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I currently work with children and families. Early on, I was taught that children and youth open up best when they have something else to focus on because eye contact is hard! Here are some games and toys I use, have used, or have been told to use in my sessions!
1- Sensory Rings: I have used these rings to give to clients for two reasons: to give them a sensory toy to play with when they are stressed and to serve as a visual reminder to practice their coping skills.
2-Jenga: Jenga is a fun game, but I also like to use it to get to know my clients. Each time one of us pulls out a block, we get to ask the other a question (ie do you have any dogs, what is your favorite color). I tell them that I may not be able to answer some questions, but we still get to know each other.
3-Spot It: This is a simple fun game I use with children. They need to focus on two cards to find the object that appears on both.
4-Wooden Treasure Chests: You and your client can paint these and fill them with their coping skills or positive affirmations (ie written notes) to help your client transition out of therapy.
5-Any Fidget Cube: I allow my clients to hold an “dodecagon” fidget toy while we speak so that they have something to play with. I bought two, so that my client and I both have one.
6- Play-Doh or other clay-type toy: This one can be used simply to give your client something to hold and play with while talking. You can hold some yourself to show them that it is okay to play in sessions. I have also led children in building a TheirName-Snowman and asked how the snowman is feeling to allow them to speak through story-telling.
8- Medical Toys: A professor of mine recommended having medical toys to let children work through their trauma using play (ie mom in the hospital, scary surgery, etc).
9- Doll House & Dolls: Children sometimes have an easier time talking about tough situations when they get to do it through play. You can even buy dolls of different ethnicities or races.
Any other toy ideas? Please comment and let me know! I may add a part 2 or edit this blog post. Either way, I will incorporate new info as best I can!
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Last Update: 02/18/2020