With Christmas coming soon, it can be hard during session to get the client to focus on anything else. Some kids get really excited about making Christmas crafts. While doing so doesn’t always lead to anything profoundly therapeutic, at the very least you will definitely build rapport. In many instances, however, you may find great opportunities for some therapeutic work. For example, Christmas crafts may also give you opportunity to discuss family dynamics by talking about the client’s own family traditions. You may have opportunity to talk about strengths and interests. Or in cases of loss you can talk about their memories of past Christmases with their family as it was, what may be different for them this year, and normalize their grief.
That being said, here are some easy holiday activities that I have used in the past with clients.
1) Wine Cork Reindeer:
The great thing about this craft was that my actually taught me how to do it. The child even brought in the supplies, which was good because my household doesn’t drink wine, and I would have had to do some asking around to find some corks. There are different variations on this craft, but here is the variation that I’ve used from Broogly.
2) Christmas wreath
Full instructions from Kidspot can be found here. All you really need for this craft is some construction paper, although you can use markers, pencil crayons, glitter, stickers, pine cones, etc. to add any additional decoration. Your client will enjoy taking home a real craft to hang in her home.
3) Paper snowflakes
This activity lends itself really well to counselling. It is really easy, requires only paper and scissors for supplies, and as you are doing it, you can talk about the uniqueness of each snowflake. This will give you a great opportunity to talk about what makes your client special and unique. It is great for a new client when you’re trying to assess strengths and interests. You can find instructions on the Instructables site.
We’ve also made snowflake ornaments out of pipe cleaners. Find instructions on the Martha Stewart site.
4) Bake/Decorate Christmas Cookies
This activity takes a little more preparation and more materials. I’ve seldom had opportunity to bake with clients, as I’ve seldom had access to an oven. But this activity is really simple if you’re doing your own Christmas baking anyway. I simply made some extra stars, bought some frosting and sprinkles, and took them to work for my clients to decorate. You can work on building self-esteem by talking about what makes them “stars”,
5) Holiday Cards
Cards are always easy to do in a session as you generally will have the basic supplies on hand. You can do it with some cardstock and drawing tools, but you can be as creative as you like with glitter, stickers, and other craft supplies.
I really like the button snowman idea that you can find here on the Martha Stewart site.
You can tailor this activity to the needs of your client. You can encourage him to express feelings to loved ones, you can talk about the people that she has in her life who help her, and in cases of loss or divorce, you can encourage the client to write to the person who has died or moved out.
These are some of my favourite, easy, holiday activities to do with clients of varying ages. If you’ve got some favourites you’d like to share please add them below.