In this article I want to provide you with some of my favorite resources that support children experiencing grief and loss that I frequently recommend in my play therapy trainings for play therapists who are developing their treatment plan but also many of these resources can be helpful to parents as well.

Grief looks different in children than in adults.

Children experiencing grief and loss may be connected to one of the following life events:

  • Death of a parent(s)
  • Death of a grandparent(s)
  • Death of a pet
  • A major move
  • Divorce of the child’s parents
  • Death of a playmate, friend, or relative
  • Debilitating injury to the child or someone important in the child’s life.

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You can learn more about how children experience grief and loss; stages of grief; verbal, emotional, and physical behaviors; developmental ages and stages dealing with grief; tips for supporting a grieving child; and how to use Child Centered Play Therapy and other interventions (bibliotherapy, sandtray therapy, art interventions, and more) at this link here.

One of my favorite book for helping children experiencing grief and loss is The Invisible String by Patrice Karst.  This book can be used with children who are grieving the death of a family member, friend, or pet.  It can also be used for children who are going through changes or transitions such as moving.  No one is too young or too old to remember that we are always connected to those we love.

Liana Lowenstein has lots of effective play-based interventions in her book called Creative Interventions for Bereaved Children. Another one of my favorites of hers is Creative CBT Interventions for Children With Anxiety. 


When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death is a thorough guide that explores feelings that children may have after experiencing a death and provides ways to remember someone after they have died.  Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown’s dinosaurs also take us through other topics such as divorce in Dinosaurs Divorce.


Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss is a beautifully illustrated book that can be used with virtually any type of grief or loss, during any stage of the grieving process.  The back of the book has recipes- or tips- to help those grieving.

The Talking, Feeling, & Doing Grief Card Game is designed to help a parent or therapist focus on specific areas that are a concern to children.  When played, it can help children reveal their concerns and feelings to an adult in a safe and nurturing way.  This game can be played as a stand-alone game or with The Talking, Feeling and Doing Game.


As you may know, I love to use sandtray therapy in my work with children, adolescents, and adults.  Sand Play Miniatures: Grief Miniatures Set is a perfect addition to your miniature collection!

When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief teaches basic concepts of death and helps children understand and express the many feelings they have when someone special dies. It is an excellent tool to open conversations and help with the grieving process. Marge Heegaard’s book is a great addition to a therapist’s bibliotherapy toolkit.

Another must-have is Rabbityness by Jo Empson.  The rabbit in this picture book does certain “rabbity” things like hopping, jumping, and burrowing.  But partway through the book, Rabbit up and disappears, and never returns.  The illustrations switch back and forth between black-and-white and color, speaking to the emotional ups and downs associated with loss and looking on the bright side during times of loss or change.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia is a story about a leaf named Freddie who changes throughout the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with winter’s snow.  This beautiful story captures the delicate balance between life and death.

Where Are You: A Child’s Book About Loss is a great book for young children who have experienced death or loss.  The words and sentences are simple, yet describe the feelings and confusion that happen after death.

This is a must-have for your clinical toolkit.  Even better, it is a FREE resource! Clinical Grief Activities for Working with Bereaved Children.

Anyone who has watched or listened to my play therapy trainings knows that I love using mandalas in therapy with children. This wonderful guide teaches therapists the therapeutic power of mandalas.

To learn more about what a child typically experiences emotionally, mentally and physically when experiencing the loss of a loved one, a pet, a friend, or having to move away from familiar school, family and friends, please take a peek at my 2 hour recorded tele-seminar that provides APT approved non-contact play therapy training at this link here.

Helping children experiencing grief and loss through bibliotherapy, expressive art, games and other play based interventions can make a world of difference in their healing process.

Click to sign up here to receive access to free training, further resources and tips for practice building!