Over the many years I have been practicing play therapy, I have used all sorts of activities with children that have proven to be successful. One important thing I have learned over these years is, you can’t help a child change their behaviors without two things: the parent’s involvement in the therapeutic process, and the development of a supportive, positive and nurturing relationship between parent/caregiver and child.
I am a firm believer that a therapist must pull the parent(s) into sessions and I do this much more than I used to as a novice play therapist. In order to do this successfully, as many families can be intimidated by joining the process with their child, I have developed many different playful and nurturing activities to assist the parents to feel more at ease.
One of my most recent creations hit me on Christmas day when I was playing a card game with my son. He and I often engage in card and board games, and during these games we always add a twist. This new version of Uno was screaming “PLAY THERAPY” all over it. Not only are the cards colorful, with the ever popular red, yellow, green, blue cards (many play therapists use to teach and review feelings associated to the colors,) but there were these new “Dare” cards added to the game. The original game itself is a fun game any family can play together. BUT, shut the front door…..it’s time to make it a nurturing game for the family! Keep reading for the way I’m incorporating it into my play room.
Uno Family Nurture Dare
Group of 2 or more family members; ages 5 through adult
Supplies: One Uno Dare card game (or a traditional Uno deck)
Small snacks ( Cheez-It's Gold Fish, Pop Corn, etc.)
Dare List (see below)
Preparing for the activity in advance is very important, but once you have everything set up you will be easily prepared for any future game play. Uno Dare has four game cards for the players to use during the game. These cards are called “Dare Cards” and have four categories. Family, House Rules, Daredevil, and Show-off. In the traditional rules of Uno Dare, the players choose one card they will refer to during the game, prior to beginning. Each Dare card has a number that corresponds to the number on the chosen card. The person who got the Dare card decides to either choose a dare or follow the directions of the card. If the player picks “dare,” they read and complete the directions that correspond to the number on the dare card. If, after reading the card, the person changes their mind, that is okay, they need to go back and do what the original card said.
In Uno Family Nurture Dare I have replaced the four game cards with one list: the Nurturing the Positives Dare List (see below). If you’d like to get fancy you can replace each of the four game cards with four different personalized areas of need to meet the needs of your families. However, I tried to keep the questions broad to meet the needs of everyone. The goals of the activities below are to increase comfort level with nurturing, touch and to increase laughing among family members.
Engage the family in the traditional form of playing Uno and incorporate the Dare list when the dare is chosen by members of the game.
Nurturing the Positives Dare List:
1. Play Patty Cake with a partner.
2. Show one person you love them by hugging them as long as you can.
3. Do not talk with your eyes open until your next turn.
4. Let someone mess your hair up.
5. Ask someone for a hug.
6. Parent applies lotion to child’s hands.
7. Adult brush child’s hair.
8. Child ask parent to feed you/adult feed your child.
9. Child ask for a massage/parent massage child.
10. Child sit on parent’s lap/parent ask child to sit on your lap.
11. Make a funny face at a partner and who ever laughs first gets an extra turn.
12. Play “This little piggy” on toes with a partner.
13. Parent rocks child like an infant.
14. Use play doh to make a hand print of a partner.
15. Parent applies lotion to child’s feet.
16. Child acts like a cat, adult acts like a dog and chase each other around the
room, catch each other and hug.
Follow up questions upon completion of the game:
- How did everyone feel playing this game?
- What was your favorite activity in the game?
- Was there anything uncomfortable about the game?
- If you could change one thing about this game what would it be?
Modifications – use a regular Uno deck and make changes on the cards as follows:
16 cards need to be adjusted into “dare” cards: using 8 +2 cards - 2 blue, 2 red, 2 yellow and 2 green; and 8 Wild cards. You can write the word “dare” on each of these 16 cards. Then play the game as described above.
She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Kansas. She's a graduate of the 2009 APT Leadership Academy and in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 served as a member of the APT Conference Program Committee. In 2012, 2013 and 2014 Molly was a member of the Key Awards and a member of the APT Public Awareness Task Force in 2013-2014. She is currently a member of the APT State Branch President’s Training Task Force. To learn more about the services Molly provides check out her Facebook Page.