Using a Lite Brite in Elementary School Counseling and Play Therapy

By: Stephanie Heitkemper, MA-MFT-C, Owner: Resilient Minds Counseling

As a child of the 80’s, I was thrilled to see Lite Brite make a come back! As a Play Therapist, it just seemed fitting that I added a Lite Brite to my office (are you catching on?!).

I check in with clients using the “Today I Feel” check in sheet. This allows clients the opportunity to explore their day in a non-directive manner. I always explain that there is no right or wrong answer on this chart.  Following check in I transitioned to a conversation about chameleons. What do you? Have you ever seen one? What color can they change too? What color would you change to if you were a chameleon?
 

Today I feel .jpg

I found this YouTube video.

After the short clip I facilitated a conversation around the changing of the chameleon with my client. I transitioned the conversation to having my clients think about being a chameleon, but they change color on the inside. Together we read the “What Color Is Your Chameleon” book.

Using the Lite Brite, clients placed a feeling to a color. On a dry erase board, we wrote them the peg color and feeling.  For younger clients we wrote in the appropriate color marker to match the color, this made it easier as we transitioned through the activity. Then I facilitated a conversation around designing their very own chameleon. I explained that just like the chameleon can change colors, our feelings change color. Clients were asked to design their chameleon in the peg color that represented what they were feeling when I talked about a specific situation.  Example: If you feel sad when you leave Mom’s house to go to Dad’s house. Feeling sad = blue peg. The client would begin designing their chameleon in blue. Since I have built rapport with my clients, I tended to speak about situations that were current. Every time the situation changed, the feeling often changed. This was often challenging for clients, sometimes we needed to take a break and do some deep breathing, or butterfly hugs.

If the feeling changed then the client would transition to a different color. At the end of the session the chameleon was multi-colored.  Often clients ask to turn off the lights, and use the many features on the Lite Brite. You can make the lights blink and change.

The client processed the activity about how the chameleon appeared even though they had so many emotions. It was during this time that I provided positive reflection about their strengths in exploring their emotions.

Parents have reported that clients are able to identify their emotions faster when triggered as they think of themselves as being chameleon like. In addition parents have been able to support clients by asking what the client needs to transition from one color to another.

It has been a hit in my office, and a great reason to own a Lite Brite!

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