Play Therapy Activities To Make Healing Fun
When you think about a therapist's office, does your mind immediately take you to a vision of a therapist sitting in a chair, taking notes next to a patient sprawled out on a lounge chair? You can imagine how intimidating that setting could be for a child. However, a play therapist's office is set up for play therapy activities that set the stage to make healing fun.
A play therapist's office has plenty of space to play with balls and other toys. There may be lots of cushiony pillows and comfy chairs to slump down in. Shelves and bins contain colorful tools and sensory items to help children open up and share what's troubling them.
The best child therapists use innovative play therapy activities to help children connect their words with what is going on in their lives.
Common Types of Play Therapy Activities
A sand tray is a small box filled with sand, rakes, and small toys. Children use figures to represent people and situations in their lives to act out things that bother them. Therapists use the sand tray to help children make sense of what is going on.
Play therapy consists of board games and physical games. Board games can be a great distraction, as a therapist encourages a child to talk about problems and feelings or to teach them about self-regulation with peers and adults.
Physical games like Red Light, Green Light, and Mother May I teach children about things like taking turns, giving up control, self-regulation, and more.
Playing the role of someone else helps kids to put their guard down as they are able to express their feelings and emotions through the persona of someone else. It's a great way to get them to open up and get to the heart of the issue, especially for kids who are naturals at drama.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy, which is also known as talk therapy, works just as well for children as it does for adults. It's often easier for kids to talk about their troubles when they are drawing a silly monster or drawing the stages of a volcano as it gets ready to erupt. Play therapists can tell a lot about how kids are feeling by letting them have some time to draw and talking with them about the meaning behind their drawings.
Many kids need sensory activities, so play therapist use manipulatives like stress balls to help children transfer their stress to the ball. Calm-down bottles are bottles with liquid and glitter, much like a snow globe. The therapist coaches the child to shake up the bottle and calm down before the contents of the bottle settle.
Communication Through Play Therapy Activities
Children develop their expressive language throughout their childhoods. They may know that they have troubling feelings, but they often can't understand them or communicate them using words until they are older and more mature.
Games and other play therapy activities help them to make sense of their feelings and give them new words for expressing them. Look for more information about play therapy activities at BetterHelp. Play helps them transfer new skills to the people and situations in their lives. More importantly, they'll look forward to coming back.