Considerations for In-Home-Based Play Therapy Session

In this Question and Answer session I teamed up with Denielle Randall to discuss some of the challenges of bringing professional play therapy services into the child’s home.

And another thing… here’s a list of toys that we recommend for In Home Based Play Therapy sessions.

Home-Based Play Therapy Toy List: Many mental health practitioners provide in-home based services. This list was created for professionals who use a play therapy approach in the context of in-home services. This list is not exhaustive, but should provide a foundation.

Some overall considerations for In-Home Based Play Therapy sessions:

  • toys/materials should be light in weight and simple to transport
  • toys/materials should be inexpensive but durable
  • toys/materials should be easy to clean up and pack up
  • choice of toys/materials should be considered through a cultural lens that factors in that you will be in the child’s home

The list of toys/materials:

  • a tote for carrying your supplies can also double as a play kitchen (for an example, on the go Kitchen)
  • empty egg cartons, cereal boxes, spice containers (Even cleaned out these will retain scent. This is one way to weave cultural thoughtfulness into sessions.)
  • paper, plastic or other light weight cups, plates, utensils
  • baby doll
  • baby bottle
  • soft ball (like Nerf-brand)
  • plain paper
  • washable magic markers
  • bandages (as many as you have will get used, so I usually have 3-5 available per session)
  • empty vitamin bottle (washed out thoroughly, of course)
  • stethoscope (you can get real working ones for about $10, worth it!)
  • doll house or other people figures
  • car
  • emergency vehicle
  • menacing character puppet
  • nurturing character puppet
  • play handcuffs
  • jump rope
  • mask (a variety is good, like 2-3)

You can always add your favorites and cater specifically to the population of children you work with. This is most appropriate for play therapists using a child-centered approach. Finally, remember that you want toys that will allow children to express, regress, and aggress in their play.

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