Play Therapy Warm Ups
Activity and Technique

The Play Therapy Fiddle Basket

This is a great way to begin play therapy for all ages  of clients and start the play therapy process. I keep this basket on a table close to where the play therapy client sits.

In this play therapy "Fiddle Basket" there is an assortment of items for the play therapy client to pick up and “fiddle” with. These items can include the slinky, bubble bottle, balloon, golf ball, kaleidoscope, rocks, shells, and some miniatures.

I often change out the play therapy miniatures and add other interesting items. This play therapy  “fiddle basket” can get the play therapy  client talking, usually by the client asking me questions about the items in the play therapy  “Fiddle Basket”.

If the play therapy client asks about a certain item, it shows me a path that they are interested in taking. For instance, if they start to play with the slinky, I ask if they would like to have a slinky to use for stress management.

I have learned that what the play therapy client picks up in the basket is usually something that represents a visual for what is going on in their lives or something they need.

There is always a reason why play therapy clients are interested in a certain item in the play therapy "Fiddle Basket". However, this “reason” or “need” is usually on a deeper subconscious level.

One time I had a fake plastic “poop” in the play therapy "Fiddle Basket". I had a play therapy teen client tell me that their life was “crap” and they felt like the “poop”.

Needless to say, this was a great conversation starter to begin the play therapy process. This play therapy technique works with all ages!

Materials for Play Therapy "Fiddle Basket": Basket with an assortment of items that are small such as a stress ball, kaleidoscope, slinky, balloon, bubble bottle, golf ball, rocks, shells, and assorted miniatures.

Directions for Play Therapy "Fiddle Basket":

1. Put the Play Therapy “Fiddle Basket” within the play therapy client’s reach before the session.

2. If the play therapy client shows an interest, invite them to “play and fiddle” with the items in the play therapy basket.

3. Let the play therapy client lead you. If they happen to take interest in an item found in your Creative Treasure Box let them know you have one they can take home.

4. See all play therapy activities for the slinky, golf ball, balloon, kaleidoscope, Warm Fuzzy, and stress ball in the eBook "Creative Counseling

5. For each weekly play therapy session change the items in the play therapy "Fiddle Basket" to keep it fresh. 

Tips:  Let the play therapy client lead you. This is the time to be a non-directive play therapist as you are getting to know the client. There is plenty of time to be a directive play therapist later.

If they happen to take interest in an item found in your Creative Treasure Box let them know you have one they can take home.

 For each play therapy session change the items in the play therapy "Fiddle Basket" to keep it fresh. I often add items that I have learned the client is interested in such as a country, or culture. 

Play Therapy Warm-Up to Sand Tray Therapy Warm-Up 

Play Therapy Warm Up to Home

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Learn more about Creative Play Therapy with this eBook:

See more play therapy activities for the slinky, golf ball, balloon, kaleidoscope, Warm Fuzzy, and stress ball in the Creative Counseling 101 book for more great play therapy ideas.

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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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