August 29, 2012

Peg Dolls and Block Dolls

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest pinning and re-pinning play therapy related photos to my boards. I see a lot of pins for peg dolls. I am really drawn to them as I feel they would be a good addition to a doll house or to sandtray miniatures as ready-made doll families can often be expensive to purchase.

I'm a fairly creative person but drawing and painting are not two of my talents. So even though I had purchased some plain wooden peg dolls several months ago I had not taken the time to try and turn them into a doll family until this week.

Here are the results of my effort. The tallest of these is just a little over two inches and the smallest is one and half inches tall. I didn't have any acrylic paint so I used Sharpie's. 

I'm anxious to create more doll families and add them to my portable play therapy kit. I'll be providing individual and group play therapy at an elementary school one day a week during the 2012-2013 school year so I am anticipating needing several doll families. Since they're small they'll be easy to tote.

After I finished making this peg doll family I decided to try making another people using some extra wooden blocks I had in my play therapy storage closet. These are a little over two inches tall. You could even draw on both sides of the block. Perhaps a happy person on one side and the person on the other side could express another feeling.

I think I'll be making more of these little doll people. I may even have my child clients create some for me as well.


  1. I like your little peg doll people, Pam :)

    From my understanding of play therapy, dolls may be very instrumental to kids.

    What sort of techniques do you use to encourage your clients to share with you their emotions and/or issues that they need to work on with the use of your dolls?

  2. Hi Dorlee! That's an excellent question. I'm very child-centered in my play therapy approach. That means I provide the toys but the child leads the way in what toys they play with. The toys in my play therapy room and in my portable play bag represent the three categories of toys suggested by Garry Landreth in his book, Play Therapy the Art of the Relationship:

    1. Real life

    2. Acting out aggressive release

    3. Creative expression and emotional release

    Doll families are in the real life category. Anger, fear, sibling issues, crisis, family conflicts can all be expressed by a child as they act out scenes with doll family figures. Younger children are often spontaneous in doing this and need no encouragement by the play therapist. I would verbally track the child's play with the dolls so the child felt heard and understood.

    The theme of the play is something I observe and over the course of therapy keep an eye out for changes in that play as it may signify the child has completed their work. Child centered play believes that given the opportunity to play out life experiences and feelings the child will be able to come to resolution.

    With older child I am often more directive. For example, I might give the child the doll family and ask them to tell me a story with them. I also use sandtrays in my play room so I might be direct and ask them to tell a specific story, one specific to their presenting problem, in the sand using the doll family.

    I hope that answers your question.


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