our children’s behavior and family culture. Super Me does that by positively reinforcing good values and opening up conversations about how being a better friend or person can be heroic.
Emotions are tricky. Even as adults, we struggle with recognizing, understanding, and expressing our emotions, so it’s easy to empathize with children as they navigate this complicated world. Especially when so many of those emotions feel new or confusing. Nearly all of the treatments for children’s mental health include children building familiarity with different types of emotions and recognizing the differences. Hoyle’s Mixed Emojis is a wonderful way to help children and families develop this familiarity together through a fun game.
During gameplay, children and parents practice recognizing the difference between emotions like frustration and anger or happiness and excitement. They then can make faces to guess and recognize other’s feelings. My daughter and I talked about these different emotions and earned in-game rewards as we expanded our comfort describing times we’ve felt joy, surprise, or love. This game is a valuable tool for healthy development into adulthood and should be seen as essential for children with autism spectrum disorders.
Most games include points with a winner and often a loser, pitting family members against each other. Seal Squad does the opposite. The game immediately puts all the players into a team of seals that, through working together, can beat the walrus across the harbor. It can be a shift for children to realize everyone is making decisions as a team. While they make that shift, however, they are actually learning how to slow their impulses. Seal Squad encourages kids to ask for input before acting, include others in planning, work as a team, and explain their opinions. The game also gives parents an opportunity to develop a culture of teamwork within their family through project-based learning.
Thanks to Dr. Crandal we can confidently give Hoyle cards a massive seal of approval. Or maybe a Seal Squad of approval? Through genuine, fun engagement kids won’t even realize that these games are helping to shape good development and habits. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what to do as a family when going out for an activity isn’t an option. Rather than resorting to the usual movie, try something new and watch how quickly your children begin to love Hoyle card games.