Build Your Own Wand

Build Your Own Wand

Create your own Wand!

By Kearisten Ketterer and Marc Flores

Target Population

• Individuals 6 - 10

• Individual or Group


• Paper

• Coloring Utensils (markers, colored pencils, crayons)
• Glitter, glue, clay (optional)

• Your Imagination!


The client and therapist engage in a conversation about wands (can use Harry Potter as an example). The therapist explains that wands are often made using hair and feathers from mystical creatures, like dragons and unicorns. Often time these mystical creatures are seen as strong and/or wise, which adds power and strength to the wand. The therapist then asks the client “If we were to make a wand for you, what strengths of yours could we add to the wand to make it powerful?” Together the therapist and client make a list of the client’s strengths. Examples consist of bravery, resiliency, integrity, compassion, intelligence etc. After the therapist and client have explored the child’s strengths and made a list of them, ask the child to imagine what his/her powerful wand would look like. Then provide them with paper and coloring utensils and ask them to draw their wand.

After this portion of the activity is completed the therapist can ask these questions:

  1. What types of things does Harry Potter use his wand for when he is feeling scared?

  2. How do you think your wand, made of all of these different strengths you possess, can help you when you’re feeling (depressed, sad, anxious, mad etc.)?

  3. Can you think of a time where your strengths helped you get through a hard time?

Expected Results and Troubleshooting
Although not all children will be familiar with Harry Potter, many children in this generation will be somewhat familiar given its massive success as a book and film across many countries ( Critical perspectives on Harry potter , 2009). In fact, Harry Potter has been used effectively in the past for the purpose of social skills training, play therapy and other psychosocial treatments (Driscoll, 2013). When Harry potter is merged with art therapy techniques it can have many positive effects. Art therapy however is most effective when cultural perspectives are taken into account which is why something as ubiquitous as Harry Potter can be used in this regard. It is expected that children will be able to explore their strengths and challenges through the use of art when creating their wand. Even if children are unfamiliar with Harry Potter, the idea of any wand will do, so long as the child understands the purpose of the intervention. Some of the benefits a therapist may expect are better communication, better planning, and a greater self-esteem. (McNulty, 2008). This is why there are some suggested questions added to the activity after the wand has been created. Once a child is able to draw their strengths as oppose to thinking of them abstractly, the therapist can have a better idea of how the want to continue treatment.
One of the possible barriers to constructing the wand is that a child might find drawing intimidating. If this is the case the therapist can suggest drawing the wand as well and doing the activity together so that the child can draw along. The use of praise and encouragement is highly recommended. Alternatively, the therapist can print out a blank wand or clip art silhouette of the wand so that the child can add color as oppose to drawing the wand from scratch. If this is the case the therapist should ensure that there are many options for the child to complete the wand which may include mixed media, different colors, glitter, glue, clay, etc. This of course is all optional.
Lastly a child may not be able to conceptualize their strengths and feelings to add creatively to the wand. If this is the case the therapist can use any number of charts and drawing to help the child understand what they may be good at. Using characters from Harry Potter or other “geek” media is also strongly recommended. Using cartoon faces to describe emotion and charts describing behavior may be used as supplemental examples. If the child has any strong emotional reactions to creating the wand or describing their strengths the therapist should pause the activity and address the situation accordingly before continuing the session.

Driscoll, B. (2013). Using harry potter to teach literacy: Different approaches. Cambridge Journal of Education, 43 (2), 259-271. Retrieved from

Critical perspectives on harry potter (2009). Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, New York, NY. Retrieved from

Malchiodi, C. A. (2005). The impact of culture on art therapy with children. In E. Gil, & A. A. Drewes (Eds.), Cultural issues in play therapy. (pp. 96-111) Guilford Press, New York, NY. Retrieved from

McNulty, W. (2008). Harry potter and the prisoner within: Helping children with traumatic loss. In L. C. Rubin (Ed.), Popular culture in counseling, psychotherapy, and play-based interventions. (pp. 25-42) Springer Publishing Co, New York, NY. Retrieved from

Originally posted on the Geek Therapy Wiki, hosted on the now-defunct Wikispaces platform, as part of Dr. Patrick O’Connor’s course Geek Culture in Therapy.