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We were really excited to deliver Theraplay® workshops at the Hay Literary Festival again this year.

This is our second year delivering family workshops and following the success of last year, the group size was increased to 30 parents and 30 children per session! A large group and we weren’t sure how it would go – but a lot of fun was had by all.

Theraplay is so adaptable and in these sessions we really wanted to give families an experience of what it’s like to take part. We used a combination of whole group rhythmic singing activities and activities in parent/carer – child pairs so that there could be a feeling of group connection as well as time in families. It was interesting to see which activities worked best in such a large group and how to bring the group together when things got very noisy.

The children who attended threw themselves into the play, of course, and it was really heartening to see how the parents and carers, whom we had never met before, equally joined in enthusiastically.

Adults and children doing Theraplay activities.

At the end of the session one of our team had some discussion time with the parents and carers so that they could learn a bit more about what underpins Theraplay and ask questions while our colleagues kept the children engaged (quietly!). Several parents commented on how surprised they were at the level of their children’s level of engagement, their excitement and also about how we managed to maintain a level of control via the structure of the activities.  There were some quiet and intimate moments where we shared snacks and did some measuring in pairs, some very organised and structured clapping activities as well as a healthy amount of noise and general hilarity.

The Hay Literary Festival is a very popular event for families and it was great to see them including physical and energetic workshops such as Theraplay. There were different Theraplay books on sale in the bookshop too. We really enjoy this event and look forward to next year.

Parenting with Theraplay and the  Theraplay Practitioners Guide in the Hay Festival Bookshop.