Play Therapy Create Your Own Play Therapy Game : Key to the Treasure

by Susan
(Mercer University Play Therapy Student)

Treasure Box : Play Therapy Create Your Own Play Therapy Game : Key to the Treasure

Treasure Box : Play Therapy Create Your Own Play Therapy Game : Key to the Treasure

I really enjoyed the make your own play therapy game project. I like the idea of making your own games, tailored to the needs of your clients. First, I wanted to make something that could be used with different age groups. So I decided to make a treasure box that could be filled with any reward that is age appropriate. Then the game could be tweaked in many ways, depending on the age group. I decided to focus this particular game on middle school students.
Middle school is a time when communication begins to break down. Therefore, the object of this game is to get a group of students to work together on solving riddles. By solving a riddle as a group, they receive a part of a key. When the key is built, they can open the treasure box and find a reward. The rules are as follows:
1. As a group nominate one person who will read the question to the group.
2. Work together to decide what the answer is.
3. Do not argue if you are, no piece of the key will be given!
4. When you have decided on an answer, tell the key holder (the adult in the group) your answer.
5. If your answer is correct, you will be given one piece of the key.
6. When all parts of the key have been earned, decide as a group how they fit together.
7. Once the key is built with all of the pieces, you may open the treasure box and receive your reward.
8. Most of all, HAVE FUN! Respect the thoughts of those around you and work together to earn your reward.
To build the treasure box, I used a cardboard box that had an attached lid. I then covered it in brown paper. Using markers I drew the lines to make it look like wood. Then cut out yellow construction paper to make brass edgings. The questions are then placed in separate envelopes. I also drew the key shape and cut it like puzzle pieces. Examples of the riddle questions are:
Question 1:
What has four legs and a head, but doesn't walk?" Answer, a bed

Question 2:
"I am on three legs when I rest, and one when I work," Answer, a wheelbarrow

Question 3:
"I drink, but not from a glass; I eat with ten thousand fingers. What am I?" Answer, a tree
Question 4:
You use it between your head and your toes, the more it works the thinner it grows," Answer, a bar of soap
Overall, I think this game is a good way to build communication skills in groups. This can be groups that have a hard time getting along. Or, it can be used as an icebreaker for those who do not know each other very well. The key is to work together, not for one person to do all of the work. This game could work for other ages by making the questions harder or easier. Prizes can vary from candy, to snacks, or books.
While this game can work for any age group, I thought about middle school students for a reason. I remember middle school as being a time where you were in a group and you stayed in your group. Of course, I am talking about social groups. It was not a good thing to step outside of your group and many times communication was hard. Doing an activity like this, would have been a good way to get people talking who normally did not communicate. I also remember having fun at a scavenger hunt one time. Therefore, I also think it would be fun to set up the questions where the players have to find their next clue at a certain spot like a scavenger hunt.

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Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.

*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed  mental health professional immediately.

"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.

For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.

Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.

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