The Therapeutic Value of Play
On the 18th January I went to a course of the Therapeutic Value of Play, it was very interesting and mentioned both practical elements you could involve as well as the more complicated Neuroscience bits!
I'll go through a few of the practical elements because I think the Neuroscience might be a bit too heavy for a blog. A good thing for practitioners to note is that in order to train as a play therapist you must be over 25.
Messy Play! - One of my favourites for doing with children.
Things to consider: Dry messy play or wet?
Some children don't like wet or dry messy play depending on them individually, although both have great sensory elements to them, developing fine motor skills as well.
Dry messy play ideas:
Rice, pasta, dry play dough.
Wet messy play:
Cornflower and water, oil or conditioner. An added feature could be to allow the children to add food colouring or flavouring to it which can make it have a great smell!
Silly noises game!
This one is great for playing with groups. Simply write a load of matching names of animals on small pieces of paper, then send the children out making the noise of the animal they have chosen! The aim is to find their matching pair without talking and only making the animal sound. I personally found this very amusing, especially walking over to people shouting "COCK A DOODLE DOOO".
This of course is brilliant in helping develop communication and listening with children.
My String Story.
This one is quite interesting, simply give a child a piece of string, offer them a few props of natural resources or toy animals or people and tel them to make up a story along the string.
A good added bonus to this one is to put the children in pairs (probably the ones from the silly noises game) and allow one child to listen and the other to tell the story, then simply swap turns. It teaches patience, listening and turn taking!
"Healing happens through play" (Axline, 1974)
"Play is children's natural medium of communication." (Landreth, 2002)