Creative resources for busy practitioners when working with children #creativeresources #children #therapeuticsupport

My role in Australia is quite different from my experience in the UK when working as an educational and child psychologist. Seeing children over a longer period of time has been great, but also brought some challenges. I had to rethink my ways of working and incorporate a number of new creative resources and ideas into my professional practice. It has been great to research and trial these. I present here my top five, the resources I feel have been particularly engaging for the children.

  1. A box of Lego: My box of classic Lego has been absolutely wonderful in engaging children who find socialisation and talking a little more tricky. Knowing I had a box of Lego, many came willingly to see me. We have some great play moments with the Lego, either exploring different pieces, talking about a new design, or thinking about what they built and why. I also enjoyed seeing what different children do with Lego, build from the booklet, invent a new pattern, talk whilst building vs being silent, build something significantly close to their current state of mind. In all situations, Lego has given us a great resource for discussion and relationship building.
  2. A bag of little people and animals: I put a bag of little people and animals together. I included lots of different interesting characters like Oshis, Shopkins, Superheroes and characters from different stories and television programs. I included Inside Out characters. I find children really like these and will use them when needing to express particular emotions. I also included trees, gates, flowers, etc. With these, children can create a world, their world. Together with the Lego, children can build a house, put people in it, play and talk. Again this is has triggered some interesting conversations.
  3. Blob tree and other blob pictures: I laminated the different pictures of the Blob and carry them around with me. It is a great resource to get to know a child’s view of the world with the possibility of knowing what they think of others’ ¬†perceptions of the world by prompting how others feel like and would be like on the picture.
  4. School and home situation pictures: I laminated a number of school and home situation pictures that I carry with me. Again these are great to get an insight into a child’s views of that particular environment. I found some pictures from ‘Where is my peg’ which is a resource supporting children going to school. It is also easy to find pictures on clipart, or even attempt to draw pictures.
  5. A poster session: As a first session, I most of the time use a blank page asking the child to talk about their likes, dislikes, strengths, difficulties and where they feel they need help. It is often a very accurate picture of their life and what parents talked about. During the poster session, I just draw bubbles of all their ideas and create a poster like a mind map. In this conversation, I use different techniques such as scaling, competency profiling, eliciting aspirations, thinking about next steps and goals. I draw with scented pens so that the children and I have something something exciting to talk about which helps building the relationship. Children also draw and put their stamp on the poster. I have also done this with children who are moving on. I call it a transition poster where I include a sentence such as ‘good luck in your new adventures’ and sign it. We talk about all their strengths, positives and skills needed in transition. If they want to, I encourage the children to ask their friends and teachers to sign the back. This aims to offer some closure and support in transition.

 

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