Written by Joyce Johnson, creator of Hazel’s Helpers
As a game designer
, there is nothing more rewarding than experiencing how games make a difference in people’s lives. I recently had a chance encounter with a family in Santa Barbara
and it was a great reminder of the importance of games and how they can positively impact both children and adults.
I had just ordered take-out for dinner from a favorite restaurant in town. As I walked outside, I noticed a young family of four seated at their outdoor table, trying to settle their very upset, crying and screaming toddler. His older sister sat nearby, steady and composed. The little boy seemed inconsolable despite his mom swooping him into her arms and lovingly trying to calm and distract him.
I returned to my car waiting for my order to be ready. As I watched and listened to the situation unfold (or perhaps unravel), I felt a tug in my heart and wondered how I could help. Then I remembered – I had a copy of Hazel’s Helpers
After grabbing the game from my car, I approached the family with Hazel’s Helpers
in hand. I told them that I was a game designer and if they’d like my game, I’d give it to her. I said to the little boy, “You might really like the rubber ducks inside!”
He immediately stopped crying and said, “mommy can we play?”
The mom was incredibly appreciative and overcome with my generosity. The boy was smiling ear to ear, and to everyone’s relief, the crying quickly stopped.
By the time I left the restaurant, the family had started to play Hazel’s Helpers
, and I saw the
delight on all their faces. SimplyFun games make a big difference in the lives of families, and this was a perfect example of watching it occur in real-time!
Ready to Read More? Game On!
The Benefits of Play for Children’s Development
Hazel's Helpers Wins Award from the National Parenting Center