The Worry Worm Game

ByStacy Garcia, MA, LPC, NCC

The Worry Worm Game

Children with anxiety sometimes have a hard time opening up about what they’re worried or anxious about. Enter the worry worms. Worry worms are simply construction (or cardstock) paper worms that look like… well, little worms. I use them in play therapy, but you can easily make your own worms at home and play the worry worm game.

The Game

Worry worms are pretty easy to make. Simply draw or trace a worm onto brown construction paper (or cardstock paper works well too). Make several worms, and cut each of them out. Wa-la! Worry worms! I laminate my worms, simply because this allows me to keep them durable for multiple children to play with.

Next I hide these little guys (the worms) around the room for the child to find. For each worry worm the child finds, they are asked to tell one worried thought they have or have had.

Simple right?

It looks like a game of hide-and-seek to them, but let me tell you what really happens when you play the worry worm game:

  • The child is identifying their worried feelings. This is a huge thing. The mastery of this skill is a major foundation to helping children learn how to cope and regulate their emotions.
  • The child is able to begin tolerating the idea and practice of sharing uncomfortable thoughts out loud because they are motivated by the challenge, reward, and fun of finding the hidden worms.
  • The game itself offers a titrated set of exposures to anxiety producing content that is completed while remaining grounded in the safety of the worm prop.
Have fun playing the worry worm game! Do you have ideas or strategies that you use to help kids talk about their feelings? Please feel free to share in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas to use in the playroom!

 

About the author

Stacy Garcia, MA, LPC, NCC administrator

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor in the state of West Virginia, who is also currently working toward the Registered Play Therapist (RPT) certification. I graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from West Virginia University in 2004 after attainment of a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky. I have nearly fifteen years of experience in the mental health field, most of which has been spent counseling primarily children and adolescents and their families. I specialize in the treatment of trauma-related issues and concerns, parent-child conflict, and mood and anxiety disorders in children. I have a great deal of experience and training as a counselor, but my biggest and most important job is that of a mom of two wonderful boys, ages 12 and 5. They are my world and my heart, and each and every day they are my best trainers in child development and parent-child relationships. Every day is an adventure.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar