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Messy fun at Siblings Day

February 22, 2024

Supported and bereaved siblings explored their range of emotions during our therapeutic ‘Messy Feelings’ days at Shooting Star House last week.

Organised by our Therapies Team, children completed various activities alongside staff from Shooting Star Children’s Hospices and volunteers.

Upon arriving, the siblings engaged in an icebreaker activity, making and crafting messy, gooey slime with their peers. This helped them get to know each other and allowed them to reconnect if they had attended siblings’ days in the past.

They were then split into groups, where siblings enjoyed splashing around in the hydrotherapy pool together and honed their musical skills with Rock Steady. In this session, they selected songs aligned with the ‘Messy Feelings’ theme, such as Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ and David Guetta’s ‘Titanium,’ showcasing their talents on electric guitar, keyboard, drums, or vocals.

Led by Art Therapist, Ellie Burch, siblings took time to paint imaginative masks, thinking about the feelings they show and those they might hide.

Things then got messy when the groups completed the therapeutic angry wall workshop, led by Music Therapists Henry Tufton and Marion Barton. During this expressive activity, siblings shared what makes them angry on a large white cloth which was then hung up on the fence outside. They then vented their emotions by throwing paint, water, and flour at their frustrations accompanied by the pounding of drums. 

“Siblings days are so important as they allow brothers and sisters to have the space to spend thoughtful time with other siblings with lived experience of bereavement or having a life-limited sibling,” said Shooting Star Children’s Hospices Lead Therapist, Marion Barton.  

“For many of these children, they may be the only person they know in their community with these experiences, and it is so helpful for them to come to a place to share their world with others who understand.

“This year’s bereaved siblings’ day had the highest number of bereaved siblings sign up since we relaunched these therapeutic activity days post-covid. 

“Our new bereavement service, which launched in November, meant more brothers and sisters could access this supportive day and we hope even more will benefit from siblings’ days in the future.”

A supported sibling said they found the day to be incredibly social:

“I know I have got other people that understand the situation I’m in and understand the process I’m going through, as well as adults that understand it too,” they said.

“I loved the swimming, but I also really like the free time of talking to the other children.

“You get to spend time with people that understand you and the adults let you go as quickly or slowly as you want to go and take one step at a time during activities.”

Another child said, “I have enjoyed everything,” with another saying, “It’s fun and I get to meet more people and make more friends.”

Siblings’ days are only possible thanks to your support. We need to raise £10 million a year to keep our service running, find out more about the ways you can help.