Sand Drawing

Many therapists who work with adults have used some version of a Zen garden in their office, but they haven’t been the best choice for kids. One of the great things about telehealth is that concerns like cleanup and broken pieces aren’t an issue! (You can learn more about the cultural significance of a Zen garden here – and if you’re not a part of the culture, I strongly encourage you to examine how you incorporate this into your practice before doing so to avoid appropriation.)

The meditative concept behind raking the Zen garden is called Sand Drawing, which you can do virtually at A Game. Simply choose the color and texture of the sand, and you can add shells, draw designs, and wash the whole thing away with a wave.

Free Sand Drawing Game

Another site, Scratch, has a similar game with a more traditional Zen garden feel to it. You can add rocks and grass, and you rake the sand. As with the virtual sand tray, there isn’t evidence about how the tactile difference affects the outcome of this intervention, but I like that this makes the activity accessible to younger kids.

Virtual Zen Garden

To use either of these games in a telehealth session, you can either pull it up on your computer, share your screen, and grant remote control to your client, or you can send them the link and have the client pull up the website and share their screen with you. This is a great intervention for mindfulness!

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. Her clinical interests are varied and include child and adolescent therapy, TF-CBT, rural psychology, telemental health, sexual and domestic violence, psychological assessment, and mental illness prevention. Dr. Marschall presently works in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at Sioux Falls Psychological Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she provides individual and family therapy and psychological assessment to children, adolescents, and college students. She also facilitates an art therapy group for adolescents and college students with anxiety and depression. Dr. Amy Marschall is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telemental Health.

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