The slime craze hit several years ago, and videos, kits, and even slime parties abound. However, we were using slime in therapy long before this trend began. If your child’s therapist has created slime with your child in a group or individual session, you might be wondering why. Some parents I know have a negative initial reaction to slime: it is messy, potentially destroying carpets, furniture, and clothes; it can get stuck in hair; pets or little ones might think its food; you already have dozens of containers in your family’s slime collection. Despite its potential annoyances, slime has many therapeutic benefits.
Therapeutic Benefits of Making Slime
Following directions. Making slime is a chemical reaction. Similar to baking or other science experiments, the materials must be mixed in the proper order with specific amounts. Some slime recipes are more complicated, allowing greater practice with this skill.
Impulse control. Mix-ins like coloring and glitter offer opportunities to add fun elements while practicing self-control. Typically, too much of these accessories can interfere with the chemical reaction and can prevent the slime from forming.
Flexibility. Sometimes, the experiment goes awry. This experience provides the chance to identify and reframe negative thoughts and to manage disappointment.
Stress relief. To activate most slimes, your child will have to knead and squeeze the slime. This action can help release tension, manage nervous energy or frustration, and/or channel fidgeting.
Teamwork. In a group setting, your child likely will have to negotiate taking turns with the materials and what kind or what color of slime to make. Additionally, making slime as a team allows for excellent practice with conflict management.
Maximize slime’s therapeutic value with your child
Encourage your child to play with slime daily, even for brief periods. The squeezing and stretching action that most people naturally do when playing with slime can help release tension, aiding in relaxation. Practicing relaxation tools when your child is calm helps them access and use the skill when upset.
Focus on the color, sensations, smells, and sounds of the slime. Helping your child pay attention to these sensory details increases their engagement in the moment, one aspect of mindfulness. You can read more about mindfulness and its benefits here.
Join in! Showing interest in your child’s hobbies can solidify your relationship. And then you can reap the therapeutic benefits of slime too!