Healing Through Play Therapy

The area behind the Cambodian Children’s Fund community center was a big mess on Saturday morning, but it was by design. Boxes, used to make forts, were scattered everywhere. Temporary paint was splashed on the ground, and also on some of the people there. More than a hundred kids were dancing, jump roping, hula hooping and having fun through unstructured play.

The event was a farewell to several University of Alberta students studying physical education and recreation. The group had spent the last several months working closely with these kids to engage them in play therapy. For the kids, this therapy seems like old-fashioned fun. However, this type of play helps them earn confidence and develop their physical and social skills. With many of these kids coming from impoverished families and a difficult home life, this type of therapy makes a big impact.

The University of Alberta has been sending their students to Cambodia for several years through their “Play Around the World.” The university partners with organizations in Southeast Asia to give the students the chance to teach play therapy to those in need.

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