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Felt Boards in Play Therapy

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

How to Use Flannel Boards in Play Therapy

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 a puppet show 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.

easy diy tutorial for how to make felt or flannel boards

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.

how to make felt characters or figures for felt or flannel board

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 storytime setting if you want the characters to look like those in the book.


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the secret to cutting felt

by Juggling with Kids

This tutorial shows how to use freezer paper as a template to get the felt look you desire. These pro tips will help prevent your project from turning into a Pinterest fail.

aquarium, fish, sea life template for flannel or felt board

by Sarah

This site offers free downloadable templates to create aquarium characters. She also offers helpful tips and tricks. These are simple designs with a powerful storytelling effect.


Farm character and tractor felt board for play therapy

by Miniature Masterminds

This site offers free printable templates for a farm theme. These could be used in many ways. The food theme can help children process food issues or neglect. They can also be used for processing the need to be nurtured by a caretaker. The animals can represent family members or could be used in role-playing.

Feelings and emotion faces made from felt to use in counseling

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. You could use each expression as a prompt for the child to tell a time they felt that emotion.

Templates for a house and tree from felt

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. This is perfect for counselors who travel.

Cupcake felt board to process food needs, survival, and nurture

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. Cupcakes also represent celebration. It could be a fun way to celebrate accomplishments, a birthday, or simply who they are.

weather related felt shapes to process fears and trauma

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.

felt clothes patterns for play therapy

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.

Felt faces with expressions - perfect for processing emotions

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.

felt monster who eats worries

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 perspective would be to unzip the worries to release them from the body.

flannel board construction workers and vehicles / trucks

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.

Fabric or felt town and road to play with toy cars

by Kimbo

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.

fabric bandaids to help children communicate hurts

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.


Counseling games you can play for free

Fairy tale princesses made from felt for storytelling

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.

free patterns to make felt puppets

from Fun Cloth Crafts

These felt finger puppets are adorable. It seems that many kids prefer the finger puppets to the full-size ones. Works for me! They take up less space and are more affordable. You can't beat free for the patterns. You will also find this idea in my blog post about using puppets in play therapy.


Helpful Resources:


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