It's so fun and so natural, you may not think of it as being a form of counseling.
But Play therapy has proven to be effective for many young children who are coping with psychological, behavioral or developmental issues.
Liam Olivio has been undergoing play therapy for two years. He was a premie, born in just 28 weeks. He is developmentally delayed. So little things, like using two hands at the same time, were a challenge. But after two years of play therapy, his mother says Liam finally mastered how to use both hands. "Blocks help him a lot with developmentally trying to stack them on top of each other," said mother Mary Olivio.
For 3-year-old Patrick Jones, play therapy improved his communication skills.
"He would get frustrated and just look at me and kind of like, he would hurt himself or hurt the objects around him, and now he's using his words and learning to express himself a lot more," said his mother, Jessica Jones.
LeAnne Steen, director of Play Therapy Center at Loyola University, says it's a powerful form of counseling because play is an innate language, so it's the best way to communicate with children.
"If I go to their level and work them in the modality they're comfortable with. Then they're able to relax and we can actually make progress. It's a universal language," said Steen. Steen says after Hurricane Katrina, play therapy was used to help many children heal from the trauma.