The spread of COVID-19 not only is bringing concerns about health and safety but also a great deal of uncertainty. This uncertainty can lead to a lot of worry, stress, and anxiety that is new and uncomfortable. Families may be wondering when, if at all this year, kids will be going back to school, if they may have come into contact with someone who has the virus, when they’ll be able to see friends and family members again, when you can go out to eat at your favorite restaurant, or when life is going to resemble some sort of normalcy again. Talking about the things you are worrying about as a family and having an open dialogue about the things you can and cannot control as well as how each family member is feeling is important in helping to control some of the worry and anxiety you may be feeling right now.
For our first “Make-It Monday” post we wanted to give families an easy activity to do together to help with some of the worries they may be experiencing during this difficult time. This activity is simple, kid-friendly, and uses items that you likely already have at home. Below are the supplies needed and instructions for creating a Worry Monster. You can choose to make one monster for the whole family to use together or one for each family member to use individually.
Empty Tissue Box (or another small box/container)
Empty Paper Towel/Toilet Paper Rolls
Markers, Colored Pencils, or Crayons
Stickers, Feathers, Foam Shapes, etc. (for decoration)
Small Pieces of Paper
The empty tissue box will act as the body of the monster and the empty rolls will act as arms and legs. Start by gluing or taping the empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls to the empty tissue box to make arms and legs for the monster. If you don’t have empty rolls you can alternatively make arms and legs out of construction paper or simply make a monster without them.
Once the monster is intact with arms and legs to the creator’s liking, cover the body with construction paper. Cut a mouth for the monster in the construction paper that lines up with the opening of the tissue box. After the monster is assembled, covered in construction paper, and a mouth is cut, decorate the monster with stickers, feathers, foam shapes, drawings, or any other decorative material you may have. Get creative, add eyes, teeth, ears, horns, whatever you want.
Once the monster is decorated to the creator’s liking give each person a few small pieces of paper and have them write their worries on the paper. After they have written down their worries each person should “feed” their worries to the monster by putting them in the hole they created for the monster’s mouth.
As a family it may also be helpful to talk about the worries that each person fed to the monster and what each person can do to help support one another and help alleviate some of the worry they are experiencing.
You can continue to use the Worry Monster(s) by putting them in a place that is easily accessible for everyone and place pieces of paper nearby. As family members think of things they are worried about they can write them down and feed them to the monster. At the end of the day, as a family pull out the worries from the monster(s) and discuss them, what each person can and cannot control, and how you can all support one another when you are feeling worried.
Author – Peyton Petty, Ryan’s Place Program Coordinator