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Creating Children's Art Games for Emotional Support

Creating Children's Art Games for Emotional Support

Vicky Barber



Game playing is a highly effective way of engaging children and has long been acknowledged as an important means of psychological therapy. This book offers an abundance of fun games that help children to confront personal problems and issues in a light-hearted yet meaningful way.

These are games with a difference, as they must be constructed before they can be played. The creation aspect involves collaboration and cooperation within a team, and instils an empowering sense of ownership in the creators. By the time the game is ready to be played, children are confident, thoroughly engaged and ready to explore issues in a supportive environment. Each game has been tried and tested by the author, and is proven to really work.

This book is an essential tool for therapists, counsellors, social workers, youth workers and teachers supporting children and young people.

This useful book provides guidelines for creating and playing art games with children and young children, to help them discuss and deal with emotional issues. An unusual feature of the book is an emphasis on the making of the games, involving the participants, valuing this as just as important as the subsequent playing of the games. The book will be useful to anyone working with children and young people and hoping to empower them in a fun and creative way.
Dr. Marian Liebmann, Art Therapist, Bristol Inner City Mental Health Team and University of Bristol
Vicky Barber has worked for many years as a lecturer in the creative arts and arts therapies. She currently teaches an art therapy course at City University London, and runs individual art therapy sessions with children and young people who have behavioural problems, in addition to running a successful private practice. In her previous work as an art therapist, she ran groups in the community, in a day care centre, and within her college, working with a wide range of people, from carers and teachers to social workers, artists, and those with mental health problems and learning difficulties. This book was created through her work as an art therapist, and the games have been put to the test with a variety of clients with excellent results. Her website can be visited at
This book is a "recipe-book" of lovely ideas for playful and creative art games to play with children. Although designed for group work and directive in nature, there are great ideas here. The games are unique in that children are involved in making them as well as playing them... This would be a useful book for those running nurture groups or other small groups of children with mild to moderate behavioral, emotional or social needs. Teachers keen to support emotional and social learning would also find this practical book useful.
Play for Life
As a play therapist I was excited to receive this book to review so as to explore new ideas and possibilities for working with children, in this case using art as well as play. What sets it apart from other such books is Barber's focus on the importance of involving the young persons in the process of creating the games, rather than just playing them. Indeed this is the book's greatest strength... The games are simple, clear and transferable to a wide variety of settings working to offer emotional support to children and young people. It is a valuable resource that could be dipped into either to take a game as it is, or to use it as a starting point from which to create and explore one's own ideas. Therapists, counsellors, social workers, youth workers or teachers may find it a useful addition to their 'toolbox'.
British Gestalt Journal