February 21, 2014

Three Wishes For Me And My Family

By: Katherine Arkell, LMSW, RPT-S - Guest Blogger

As I see mainly children and adolescents in my practice, and I’m a firm believer in systems theory, I am always looking for activities that I can do with either a child and parent/caregiver or the entire family (client, parents and siblings). I’ve found the following two activities to be engaging, fun and telling.


Group of 2 or more; ages 6 thru adult

Supplies:                   One clipboard per person
                                Assorted markers, crayons, colored pencils
                                3 worksheets per person labeled with the following:
                                        Wish Number 1 For Me And My Family
                                        Wish Number 2 For Me And My Family
                                        Wish Number 3 For Me And My Family

Give each family member a clipboard with 3 worksheets attached.  Instructions are as follows “Please draw 3 wishes for your family – one wish on each sheet. You may draw whatever you want – the sky’s the limit – no right or wrong - but you may not use any letters or words. When you are finished drawing, turn over your completed work until everyone else is done.” 

Once all members have completed their drawings, have one member share one of their drawings/wishes by holding it up for the others to guess what it is.  The drawer may give hints if necessary.  Once the wish is correctly guessed the drawer can expound on the drawing/wish if they would like to. They then choose the next member they would like to have share a drawing/wish. Continue until all members have shared all three drawings/wishes.   

Questions for discussion upon completion of activity include:

o   Did anybody’s wish surprise you?
o   How alike where some of your wishes? How different?
o   What would it take to make the wish a reality?
o   What are you doing right now to make the wish come true?


Katherine Arkell, LMSW, RPT-S, is a Licensed Master Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor in private practice in Saginaw, MI. She is a 2000 graduate from Valdosta State University, GA, and has worked in a variety of settings involving children, adolescents and their families. You can learn more about Katherine on her web site KDA PLAY  and follow her on Facebook Child And Family Therapy


  1. Katherine-
    This a great technique! I love that is "low tech" (you don't need a lot of stuff to do it) and that it uses pictures as well. I've found that kids are able to express so much more through pictures than words for many reasons. I'll be filing this one away for sure. Great job!

    1. Thanks so much. I'm all about low tech too. I agree, art seems to transcend so many barriers. Thanks again and enjoy!

  2. Thank you, I will be using this idea!

  3. This is a great intervention. I love the idea of giving the family clipboards and having them all draw their wishes. I often use a genie lamp as part of my assessments. This is perfect for my older clients. Thank you

  4. Thanks so much! It is funny, you mentioned the clipboards - younger kids find these especially fun for some reason. I love your genie lamp idea as part of assessments - I have a genie in a lamp puppet that I'm definitely going to have to try now. Thanks again.

  5. Thanks for the kind feedback. Yes, what I really like is that it works across the ages. By the way, your genie lamp inspired me to start using my genie in a lamp puppet as part of my assessments. Thank you!


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