To make a grief monster, save your cereal boxes! With recycled materials such as boxes, bottle tops, google eyes, pipe-cleaners, feathers, cotton balls, craft sticks, and anything else you can find around the house, you and your child can create a unique grief monster that might just be as unique as the grief you’re experiencing. The message that this activity gives is that we all have  grief and we all grieve differently.

Think about grief. What is it? Is it ugly? Is it good or bad? then ask your child: “what do you think a grief monster is?” There is no wrong answer to this question. This activity will help to externalize grief into a tangible format. Grief can be unpredictable and overwhelming. By turning such a thing that we have little control over into a tangible grief monster, there is room for gaining a sense of control and understanding about the process of personal grief.

I recently created this activity with a group of families at the Amelia Center in mind (Amelia Center is an organization under the umbrella of Childrens of Alabama Hospital for grieving children and families). I encouraged the children and parents alike to make a grief monster (any size, shape and color). The activity opened the door for conversation about how we each experience grief following loss. Many of the monsters had characteristic of the lost family member and during our processing time, the children were able to talk about what those things were. See pictures below:

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Does grief ever feel like a monster to you?