Affective vs. Ineffective use of Candyland for Therapy

A few weeks ago I was watching YouTube To try to find a video about play therapy and I came across a video of a therapist using Candyland. It was an awkward session to say the least. And not one that I would share on video to the world on YouTube. Looking past the therapist not addressing screaming behaviors or engaging the child in any discussion, I really noticed that his use of Candyland was pretty weak-sauce.

While he had some general theme of emotions related to the colors, his questions were very broad and did not engage the child in responding…to any of them. It was pretty much just asking a young child for the definition of emotion words. While the child did essentially play the game, he was definitely not  listening to the therapist. He also was not gaining any new skills or learning any information about emotions through playing the game.

At best the therapist was building rapport, which is good. But, I really think that the therapist felt that the child was receiving “therapy”, which he was not. It was, in my opinion, a waste of time. I value time! If you also value both your time and the child (or student’s) time, then playing a regular game of Candyland, Uno, or Jenga is really not going to cut it if you want the child to make real progress.

 If you’d like to see this video of what not to do for yourself watch below:

Getting Inspiration for Creating a Better Therapy Tool

 This video did, however, inspire me to make better and more therapeutic Candy Land games for my counseling students. I started off making one that focused on learning different emotions. and then I made ones for all of the various  counseling goals that I am supporting my students with this school year. these topics include coping skills, social skills, emotional regulation, and unexpected behaviors.

Here is how to make Candy Land MORE Therapeutic

Currently I have made six different Candyland games. I make each one with a specific theme and topic that helps Target my students IEP goals or Behavioral goals. the first game that I made was to help younger children learn about different emotions.

Next, I made a rapport building version of Candyland with lots of fun and silly types of prompts and questions. this will be a great activity to use at the beginning of the new school year with my students.

I currently have many students that I support with behavioral problems.  You know the ones. These students range from emotional outbursts (crying, screaming, eloping) to acts of aggression at school. Yep. I’m talking about your “friends” who hit, kick, choke, and throw things at school. Those are my “friends” too! So, the next Candyland that I made was the “Expected versus Unexpected Behaviors” Candy Land.

 I also have students working on COPING SKILLS, learning to build Empathy, as well as improve their general SOCIAL SKILLS. Here are the individual games (seen below) that address these specific areas of social or emotional skill building. If any of these games would also be helpful to your students, just click on the pictures and they will link you to my store. Every game is under $5, sometimes under $4 if there is a TpT sale.

Click HERE if you want to join my email subscription, so that you can always get an email alert when there is a Teachers Pay Teachers Sale. I always make my store the full 25% off during the TpT sales:)

 So far, I have been using these games the last 3 months of the school year. I even used this game as my “party game”  for the last counseling session of the year. Yes, I gave each kid some fruit snacks, popcorn, and gave them a prize from my prize box on their way out the door.  I’m nice like that. 

 Why you don’t even need a CANDY LAND Game Board!

If you are interested in one of these Candy Land games, you actually DON’T NEED to buy a Candy Land! This is because I created an imitation Candy Land game board that is printable. I’m calling it “Color Land”, however. I don’t know if the Candy Land creators have any muscle, but I don’t want to risk it, so I made my own board that will also work with the game. Also, I’m all about saving counselors $$$. If you have to go and then buy a Candy Land, it defeats the purpose of providing you with inexpensive counseling tools.

How to Get Counseling Activities for FREE!

You can get more games, counseling tips and tricks, and other fun activities for FREE by signing up the email subscription! With the subscription, you can get access to the Free Resource Library as well as tips on when Sales are happening in the Counseling Fanny Pack of Fun Store! Just Click HERE to sign up for access!

 If you would like any, or all, of these games to help you add some fun and learning to your counseling sessions, please click the pictures within this post and they will all link you to the product in my Counseling Fanny Pack of Fun store.