Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cheaper Than Therapy

Years ago, when I worked at a psychiatric home, I would meet with the kids once a week for 'sand tray therapy'. Sand tray therapy is basically giving each kid a container of sand and access to three hundred tiny figurines, and then giving them an assignment, such as "show me your family", or "what is your favorite memory", and then the kids would make a tableau using the different plastic toys.

After the kids were done, the tray was photographed, furious notes were taken, and inferences were drawn based on what characters they used, their positioning in the tray, what colors and shapes were used, etc. Then we would get to ask useful questions like, "Gee, Timmy, why did you use a big bad wolf to represent your father?" or "How does this army man make you feel?" and things like that.

So you can imagine that those old wheels were turning in my head, when, after four hours of playing in the sandbox, my children presented me with this lovely sculpture:
What do you think this represents? What therapeutic inferences can be drawn here? Could this be a reference to the weight I've gained over the winter? Do you see any correlation to Star Wars? Infer what you will.

And what about this one? Do you think that Buzz Lightyear and the gun represent repressed aggression? Perhaps they are trying to express feelings of rage because instead of taking them on a nice beach vacation for Spring Break, I went to Home Depot and bought four bags of sand.

I have come to my own conclusion of the therapeutic value of these sand sculptures. My three children played in the sand box for four hours without fighting. Four glorious hours of my children being in the back yard while I was elsewhere. Not listening to fighting. And that, my friends, is really great therapy.

However, it did not come without a cost. It turns out that 3 children times 4 hours of sand play equals this:
Twenty minutes of scrubbing sand out of the tub. Still worth it. And yes, I crawled into the tub to take this picture. Feel free to do your own analysis of that as well.


  1. Wow, that's a lot of sand. We still have not set up our sandbox - we have way too many cats that wander through, and 'possums. I love the half-an-egg hat on the sculpture.

  2. I see three happy children. I don't need to read any more into it.

    We have been in the sandbox all week here too because of the gorgeous weather and MY HOME IS COVERED IN A LAYER OF SAND. We have hardwoods all in the main parts of the house and you just walk around feeling a layer of grit beneath your feet and knowing that you are sanding the finish off the floor as you walk.

    Like you said though. It's a small price to pay for the hours of peace that finally being back outside brings.

  3. Loved this post! I have a few drawings that my son drew in Kindergarten that are definite keepers in the *what do we make of this one?* department.

    It's amazing what looks like a flower to them can resemble something TOTALLY different to us!

    One note on the sand out for neighborhood cats if it is outdoors. I know gross, but we fell victim and had to redo it with rocks. Not the best idea either with 2 little boys. Who wants to play dump truck when you can play baseball?! Hee hee!

  4. What a great spring break and a great way to celebrate today!

    I have never liked the sandbox, because of the sand left in the tub, the floor, the bed, my bed and everywhere! Glad you can appreciate it!

  5. i can't make any psychiatric inferences, but i would say that the sculpture was just plain fun!!!

    Running on empty

  6. Wow, that is a lot of sand in that bathtub!! But it's wonderful that they played outside for so long, so happily. Isn't spring lovely? (except here, of course, where we still have SNOW...)

  7. Ha! Brilliant post! The sand figure looked like a Texas snowman to me. ;)
    I love playing in the sand with the boys, but loathe the clean up.

  8. um... next time let the sand dry and then sweep it out with a whisk broom

  9. Oh Maypole, I tried, but the sand had combined with the soap to make some sort of powerful adhesive previously unknown to man.

    I do have a foolproof way of getting this tub clean any time I want. I had my oldest child an SOS pad and she goes to work. I highly recommend it.

  10. WE have a sandbox outside, buried under three feet of snow.
    My brother took a psychology course once and started analyzing everything we did - gosh, that was FUN!

  11. 4 hours! I need to get that kind of sand!

    All of your Spring Break pictures were great, I loved the picture of your daughter and the white spotted horse you P-Dub!

    (And I kind of did see Jabba the Hut in the sand.)


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