Diversity in your Playroom is essential. Full stop.
I talk a lot about how to select diverse and representative toys for your Playroom HERE and HERE. It is essential for clients to have a wide range of available options of characters that look like them or objects to express their culture and day to day lives. Food, religion, transportation, housing, and family structure are all important parts of this. AND this is by no means a comprehensive list. It is essential that as Play Therapists we consistently assess our playroom and areas for growth and representation.
I wanted to share with you something that I overlooked a little too much, that was a bright red flashing beacon I couldn't ignore once I moved from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota to Duluth.
So, if you are a Sand Tray therapist as part of your Play Therapy practice you know what it is like to have miniature collections of hundreds and hundreds of objects. Ugh…and if you are like me it is always carefully growing as I come across new items that I just NEED to have. Check out more of my Sand Tray journey HERE!
One of the objects that I love in my Sand tray is my lighthouse. What an amazing metaphor and story creator! It is actually a lighthouse I got on vacation when I was mayyybe 12. More specifically it was the Bodie Island, N.C. Costal Collection 1872 Limited Edition. I purchased it for $2.98 and I know this because the sticker is still on the bottom. I should probably take that off right?
It is also the lighthouse that one of my teens (who had extremely limited speech in session) told me (with a sarcastic smirk) that it was a “really crappy limited edition”. This is one of the sessions that I burst out laughing (mutually of course) and always tugs on my heartstrings when I see it taken out.
WELL, the lighthouse was one of my toys that rarely got used in the Twin Cities.
But, when I got to Duluth - BAM! This lighthouse was taken out all the darn time. And after a couple of months it clicked. Duluth is home to TONS of lighthouses. There is the Split Rock Lighthouse and of course the lighthouse in Canal Park.
To the children in Duluth lighthouses were more of a commonplace sighting, something to visit, and definitely something they were familiar with. I hope my experience can broaden your perspective (like it did mine) of what constitutes diversity in your Playroom collection and the importance of specific regional toys.
So, now I have to know! What are you going to rush out and add to your cart for your Playroom collection? Let me know in a comment below!
For me? This year I realized (at the request of a client) that I definitely need a snow plow!
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC,