TheraPlay1 creates a set of materials, inspired and based on Montessori materials, to act as a method of initiating and facilitating communication and conversation between children as young as five years old and an adult.

Conversation and expressing emotions, especially with an adult, is often difficult for young children just grasping emotions and language. Due to that barrier, children may keep thoughts and emotions to themselves, impacting their overall mental health and feeling. Unresolved emotions can lead to a variety of mental health issues later in life, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. HHS.

Utilizing color, texture, and shape, TheraPlay attempts to help solve the lowering quality of mental health in children five to eleven over the pandemic and the twenty percent of children with untreated mental issues within one-fifth of children with mental issues, before the pandemic, according to the American Psychological Association.

TheraPlay uses prompts to start and associates color with emotions to draw initial attention while using texture and shape as a point of engagement and a conversation starter. Based off the conclusions about color by Chattanooga, Tenn. (2021), texture by Iosifyan & Korolkova (2019), and physically polling students at NuVu and Lexington Montessori School on color and texture using samples of materials.

Thank you to Lexington Montessori School for the opportunity to work with their students and teachers.

  1. By Kunal Botla 23 and Aveen Nagpal 23. Play + Learning, Fall 2022, NuVu Innovation School. &nbsp ↩︎