About Me

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and former school-based therapist - turned full time mama. I thrive on helping others improve their lives! This blog includes information about products that I've found helpful on my journey as a mama from from personal experience and trial and error. My hope is that it's helpful to you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Teacher Appreciation

 Another Pinterest-inspired creation in honor of Valentine's Day:

As a school-based therapist who is stationed at various schools throughout the week, it is important to maintain positive alliances with school staff and teachers in order to collaborate to meet students' needs as best as possible. 

So...it never hurts to "kiss" up once in awhile :)

I found this idea on Pinterest, and unfortunately the pin doesn't link back to the original post, but here is the photo I found on Pinterest:
If anyone knows who I can credit for this adorable idea, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!

Though my version is not nearly as cute as the photo above, here is what I came up with and will be placing in the Teachers' Lounge tomorrow:
*The blocked out part says the school's name, and the part under my name says the agency I am from*Photo credit: Carly Collins, Therapeutic Interventions Blog

I found the Valentine's Day container at Ralph's for $3, and the Hershey's Hugs and Kisses totaled about $7.Photo credit: Carly Collins, Therapeutic Interventions Blog

Show the teachers you work with, your c0-workers, or your friends a little LOVE this Valentine's Day :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Home-Made PlayDoh

I got inspired by Pinterest (pinterest.com/carlycollins)and decided to get a little crafty tonight.

**Check back over the next few days, as I'll be showing you a few different ideas I found and made at home. They were all super simple!!!**

First up:

At ToysRUs, it's $5 for a 15-pack of mini PlayDohs. I found a recipe through Pinterest, which led me to Michelle DuPuis' blog, Rust & Sunshine, and thought I'd try it out and see if it ended up being cheaper to make on my own. 

Recipe, courtesy of Michelle DuPuis from Rust & Sunshine. Click above to see full instructions for how to make it:
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. oil
1/4 cup salt
food coloring

Making the PlayDoh on the stove
I went to the DollarTree and found many of the ingredients I needed, including flour, oil, and salt ($1 each). I also found a 10-pack of small containers for my clients to keep their PlayDoh in (also $1). At my local grocery store, I purchased the cream of tartar ($5), and a 4-pack of neon food coloring ($3). Total cost: $12.

Mini containers from the Dollar Tree
I doubled the recipe, and it filled the 10 small containers to the brim. I would say I easily have enough ingredients to make at least 10 more batches (actually probably a lot more than that, I'm pretty terrible at estimating things). I think overall it might be more cost-effective than buying it at a store, and it's definitely fun to make, but if you're in a pinch, $5 for 15 containers at ToysRUS isn't a bad deal I don't think.


A lot of my clients love playing with PlayDoh and it's an excellent sensory motor activity which promotes self-regulation when clients are feeling angry, anxious, etc. I learned this from an incredible colleague, Ken Schwartzenberger, LCSW, RPT-S. You can read an article in which he discusses neurosensory play here

I thought it might be fun to include my clients in the process of making PlayDoh and having it to take home. I often want to send my clients home with a little PlayDoh so that they can have a simple self-regulation tool at home. Because I work with low-income families, I try to provide my clients with supplies rather than asking their parents to purchase things for them. 

Note: My original vision was to make the PlayDoh from scratch with my clients. However, when you make the PlayDoh, you have to heat it over a stove. Not so easy to do in a school setting, and in a home setting, I don't want to be held liable if something were to happen. 
So, I pre-made the PlayDoh, but left it plain colored, and packaged it in the containers. I will include my clients in the process of choosing and adding the color, and kneading the color into the PlayDoh (making it a sensory activity immediately, and also giving them a feeling of autonomy, self esteem, and control). 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Combining Card Games (UNO & The Ungame)

An original idea from Carly Collins, creator of Therapeutic Interventions blog:

I have an adolescent male client who is, let's just say...strong-willed, determined, and persistent (I'm being strengths-based here...). It's a bit of a challenge working with him, which in some ways I am thankful for, because it causes me to grow as a therapist and it forces me to be creative.

He LOVES to play UNO, but sometimes I am at a loss for how to change the game a bit to encourage his self-expression and work toward his goals. I had an idea today and thought I'd try it out. 

At this particular school I work at, we have not only the game UNO, but also The Ungame (pocket size, kids version). For more information on The Ungame, click here. I decided after one round of regular UNO today to shuffle The Ungame cards into UNO, with my client's permission. He reluctantly agreed, but when I told him that The Ungame cards could be used as "wild cards," meaning they could be considered any color or number, as long as he answered the question, he was enthusiastic about adding the cards to the deck. Being very competitive, he loved the idea that it might bring him to a victory sooner. 

Though he still didn't love the idea of answering questions during the game (and he made it known that he didn't), he enthusiastically did so because it was bringing him closer to beating me in the game. In the process, he was expressing himself and receiving lots of praise from me for doing so. I answered any questions I got in my stack of cards as well in order to continue building rapport and trust with him. 

Next time you're playing UNO and want to add a creative twist, try this out if you have The Ungame (or any other therapeutic card game, or you can add your own questions on slips of paper)!