Sian Chambers - ACTIVITY 3 – Drama/Play therapy game/warm up to a session

by sian
(Whitsundays, Australia)

Drama Therapy for Play Therapy Activity

Drama Therapy for Play Therapy Activity

Clients: primary school students, mixed ages but these activities can be used for all ages. You can also adapt this activity to individual play therapy sessions.

Materials: djembe drum

Aim: to practice labeling, discussing and processing our experiences and emotions and building trust within the group situation. Also practices what emotions look and sound like and turn social rules such as turn taking/attention sharing within a group situation. Through this activity we learn that there are many different ways we can express and communicate our feelings even if we can’t find the ‘right’ words.

Format: Facilitator sits in the circle with the children and takes the first turn. They explain that we are all going to take turns at drumming out our weeks. Give a few examples of a stressful week (eg. fast frantic drumming), a lazy week (slow drumming), a sad week, happy week etc. Explain to the group that there are no right or wrong ways of doing it, it is simply about them expressing themselves. Once each person has had a turn drumming their week they are invited to share what went on, but they are not obliged to – the drummed communication is enough (most of the time they do want to share and over the year I have been using this as a warm-up the group have really started listening to each other, and even sometimes supporting and offering the other person advice).

I also use different variations of this activity to engage the children in new ways. Sometimes we will just have to choose a frozen facial expression to summarise our week, act it out using our bodies in the middle of the circle or create a nonsense sound. In each of these examples we discuss as a group what the person was trying to tell us, what emotions were being expressed, how did we know that? All of these approaches simply break down some barriers and encourage the children to open up and share about their emotions and experiences. You can also offer other extensions on this theme introducing other instruments to help us express ourselves, or a selection of instruments in the middle of the circl that they have to choose from to play out their week.

Outcome: I feel that using these drama/play games and activities regularly has helped to facilitate rapport, trust and support within the children and individually they have gained confidence in their ability to communicate and identify their emotions in a number of different ways.

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