Play Therapy Interventions

Mood Manicure

Want a fun intervention for tween and teen girls? This is the one for you! This intervention is taken and modified from the book “Digging for Buried Treasure: 52 Prop-based Play Therapy Interventions for Treating the Problems of Childhood” by Paris Goodyear-Brown. It is a great intervention to be used for emotional identification, self-esteem, coping skills, or more! The original intervention focuses on feelings, however it is definitely an intervention that can be modified! This intervention can be used in individual or group therapy. I recently did this intervention with an 11-13 year old girls social skills group that I run and they LOVED it!

Here is what you need:

  • 5-10 bottles of various nail polish colors
  • Post-it notes


Have the child or group of children decide what each of the colors will represent. If you are having the kiddos focus on emotions, have them choose various feelings, such as happy, sad, bored, worried etc. Label which nail polish represents which feeling by using the post it notes.


Have the child paint their nails with each time they felt one of the feelings within the last week. Then, have the child talk about each of their nails and their experience with the various feeling. If you are doing this intervention with a group, have group members provide feedback regarding their peers’ experiences.


Another great variation to this intervention is to change the topic. Instead of feelings, you can have the client(s) focus on coping skills (i.e. Deep breathing, exercising, using a stress ball) or self-esteem (i.e. I am smart, I am nurturing, I am kind).


Have any of you done this intervention before? If so, what are some other modifications that have worked for your clients? I would love to hear all of your thoughts!
Play on!



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