I was shopping at a craft store recently and thought, I should just video this and share it on the blog! I’ve been a play therapist for many years and gone through many toys and craft items, and I still continue to seek out new materials and toys for the play therapy room.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping and some videos of me from a recent trip to the craft store. Enjoy!
Keep an open and creative mind. I often find the best items for use in therapy when I don’t have a purpose in mind…just go out with a mindset that anything is a possibility for use and you will find some really great stuff.
Look off the beaten path. Items for imaginative and creative play are not always in the toy isle or at your most popular stores. I like to shop on store isles that are for planting, sewing, or model building (doll houses, battles, dolls, etc.). I also visit resale shops, yard sales, and craft stores.
Find items with organic materials. In my opinion, items made of materials like wood or cotton are softer, warmer, and more inviting for children than plastic toys. In my video I even show you a couple of items I picked up from the park.
Allow room for the child’s creativity. Even if you don’t exactly know how (or if) a certain item will be used, buy it and see what the children do with it, and if it is popular, you can buy more.
Give and receive with others. Sharing your new toys and materials with fellow child therapists is a great way to expand you play room collection. If I find a really great item and I can afford to buy multiples, I pick up a few for other therapists who might like to try it out, and then they do the same for me.
Consider your current population of clients/patients and what they might use. My caseload varies in symptoms and needs, so when I shop I think of the kids who I am currently working with and how they might apply the item therapeutically. Considering the needs of each client can be a very helpful guide on shopping trips.
Here are a couple videos of me at the store!
Check out some of these great products for a child therapy play room: