During my training as play therapist I worked and practiced using a variety of resources and therapeutic methods. When I was about to start my clinical placement they gave us a list; it was more like a guideline of what we would need in our play therapy tool kit to start off. The most common question among everyone in the course was “what do we need?”, “how many toys, sandtray miniatures, musical instruments etc. we need?”
I started buying and collecting toys and to be honest I was getting a bit stressed as I wanted to make sure that I have a good variety of toys and resources. Then I would see something on the shops and think “Goshhh I need that for my play room!!” I think when you first start working as play therapist our dream is to have the perfect playroom with lots and lots of toys and materials. This is the dream of every play therapist out there believe me.
But after years of working with children I’ve come to realize that children have so much imagination that sometimes they don’t need lots and lots of toys. Even if you give them an empty cardboard box they can come up with so many ideas. They can use it as a castle, fortress, a car etc…. to do a role play, for hide and seek, they can play music, they can tear it up and paint it or use it to do arts and crafts……the possibilities are endless!!!
Children don’t need a lot of toys, they need us, you, their parents and adults to spend quality time with them, to play, bond and create a trusting relationship. It is within this trusting relationship that they will explore, they will ask questions, they will listen, they will feel safe, they will learn to express their feelings and thoughts, they will learn about the world and how to cope with any challenges. That’s what they need more than any toys in the world…..they need to spend some quality time with their parents!