Why we love Game Face

This is a game that's supposed to be funny! Laughter is a great stress relief and relaxes the whole body, and when we do it with others, it helps us connect – both things that really positive for our wellbeing. It's also all about kids learning that reactions are normal.

What to do

Depending on the number of people in your whānau, you might have to play this AND read the prompts!

Ask your kids to stand back-to-back, or you stand back-to-back with your child, and when you call out the ‘instruction’, you all have to jump around to face each other, and without talking, act out the face they'd make in the situation.

Have a practice run by getting into postion, back-to-back, then to jump around to face each other and demonstrate how they look... at 6am!

Make sure everyone has it clear what-to-do, making corrections as needed.

Then, stand back-to-back again and this time show each other you look when:

  • You get a great mark on a maths test.
  • Your pet poos on the carpet.
  • You're invited to a party!
  • You’ve stolen a biscuit before the guests have been served.
  • You get a cuddle from cool Auntie.
  • You have toothache.
  • You’re told to get off the iPad.
  • You’re about to present a speech at school.
  • Your ice-cream falls out of the cone.
  • You’re about to leave on holiday.
  • You accidentally snap your Mum’s Eftpos card in half!
  • The Silver Ferns walk into your living room!

Make up your own and you can always rely on the creativity of your kids – asking them to call some out too, or jot some ideas down for the next time you play.

What next: Action and reaction

To 'level up' family members work in pairs - you can use the prompts above again, but this time one person 'shows' the emotion and the other reacts to this. E.g. If you give a scenario that elicits sadness, one person would show sadness, while the other reassures them – an empathetic look, a hand on their shoulder.

This is a great way for kids to develop appropriate responsive skills and build empathy and understanding.

Check out Avon the friendly monster, playing Game Face with tamariki via zoom!