When working with children in therapy, play therapy is often intertwined into the sessions in order to keep kiddos engaged and entertained, while also taking away something of value. There are websites that sell specific therapy games, but these can be on the more expensive side. A cheaper alternative is to purchase or use already-owned non-therapy games and DIY a counseling twist. This has been done with Jenga by many therapists, but I’ve put my own twist on it. I’ve also gathered inspiration from the great therapy game, Totika (A Self-Esteem Game). If you have the funds, it definitely a valuable purchase. If your one that prefers the DIY version, keep reading!
Firstly, purchase a Jenga set if you do not have one already. Use whatever set you feel would be most beneficial. I have the classic version, though there are mega sizes and mini sets as well.
Color code each Jenga block. Four colors will be used: Blue, Pink, Green, and Orange. How I went about this was coloring white labels, cutting them into thirds, and placing them on the blocks. You can also use the colored circular stickers that come in packs.
Print out, cut, and laminate Jenga cards. I created my own set of 60 cards you can find on my ETSY shop. In the future, I will be selling the cards already laminated and in packs. For now, however, you can purchase a digital download for your use. A disclaimer: The cards in the provided pictures are colored in as I did not have access to a color printer. On my ETSY shop, the digital file comes in color. I also have yet to laminate my cards. If you don’t have a laminator, like myself, you can use self-adhesive laminated sheets as a simple alternative. On the cards, the colors are as follows:
- Pink – Coping Skills (Tips & Questions)
- Orange – Feelings (Describe a time you were feeling _________)
- Blue – Social Skills (What would you do in the given situation?)
- Green – About Me Questions!
HOW TO PLAY THERAPY JENGA
- Set up the Jenga blocks as usual.
- Take turns pulling out Jenga blocks.
- When you pull a block out, look at the color.
- Pull a card from the pile and look at the corresponding color.
- Answer the question or complete the prompt!
- Continue playing Jenga!
What I enjoy about this version of therapy Jenga is the ability to change the cards if necessary. The blocks are already color coded, so if you want to create a different set of questions, you have that option, rather than if the Jenga blocks were permanently labeled with questions.
I hope you enjoy this cheaper alternative to therapy games with youth! Continue using your creativity and have fun with therapy!
Laura Swanson, BSW