Angry Paper Toss

emo-boys-splatI have to share an activity I recently found online by Dr. Amy Wickstrom that has been a wonderful tool in therapy. I began using this just last week since the weather has been so beautiful.

I have to admit that I figured some of the kids I brought out for this activity would only halfway participate. However, to my surprise, all the kids have enjoyed this exercise!

Many people have a difficult time saying what makes them angry and are more comfortable writing it down or drawing a picture. Plus, the physical activity and fresh air also got them to open up even more. This activity can be used for any age, even adults! It can also be done with one person writing or in a group. I also encourage families to do this activity together!

Here is how it works:

1. Gather together some large white paper, markers, napkins or toilet paper, tape, and a container of water.

2. Tape the paper somewhere, like the side of a building or on a driveway.

3. Have each participant write down situations or people that make them angry. I also allowed them to include things that annoy them. Also, some kids chose to draw pictures rather than write words.

4. Dip the napkins in water and throw them at the paper. The more soaked the paper is, the better it sticks. The marker actually drips down and the words or drawing fade. Visually seeing their words and drawings drip and fade away was a lot of fun for the kids, and me!

5. Right after the activity, process how it felt to write down the anger. Ask how it felt to toss the wet paper at the drawings. Finally, talk about how it feels afterward. If you are doing this as part of therapy, processing the activity is key to really dealing with the issues. As a family, simply completing the activity can get people to open up with one another and promote bonding.

Originally posted 2012-03-28 02:06:37.

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  • Linda Ware

    Thanks so much for sharing. As a new therapist I am constantly looking for interventions to use with my clients. This site has helped tremendously.

  • Dayna

    I love this idea. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for the comment and for reading Dayna!!

  • Thank you Tamara! I’m glad you are finding some useful ideas for your practice! 🙂

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  • Osagie

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and insight. I work with adults and the information/ideas was very effective even with them!

    • That’s great to hear! Thank you for reading and sharing the encouraging thoughts!

  • Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you advose starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? Ther are so many options out there that I’mcompletely overwhelmed ..

    Any tips? Thank you!

    • Thanks! I started with a free site. It’s a great opportunity to figure out how everything works and your own writing style. It can take time to get the hang of it all, but a wonderful experience!

  • louise

    Hi Kim,
    i work with families and young people and we are always on the look out for some good tools. your site is great. i have used a similar “tool”to this that i thought id share. be warned its messy.
    when i worked in residential i started this with some young lads.At the time spitting wet tissue that sticks to walls was” in”, the dubious young persons passtime was called Dobbies which is what we called this tool.
    you need different coloured very watered down paint, a huge bit of paper (wallpaper/lining paper is good) and toilet roll.
    the young person thinks of something that makes them angry, chooses a colour, covers the toilet roll in that colour. as they trow the tissue at the large piece of paper they can say what ever they wish, shout etc and in a way off load those angry feelings.they can choose different colours for different things. every time i have used this it seems to pull out a stopper that then enable the person to start talking much more openely they have enjoyed this session. i have been amazed at what the unplugging can very quickly lead to . we have always made sure we have a good amount of time after the dobbies to talk. the young person can talk about how it feels to let go some of the anger and discuss other ok ways to do this. i dont know what you will think of this one but thought id share.

    • This sounds like a fun and effective activity Louise! Thank you for reading and sharing! 🙂

  • kellisha

    Hi i was thinking about using this activity for anger management and i was just wondering what would you say are the purposes of this activity? I was thinking that people would be able to identify things that trigger their anger.. Anything else?

    • Hi Kellisha, thank you for reading and posting this question. Yes, identifying triggers and sources of anger is a huge benefit of the activity. The act of writing them down, sharing with another person, and “destroying the problems” on paper is also highly therapeutic. It’s a fun way to encourage kids to verbalize their problems rather than internalize them.

  • Priscilla

    Is there away that this can be modified for indoors?

  • Jen

    I used this with a parent and a resistant adolescent today and it worked wonders! By the end they were laughing and hugging. Thank you so much!

    PS- This worked well indoors. The wall and floors got a little wet but it dried 🙂

  • Yvonne

    I’ve tried this twice and my client’s loved it…and I do too! LOL

    • That’s great to hear!! Thank you so much for reading and sharing your feedback with us 🙂