Counselor Chill Corner: activity #2 push wall

The push wall activity is perfect for counselors who do not have a lot of space.  A push wall is another great outlet, like the flip flop stomp mat, for burning off some steam.  This is another great tool for teaching students an appropriate and safe way to cope with their emotions.  Why not provide your students with another choice for their hands besides using them to push someone, hit someone, or throw something?  The student will apply pressure to the wall until he or she begins to feel more calm.  I like to start off by demonstrating to the student what safe pushing looks like.  It is kind of cool to get a baseline for the student by timing their intial push session.  As you have more sessions with the student and work on their anger, you should see a decrease in the time it takes for him or her to push their way back to a calmer state.  You may choose to time each push session and chart their progress.  This is a great visual for students.  Remember the push wall is not just for managing anger.  It is also great for nervous or anxious students.

Designing Your Push Wall

I like to use the wall directly above my stomp mat.  As you can see from the photo I’ve hung a grass skirt and lei below the hands for a movement activity.  Since the beach is my theme for the chill corner, I love connecting two handprints to make a crab. I found a fun, glitter, foam sheet at Hobby Lobby to use for my handprints.  I simply traced handprints on the foam sheet and cut them out.  I then added googly eyes and black pipe cleaners.  Hobby Lobby also sells packages of different colored foam handprints.  You can attach the handprints to the wall using poster putty or even velcro.  It is a good idea to use velcro if you plan on switching out handprints for different students.

Personalizing the Push Wall

Like most things, students are more likely to use a tool if it is fun and personalized.  When running a small anger group have each student make their own handprints.  Each student traces their own hands on construction paper, scrapbooking paper, or card stalk paper and will write their name on the back.  Cut out the handprints and laminate them.  Place velcro on the backside of their hands.  Whenever the student visits you, he or she will grab their set of handprints and attach them to the velcro on the wall.  Then let the pushing begin. This is a really fun way for the student to take ownership of the activity and coping tool.