Felt Boards in Play Therapy
Updated: Jan 20
I remember flannel boards from Sunday school as a child. It was fun to watch the characters and the setting on the board as the Bible stories were told. It was engaging like puppets, but also provided the setting in the background. This looks like a fun way to engage children and help them with storytelling and setting the scene when processing. It's almost like combining sand tray, puppets, and paper dolls in a fabric format.
Alternatively, you could go with the quiet book style. They would be easy to keep together and transport, making them ideal for smaller spaces or for traveling. You could use felt or flannel to make it work, both of which are usually inexpensive. Here are some fabulous ideas I found with some tutorials.
by Buggy and Buddy
Learn the ins and outs of flannel board creation with this helpful site. Plenty of pictures and step-by-step instructions are given to create your board.
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How to Create Your Own Figures
by Keeping Life Creative
This tutorial shows how to print on transfer paper and iron onto the felt to create characters. This would be beneficial to use in a story time setting if you want the characters to look like those in the book.
by Juggling with Kids
This tutorial shows how to use freezer paper as a template to get the felt look you desire.
Aquarium Flannel Board with Templates
This site offers free downloadable templates to create aquarium characters. She also offers helpful tips and tricks.
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by Miniature Masterminds
This site offers free printable templates for a farm theme.
by Fun Cloth Crafts
Help kids learn to identify emotions, expressions, and to communicate their feelings with this interactive idea. This site offers a free template.
by The Many Little Joys
This is a handy little idea. This tutorial shows how to create a portable flannel board with a built-in pocket. It rolls up for easy storage with all the pieces tucked safely inside.
by Mrs. and Mama
This idea comes with free printable templates and a description of how she used it. This would be a fun way to incorporate food items in the playroom without the bulk of plastic toys. This may be handy for those intentionally avoiding plastic. Kids often enjoy using food to process early childhood neglect as well as role-playing nurturing behavior - both giving and receiving.
by Fun Cloth Crafts
These weather-related felt shapes could be helpful for children to process weather-related trauma. Kids could show their home on the board, then add the clouds, rain, or whatever items would be needed to communicate. It can also be helpful for children with deep worries and fears that are weather related. This site has free templates.
by Rachel Denbow
You can use the felt board for dress-up play with these patterns and tutorials. Kids use dress up toys to process many issues such as a desire for independence and identity, self-expression, and could be a way to communicate need for nurturing from a caretaker. This could also be a way to discuss good touch/bad touch and boundaries. There are many options available to use with these tools.
by Everyday Deals
This is a pre-made quiet book-style felt board with feelings faces. for sale. I love the expressions and that there are different faces to choose from. This would be perfect for a young child learning about emotions.
by Sweet Juicy April on Etsy
This felt page would provide an opportunity for kids to process fears and anxiety by incorporating the worry monster idea where the monster eats the worries. Kids could put the scary things inside the mouth and then zip them up, symbolizing their worries being contained. Another view point would be to unzip the worries to release them from the body.
by Flannel Board Fun
This set would be great for truck-loving boys. It could be used as an analogy of the child's life being under construction or could be used to address safety issues. Construction toys are regularly used in my play therapy room.
The link above has many ideas for creating roads, towns, cities, and paths that can be used with Hotwheels. These would provide a way for children to tell stories, and process changes, and allows kids to move freely while playing. I like the idea of using multiple buildings or houses to use with kids processing divorce or a move. It could also be a way to process missing someone who lives far away.
by Storytime Katie
I love, love, love this! Bandaids are a powerful tool for healing and there are many interventions out there encouraging the use of bandaids in play. But have you ever had to unstick tons of bandaids from your toys? Not fun. I've been conveniently out of bandaids in my office for a while. I'll be making some felt bandaids soon to solve the problem! They look easy to make, which is another bonus.
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by Bridget Wilson
These are adorable. These are perfect for creative play. It would be fun to have the clothes separate from the characters to allow kids to mix and match outfits and perhaps create characters that look like the child. Kids could use these for storytelling, role playing, or simply engaging in play.
I hope these ideas bring back a blast from your past and challenge you to get creative with interventions. Most counselors work on a tight budget. These ideas can provide a creative outlet and broaden your tools on the cheap.