Starting out as a new child therapist is difficult and putting together an office from scratch can be expensive. Professional “starter kits” are overpriced, limited, and not much better than what you can put together own your own for a fraction of the price. It is also common for new professions to share offices or travel to multiple locations so I have also included some tips for creating a “portable office.”
- Once you get “the basics” you can start slowly adding to your toy collection.
- Play dough is a must have item in your toy kit. Kids love it and it can fill in the gaps of what you are missing. If you are lacking something the child can simply mold it out of dough.
- The best places for toys are dollar stores, yard sales, and thrift shops. You can also ask friends and family to donate old toys their children have grown out of.
- Many craft stores (ex. Michael’s Crafts, Hobby Lobby, Joanne’s Fabrics, etc.) have 40-50% off one item coupons weekly. I pop in every time I am passing by to slowly build my arts and crafts supplies.
- Pinterest.com is your best friend if you are looking for DIY toys and activities to do in sessions.
- Rolling duffel bags make the perfect portable office. It is easy to pack and transport and has lots of pockets to help keep you organized.
- I keep my toys in mesh bags so that I can make the most of the space that I have.
- Keep your art supplies in a soft insulated lunch box. This will help prevent your crayons from melting if you leave your bag in a hot car.
- I also have a “go bag” that I bring when I don’t need to set up a full office. This is great for in-home sessions or the days when I work with teens and don’t need as much.
- Kinetic Sand: If you are creating a portable sand tray I encourage you to invest in kinetic sand. It is pricey so I suggest printing a 50% off coupon from Michael’s or Aaron Brothers. It is easy to clean up, won’t spill out the sides and is fun to play with. It molds like wet sand but still keeps some of characteristics of dry sand.
- The scrapbooking boxes at Michael’s crafts make good portable sand trays. I have one that is ***inches, and another one that is only *** inches. The small size isn’t a big issue as long as you get small miniatures to go along with it.
- Decorate your office with small throw rugs. Clients can dump bins of miniatures onto them and clean-up only takes a few seconds.