LEGO feelings

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.

Don’t forget the teens

20140304-143440.jpg

During my practicum I always struggled when interacting with teens. Being that I was 21 years old when I was doing my practicum, it seemed awkward for me to provide child life services to someone who was so close in age. During my internship I went out of my comfort zone and really made an effort to connect with my adolescent population. Thus began my new found love for providing child life services to teens (as much as I would for any other age.) Now that I’m working as a child life specialist, I’m always looking for ways to keep our teen population included when it comes to giveaways/things to do while in the ER because while yes, teens do love being on their phones, phones run out of battery and there is only so many times you can refresh your twitter newsfeed before you go crazy. Here’s a list of what I have (so far):

  • A variety of “teen movies” for them to choose from to watch in their rooms
  • Age appropriate board games (apples to apples, connect 4, uno, regular cards, etc)
  • An x-box on wheels with age appropriate games (need for speed, nba 2k13, etc)
  • And, my latest option to hand out: Mandala art!

Mandala art is supposed to be therapeutic to color if you’re coloring from the inside out {https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/mandala-art-drawing-your-way-wholeness} . I hand out a few sheets and some coloring pencils to my teens who are interested and it’s been a hit! I’m so glad that I’m able to provide my teen population with things that they enjoy & are age appropriate.

Therapeutic activity of the week

This week I had a patient that was starting to feel sad about spending so much time in the hospital. I decided to make this thankful turkey with her so that when she starts to feel down, she can have a (festive) reminder of all the good things in her life. The activity was a big success and she and I had a lot of fun. Here’s a photo of the supplies I used (turkey materials purchased from oriental trading) & my thankful turkey!

This activity can be adapted to different seasons (flowers for spring, snowflakes for winter, etc)

20131108-183533.jpg