Saturday, March 8, 2014

Turning Dollar Store finds into Counseling Treasures!

Hi There!!

Hopefully everyone had a fantastic week! It is currently raining where I am, which made it the perfect time to make a plate of my favorite snack (pretzel crisps & carrots dipped in hummus) and catch up with my blog! 

I frequent the dollar store, and sometimes I even visit there to see what they have, and what great counseling ideas I can come up with for individuals and groups! I came up with a list of 5 things that I have purchased for my counseling treasure box that I use and plan to use again and again :)

1. Poster Board: I love to use poster board because the opportunities with this item are endless!! For a self-esteem group, having the members write their name in the center (they can also draw themselves or bring a picture in for a personal touch) and write personal attributes about themselves. You can even pass the boards around and have each group member write something nice about the other. Poster Board can be used in so many ways and for many topics including: 
  • Memory Poster as a Grief Activity for Students 
  • Getting to know you activity: a favorite things poster (Favorite food, favorite tv shows, and things that they are good at) 
Again, the list goes on and on! The best part is that a white poster board is 0.50 cents and around 70 cents for colored poster! These are a pretty decent size, you can always cut them in half or even fourths depending on the activity. The poster also gives the students something tangible to keep from the experience, which I love :) (Note: With the grief group, it is important to keep in mind the students that you are working with, and if the poster activity would be appropriate for that group of students)

2. Foam Dice: Comes with 2 in a pack! This was an awesome find, and in fact, I have included a picture below of the one I created :) Dice games can be created for just about anything! These can be found in the toy section, if you have paper or card stock this makes for an easy activity! Simply cut the paper or card stock into squares (6 squares if you are using 1 die and 12 if you plan to use both) Write questions or statement on each square and tape to dice! Have the students take turns rolling :) The best part is, you can simply remove the squares and use this again for another activity! I have also used the dice as is and each number corresponded to a question (classic dice game in counseling).

Here is an example of the Self-Esteem Questions that I added to my die :)

3. Balloons: Oh how I love balloons, and kiddos love them too! After reading "The Secret Olivia Told Me" by N.Joy (a book that is on my wishlist) for secrets and spreading rumors. I got the idea from this book, and first you start by blowing a balloon for the students (you can get a pack of 15 for $1 at the dollar store!) and also giving students sticky notes)...First the students will blow the balloon up as much as they would like, (but not too much so it doesn't pop). The point is, the bigger the secret or rumor, the bigger the balloon gets. Then the students can take turns writing on sticky notes ways to stop the balloon from getting bigger (the rumor from spreading :) Once all the students have given great ideas (you can even break them into groups for brainstorming different ideas) and the balloon can be popped. Having students remember these things to stop rumors and secrets from getting so big! 
In addition, Anger Management can be practiced by taking deep breaths in a balloon, or even the classic stressball recipe! which can be found here :) 
In eliminating negative self talk, have students write on balloons negative statements ("I can't do it, "I'm not smart enough) and popping them!

4. Gift Bags: Gift Bags are my go-to at the dollar store! In counseling, they can be quite therapeutic. I love Liana Lowenstein Books, and in "Creative Interventions for Children of Divorce", one of her interventions is the "Feel Better Bag" for children. You can always alter the contents of the bag for the kiddos that you are working with. Giving them something for their bag to help them feel better can give them something to look when they need to feel better. Again, this is a great tangible item for students! Kiddos can even decide if they have things of their own that they would like to put in their bag (maybe a favorite stuffed animal, picture, or drawing). Opportunities are endless with this item as well!

5. Cooking and Baking Tins: This may seem silly...but hear me can be pretty amazing! In teaching students a certain topic, (I-Messages, deep breaths, bullying)- Making it into a recipe can be both fun and entertaining for students. For example, recipe for not bullying! Students can write and include statements for the baking tin To stop bullying, students can create a recipe list of telling an adult, use kind words, etc. I have included an example of the "Stop Bullying Cake" Below :) I cut squares of paper, but food shapes are great for this also!

This pan is a bit rusty because I've used it for cooking, but you can purchase an alumninum pan for $1 :)

I hope that you all have enjoyed this post, and have found this to be useful in counseling on a budget! 

Also, Cheerful Counseling is now on Facebook! Yes...You heard right!! I will be adding a facebook button soon but for now you can click the link to like Cheerful Counseling on facebook here! There are more opportunities for sharing ideas in addition to the blog, and there will be a freebie for facebook fans coming soon! :)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend...hoping for warm weather!!


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