Friday, June 11, 2010

Evolution.......playpals change and grow

This is Dolly.......the original PlayPal! I made Dolly 21 years ago for my daughter the year before we moved to Colorado from Pennsylvania; I made one for my son too. My idea was to have a friend to keep them company since we were traveling in tandem.......three vehicles. The kids were little, 7 and 4 years old. It was a big change going from a neighborhood to the middle of "no where". It was such a change that the "little friend" would give them someone to hug on the journey.

I wanted you to see how far PlayPals have come in their evolution. So here goes. After our journey to Colorado we visited the next few summers just to give the kids something to look forward to. It was on one of those trips that I made a small bunch of dollies for one of my sisters' grand kids. They were somewhat larger but a little scary. I was then making the faces 3D and it was a bit primitive. It was on one of these visits that one of my other sisters who happens to be a "play therapist" asked me to make some for her playroom and office. The picture you see here are those first dolls.

These are the beginning of a fairly large collection she has in her playroom in Carlisle, PA. Cindy is owner operator of The Beech Street Program. She is quite an accomplished play therapist, family therapist, and filial trainer. She recently won the Guerney Award! A big honor which was given to her this month in Indiana, PA at the Pennsylvania Play Therapy Association yearly conference. This is what Cin has to say about PlayPals.

"PlayPals" have been staples in all of my playrooms and offices since their inception. Over the past 15 years I have amassed a collection of different ages, skin tones, expressions, and outfits.
They have been heavily used in both directive play therapy sessions as well as child centered sessions and offer our child clients opportunities for therapeutic work in many thematic areas. they have been used to work on nurturance, aggression, trauma, victim perpetrator, good, evil, power, control, anxiety, loss, and family and relationship themes. These dolls have been given roles such as perpetrator, robber, victim, jury, police officer, sibling, baby, parent, and student. They are wonderful props that offer endless possibilities for creativity in children's play. They are artistically made, durable and can be easily cleaned. You would be lucky to won one."

This group of dolls was created for the 2001 a National Association for Play Therapy Conference held in Portland Oregon [I think, I've done a few of these conferences]. It was great fun and one of PlayPals and my first introductions to the public other than a call here and there from one therapist who had seen those dolls in Cindy's playroom.

This is Dr. Charles Schaefer who is a well known and respected authority on play therapy. He has written many books and trained huge numbers of people in the field. I met Dr. S at one of the international play therapy conferences and he gave me permission to use this photo. He was very happy with the dollies way back when. I am anxious for him to see the newer dolls this year in October at the 2010 International Association of Play Therapy Conference in Kentucky. This picture was taken, I believe in 2001 and this will be 9 years.................."Thanks Dr. S for your support!"

This little guy is now 16 and has tucked his dolls in a safe place for his day. They stood up to lots of love, hugs, and tosses!

Then and's been a long fun ride. In the past 15 years, I have created 734 dolls including the dolls I have begun creating for the upcoming conference; there will be more, you can count on that! I have sold 697. My hope is that every therapist has at least one doll and every child who finds themselves alone in a bed waiting for mom and dad to finish speaking with the doctor, has a doll beside them. I love making them, I hope you love seeing them and I wish you would all want to have one just because you want to give a hug!

Thanks for taking time to read this, I hope you have someone to hug:)

Signing off,
EC Hanson