When one of my school aged patients was having a hard time coping with his hospital stay, I knew it was time for a therapeutic activity. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do with him, but I did know some things; I knew my goal was for him to explore his feelings, I knew he liked legos, I knew he had a hard time with his previous hospitalizations. I had my practicum student with me on this day & together, she and I hit the drawing board (aka Pinterest) to try and develop an activity to match our goals & his interests.
We found this amazing LEGO feelings worksheet on teacherspayteachers.com – for free! Then, we split up some LEGO packs according to color. I also brought my Inside Out figurines to help reinforce the connection between colors & emotions.
When we brought this to our little warrior, he was eager to play! We went over each emotion & gave examples of times we each felt that way. Then we guided him to assign the emotions to different colors.
When it came time to build, there was a lot of redirection needed to keep that connection between colors & emotions; that’s when my Inside Out characters came to help! Our warrior began to mindfully build with intention; focusing on different emotions & giving examples of times in his life he felt that way.
“I see you used a red lego; what emotion goes with red? What’s something that makes you feel that way?”
By the end of the activity, my little warrior had build a nifty little race car built from all of these different emotions. This was such a fun activity for all of us! It provided my student and I a window into how he was feeling, promoted rapport building and normalization of the medical environment through play, and gave us the opportunity to address any fears/misconceptions he may have as well as validate his feelings. After the activity he was of course able to engage in free play with his LEGO pieces; with or without emotions involved.