Play is an important aspect of a child’s life and more importantly, it serves as a means of communication with the child. It helps the child's physical, mental, social and emotional development. It is the child's medium for self-expression, as it encourages fantasy and the use of imagination and creativity. Thus, play therapy is used as a means of enabling the children to "play out" their feelings and problems.
Play is a crucial tool in establishing a rapport between the child and the counsellor. It helps children to relax by reducing anxiety and defensiveness in them. Play also encourages reluctant and non-verbal children to get involved in communication with the counsellor.
Play materials are carefully chosen to facilitate communication, promote interaction and socialization, provide relaxation, aid the expression of feelings and emotions, and enhance creativity. These include water, paints, sand, clay, Lego blocks, craft material, dolls, puppets, animal figures, games, puzzles, trains, and other toys. They are selected carefully and purposefully appropriate to the child’s age and level of maturity.