The weather may be chilly, but I am dreaming of warmer days out on the patio and leaves rustling in the breeze (wishful thinking I know). But with that thought in mind, here’s a fun wind chime craft that kids and teens will enjoy making during therapy sessions, even in these winter months. It is a little more interesting than your typical paper craft or worksheet. At the same time, this activity will help kids to reflect on their strengths and positive qualities, thereby helping to reinforce resiliency and self-esteem. This craft would work well at any stage of counseling, whether building rapport, during the middle sessions to discuss strengths and positive thinking, or at the end of therapy as a culminating activity that would help clients feel a sense of confidence in going forward without the therapist.
You can find all kinds of wind chime tutorials online. I made a very simple version that was both inexpensive and simple enough for a child to do with adult help. Feel free to do your own substitutions to make the craft suit your client’s age and available supplies.
You will need:
A mason jar lid (or some other round object to be the top of your wind chime)
Washers (flat mason jar tops or rounds bits of sheep metal would also work)
Dremel engraver for writing (or a metal stamp set, or even just a permanent marker)
Nail or drill for making holes
Ear plugs and goggles (if using an engraver)
1) Encourage the child pick some strengths or positive attributes that he would like to put on the wind chime. Some examples could be strong, smart, funny, friendly, caring, etc.
2) Using the engraver (or stamp set or marker) write these words onto the individual washers (or whatever you are using for the circles). Remember to use the goggles and ear plugs if you are using an engraving tool. If the child is quite young, you will want to use the engraver for him, or else you can use stamps or markers. A teen should be able to handle the engraver, assuming it is okay with his parents for him to do so. You can make as many washers as you like during the session. You may even choose to leave some of the washers blank and encourage the child or teen to come up with some additional strengths between sessions. Doing so will encourage parental involvement in therapy and will give the child opportunity to receive validation from his parents.
3) Take the mason jar lid and drill/poke holes in to its sides to attach the washers. Make sure to drill enough holes for all of your washers. You will also want to make sure your holes are evenly spaced around the lid so that the weight of the chimes will be balanced. Poke three holes in the top as well for hanging. If the child wants, he can also paint or decorate the lid to his liking.
4) Attach washers to the lid with pieces of fishing twine cut to equal length. If you have beads, you can string these once the washers have been tied. I also attached a larger washer to the centre of the chime to act as a clapper and bang against the other washers.
5) Attach pieces of twine to the top of the lid and tie them together, being careful that you tie them at equal length so the chime will hang straight. If you would like to attach some beads, do so once the three pieces have been tied together. Make a loop a the top for hanging.
5) Send the chime home with the child. He can hang it up as a reminder of his strengths.
This activity lends itself well to creating affirmations that the child or young person can use on a daily basis to help build confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes a child who is depressed or suffering from poor self-esteem may have a hard time coming up with positive attributes. In that case, you can ask him what his friends might say if they were asked why they liked him.
Another option for this activity would be to use it as a goal-setting activity, where a child or teen could consider what attributes she might like to have. You could then have a discussion about steps she could take to reach her goal. For example, a child might feel like she is not very smart because she does not do well in school. You could discuss with the child (and her parent) things that she might try to do better in school, which would then build her confidence. The same approach could be applied to other qualities the child wants to develop. If the qualities are unrealistic or unhealthy, the therapist can help the child explore more positive options. The child can then take the wind chime home as a reminder of the goals she plans to work on during therapy.