Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Toy Tuesday

Therapeutic Twist

This week's Toy Tuesday is geared towards school age and teenagers, and we're going to put a therapeutic twist on a classic game. Ever played Jenga? It's so much fun! It's a great group game that can get everyone laughing. As Child Life Specialists, we are always looking for different ways to play everyday games that can get kids and teens talking and opening up about things that are going on in their lives whether it be awesome or stressful. I utilized therapeutic Jenga ALOT during my internship, and it is still one of my favorite activities to do with school age and teenagers! 

Take the blocks and write a questions on them. Either fill up all the blocks or a good majority of them to keep things exciting. Each time a player takes a block out of the tower they can either answer the question or ask it to someone else in the group. There are a variety of ways to play and this list is not exhaustive! 

  • One-on-one: Jenga can be played with two people (adult and teen) as a way to get kids and teens to talk about life. One time, I was referred by a Social Worker who just couldn't break through to a teen boy. He and I got to playing Jenga, and he slowly started opening up to me about life. We were able to put together a treatment plan simply because of a game of Jenga. 
  • Diagnosis Jenga: Trying to find different ways to teach diagnoses or assess a kid/teen's understanding of a diagnosis? Try mixing in some questions related to the hospital, diagnosis, body, medicines, side effects, treatments, etc! 
  • Teen Group: I used Jenga in teen group one time. We had everything from silly to serious questions on our Jenga that got the teens opening up and talking without them even realizing it. It focused their conversation on specific things and redirected them from their cell phones. 
  • Leading statements: If you don't want to use questions, try using leading statements to allow kids and teens to direct the conversation. "I feel scared when....." "I like it when people..." "I don't like..." etc. 

Have you ever used Jenga in any of these ways? 
What other classic games have you used as a therapeutic activity with kids and teens? 
Leave us a comment & let us know!



Anonymous said...

Great Idea! Can't wait to try this out!