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.
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