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Toys for the Playroom and What They Represent

by Terry Kottman

Therapy can be fun for children. Children know how to have fun and you can help them by making your office a fun place for children . To help children fully express their ideas and issues, a wide variety of toys are recommended . The following are categories of toys that are important to have in a play room:

Scary toys: Children use these toys to deal with their fears, both reality-based and fantasy-based . This category would include toys like snakes, roaches, rats, plastic monsters, dragons, dinosaurs, wolf and bear puppets, etc.

Family/nurturing toys: Children use these toys to explore family relationships, events that happen with parents and siblings, and for nurturing issues . This category wold include toys like a doll house, a doll family, people puppets, animal families, kitchen ware, baby bottles, babies, etc.

Aggressive toys: Children use these toys to express feelings of anger and fear, to learn to symbolically act out their aggression, to protect themselves from threats, and explore issues of power and control . This category would include toys like a punching bag, weapons (including both guns and knives), handcuffs, a hammer and nails or other tools for pounding, toy soldiers, a pillow and bat, etc.

Expressive toys: Children use these to explore relationships, express feelings, symbolically work out problems and solutions, and express creativity . This category would include crayons, scissors, markers, newsprint, glue, play dough1 paints (finger and tempera), an easel, etc.

Pretend/fantasy toys: Children use these toys to explore different roles, express hidden feelings, try out alternative behaviors, pretend to be someone else, act out situations that occur outside the play room, and use fantasy to explore relationships and communicate important ideas metaphorically . This category would include item such as masks, hats, jewelry, purses, disguises, a telephone, a doctor kit, sand box, a white sheet, zoo and farm animals, and building materials, etc.

Books, Games, and Toy Catalogs

1. Animal Town Game Co., PC Box 2002, Santa Barbara, CA 93120, (805) 682-7343

2. Center for Applied Psychology, P.O . Box 61586, King of Prussia, PA 19406

3. Child Therapy Resources, PC Box 196, Dept . H, Locust Valley, NY 11560

4. Chinaberry Book Services, 21130 Via Orange Way, Suite 8, Spring Valley, CA 92078-1521

5. Constructive Playthings, 1927 East Beltline, Carrollton Village Center, Carrollton, TX 75006 (214) 418-1860

6. Creative Therapy Store, WPS, 12031 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025

7. Creative Therapeutics, 155 County Rd., Cresskill, NJ 01625

8. DEMCO, Kids and Things, Box 7488, Madison, WI 53701 (800) 962-4463

9. Just for Kids!, 75 Paterson Street, PC Box 15006 New Brunswick, NJ 08906-5006, (8OO) 654-6963

10. Mar-Co, P0 Box 1052, Doylestown, PA18901

11. Paperbacks for Educators, 426 West Front Street, Washington, MO 63090

12. Pied Piper, The Gifted Children's Catalog, 2922 North 35th Ave. Suite 4, Phoenix, AZ 85061

13. Play Therapy Associates, 826 Ninth Street, Greeley, CO 80631 (800) 542-9723

14. Puppet Works, 2030 Cessna Street, Ames, IA 50010 515-292-9039

15. The Self-Esteem Shop, 422 N . Telegraph, Dearborn, Ml (313) 561-8100

16. SERRV Handicrafts, 500 11am Street, Box 365, New Windsor, MD 21778-0365 1-800-723-3712

17. Teach-A-Bodies, 2544 Boyd Street, Fort Worth, TX 76109, (817) 923-2380

18. Ther-A-Play Products, PC Box 761, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, (707) 938-3074 or (707) 224-6016

19. Therapeutic Interventions, 91 Cranfield Street, New Castle, NH 0l854-0398

Note: Some of the above addresses may be out of date.


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