Creating hands-on counseling lessons can be easy and inexpensive. You can often find inspiration by looking through your junk drawers or craft boxes! String is one craft supply that many people have sitting around and it can easily be incorporated into hands-on lessons for school counseling. String is a great tactile tool that is inexpensive and comes in many colors, textures, and types. Check out 5 school counseling activities using string.
5 School Counseling Activities Using String
1) Pom-Pom Calming Critter
Type of String Needed: Yarn
Calming Critters are an adorable project to create with students who are working on coping skills, anxiety, or anger management. They also are a fun culminating project for a small group.
There are many yarn pom-pom tutorials online, so look around for what will work best for the age of your students. Some tutorials involve wrapping the yarn around your fingers (great for coordinated students!) while other tutorials involve wrapping the yarn around a simple piece of cardboard. You can even buy a pom-pom maker if you want to get fancy! Here is a great video that shows 4 different ways to make a pom-pom.
I like to offer students a variety of yarn colors and textures. Variegated yarn is usually a student favorite because they end up with a multi-colored critter. As seen in the video linked above, a simple way for students to create their pom-pom is to wrap the yarn around a fork (tip: use a salad fork for a larger pom-pom). After following the steps in the video above, fluff the yarn into a circular shape and give the critter a haircut if you’d like.
You can use a variety of craft supplies to decorate the critters. Students can create feet, eyes, mouths, antennae, or arms using felt, tiny pom-poms, pipe cleaners, or googly eyes. Depending on what supplies you use, you can use hot glue or felt glue to help students glue on the pieces.
When the Calming Critter is finished, you can teach students to use it in a variety of ways!
- Whisper your worries to the critter
- Hold him when you are worried
- Put him by your bed at night to protect you from scary dreams
- Talk to your critter when you feel angry
Your students will adore having a little Calming Critter to help them cope!
2) Beaded Fidget Tool
Type of String Needed: Satin Cord
Looking for some fidgets for students that won’t drive everyone else crazy? You can make inexpensive fidgets out of string and beads that your students (and teachers!) will love. These beaded fidget tools are tactile, quiet, and fun to make. If you are working with older students this would be a great project to incorporate into a small group. You can also have a little DIY session with your colleagues to create a stash of them to give to students.
For this project, you will need satin cord because its smooth texture allows the beads easily slide back and forth. Watch this DIY video for easy steps to create the fidget. Experiment with different types of beads for a variety of sensory experiences. You can use plastic pony beads, chunky wooden beads, or even alphabet beads to spell out a student’s name or a motivational phrase. I love how they used the word “breathe” in the video.
Once you have mastered the steps of looping the beads on the string, you can get creative with the type of fidget you make. Try making keychains for students to hang on their backpacks. You can even use this technique to create a fidget bracelet. Whatever you create, your students will love fidgeting with this tool!
3) Invisible String Lesson
Type of String Needed: Clear Stretchy String
The Invisible String is a must-have book for counselors. It is perfect for students experiencing any type of separation, such as death, divorce, incarceration, deployment, or separation anxiety. The book description states:
People who love each other are always connected by a very special string, made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love.
To help illustrate the concept of the invisible string, help students create invisible string bracelets out of clear string and plastic heart buttons or heart beads. After reading the story, ask students who they believe their invisible string is connected to. For each person (or pet) they list, allow students to choose a bead to represent the connection and string it onto the bracelet. When the bracelet is complete, ask students to explain the connections by asking questions such as:
- Who does each bead represent?
- Which connection is the strongest? Weakest?
- Is there someone you wish you had a stronger connect with?
- How can you make a connection stronger?
- Is there anyone missing from your bracelet that you wish you had a connection with?
4) Worry Brain
Type of String Needed: Yarn
I first read out this idea over on Kim’s Counseling Corner and it has become one of my favorite projects to use with worried or anxious students. Here are the steps I use:
- Ask the child to make a list of everything he or she is worried about.
- Ask the child to circle their 5 biggest worries.
- Rank the worries in order from largest to smallest.
- Starting with the largest worry, ask the child to show how large the worry is by showing the size with a piece of yarn.
- Write the worry on a sticker (white mailing address labels work well) or piece of masking tape and use it to secure the piece of yarn onto a silhouette of a face in the area of the brain.
- Continue this process with the 4 other worries, each piece of yarn getting a bit smaller than the first.
- When the 5 pieces of yarn are secure, hold up the face as a visual and let the yarn drop down. This is a great way to show the child a visual representation of the size of each worry.
- Scrunch the yarn back up into the “brain” and talk about how the worries can fill up the child’s mind, which makes it hard to focus.
- Pull out each worry from the “brain” and talk about coping skills that can help the worry feel smaller.
- During additional sessions, have the child trim the worries as they begin to feel smaller.
This project is a wonderful way to not only help students visualize the size of their worries, but also visualize the worries getting smaller and smaller.
5) Growth Mindset Activity: Tie a Knot in a String Challenge
Type of String Needed: Yarn
Looking for other school counseling activities?
Visit the Counseling Craftivities page on our site to read about using everyday materials for hands-on counseling activities.
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Kate is an Elementary School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor from Ohio. She began her career in education in 2007 and enjoys creating hands-on lessons that both educate and inspire children. Kate also enjoys helping counselors with organization, classroom management, and school-wide programming. Kate is grateful to be able to collaborate with many amazing educators online and in the community!
Visit her TPT store, EduKate & Inspire.